Isn’t the functionality of technology supposed to get cheaper over time? Apparently not — after all, every piece of hardware can be unbundled into component services that companies can charge you for.
Take Danyel F.’s Qwest DSL box, for example. It had pretty sweet wireless built right in. After 14 months, it went belly up. Out of warranty, Danyel decided to rent a new one. Except that Qwest had decided to unbundle, smelling profit, decided to unbundle wireless from the same DSL modem in the meantime and charge extra for it.
It’s only a few bucks, but it’s the principle of the thing that stinks. Danyel’s account after the jump:
On Friday afternoon, I got home to discover that my DSL box had decided that it didn’t want to shuttle packets about for me anymore: it had a solid red light on the “power” box, and it glowed sullenly at me. I turned it off, turned it back on, and it still didn’t work.
In the morning, I made the phone calls. It was, it seems, dead. And not worth replacing. And out of warranty, since I’d owned it for 14 months. And while it rented for $3 a month back when I decided to buy it, it was now $5 per month.
Until the guy asked me, “do you want the premium package, with wireless?”
What? The classic package was the Actiontec GT-701 W, which had a very nice wireless antenna on it. “Oh, yeah. We’ve changed. We now offer the GT-701. Same device, no wireless. If you want the wirless, you get the 2Wire. It’s $8 per month. And we don’t support any devices except those two.”
That’s right. Getting the same functionality now costs $3 per month more, and if I expect future technical support, I’d better shell out the extra few bucks.
I did it, but I’m not proud.