Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Speed Obsession

I was cleaning out the garage on Saturday afternoon when an AT&T sales rep approached me. Normally I wouldn't have opened the door had I been inside but since I couldn't avoid him, I listened to what he had to say.

By the time he departed, I had signed up for their U-Verse 300 bundle including their Max18 internet service, haha..

What intrigued me was the prospect of internet connections at a speed of 18MB per second. That's blazing fast! The rep told me their internet was transmitted over fiber optics and that each residence had its own dedicated line (as opposed to cable, in which all parties in the neighborhood share the same line so the speed is dependent upon the number of people using the internet at the time, as well as what sort of activities they are using it for). Having a dedicated line means it makes no difference who else is using the internet in my neighborhood because it is MY own line! On top of that, the monthly rate is lower than what I'm paying Charter right now.

Then he tried to interest me in the television portion and I told him we hardly watch any tv, just Korean dramas and Jeopardy.

Just try it for 30 days, he said. The first 30 days were a free trial period so if I didn't want it I could cancel the television part and keep the internet. BUT, for trying the tv part, I would get a $150 cash back bonus! AND, installation would be free, whereas if I took only the internet portion, I'd have to pay for the installation. AND, the package included a FREE DVR!!

Heck, I'm no fool. I signed up for the tv part, too. Well, maybe I am a fool.. we'll have to see after 30 days have gone by. Julie had gone shopping so she couldn't talk me out of it..

After the guy left, I was looking at the channel list for the various levels of service and frankly, none of them looked interesting. It's that 18MB of downstream internet I want!

By way of comparison, here is a screen shot of a test I did tonight of my current internet speed via Charter (you can do your own speed test by going to the website www.speedtest.net):

5MB per second. Not too shabby. The 2nd figure of 488 kb/s is the speed for uploading to, as opposed to downloading from, the internet. That's not bad, either. In fact, I was quite happy with Charter up until the rep told me about their 18Max plan with its 18 MB/second download and 1.5 MB/second upload speeds. Do I really need anything that fast?

The thing is, the AT&T service is cheaper than what I am paying now for the internet. It's faster and it's cheaper. Duh.. And they're giving me $150 just to try the tv portion which I don't want. It's like when AT&T paid me $100 to switch to their long distance service several years ago, even though I don't make any long distance calls. I even told them that when they offered it to me and they said never mind, just sign up and get the money and then cancel. Same as what the U-Verse rep told me on Saturday. Folks, there's a war going on out there for your business and mine.

They're coming to install it on Thursday. Good thing I am back to working from home a couple of days a week!

I checked the speed of our internet connection at work. The download speed was only 1/2 of what I get at home. No wonder it seems like it drags at work!!! The upload speed is about the same as the download speed, though, which is pretty good but most of the time people are downloading, not uploading information.

Things have come a long way since the days of the 56k super-fast phone modems that realistically never got beyond half that speed, haven't they? Now everyone out there is vigorously competing for customers. Yup, the battle is only going to intensify. So, wars are not necessarily all bad! Sometimes they're good for something (now watch, just 'cause I said that we will have a sub-broadband crisis).

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