Ron has his AT&T U-Verse cable TV, Internet access, and phone lines working now, but only after spending most of the past week fighting with AT&T. He could have had access back on Saturday, the very first day of the outage, but an AT&T rep told him that sending a tech out to him on a Saturday was impossible. It’s not. They shipped a replacement for his malfunctioning gateway out via UPS. It got lost. Ron is frustrated, because he likes U-Verse. When it works.
Star commenter GitEmSteveDave contacted me this morning with a relatively minor but still irritating problem: he didn’t have FTP access to his webspace anymore. While all customers with Verizon as their Internet service provider have a small amount of storage space to put an entire web page or just a few files online, they can now only access that space through a web-based site-builder tool. The change is supposedly for “security” reasons, but somehow security is no longer a concern if you pay Verizon an extra six bucks per month.
What does it take to get an entire neighborhood’s Internet connection working when something is clearly wrong on the cable company’s end? Judging from Alex’s experience…a lot. His neighborhood has had wonky connections in the summer for years. Unfortunately for Charter, Alex actually knows something about networking, and got them to actually fix the problem. Here, for your edification, is his tale of woe and ultimate triiumph.
S. has a super-special type of Comcast business account called Teleworker Enhanced. This account allows him to have business-class Internet access in his home. The problem, as far as Comcast is concerned, is that he has a business-class account in his home, so they keep making up a phantom residential account to charge him for, then send him to collections. He’s had enough.
Like many Americans, Liv and her neighbors are cut off from high-speed broadband access because they live in an area that the cable company says is too far for them to run lines to. She says she’s spent a few years trying to convince them but hasn’t made any headway, even getting the neighbors to band together and say they would all agree to service. What can she do to change AT&T or Comcast’s mind, or can she even and would she be better off with a DIY solution?
As Verizon builds their FiOS network, they’ve sold off their landline and DSL business in many markets to Frontier. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it has been for Nick and other former Verizon customers in his town in West Virginia. Their connection speed fell to one-sixth of what it was with Verizon. The speed has improved recently, but they’ve traded consistent slowness for intermittent outages. Nick can now stay online for about two minutes at a time.
Mark wrote to us with a warning for Comcast customers: if you move while your account is set on auto-pay, the system is set up so that you will miss a payment and be hit with a late payment fee. Why is it set up that way? Nobody knows.
Ever have one of those days where you’re browsing along, everything is cool, but then it seems like whenever you try to watch YouTube or download, your speed suddenly plummets? Your ISP could be “shaping” your traffic, intentionally throttling your rates for certain kind of media. To test it out, you can try running this Glasnost test.
Jordan coaxed his dad into ordering Comcast’s broadband service and buying his own cable modem in order to save on rental fees. The two moves combined to give them plenty of father-son bonding time through the endless hell that Comcast’s customer service can be.
The FCC has released a scan (PDF) of the five-page executive summary of the National Broadband Plan that it will present to Congress in two days. Although the summary is packed with recommendations, here’s a couple that a lot of broadband customers might be interested in: the FCC wants to develop “disclosure requirements for broadband service providers” so that consumers can make the best choice for service, and it wants to map broadband services across the country to better identify “specific geographies or market segments” where there’s not enough competition.
Last Thursday, the FCC started collecting information from consumers about the quality of their broadband service. If you’ve got a PC that can run Java, you can go to Broadband.gov and run the test now. (The FCC will collect your IP address and physical address, but not your name or email address, reports Wired.) If you’ve got an iPhone or Android smartphone, you can download an app to measure your connectivity and report it.
FBI chief Robert Mueller wants ISPs to track everything their customers do on the Internet, and keep those records for two years. The government plan would give the FBI access to “origin and destination information” for all users. Hey, at least they’re not doing it in secret and lying about it.
Christopher writes about a promotion from Cox that sounded pretty great. The cable company and ISP offered a free Playstation 3 slim to customers who either signed up for a new account or upgraded to faster broadband. The problem with such a great offer? People tend to tell their friends. And those friends tend to call Cox to see if they can get in on the deal, too.
As the Comcast/NBC mergepocalypse draws near, we wanted to remind readers of the ways that this is going to harm consumers (beyond the obvious things like 30 Rock being promised to come on between 6 and 10 pm and actually airing at 11:30). Join us for a sad look into the future.
In the net neutrality debate, there are a surprising number of grassroots organizations (well, surprising to me at any rate) that have filed statements against the FCC’s recent draft of rules. Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica just published an interesting article where he looks at some of these groups and tries to figure out whether AT&T is secretly influencing them, or whether they really do think net neutrality will hurt those they represent–frequently minority groups–in the long run.
Yesterday the FCC announced new, expanded rules enforcing net neutrality, and they’ve set aside the next 60 days for public debate. Get ready to hear all sorts of creative end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it arguments from opponents like AT&T. We’ve checked out the official document (pdf) and below we summarize the changes that are open to public discussion for the next two months.
Bonnie’s elderly parents switched from Verizon dial-up to Verizon DSL, but Verizon didn’t turn off their dial-up account when switching them to DSL. They somehow failed to notice when they continued to be charged for dialup. For two years.
Remember when you called up your ISP and, after an unholy modem screech, were billed for every minute you spent online? (Actually, it occurs to me that many Consumerist readers probably don’t remember this.) If ISPs’ current efforts pay off, we may all soon be paying for every little byte of Internet that we use.