Friday, August 16, 2013

Searching For a New ISP

          My annual contract with Charter Internet is expiring in a couple of weeks so I started shopping around for a new ISP the last two months. One would think that broadband service would get cheaper as time goes on but the reverse is true, I guess because the demand is high since having an internet connection is now a necessity. Renewing with Charter would have cost $44.95 a month and that would have been too much. Verizon no longer offers a dry loop service and requires you to have telephone service bundled with internet service. The bundle would have cost more than $50 so that was also out of the question. I haven't used a regular phone line for more than two years since I've been using Magicjack for domestic and international long distance calls, and a cellphone of course. Dry loop just means you can have internet via the telephone company's wires without phone service. I looked into Clear 4G which required you to buy their modem for $50, then the monthly fee is $34.95, which is not so bad except the download speed is only 1 megabit per second. Finally, after all that search, I found which offered dry loop service using Verizon's existing phone lines. Despite some negative reviews about their service, I decided to risk it.
          I ordered it online then waited for DSLextreme to notify me when Verizon had activated the line. Less than a week later, I received the notification. I plugged in my old Verizon modem, powered it up then waited for the the following lights to turn on: power, DSL, ethernet, and internet. Ok, three of them did: power, ethernet, and DSL. Perhaps the signal hasn't reached my home yet so I waited till the next day just to make sure before contacting DSL Extreme. Well at least I know my old modem still works.

          The next day, I emailed the company about the missing internet signal and they gave me a number to call and to ask for Level 2. Just as I was about to call, a technician named Pat called me at home to help set up the modem. I'll spare you the technical details which involved numbers like: and (the IP address of the modem and wireless router). Well, Pat and I worked on attempting to establish an internet connection for two hours without success, and had to stop only because I had to get ready for work in the evening. This was getting too complicated. I expected myself to plug in the modem and the telephone line and get the connection right away like it was when I had Verizon DSL.
          I called tech support again the next day and the first person that answered sounded like someone from a call center in the Philippines. I guess that was Level 1, so I gave my ticket number and asked for Level 2. I was connected to Travis in Woodland Hills, the same place where Pat was. We went through the same process as the previous day but couldn't access the same menus. I mentioned that I did a hard reset of the modem a few hours before and that probably messed it up for whatever information tech support already had on my modem. A hard reset restores the device to factory settings. After a few more tests, Travis found a way (by luck, chance, or skill, I don't know), to finally make the internet light on the modem to work. That could only mean one thing: I finally have internet service from DSL Extreme! And this time it only took about 35 minutes of troubleshooting. Before we hanged up, Travis reminded me not to do another hard reset.
          After making sure that everything was finally in working order, I sent an email to the tech support supervisor to commend and compliment Travis and Pat for their patience and courtesy in helping solve the problem.
          Two days later, the internet connection continues to work without any problems, although the speed is only 1/10th of what I used to have with Charter (3 mbps as opposed to 30 mbps). But as long as I can do whatever I used to do online, I can live with the slower speed. Not that I have much of a choice. Either pay more or live within my means just to stay connected to this thing called the INTERNET.

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