Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Net Neutrality?

Now that I'm restarting Oku Solutions (my consulting business) one of the things which has become painfully obvious is that my current broadband isn't up to the task.  Four years ago it worked fairly well, save for the occasional need for a modem reboot.  Now it locks up and/or slows down a few times a day.  Not good given that a lot of what I'm doing now uses cloud-based apps which don't always offer offline mode.  God help me if the kids decide to start streaming something.  I've given Earthlink an ultimatum - fix the problem or be replaced.  They promised a new modem (for which I've yet to receive the UPS tracking number) but I'm not hopeful.

So today when an AT&T U-verse reseller showed up at my door I actually went outside to speak with them.  After a lot of discussion it seemed like a reasonable deal; free installation, $50 gift card, 30-day trial, etc.  I figured I'd order, test it out in parallel with the new Earthlink modem, make my decision in the next 30 days.  Since U-verse uses a wireless link from the fiber hub, I could have both at the same time, right?  No conflict, right?


Turns out that AT&T and Earthlink have some kind of arrangement which dates back to the early days of DSL.  Since Earthlink uses AT&T's wire to my house, they've agreed to some kind of "no poaching" agreement.  I would have to cancel Earthlink, wait ten days, order U-verse and wait for that to install.  Time offline = about 14 days.

Nope.  Since when do I not have free market choice?  Because 40 years ago Ma Bell ran a chunk of copper wire to my house, I'm not able to buy what I want?

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