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DSL Follies Part I

For various reasons I have decided that I need to have a broadband 'net connection here at the house that is not beholden to my employer.

I had heard somewhere that Cox Cable offered a 'business cable modem' option, so I went looking for that. After twenty minutes rummaging around on their web site I came up empty handed. But, they do offer a 'broadband Internet only' package for $24.99 a month.

I really want to be able to host my own stuff here, so I took a look at AT&T (nee SBC, nee SNET (poor historic SNETCo, swallowed up by SBC like nothing than an appetizer or an hours d'oeuvre)). AT&T has gotten around to realizing that they do offer DSL in my neck of the woods (it's a case of there's a DSL-capable SLIC a mile from my house, but my particular phone line is home all the way back to the CO some three miles away, so putting DSL on the line will require them to do a provisioning change). They had a "pro" package with 5 static IPs and decent speed for something like $49.95 a month. I hit "order" and started walking through the order system. First, you must buy one of their routers (the cheaper being $79). Ok, I'll swallow it. I know that no one actually sells plain old DSL modems any more. Then the ordering application says that there is "no self-install option for this package" and tells me that a tech needs to come out and install this service for 250 bucks! Um, no. In fact, not only no, but HELL NO!

So I went where I should have started in the first place: NetPlex. I've been a NetPlex customer for various ISP services since 1996. They're a good bunch. They have a decent DSL package for $49.95 $24.95 a month (repackaged AT&T DSL), and a free self-install option. Granted, I have to pay more $10/mo for the a second static IP, but it will take over two years to equal it's still less than AT&T's package and without AT&T's $250 installation charge. I submitted the order and within twenty minutes their sales guy called me to confirm the order and get things squared away with the static IPs. The DSL hardware will be here in a day or two, and he (optimistically) thinks that the service will be turned up by the end of the week. I say optimistically because of that little provisioning change, but hopefully AT&T can get that squared away without a great saga.

5/3 Note: edits in bold next to the strikeouts

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( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
half_elf_lost
May. 2nd, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
I can't believe they were going to hit you up for the $250 charge. That's insane. We've been happy with the SNET/SBC/AT&T connection, but when it goes down the service SUCKS (that's a technical term) to beg/plead/cajole/convince some guy in India that it's not a problem in the house, but probably a bad card at the junction box 1 mile away.

They've also got a sneaky little thing whereby you get the cheap monthly price for a year, but if you don't remember to CALL them and tell them you want to continue on the inexpensive play, they automatically bump you to their "regular" pricing.
netcurmudgeon
May. 2nd, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
They've also got a sneaky little thing whereby you get the cheap monthly price for a year, but if you don't remember to CALL them and tell them you want to continue on the inexpensive play, they automatically bump you to their "regular" pricing.

There's one of the things that makes me love NetPlex. A couple of months back they called me about the other DSL service I have through them. If I agreed to re-up for a second year, they would knock the price down from $49 a month to $24. So, you're calling me because you want to chage me less money? Now that was a no-brainer. :-)
majikshop
May. 3rd, 2006 01:30 am (UTC)
Cancel it, cancel it. cancel it. . .
Netplex is the WORST (and most expensive bang/bang) DSL provider in CT. You don't have to pay AT&T for the install, nor do you have to use their router. Grab a $70 DSL modem from CompUSA and any competant firewall/router (Netgear has some great ones for between $80 and $150). I have the service of which you speak, and didn't spend any of the money you refer to in your post. Honest injun.
netcurmudgeon
May. 3rd, 2006 10:26 am (UTC)
Re: Cancel it, cancel it. cancel it. . .
Interesting ... my experience with NetPlex has been fine. The DSL that I have for my web servers has run fine since initial turn-up.

When did you order your DSL service? 'Cause right now, you can't get through the web ordering process without selecting the options I described: you get to a screen on routers and it forces you to pick one -- there is no "I have my own" option; the next screen is on installation -- there is one option ($250 install) and you must select it in order to proceed to the next stage in ordering (the text says "there is no self install option for this package")... With the AT&T merger things may have changed.
netcurmudgeon
May. 3rd, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
Re: Cancel it, cancel it. cancel it. . .
BTW, I had misremembered NetPlex's rate -- it's $24.95/mo, not $49.95.
majikshop
May. 4th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC)
Re: Cancel it, cancel it. cancel it. . .
The most gigantic issue with Netplex, besides over charging and under-providing on the service end is that their ENTIRE DSL support group is ONE GUY. And he doesn't work nights, weekends, or Canadian holidays (I kid you not). God forbid you should change firewalls in the evening once their ONE DSL support tech has gone home, because they lock your service to the MAC of the device that initiates the connection, and it requires human intervention to 'approve' any modifications to the service (on the NetPlex end). One of our clients was down for three days because of the level of support they (don't) provide.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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