Saturday, July 15, 2006

Goodbye, BS

BellSouth, the company for whom I had the worst working experiences, is now providing service to match. The line hums and crackles, dial-up only stays on for a minute or two at a time and connection speeds are as low as 4k, my DSL rarely connects and when it does it works at approximately an eighth of its promised speed. I've made frequent requests for service, but whatever they are doing (if anything) isn't working. I checked around, and for less money I can replace their DSL with a faster cable modem. The only remaining task is to replace my phone service. The cable company doesn't offer phone services and any other company would still have to use the lousy BS lines, so I thought I might finally replace the land line with a mobile phone. I almost never use the phone - just the odd pizza or Chinese food delivery, plus I would like access to emergency services if necessary - so I need a service which has extremely low monthly rates even if the per minute rate is high. Also, they need to be reliable. Any suggestions? Would it be cheaper to buy a phone and a prepaid phone card? Do they expire?

23 comments:

PBS said...

Sorry, no ideas or suggestions. I'm on dial-up and only have a regular (non-cell) phone. Good luck with that, there seems to be plenty of people around who know a lot about that stuff.

Death Warmed Over said...

If you want fast action with your service, you need to make or theaten to make a complaint with the public service commission for your state. Nothing moves BS faster.

As for your phone trouble, it sounds like a short or a high resistence open more likely the open if its just noise with no loss of service. Should be easy to repair if you can get a tech that knows what he's doing. The remote test the repair office runs often doesn't show this open and your line will test ok despite the noise on the line.

As for the DSL, you probably have excessive loop length on your line meaning the physical distance of your house from where the dsl is generated is excessive. Often sync issues can be solved by filtering the signal at the outside box before it enters the house and running a new wire directly to the computer or removing the excessive loop length outside the home. If you threaten to disconnect your dsl BS will dispatch a tech for no charge. This is refered to as a "save" dsipatch. DSL is a big revenue source for BS and they are anxious not to loose subsribers.

Let me know if I can answer any questions and prepaid is not a good deal as a rule.

Tai said...

I know NOTHING of these things of which you speak.

Angie said...

I don't use BS because I live in Hickville...neener, neener, neener. Check to see if Roadrunner is available over there. They provide internet & VOIP. Problem is, if your internet connection goes out so does your phone. As for cells, stay away from Nextel (I know of what I speak). I've heard Verizon is good in town. Don't know about their rates.

fatty ~ said...

i have cable - it is good. Nothing beats the reliability and speed, though i have no advice on the companies hehe.

I'm on a plan which supplied me my phone and is like 10bucks a month - i dont use my phone much.

Pre-paid mobile is really good if you don't use it much, just keep it topped up for when you need it. If you go for a plan, get one with everything you need and nothing you don't.

These days mobiles can be cheaper than landlines, though american companies i have no idea.

Jezzy said...

Gawd, I'm just fuming at my phone company too. I just tried to pay a bill online and it wouldn't accept my credit card saying that I need to use a card with a longer expiry date. wth?! It expires in September. It's not expired! I have no other credit card! Grrrrrrr.

SJ said...

Trinnnggg trinnngg!! Your technology is obsolete.

~Deb said...

Unfortunately, since I’ve worked for a phone and internet provider for a number of years, what you have there is considered a ‘baby bell’---which they monopolize all surrounding services, not letting the big guys take over. Eventually it will come to a point where people DO have the choice to get out of the “b/s”.

Kerry said...

I've heard Cable is awesome. I liked my SBC DSL... didn't have any problems with it at all!

As far as the cell, go with Cingular. I have cingular and so do all my friends so we could call each other and it doesnt dip into our minutes because we get phone-to-phone! Check out their website. You can get some good deals for little pennies a month. (unless you're a jabber jaws and want all the bells and whistles, then it can start adding up. but you said you dont talk to anyone so i think you could get away with a smaller contract).

patti_cake said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
patti_cake said...

I've got Road Runner through Time Warner Cable (and they also offer digital phone service). My cellphone is through Suncom and i've had them for almost 10 years w/ no problems. Good luck Grant (oh and i'm going to Miyami today for lunch)

Just Some Gal said...

I have have cable internet also and I love it. I'm glad you booted dsl.

As for cell service, I think pre paids are a bad idea. They work for some people but eh, I just don't like them. I use sprint and I pay $90 for 2 seperate accounts. It would be 55-60 for the actual bill for one. I pay $40 for 1000 anytime minutes, free after 7pm and free weekends. The only kicker is that I cannot leave a tri state area or it will be considered roaming. I don't go out of state though so you know, I don't care. Actually I just remembered that I pay an extra bit of money too so I can have the camera phone package - uploading pics, etc.

I have heard really good reviews of cingular and verizon. I have problems with sprint but it is only because I have a crappy phone...the service isn't so bad.

I know the service I pay for on my cell and cable still costs less than my phone bill...that didn't include dsl service. It cost 60 to just hang on the wall and not get talked on.

messiah said...

have cable, love cable. we have different 'flavours' with our cable company - depending on usage, you can opt for different packages - costs change with the package.

you may want to check out VOIP phones, i know some guys who have changed over and love them. I don't trust them yet.

Cell phones - pay as you go expires up in my area. But... if you own a phone already, it may be cheaper over the long run than a 2 year contract with a free phone.

you have some legwork ahead of you i'm afraid.

Grant said...

pbs - there seem to be more cell options than people who know about them.

death - if they don't fix the phone today, I'll file a complaint to get them moving, but I'm still ditching DSL. Cable is supposed to be twice as fast (even if the DSL worked at the advertised speed, which it's not even close) for less money.

tai - unfortunately, neither do I.

angie - I've got a lot of research to do.

fatty - if I agree to speak with an Aussie accent, can I get on with your mobile phone company? That sounds like what I want.

jezzy - BS is good about taking my money, just not at supplying the services for which I pay.

sj - I'd like to get away from phones altogether, except I should probably have a way to dial 911 and my favorite pizza place doesn't do Internet ordering.

~deb - even if I do get another phone service provider, BS owns the lines and ultimately it is up to them to fix the wiring.

kerry - I'll check them out. Funny, but my DSL worked great at my little house in the country, but it's never been good in my suburban apartment.

patti_cake - The thing I wondered about digital phone service is, will it still require the use of the phone lines? If so, I'm back at square one. And where is Miyami? :p

blondie - my phone service is nearly $40/month, and I average about two calls. I could cancel it altogether and save money by driving to the pizza place.

messiah - yeah, cell phones are the devil. I'd rather do without all phone service.

Death Warmed Over said...

Keep on them, you know the saying squeaky wheel and all. Just to show how screwy technology is I'm about to switch from cingular to verizon because cingular coverage is crap in my area. So who knows what cell phone service is better. I think life was easier with the hardwire party phones.

Anyone have verizon out there? Is it good?

Kira said...

I have a pay per use phone that runs me $10 a month on minutes because I have to buy new minutes every two months (and the minimum to buy is 60 min at a time at $20). However, any unused minutes carry over to the next time. Also, you can buy a cheaper plan that covers the whole year with no need to fret about when you need to buy more airtime. I've had it for three years...got it when I had to drive so much and wanted to have a way to do an emergency call if necessary. It serves my purposes.

I have several students who opted to just go to cell phone and have been happy with that experience. Also, I have a friend locally who did that and she says it saves her money. So, it might be the way to go. However, seeing as I don't have a conventional cell phone, I can't give more advice beyond that :P

Doug Murata said...

I can't give any advice regarding high speed internet. I've got dial-up over crappy phone lines (thanks Verizon,) so I hit the 'net at a blazing 28.8 Kbps.

However, I've got Verizon Wireless cell phone service and I love it. The problem with cell phone service is that you can have great service in one part of the world and horrible service in another based on your provider. I've heard of people that love Cingular and T-Mobile in some places, but in my part of L.A. it doesn't come in too well. Verizon is the company to go with where I am, but may not be where you are.

Tony said...

I love my cable connection. It's fast and always reliable. I have one of the Charter cable packages so I get all the channels and cable internet. I love it.

I currenlty use Verizon. I haven't had any problems with them and their wireless coverage is good in the Birmingham area. I don't travel enough except on vacation and I haven't been in a location where I couldn't get a signal. Hope this helps.

Saur♥Kraut said...

When you make a decision, please write about it! I'll be interested!

Grant said...

death - I'm through messing with them. I have my cable Internet connection and a mobile from Virgin - both are better and cheaper.

kira - yeah, it looks like cell only is going to save me a bundle, considering I use the phone less than ten minutes a month.

doug - so far, I'm loving the cable modem. It costs the same, but has a faster theoretical speed (up to 3mbs instead of 1.5 for dsl). It's not as fast as it could be - 2.8 on my last test - but considering my dsl was only delivering about 0.2mbs, I won't complain.

tony - I went with another couple of recommendations for Virgin, just because they're cheap and have good coverage over this area. My phone needs consist of ordering one to two pizzas a month, so that's all I need.

saur - I'll do a full writeup tommorrow.

Liz said...

I use Sprint and can't say I am thrilled with their service. But do to a discount I stick with it. I use cable for the interent and it does go down too. For the longest time I thought it was just my neighbor downloading porn, but turns out the service just drops or slows to a trickle occasionaly. My next attempt will be satelite I guess.

Did I understand that you can not call 911 on your house phone?

The Stiltwalker said...

long time no blog....anyways what about that VOnage thing? But I heard their 911 is freaky.

hellbunny said...

Well im late since you've already bought one.But i have a cell phone with pre paid service and i find it perfect for me.