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December 30, 2002

Taking a giant step into the future -- and I like it!

Last week we took a step into the future. We've had cell phones for several years now and have shifted more and more to using them rather than our "landline" (as it's called). When I heard that high-speed cable internet access was finally being offered to our city, I got some prices, did some math, and was pleased to discover that switching from DSL to cable and dropping our phone service would not only save us money (about $10 a month was my figure at that time) we'd get cable, to boot. Well, I kinda put it off until the telemarketers finally drove me over the edge. I turned our phone off for a week to see how well we'd do with out it, and other than my wife forgetting to turn her cell phone on, or forgetting and turning it off after she used it, all went fairly well. So I called the cable company.

We got it set up, and I waited about a week to make sure everything would work. The cable company blocks port 80 to discourage people from running servers, but I found a way around that. The server I run is for our family page and is known to only a handful of family and friends, so the bandwidth usage is negligible, but since I have a 40gig hard drive, I can't find web space as cheap for the massive collection of digital photos we take on every family outing. (Gracie's pics are a small sample).

Friday I called the DSL company, then the phone company and told them to cancel our accounts. Today I happened to look at my bills.

The phone company was charging us $38.62 a month for phone service (that's including caller ID so we could ignore the telemarketers, but it was still annoying to have to goto the phone every few hours to see who it was calling, which 9 times out of 10 was a telemarketer)

The DSL company was charging $53.95 for internet access, and on top of that was substituting their own ads for the various ads on web pages. This was frustrating since some of my sites have banner ads, and I wasn't able to see how they looked. The DSL company refused to allow the ads to go through (and I'm not their customer anymore, now, am I.).

So that's a total of $92.57 for phone and DSL.

I'm looking at my first bill from the cable company. $20.00 for Cable (video) and $39.95 for internet access (and 4 cents tax). That's $59.99! A savings of $32.58 and we get cable TV!!

The one and only draw back that I can see in all this is that we can't really sit and wait on hold like we could with a landline, but then I rarely do that anyway. Most companies know that long waits on the phone drive away customers, and unless you have a monopoly, you want to avoid that kind of thing. And the only monopoly we were dealing with was the phone company. The key word there being "were".


Posted by Jack Lewis at December 30, 2002 09:36 AM