Thursday, February 09, 2006

$40/month less on DSL

For the last 10 years, I've had DSL provided by MMInternet, a small DSL service provider from Long Beach. They gave me one static IP address for $56/month. When I first started with them, %56/month was about the going rate if you wanted to have a static IP. I wanted a static IP because I thought that one day I'd run web servers from my home - something I never ended up doing.

Over the past 10 years, the price of DSL has been dropping, but MMInternet never lowered my rate. I even asked them once to lower it, and they said they wouldn't, claiming that their excellent customer service made them worth the money. Being kind of lazy and wanting to avoid a service delay, I stayed with MMInternet all this time.

When I saw some recent advertising by Verizon that they were offering DSL for only $14.95/month, I decided that I couldn't hold out any longer. I couldn't justify paying $40/month more for almost the same thing. Granted, this was for a dynamic, not static, IP address, but still, since I'm not running any servers, I don't really need a static IP. So I cancelled my MMInternet subscription and ordered Verizon about a month ago.

The switchover has been quite a hassle. Verizon first game me a start date and then left me a voice mail saying that there was a problem and I needed to call them. When I called, they told me that the DSL speed I specified in my order was not available in my area, and I had to consent to a lower speed. I agreed and they told me to hold. Then the call got cut off. When I called back, I was transferred from department to department, and I had to explain why I was calling to every person I talked to. Finally I got to the right person, gave my consent again, and thought all was okay. Verizon ended up calling back again the next day saying that there was a problem with my account. I called them back again and again, I was transferred from department to department. Finally someone told me that the speed I ordered was okay and the previous people didn't know what they were talking about. The next day, I got another voice mail from Verizon saying there was a problem. This time when I called back, I decided to just cancel my order and sign up again, requesting the lower rate. So that's what I did.

This next round went smoother. They assigned me a new start date, sent me a starter pack with filters, cables, and a modem, and an email on the start date telling me to give the service a try. That night I gave it a try. No signal. I called tech support and they said they'd open a trouble ticket so a technician could run some tests. The next day I got a voice mail saying that I needed to call them. When I called, the tech support guy said that for some weird reason, they closed the ticket indicating that my line tested out okay. Still no signal. The guy opened another ticket requesting that someone come to my house this morning. No one showed up. I called back and they said someone could only come this afternoon, and I wasn't able to be home at that time. He said I'd need to reschedule for another weekday from 9 AM to 5 PM. I couldn't do that since I have to go to work each weekday. I told him to just keep running the tests. A few minutes later, another Verizon person called. He said that he thought that they sent me the wrong modem. Apparently it didn't match the equipment they have in my central office. I told him that I still had an old modem from my previous MMInternet service. He got excited and suggested that I try it. So I tried the other modem, and sure enough, I got a signal. Now why couldn't any of the other tech support people have known this? Each one of them asked me what modem was sent to me.

According to Verizon, I'm supposed to install some software on my computer that sets me up and establishes an account with them. I just ignored all that, plugged in my router, and got an IP address assigned to me. I don't plan on installing anything. So now I'm back online and happy to be saving the $40/month. The whole bad customer service thing from Verizon didn't piss me off too much. I think I expected it.


byaspan said...

Is the $14.95/month for a long time? Or just an introductory period? That's really cheap.. I think I pay $42.95 for cable internet.

Quite the hassle though.

Ken Weiner said...

I had to sign a 12 month contract, but as far as I understand, the rate of $14.95/month continues indefinitely after 12 months is up. I am surprised it is so cheap myself.