Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Internet Problems

SBC AT&T is behaving like a monopoly. Go figure.

I have been very happy with my internet service since my return from Russia. In Moscow I was paying upward of $300/month for DSL which worked sporadically, often giving me fits and adding massive amounts of stress to my already stressful job. The company was called Stream.ru and they were affiliated with the main telephone company. They offered the best deal which was $50 for their high speed service and downloading 5 gigabytes of data. Each megabyte over that was $0.01. I was using TV2Me at the time to watch American TV which used a lot of bandwidth. (Before it got killed off by slingbox.)

Russians had never heard of the concept of unlimited bandwidth so I paid for going over the limit. To add more minutes I had to buy internet cards and enter them onto the website. It was much more convenient and cheaper than my first ISP- Ropnet, aka Rapenet- which required that I go their office and pay in person. That was fun! They were in a old building which required a security pass which meant waiting in line for that in a small room usually overcrowded and then up to their office staffed by 3 people two of which looked like they just didn't care. Yes, internet cards were a blessing compared to that.

So I was extremely happy with Comcast cable internet charging me approximately $40/month with unlimited bandwidth and very reliable. That is until a couple of weeks ago. I started noticing that my internet would cut out for 5-10 seconds. (That is an eternity when you are trading.) I called my clearing firm's tech guys and they told me that while Comcast was my ISP SBC AT&T controlled the switching rooms and that they had been doing some mischief maintenance. Arrgh. Why can't they do this in the middle of the night? I had similar problems in the past with SBC when they were doing their best to not cooperate with third party internet providers like Covad. They could legally behave like a monopolist thanks to the 1996 Telecommunications Act and make it as hard as possible for Covad to give me DSL service eventhough SBC did not offer DSL in most of Chicago.

I am hoping things will go back to the way it was before. You see, my options are pay for Comcast or get a Full T1 line at approximately $1000/month for equivalent bandwidth from (drumroll) AT&T. Bastards.


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