Tag Archives: broadband

Do You Have a Broadband Choice?

Usually when an ISP is discussed, it is directly related to how fast their speeds are or how good their customer service may be. I often see someone get angry with their provider and Tweet out that they are planning a switch to someone new. We take for granted the fact that there are many choices and options out there, but that isn’t always the case. What happens when there are no choices? How is it possible that in this day and age there are still fairly large cities with a monopoly in place?

Look at Indianapolis, for example. It’s not a small town… we’re talking a population of 829,718. This is the eleventh largest city in the United States according to the 2010 census, yet my assistant Kat has spent hours attempting to find alternatives to Bright House and AT&T. There is nothing there, unless they want to fork over $200.00 per month for a T1 line. She’d absolutely love to have one of those, but like most of you out there – it’s not in her budget. I find it incredulous that in today’s cutthroat ISP market there is nothing else there for her to choose from.

Indy isn’t alone, either. There are large cities all across this fair country of ours who have to deal with utility monopolies. Most of the time, this is in the form of electricity and natural gas providers. Living here in Seattle, I guess I simply didn’t realize that there are still places where you are stuck with one company for your high-speed Internet service, as well.

I know that Kat and others like her should be grateful to have access to a broadband connection at all, and I know that she is. There are still millions of people in this country alone who don’t even have that option, and that’s something that the FCC is trying to address. This rant is more aimed at the fact that we shouldn’t have to deal with such monopolies in 2011, no matter what form it takes.

Are you on a proverbial desert island when it comes to choices for your ISP or other utility services? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Do You Love Broadband?


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Ars Technica reported that 23% of U.S. households don’t have Internet anywhere in the house? Why not? many people just don’t see the need for this “Internet” thing at all. Really? Lamarr thinks broadband should just be something in the house like electricity, water, and heat service so that it’s just normal to have.

The largest reason is listed as a lack of interest in the Internet, with cost being second. Stop spending so much money on dinners out and get yourself online instead. Broadband should be a required utility in the house like water or heat.

How can someone not want to be connected to the Internet? The world is out there. You can find everything online. Don’t you want to expand your mind and your opportunities?

Do you think these 23% are living in the dark ages, are ignorant, or are they on to something? Maybe the Internet causes more problems than it’s worth. I’m just playing Devil’s Advocate here; leave a comment below.

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The Future of the Internet


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Over on Lockergnome, Slick asked what our thoughts are on the future of the Internet. With speeds and capabilities ever-increasing, it can boggle the mind to think of what we’ll have available to us in 20 years or so. It will be funny to look back to the year 2010 and think about how SLOW we thought the connections we have now were.

It’s interesting that this question came up when it did. I learned today that Australia is going to be giving all of their citizens fiber-optic connections in their homes. Finland recently said that citizens have the RIGHT to broadband connections. How many other countries will soon realize that the only way to bring their land and their citizens into the future with free and easy access to the Internet?

We already know that the Internet is much more important than eating, drinking, sleeping or having somewhere nice to live, right? Maybe it’s not AS important as those other needs. However, I do think that it’s pretty high up on the list. Wherever you are, you need information. Getting info from the library isn’t practical these days. They’re great, yes, for certain things.

We have knowledge. How are we going to turn that knowledge into wisdom? The future of Internet connections is omnipresent. Anywhere you go and any device you have should be able to quickly connect to the Internet at any given moment of the day, without muss or fuss.

What are your thoughts? What do you think we’ll see in the future as far as the Internet and its connections and speeds go?

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3G vs 4G Speed Tests


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Please post a video response demonstrating how your speeds measure up against mine. Your mileage may vary!

From where I sit in this home office, however, I’m not so sure I see a clear difference between Sprint’s 4G network and AT&T’s 3G network – at least, from these two devices today. That may change with network upgrades, of course.

If anything, most of my off-camera tests showed Sprint’s 4G network had better download speeds, worse upload speeds, and higher latency. Much like there’s a megapixel myth with digital cameras, there may be a “G” myth soon enough…

What are your thoughts? Is there a viable difference between the two types of network? Do we really see increased speeds?

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Why Do You Need Social Media?

I had a great time in Hawaii last week. I was there to be a presenter at the Next Level Hawaii conference. Kelly Mitchell and her team did a fantastic job of putting this event together.

The team at Believe and Succeed stopped me to talk about the power of social media and the Internet in general.

People need to know that they’re missing out if they’re not participating. Sometimes, participation can mean just looking and listening. Most of the participation that happens in social media is passive via lurking and watching what’s happening. Ignoring it, however, is only done at your own peril.

There’s a lot that can be gained by watching, reading and exploring. Social media isn’t as “technical” and difficult as some would make it out to be. These tools being used by Geeks can honestly be used by anyone.

Social media as a suite of tools is dynamic and always changing. Twitter may not be around when I hit 80 years old. We don’t know where these tools will go in the future, but they can still help us on a personal and professional level.

Don’t cut yourself off. I have heard a few people say that they don’t feel they need an Internet connection. That’s frightening to me in this age of information and online tools and consumption.

If your business isn’t making use of these tools, you’re wasting time and money. Don’t miss out. Take advantage of what’s out there to help you to succeed.

I have to thank Bruce and his team at Hawaii Aloha for helping me once again make the trip down to paradise.

CLEAR Customer Service Nightmare

After seeing a tweet from Jeris JC Miller this morning, I offered to provide her guest blogger privileges on my blog – given that I once suffered the cruel and unusual torture of ClearWire customer service. The following has been written by Jeris:

As an active member of a thriving social media community, I often have need of a portable hub while attending community events. Not every venue that I attend is equipped with internet access as I do a lot of outreach in Seattle’s non-profit community. Of the portable wireless hubs currently on the market, I chose the ClearSpot from CLEAR (formerly Clearwire) because of its convenient size and the fact that the portable modem could be disconnected and carried and used separately without the hub when size portability is my foremost need. It was the design that won the day.

I ordered my ClearSpot hub and modem on 01.15.10 and it was promptly delivered. However, the ClearSpot was shipped with outdated Firmware which kept me stuck in an endless loop of “Capture” on Clearwire’s Home page during set up (very annoying!!) and which required a two hour telephone call with CLEAR Technical Support as they walked me through downloading and installing correct Firmware updates and setting the unit up. I will say on CLEAR’s behalf, the Technical Support team was well trained and effective – for a newbie or intermediate user however, this task would have been very daunting right out of the box! Still, I persevered since I really want this mobile capability and functionality. At the initial time of my purchase, I also opted for an Extended Hardware Warrantee for an additional charge. Although I am not a super highend Power User, I am also not a neophyte. Hardware and software isn’t perfect and it’s best to have a backup!

My initial user experience with ClearSpot upload and download connection speeds was disappointing from my Queen Anne area home, but connectivity speeds seem to perform better at the top of hill (I live on South Slope) and necessitated purchasing a separate homebased cable modem to meet my daily needs. The total package for connectivity only for both services is close to $69 per month.

On March 6th, 54 days after the arrival of my ClearSpot hub and modem, the ClearSpot failed – it stopped assigning IP Addresses and required an internal “reset” as I was informed by Clear Technical Support. One problem however; the sliding panel on the back of this hub is fused to the main unit and it cannot be opened unless I pry it off which of course will void all warrantees on this unit. Totally exasperated, I let the project go another week as work demands took precedence.

I followed up with a second call to CLEAR Technical Support on 03.13.10 and spoke with one of their Second Tier Customer Support Technicians, where I learned that my extended hardware warranty, which I specifically purchased to cover this kind of an incident, did NOT cover the ClearSpot – it was only valid for the mobile modem! What’s more, the ClearSpot only has a 30 Day Warrantee! – not the 90 days typical of most electronic equipment – and CLEAR requires ME to send the ClearSpot to Motorola for replacement.

In the meantime – while I am expected bear the burden of sorting this out with Motorola – CLEAR intends to keep billing me for a service I cannot use! When asked if I could cancel the ClearSpot Service outright and asked for a refund for the defective hub – I was referred to the CLEAR Billing Department – which of course is not available on the weekends.

I pursued the Customer Service Escalation line of inquiry further by asking if there was a Twitter account, an email address, a web site to which I could escalate this terribly inequitable issue and register a formal complaint with CLEAR Customer Service. There is none! The mechanism in place for formal escalation of customer complaints is through traditional snail mail to:

CLEAR Customer Service
5220 Industrial Blvd
Milton, FL 32983

In the meantime, I am automatically charged for a service I am not and cannot use. This ranks among the Worst Customer Experiences I have ever encountered or even heard of! I can think of no other piece of electronic equipment that is warrantied under 90 days!

CLEAR does NOT Make It Simple!

Fact or Context: The Ocean That is the Internet

I read an excellent article a few moments ago. Julien Genestoux talks about how the Internet is a vast, never-evaporating ocean. All of the content that is constantly pouring into that ocean are raindrops. In the article, he states that “When you’re a search engine, you obviously have an exhaustivity requirement. You can’t really skip on indexing the Indian Ocean. Google sends its bo(a)ts all over the ocean where it’s raining to update its index. However, the ocean is growing so fast that it will eventually become harder and harder to stay exhaustive.”

This has become a real problem for search engines, especially Google. They are trying to solve the problem by changing the way that they crawl and index websites in order to try and keep up with the constantly-changing websites. However, there’s going to come a point when that becomes impossible to do. Genestoux goes on to talk about how Twitter is better than Google when it comes to contextualization. When you search Google, you’re looking for facts. When you search Twitter, you want the context… you need to know what is happening (and being said about that subject) right now!

What are your thoughts? Is there any possible easy answer for search engine companies to attempt to keep on top of all of the data in the ocean?

Don’t forget to stop by the software center to see what’s new today!

Is DSL Really Broadband?

troy_w_banther: Not all of are fortunate enough to have anything better than DSL. 😛

about 54 minutes ago

Paradigms: the Linux distro or the communications technology?

about 4 hours ago

BenjaminPrice: I wasn&#39t either until I got fed up with Comcast metering broadband, so DSL is it now

about 13 hours ago

Foxxchasser1: i had cable internet and loved the fast upload speed but the company kept blocking ports on my service so i had to go to DSL

about 13 hours ago

identityTBA: Same here

about 15 hours ago

wwejason: Don&#39t like DSL, huh? 50,000 times better that cable. Don&#39t believe me? Listen to Leo: www.twit.tv/ttg539

about 16 hours ago

kpslover007: I have DSL at the moment. Do you recommend getting broadband/cable internet back?

about 16 hours ago

CodyMcGrew: why not beats dial up

about 16 hours ago

gmaendel: How about truck stop WiFi?

about 17 hours ago

htnguyen: what!?!?!? DSL > Cable!

about 17 hours ago

adamfield: some of us have no options. It&#39s not unbearable.

about 17 hours ago

tadrow: It&#39d be nice if all the fiber that was supposed to be carrying our calls actually was here. “We don&#39t care. We don&#39t have to.”

about 17 hours ago

jptacek: Can you explain Microsoft&#39s M for us?

about 17 hours ago

TreyRust: dialup FTW!

about 17 hours ago

tadrow: I wish we had options. My mom can&#39t even *get* DSL yet, and my aunt can barely get phone service, much less dialup.

about 17 hours ago

Joshrath: Found the link for the CNN video, Check your email.

about 17 hours ago

morontown: who is? No srously

about 17 hours ago

drmacpro: Damn slow Linux?

about 17 hours ago

lemasney: how are you on Fiber to the Home? I&#39m a fan.

about 17 hours ago

garrigus: Why not? What do you use… cable? Do you think that&#39s better? Much more expensive though, right?

about 17 hours ago

ktoddstorch: understatement of the year?

about 17 hours ago

Tofur: DSL as in the broadband connection or DSL as in broad&#39s d sucking lips?

about 17 hours ago

Darkfalz01: I loved my DSL (beat Charter Cable) but they just couldnt compete (speed or price) and we have only those 2 choices here :{

about 17 hours ago

millettepc: Dryloop DSL is awsome.. no silly phone company to deal with!

about 17 hours ago

thattalldude: I might be, but I&#39d have to experience it with more than 3Mbps theoretical top speed. Only choice here though, no competition.

about 17 hours ago

1only: I don&#39t think there are a lot of DSL fans anymore, I could be wrong.

about 17 hours ago

StephenCraig: me neither, but we get it for free, my mom works from home 🙂

about 17 hours ago

Memoriestolast: you&#39re kidding- seriously? Film?

about 17 hours ago

KerwinStewart: What about Fios?

about 17 hours ago

AnoxiA425: No one is ever a fan of DSL

about 17 hours ago

MikeKukielka: U-Verse by AT&T is better.

about 17 hours ago

chrispirillo: I&#39m just not a huge fan of DSL.

about 17 hours ago

Comcast Customer Service is Getting Personal?

Scott Westerman is on the ball. I met him via Twitter last year when I was having problems with my local Comcast connection. He responded to me right away, and has done so much to bring customer service into the social media realm. Witness this recent email response, as sent to one of my viewers who was asking about some of Comcast’s offerings:

Chris shared your question about UVerse vs Comcast with me. I’m glad to try to help. You’re right that you can only record one program if you’re watching another with the Comcast DVR. Same story with Tivo. These guys are two tuner devices.

I know the Stockton guys personally, so if part of your reason for leaving our family was quality stuff, I can make sure your service QOS is bullet-proof. We’ve also got several enticing come-back offers for prodigals like you. If you’d like to talk about the options, I’d be happy to have someone reach out to you.

Some things that are on the horizon.

Later this year we’ll be launching a new technology called Tru 2 Way. If you buy a Tru 2 Way device (TV or DVR), you won’t need a cable box as the brains are all inside the device. All you’ll have to do is get a cable card and plug your TV into the coax jack. You will get a guide and can access the cool stuff like On Demand and PPV.. all without a cable box. Currently the first cable card is free, so you won’t have to pay us a monthly fee for it.

We’re also continually increasing our Internet speeds. DOCSIS 3.0 is on the horizon which will allow us to do the cool stuff like you may have read about in St. Paul.. 50 Megs and faster.

In most markets we’ve seriously increased the number of hours of HD On Demand content, too. Something like 2000 hours at the moment with a ton of it Free.

And finally, if you’re on Twitter, you’ve got instant access to guys like Frank (@comcastcares), Bill (@comcastBill), Bonnie (@comcastbonnie), and me (@comcastscott). We try to give special love to anybody Chris sends us. Google Frank Eliason to get a feel for how we’re trying to change the paradigm of what constitutes good customer care.

Hope this information is helpful. Don’t hesitate to ping me with questions or feedback.

It’s true. In fact, I’ll be beta testing the DOCSIS 3.0 modems in a few weeks – since they just became available in the Seattle area. I believe I’ll be pushing 50 down and 10 up soon!

How do You Test Mobile Broadband Speeds?


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What tool do you use to benchmark your Internet connection speed? If you’re on a desktop, I know many of you use SpeedTest. But what about your mobile web experience? If you’re on an Edge connection, are you getting true Edge speeds? What about if you’re on a 3G connection, or even wifi?

iNetwork Test began with the creation of a basic iPhone web application that inferentially measured the speed of the network the device was connected to. The interest in the application was overwhelming with over half a million results collected to date. The need for reliable, easy to use mobile network testing solutions is one that will continue to grow as more mobile devices infiltrate the marketplace and newer, faster networks come online.

iNetwork Test is developing a suite of solutions for a variety of platforms starting with the iPhone and Android platforms. These tests are more reliable providing a true speed measurement at the lowest possible level of the stack as allowed by the various software development kits.

This service is free. Simply click “start test”, and a few seconds later it gives you results. It will ask you how you’re connected to the Internet, and gives you a more detailed answer based on your connection type. If there’s a question on whether or not you’re getting the speeds you are supposed to, this service will help. Doing one-offs isn’t really the best idea, because it won’t give you a good representation of your average speeds. Run the test at different times during the day. Try to keep as many variables the same as possible, also.

Also on the site, you can view other people’s connection speed results. Are people in your locale getting the same kinds of speeds as you? If not, you’ll know there could be a problem with your service that may needs to be addressed.

To my knowledge, this service is the only one that works for testing out your 3G and even Edge speeds. Maybe you know of something else? If you do, let me know about it, and I’ll be happy to check it out.

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