Friday, November 16, 2012

Ding-dong, the Wicked Witch is dead

No, not Nancy Pelosi - she's alive and well AFAIK.

I'm speaking of Verizon DSL - from which I just un-subscribed this week.

Verizon, since rolling out its FIOS fiber optic service several years ago, has spent untold sums of money trying to entice me, and other Neanderthals, to upgrade to their SOTA¹ network.  Slick Madison Avenue marketing pieces, fake FedEx packages, sky banners, stripper-grams - OK, maybe not stripper-grams, all with the intent of luring me to fork over at least one Franklin a month to them.

Trouble is, I don't need blazing fast speeds (I'm not a gamer), or 2759 TV channels, or a POTS landline.  I just need something to connect the ol' Timex-Sinclair personal computing device to the ARPANET so I can get a few electronical mail messages and maybe send out an SOS in these days of Armageddon.  A couple of Green Giant lima bean cans with copper wire instead of string, figuratively speaking, would work just about right.

So, several years ago, I had upgraded from d-d-d-dial-up to D-D-DSL for the not unreasonable tariff of about fifteen GWs per lunar cycle.  Life was good.

But, of course, the Wicked Witch still wanted to seduce me.  Being strong of faith (but mainly weak of wallet), I was able to resist.  Ever resourceful, she started turning up the heat, kind of like the frog in the water experiment.  $19.95 - [grumble, grumble].   $24.95 [grumble, teeth gnashing].  Then I did the apparently unforgivable, I cancelled my POTS.  Shortly thereafter I got a notice that without an associated POTS, the [384K] DSL service would be $39.95, plus a boatload of taxes and fees, totaling about $43 per month.

I'd had enough - but where to turn?  Charter uses essentially the same playbook - they'll give decent rates IF you bundle all their services, which I don't need or want.  DISH gives a reasonable six- or twelve- month trial rate, with a 24 month commitment - the dollar cost averaging makes it not such the great deal.  And Clear Wireless, which at one time could be had for about $25, must've thought I was a leper or something, because their coverage map seems to have avoided my neighborhood - it looks like Mitt Romney sitting in the audience at the BET Awards.  (I once borrowed a friend's Clear modem, and the service worked just fine, even if their map didn't indicate it).  But Clear's rates and commitment requirements went up, making it not much more desirable than the Witch.  And ATT's U-Verse counterpart to FIOS, is about $20 for 3Mbps, but isn't offered in my neck of the weeds.

At last, my cellphone company decided if it wanted to stay in business, it would have to come off the porch and let Chad & Ranjit run with the big dogs. They started offering mobile hotspotting on select 4G phones, some even with generous rebates!  I figured I'd have to connect a wi-fi dongle and double sine wave generator to the acoustic coupler to the Timex-Sinclair, and create a 47 character super secret password (that even Paula Broadwell doesn't know) using exactly 11 uppercase, 7 special characters, and 5 numbers, just to keep the neighbors from hacking into the unpublished drafts (Stronger than Sominex!) of Sonnet 116.  Instead, when I got the new communicator, I found I can just USB tether it, keeping the battery charged, and eliminating any security concerns.

Beam me up!

Ironically, after upgrading to 4G and mobile hotspot service, my monthly phone bill went down by $5.

And the Witch's bill went down by 100%!

1 comment:

RPM said...

Well played young Jedi.