Why should I stay with Speakeasy?

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Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 7:57:38 AM9/7/07
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I'm trying to convince myself that I should stay with Speakeasy, but
I'm having a hard time of it.

I've got a 1.5/384 DSL line with two static IPs and a shell account. I
run my own production Web and SMTP servers on my machine.

I want to switch to VoIP to reduce my monthly expenditures.

1.5/384 Speakeasy DSL and VoIP will cost me about $90 per month, and I
can keep running servers.

Comcast 6MBps high-speed internet plus digital voice will cost me
around $70 per month for the first year. They threaten to jack up the
price after that, but if they pull that shtick I can always threaten to
switch to RCN or Verizon, and do it if they don't agree to keep the
price low. I won't be able to run servers on Comcast, but for $20 per
month I can run my servers on openhosting.com, with the added benefits
that the bandwidth and CPU usage from the servers won't host my desktop
PC and I'll be able to play around with my desktop and reboot it at
will without impacting the servers.

In short, for the same price that Speakeasy's asking me to pay, I can
get Internet service that's four times faster than Speakeasy, along
with extra bandwidth and CPU for my production servers. Furthermore,
I'll no longer be "locked into" a single provider -- once my servers
are moved to a third-party hosting provider, I'll be able to switch
internet / phone providers at will without impacting them.

There are some downsides of switching:

* You're always hearing about how on cable modem you contend with
other users for bandwidth, but I've honestly never heard of a cable
internet circuit being maxed out. Has anyone had this happen to them?

* Speakeasy brags about how reliable DSL is, but that's hard to swallow
when there have been three outages in Boston in the past month. Also,
brief outages become less important when (a) the servers are running
elsewhere and (b) I can always get to the Internet in emergencies
through my cellular modem (or by going to a StarBucks :-).

* Speakeasy brags about their great technical support, but to be
honest it hasn't really been great for years, and it's unlikely to get
better as a result of the acquisition.

* I'll have to migrate my servers to openhosting.com.

So, is there some factor that I'm missing, or does DSL really simply
not make sense for people for whom cable internet + VoIP is available?

--
Help stop the genocide in Darfur!
http://www.genocideintervention.net/

News

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Sep 7, 2007, 10:00:43 AM9/7/07
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Why leave? I have Cablevision and Verizon FiOS as alternatives, but
keep 6.0/786 ADSL, 4 static IPs, shell and web hosting from SE for $104,
including all taxes, on a month-to-month deal, but it has been that same
price for 3 years. I can't justify it, but VOIP is available from SE or
others, in several flavors.

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 10:37:28 AM9/7/07
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News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>Why leave?

Because, as I noted below, the price for 5MBps from Comcast is
a heck of a lot cheaper than the price for 3MBps from
Speakeasy (to get 3.0/768 + VoIP from Speakeasy, I'd have to
pay $130 per month, compared to $90 per month for 5MBps cable
+ VoIP + openhosting.com), and getting a much faster internet
connection for much less money is a worthwhile goal.

That's the main point of my question -- Speakeasy's pricing
model simply doesn't seem competitive.

News

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Sep 7, 2007, 10:50:33 AM9/7/07
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Jonathan Kamens wrote:
> News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>
>>Why leave?
>
>
> Because, as I noted below, the price for 5MBps from Comcast is
> a heck of a lot cheaper than the price for 3MBps from
> Speakeasy (to get 3.0/768 + VoIP from Speakeasy, I'd have to
> pay $130 per month, compared to $90 per month for 5MBps cable
> + VoIP + openhosting.com), and getting a much faster internet
> connection for much less money is a worthwhile goal.
>
> That's the main point of my question -- Speakeasy's pricing
> model simply doesn't seem competitive.
>


Markets and offers differ, but I find $104 for 6.0/768, static IPs,
shell and webhosting to be very competitive.

How much of the "5" do you really get on a community cable service?

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 11:05:27 AM9/7/07
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News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>Markets and offers differ, but I find $104 for 6.0/768, static IPs,
>shell and webhosting to be very competitive.

How can it be that you are paying $104 for 6.0/768 when I was
quoted $95.95 for 3.0/768? Is 6.0 really less than $10 more
expensive than 3.0? That's rather surprising.

>How much of the "5" do you really get on a community cable service?

I don't know, and I raised that issue in my initial posting in
this thread. Just out of curiosity, did you actually read my
message? This is the second question you've asked which I
already addressed in my initial posting.

I have a strong suspicion that this "You share bandwidth with
other people" thing is a canard raised by the DSL providers
to convince people to use them instead of cable. I find it
hard to believe that it's a real issue.

News

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Sep 7, 2007, 11:24:23 AM9/7/07
to

Jonathan Kamens wrote:
> News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>
>>Markets and offers differ, but I find $104 for 6.0/768, static IPs,
>>shell and webhosting to be very competitive.
>
>
> How can it be that you are paying $104 for 6.0/768 when I was
> quoted $95.95 for 3.0/768? Is 6.0 really less than $10 more
> expensive than 3.0? That's rather surprising.
>
>

So I guess you didn't read my earlier posts...


>>How much of the "5" do you really get on a community cable service?
>
>
> I don't know, and I raised that issue in my initial posting in
> this thread. Just out of curiosity, did you actually read my
> message? This is the second question you've asked which I
> already addressed in my initial posting.


Just asking for emphasis, and because contention is clearly an issue.


>
> I have a strong suspicion that this "You share bandwidth with
> other people" thing is a canard raised by the DSL providers
> to convince people to use them instead of cable. I find it
> hard to believe that it's a real issue.
>


It's an issue on any pipe (including DSL) with multiple users (LAN,
WLAN, etc.) attached. I see it on the 6.0 service.

huey.c...@gmail.com

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Sep 7, 2007, 11:37:48 AM9/7/07
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Jonathan Kamens <j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us> wrote:

> News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
> >How much of the "5" do you really get on a community cable service?
> I don't know, and I raised that issue in my initial posting in
> this thread. Just out of curiosity, did you actually read my
> message? This is the second question you've asked which I
> already addressed in my initial posting.
> I have a strong suspicion that this "You share bandwidth with
> other people" thing is a canard raised by the DSL providers
> to convince people to use them instead of cable. I find it
> hard to believe that it's a real issue.

There was a bit on the news this morning about how Comcast is turning
down customers who have the unmitigated gall to actually use all of the
5Mb they're paying for. Serves 'em right, those sons-of-bitches. Who do
they think they are, paying for bandwidth and then trying to use it? How
the hell are big providers supposed to remain competitive if they don't
oversell everything by at least ten-to-one, knowing that the average
customer is gonna use, at most, single-digit percentages of their
burstable bandwidth?

--
Huey

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 12:10:05 PM9/7/07
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News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:

>Jonathan Kamens wrote:
>> How can it be that you are paying $104 for 6.0/768 when I was
>> quoted $95.95 for 3.0/768? Is 6.0 really less than $10 more
>> expensive than 3.0? That's rather surprising.
>So I guess you didn't read my earlier posts...

Yes, I did. Your earlier posts didn't answer the question.
You mentioned the rate you're getting, and you mentioned how
long you've had it for, but that doesn't explain how it can be
that your 6.0 rate is so close to the 3.0 rate I'm being
quoted. Do you have any information to share about this
question?

>> I have a strong suspicion that this "You share bandwidth with
>> other people" thing is a canard raised by the DSL providers
>> to convince people to use them instead of cable. I find it
>> hard to believe that it's a real issue.
>
>It's an issue on any pipe (including DSL) with multiple users (LAN,
>WLAN, etc.) attached. I see it on the 6.0 service.

The slowdowns you see on your 6.0 DSL service are not with the
pipe between your house and the CO (assuming that it's working
properly), but rather with Speakeasy's upstream network and/or
the public Internet (over whose performance Speakeasy has no
control).

The claim being made in this regard specifically about DSL vs.
Cable is that there's contention on Cable modems *in the pipe
between your house and the CO*, because multiple people share
that pipe.

The point I'm making is that it's a very large pipe and I find
it hard to believe that it is frequently saturated. If one of
these pipes *were* frequently saturated, then I imagine that
Comcast would add more fibre capacity to that pipe.

It's also worth noting that considering I'd be paying less
money overall for Comcast than for Speakeasy, the question
isn't so much whether I'd always get 6MBps, but rather whether
the bandwidth I'd get would overall be at least as good as
what I'm getting now from Speakeasy. If so, then it seems
like a good deal.

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 12:14:15 PM9/7/07
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huey.c...@gmail.com writes:
>There was a bit on the news this morning about how Comcast is turning
>down customers who have the unmitigated gall to actually use all of the
>5Mb they're paying for.

The rates quoted by the cable companies are not for sustained
bandwidth but rather for burst transfer speeds. The agreement
you sign when you order cable internet service clearly spells
out that you're not allowed to run high-bandwidth services and
not allowed to max out the circuit. If you want sustained
high-bandwidth, you're supposed to sign up for the more
expensive business service with the bandwidth SLA.

I think your complaint about this practice is misplaced. I
think it's perfectly reasonable for the cable companies to
sell service based on burst download speed, because that's
what most people need, and by building out for the capacity
that most people need, they can price the service more
cheaply for those average users. If you want more bandwidth,
it's quite reasonable to expect you to pay for it.

Frankly, I'm glad to hear that Comcast is terminating service
for users who max out their bandwidth. That suggests to me
that I'm right that the "You don't really get the speed the
cable companies advertise" claim that the DSL providers throw
around probably isn't true, by and large, for Comcast.

News

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Sep 7, 2007, 12:20:05 PM9/7/07
to

Jonathan Kamens wrote:
> News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>
>>Jonathan Kamens wrote:
>>
>>>How can it be that you are paying $104 for 6.0/768 when I was
>>>quoted $95.95 for 3.0/768? Is 6.0 really less than $10 more
>>>expensive than 3.0? That's rather surprising.
>>
>>So I guess you didn't read my earlier posts...
>
>
> Yes, I did. Your earlier posts didn't answer the question.
> You mentioned the rate you're getting, and you mentioned how
> long you've had it for, but that doesn't explain how it can be
> that your 6.0 rate is so close to the 3.0 rate I'm being
> quoted. Do you have any information to share about this
> question?
>

As earlier stated, "Markets and offers differ..."

>
>>>I have a strong suspicion that this "You share bandwidth with
>>>other people" thing is a canard raised by the DSL providers
>>>to convince people to use them instead of cable. I find it
>>>hard to believe that it's a real issue.
>>
>>It's an issue on any pipe (including DSL) with multiple users (LAN,
>>WLAN, etc.) attached. I see it on the 6.0 service.
>
>
> The slowdowns you see on your 6.0 DSL service are not with the
> pipe between your house and the CO (assuming that it's working
> properly), but rather with Speakeasy's upstream network and/or
> the public Internet (over whose performance Speakeasy has no
> control).

No, the issue is the local loop. When the file-sharing starts, this
user's throughput suffers.

News

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Sep 7, 2007, 12:21:30 PM9/7/07
to

Jonathan Kamens wrote:

Suggests to me just the opposite, and that they know it and are
addressing it by punting all-you-can-eat abusers.

huey.c...@gmail.com

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Sep 7, 2007, 1:16:55 PM9/7/07
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Jonathan Kamens <j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us> wrote:
> huey.c...@gmail.com writes:
> > There was a bit on the news this morning about how Comcast is
> > turning down customers who have the unmitigated gall to actually
> > use all of the 5Mb they're paying for.
> The rates quoted by the cable companies are not for sustained
> bandwidth but rather for burst transfer speeds. The agreement
> you sign when you order cable internet service clearly spells
> out that you're not allowed to run high-bandwidth services and
> not allowed to max out the circuit. If you want sustained
> high-bandwidth, you're supposed to sign up for the more
> expensive business service with the bandwidth SLA.

The complaint is that they're selling "5Mb", but the actual bandwidth
you're limited to isn't actually specified anywhere.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/06/AR2007090602545.html?hpid=sec-tech
Today's Washington Post, A1 under-the-fold.

To trigger a disconnection warning, customers would be downloading
the equivalent of 1,000 songs or four full-length movies every day.
Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas declined to reveal specific
bandwidth limits.

Hrm. I don't have any full-length movies, but checking my local MP3
folder, I have 924 songs weighing in at about 5G. So, back-of-envelope
number without compression or overhead, if you get a Comcast
"high-speed" connection, and you want to use it 24x7, and you don't want
to get shut off, you need to throttle yourself to less than
56Kbytes/sec? Or 5G/day? If you use Netflix online, you can't watch four
movies in the same afternoon?

> I think your complaint about this practice is misplaced.

I do too. It should be made to the Federal Trade Commission, which is
allowing 'broadband' providers to sell people "high-speed" connections
that are, in the fine print, limited to dialup speeds.

> Frankly, I'm glad to hear that Comcast is terminating service
> for users who max out their bandwidth. That suggests to me
> that I'm right that the "You don't really get the speed the
> cable companies advertise" claim that the DSL providers throw
> around probably isn't true, by and large, for Comcast.

And, while it IS true for Comcast, they'll shut your circuit down if
you actually try to use it. ...which is so much better, innit?

--
Huey

Keith Keller

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Sep 7, 2007, 2:25:52 PM9/7/07
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On 2007-09-07, Jonathan Kamens <j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us> wrote:
> I'm trying to convince myself that I should stay with Speakeasy, but
> I'm having a hard time of it.

I have been having a similar debate with myself, specifically with
static IPs and hosting.

> * I'll have to migrate my servers to openhosting.com.

This strikes me as the biggest sticking point for me. I host a lot of
crazy things at my home server, including quite a few images, mailing
lists, DNS, and other things. So my concern would be that I would go
over one of the webhost's limits (this is certainly not limited to
openhosting) and end up getting charged more total than if I'd stayed
with my dedicated home service. For example, with a basic DSL that's
$30/month (there are promos for $20/mo, but to sustain that price you
have to hassle the CLEC, which I don't want to do), hitting 4GB of disk
(which I suspect I might be able to do) puts me at $60/month, which is
already what I pay.

I also like having lots of control over what I run: even a virtual
machine is hosted on someone else's box, so they can read all my files
(for example). Perhaps that's paranoia talking, but I simply prefer to
keep as little data off my premises as possible. If that's not as much
a concern for you, it becomes a much more attractive option.

--keith

--
kkeller...@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 4:25:35 PM9/7/07
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huey.c...@gmail.com writes:
>The complaint is that they're selling "5Mb",

They're seeling 5Mb PER SECOND. That's what it says all over their
Web site. They never call it "5Mb". They always call it "5Mbps".
It's a measure of SPEED, not BANDWIDTH. And, as I said before, they
tell you this in the contract. They're not lying to anyone.

>Hrm. I don't have any full-length movies, but checking my local MP3
>folder, I have 924 songs weighing in at about 5G. So, back-of-envelope
>number without compression or overhead, if you get a Comcast
>"high-speed" connection, and you want to use it 24x7, and you don't want
>to get shut off, you need to throttle yourself to less than
>56Kbytes/sec? Or 5G/day? If you use Netflix online, you can't watch four
>movies in the same afternoon?

Are you really incapable of understanding the concept of burst usage?

The kind of internet usage they're marketing their service for is
burst usage. This means you spend some time maxing out the circuit
and most of the time hardly using the circuit at all. This is, in
fact, how most people use the Internet.

Your "less than 56Kbytes/sec" assumes someone who is actively
downloading large content from the Internet 24 hours per day. That's
not the service most people need, that's not the service they're
selling, and they tell you so when you sign up.

As for your movie example, please note that your excerpt from the
article quoted the Comcast spokesman saying they're cutting people off
who are downloading the equivalent of four full-length movies EVERY
DAY. It doesn't say they'll cut you off if you do it once. It says
they'll cut you off if you keep doing it, day after day. The vast
majority of Internet users DON'T DO THAT. If you're one of the few who
needs to, then non-SLA Comcast cable service is not appropriate for
you, and again, they tell you so when you sign up.

This is really a question of common sense vs. people who are trying to
game the rules to suit them. Comcast isn't cutting off the ambiguous
cases. They're cutting off the people who are blatantly abusing the
service.

>I do too. It should be made to the Federal Trade Commission, which is
>allowing 'broadband' providers to sell people "high-speed" connections
>that are, in the fine print, limited to dialup speeds.

Not.

>> Frankly, I'm glad to hear that Comcast is terminating service
>> for users who max out their bandwidth. That suggests to me
>> that I'm right that the "You don't really get the speed the
>> cable companies advertise" claim that the DSL providers throw
>> around probably isn't true, by and large, for Comcast.
>
>And, while it IS true for Comcast, they'll shut your circuit down if
>you actually try to use it. ...which is so much better, innit?

Not.

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 4:26:30 PM9/7/07
to
News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>As earlier stated, "Markets and offers differ..."

Tautology. Not useful information.

>No, the issue is the local loop. When the file-sharing starts, this
>user's throughput suffers.

Well, that's good to know, thanks. That means that the "dedicated
circuit argument" made by the DSL providers doesn't even hold up for
DSL.

News

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Sep 7, 2007, 4:40:16 PM9/7/07
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Jonathan Kamens wrote:
> News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>
>>As earlier stated, "Markets and offers differ..."
>
>
> Tautology. Not useful information.
>

New F'n Yawk
OSTG ADSL 6.0/768 Spk-Self-Install (C)
5040 feet from the CO

Useful now?


>
>>No, the issue is the local loop. When the file-sharing starts, this
>>user's throughput suffers.
>
>
> Well, that's good to know, thanks. That means that the "dedicated
> circuit argument" made by the DSL providers doesn't even hold up for
> DSL.
>


No, it means when my networked users (8) overload my dedicated circuit,
my personal throughput is shared (and throttled, since I don't employ
prioritization) amongst the available bandwidth. No more, no less.

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 7, 2007, 5:05:48 PM9/7/07
to
News <Ne...@Groups.com> writes:
>No, it means when my networked users (8) overload my dedicated circuit,
>my personal throughput is shared (and throttled, since I don't employ
>prioritization) amongst the available bandwidth. No more, no less.

Wait a minute, you were talking about users *using your dsl connection*
making your downloads run more slowly? You're treating as somehow
significant to anyone else in the world, the fact that when other
people use your circuit with you, it slows down your downloads?

Well, I'll be damned! I never would have guessed that! It's just so
darn surprising that when people use the bandwidth on your circuit,
there's bandwidth being used on your circuit!

You're just a fountain of useful information.

Not.

News

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Sep 7, 2007, 5:19:52 PM9/7/07
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I was wrong.

Best you go to cable. It befits you.

Duncan

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Sep 7, 2007, 10:30:06 PM9/7/07
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j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us (Jonathan Kamens) posted
fbrebi$57e$1...@jik2.kamens.brookline.ma.us, excerpted below, on Fri, 07 Sep
2007 11:57:38 +0000:

> 1.5/384 Speakeasy DSL and VoIP will cost me about $90 per month, and I
> can keep running servers.
>
> Comcast 6MBps high-speed internet plus digital voice will cost me around
> $70 per month for the first year. They threaten to jack up the price
> after that, but if they pull that shtick I can always threaten to switch
> to RCN or Verizon, and do it if they don't agree to keep the price low.

I'd be /very/ careful with Comcast. I went cable from DSL some years ago
and am very happy I did so, but my local cable provider is Cox, not
Comcast. Frankly, the Comcast reputation is the worst of the cable
providers, so while cable as a technology isn't bad, as I said, I'd be
/very/ careful considering anything with Comcast. Do look into the
others you mentioned, however. They may be more viable alternatives.

I'll post something with a bit more detail later. Don't have the time to
do so ATM.

--
Duncan - Newsgroup replies preferred. See x-munging headers for mail.
"Every nonfree program has a lord, a master --
and if you use the program, he is your master." Richard Stallman

huey.c...@gmail.com

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Sep 7, 2007, 11:55:04 PM9/7/07
to

I'm forced to agree.

--
Huey

Duncan

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Sep 8, 2007, 5:16:06 AM9/8/07
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j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us (Jonathan Kamens) posted
fbrebi$57e$1...@jik2.kamens.brookline.ma.us, excerpted below, on Fri, 07 Sep
2007 11:57:38 +0000:

> I'm trying to convince myself that I should stay with Speakeasy, but I'm


> having a hard time of it.

Here's the details I promised...

> I've got a 1.5/384 DSL line with two static IPs and a shell account. I
> run my own production Web and SMTP servers on my machine.
>
> I want to switch to VoIP to reduce my monthly expenditures.
>
> 1.5/384 Speakeasy DSL and VoIP will cost me about $90 per month, and I
> can keep running servers.
>
> Comcast 6MBps high-speed internet plus digital voice will cost me around
> $70 per month for the first year. They threaten to jack up the price
> after that, but if they pull that shtick I can always threaten to switch
> to RCN or Verizon, and do it if they don't agree to keep the price low.
> I won't be able to run servers on Comcast, but for $20 per month I can
> run my servers on openhosting.com, with the added benefits that the
> bandwidth and CPU usage from the servers won't host my desktop PC and
> I'll be able to play around with my desktop and reboot it at will
> without impacting the servers.

As I stated earlier, Comcast has a very poor reputation against other
cable ISPs. As others have mentioned, one of the reasons is that it
doesn't seem to like customers that actually /use/ their high speed
Internet connections, and cuts people off, while refusing to state a
level of use they consider acceptable. By contrast, Cox, my local cable
ISP, has recommended per month usage on all their service tiers, 40 gig/
mo download on the standard tier, but doesn't seem to strictly enforce
it. There are folks regularly doing well over 100 gig/mo who haven't
gotten a notice. (Cox DID try to enforce them at one point, but seems to
have decided it's not worth the bad publicity. A power user might not be
worth keeping alone, but many of them are the reason for five or ten
other customer accounts. Additionally, one of the major objections was
that they didn't have any way for the user to track current usage. It
may be that they decided not to enforce it until they developed that,
then realized developing and maintaining the user accessibly usage
accounting was going to cost more than it was worth, coupled with the bad
PR...)

They also seem to work hand in glove with the RIAA and the like, and have
been sued for turning over customer information without a court order.
(Google comcast riaa, take your pick of links.)

JDPowers and Assoc. 2006 rankings rates Cox well above average, sixth
best among high speed provider ISPs, and consistently relatively high
(certainly near the top for cable ISPs), and Comcast third worst (RCN
worst, Mediacom second) among all high speed provider ISPs, well below
average. (Best was WOW, Wide Open West.)

http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pdf/2006201.pdf

Topping the Comcast news presently is a recent court case Comcast lost,
after it tried to arbitrarily change customer agreements to the effect
that they couldn't sue Comcast or be involved in class action lawsuits --
they had to use binding arbitration. (Watch the wrap)

http://www.broadbandreports.com/shownews/Comcast-Cant-Erode-Your-Legal-
Rights-With-Fine-Print-87357

The broadbandreports evaluations... Comcast weekly rating (out of 5), 6
month percent, BBR award (gold/silver/bronze), 3.36/67%/bronze, Cox
3.76/75%/silver. The top cable internet provider, Armstrong Zoom, has
4.43/88%/na, no award yet so they apparently weren't on the charts or
high enough six months ago, the bottom, Suddenlink, 2.49/49%, RCN, the
worst on JDPowers, is between Cox and Comcast, 3.72/74%/bronze.

Comparing the BBR DSL evaluations, Speakeasy is top weekly national at
3.90/77%/silver, Covad itself fourth at 3.63/72%/bronze, Verizon DSL
3.26/65%/bronze (so just slightly lower than Comcast).

So... definitely do your research before going Comcast. It may be great
for you as Cox was for me, but it does seem that most agree it's a step
down from Speakeasy (and from Cox).

> In short, for the same price that Speakeasy's asking me to pay, I can
> get Internet service that's four times faster than Speakeasy, along with
> extra bandwidth and CPU for my production servers. Furthermore, I'll no
> longer be "locked into" a single provider -- once my servers are moved
> to a third-party hosting provider, I'll be able to switch internet /
> phone providers at will without impacting them.

There's certainly some upside to hosted servers. One you didn't mention
but I'm sure you are aware of is that hosted generally means there's a
significant amount of other business users hosted as well, and together
they are a significantly higher portion of the provider's overall income,
providing a correspondingly higher priority to keeping availability to a
maximum.

> There are some downsides of switching:
>
> * You're always hearing about how on cable modem you contend with other
> users for bandwidth, but I've honestly never heard of a cable internet
> circuit being maxed out. Has anyone had this happen to them?

I've not had it happen to me, but I've had friends that had it happen to
them. Of course, SE has had the same thing happen to it, too, when its
backhauls got supersaturated in the NY area. some years ago. The problem
is of course that ordering capacity increases, be it a node split on
cable or upping the OC- level on a DSL backhaul, is that they take time,
money, and most importantly cooperation with suppliers, to install. That
third one there's sometimes just no way around.

In the cable case I'm most familiar with, Cox made the mistake of running
a regional installation promo (with monthly prices set nationally but
lower than the local competition as well, for higher speeds) about the
same time a local Uni's school year started. They had apparently marked
the node for a split and were already a couple months into the process,
but the normally 3-6 month process ended up taking nine, due as is
commonly the case, to cooperation issues with upstream suppliers. Thus,
those on that node ended up dealing with six months of issues, worst
during prime-time, but some days for most of the day. That was back when
the speed cap was 3Mbps (it's now 7Mbps in the Phoenix area, still 4Mbps
some places AFAIK), and folks were reporting sub-1Mbit, down to ~800kbps,
part of the time.

Of course, that's not the norm, but from what I've read, I /believe/ it
in general to be more often a problem east than west[1], and more often a
problem with Comcast than Cox. YMMV.

> * Speakeasy brags about how reliable DSL is, but that's hard to swallow
> when there have been three outages in Boston in the past month. Also,
> brief outages become less important when (a) the servers are running
> elsewhere and (b) I can always get to the Internet in emergencies
> through my cellular modem (or by going to a StarBucks :-).

100% agreed, here. Little to add except that IMO, SE has been charging
for what amounts to a premium service, without really providing one, for
some time. That's one reason I left -- I could no longer justify the
cost differential given the level of service provided. I've not
regretted it in the least.

> * Speakeasy brags about their great technical support, but to be honest
> it hasn't really been great for years, and it's unlikely to get better
> as a result of the acquisition.

Again, agreed. Why pay premium when you aren't getting premium?

> * I'll have to migrate my servers to openhosting.com.

That's a definite hassle, no way around it. However, it's something
you'll likely be glad you did, even if you keep SE, for all the reasons
you listed and more. There's something to be said for being able to be
just an ordinary Internet user again, not having to worry about local
server availability and the like. It's simply more flexible, and takes
that worry of having to keep your end up and running, off your shoulders,
so yes, I'd say you're quite likely to find that part of it worth it in
any case.

> So, is there some factor that I'm missing, or does DSL really simply not
> make sense for people for whom cable internet + VoIP is available?

I'll post my thoughts on the VoIP angle in another post.

---
Footnote:

[1] A very general rule of thumb I've observed is that east US, DSL
performance/price tends to be better than Cable, west US, Cable tends to
be better than DSL. This can be at least partly attributed to the
differences in technology, where the higher population densities east
tend to favor DSL over shared node cable, while lower population
densities west tend to limit the speed available with DSL more than they
affect cable. It's thus quite possible that population density is a far
closer match than east/west is, and in fact I'd expect that to be the
case, tho I've not done any specific research looking at proving/
disproving that hypothesis. Individual results of course are all over
the map, but that's the very general trend I've observed having had both
and participated in user groups for both.

Bruno Wolff III

unread,
Sep 8, 2007, 4:48:15 PM9/8/07
to
On 2007-09-07, Jonathan Kamens <j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us> wrote:
>
> Comcast 6MBps high-speed internet plus digital voice will cost me
> around $70 per month for the first year. They threaten to jack up the
> price after that, but if they pull that shtick I can always threaten to
> switch to RCN or Verizon, and do it if they don't agree to keep the

Make sure the contract doesn't force you to keep the service past the intro
period without paying a penalty.

> So, is there some factor that I'm missing, or does DSL really simply
> not make sense for people for whom cable internet + VoIP is available?

Comcast messes with your packets. It's one thing to throttle traffic, but
another to throttle based on protocol and yet another to forge packets.
See: http://torrentfreak.com/comcast-throttles-bittorrent-traffic-seeding-impossible/

Bruno Wolff III

unread,
Sep 8, 2007, 5:03:52 PM9/8/07
to
On 2007-09-07, Jonathan Kamens <j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us> wrote:
> huey.c...@gmail.com writes:
>>There was a bit on the news this morning about how Comcast is turning
>>down customers who have the unmitigated gall to actually use all of the
>>5Mb they're paying for.
>
> The rates quoted by the cable companies are not for sustained
> bandwidth but rather for burst transfer speeds. The agreement
> you sign when you order cable internet service clearly spells
> out that you're not allowed to run high-bandwidth services and
> not allowed to max out the circuit. If you want sustained
> high-bandwidth, you're supposed to sign up for the more
> expensive business service with the bandwidth SLA.

They don't make a big deal about that fact though; in fact the try fairly
hard to suggest that you will get that fast speed whenever you are surfing
the net. Even if you read the fine print, they don't tell you what the
rules are. It's hard to manage your traffic when you don't know what the
rules are.

It seems to a number of ISPs are discriminating by protocol without checking
with the customer, rather than managing the throughput and letting the customer
decide on prioritization. There are advantages in doing throttling and
prioritization in the same place, but in cases where the customer knows
what their bandwidth is going to be under varying conditions or when they
are primarily doing one kind connection at a time, this isn't a problem.

Sam

unread,
Sep 8, 2007, 5:51:11 PM9/8/07
to
Bruno Wolff III writes:

> On 2007-09-07, Jonathan Kamens <j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us> wrote:
>>
>> The rates quoted by the cable companies are not for sustained
>> bandwidth but rather for burst transfer speeds. The agreement
>> you sign when you order cable internet service clearly spells
>> out that you're not allowed to run high-bandwidth services and
>> not allowed to max out the circuit. If you want sustained
>> high-bandwidth, you're supposed to sign up for the more
>> expensive business service with the bandwidth SLA.
>
> They don't make a big deal about that fact though; in fact the try fairly
> hard to suggest that you will get that fast speed whenever you are surfing
> the net. Even if you read the fine print, they don't tell you what the
> rules are. It's hard to manage your traffic when you don't know what the
> rules are.

Here's another data-point. My parents ordered cablemodem service from
Earthlink. Their actual local cable company is Time Warner cable, but they
apparently live in a rare geographical area where -- according to them --
they can order cable Internet from four different Internet providers, which
gets provisioned through the single local cable company, TWC. One of them is
Earthlink. They get billed by Earthlink, their E-mail address is
@earthlink.net, and they call Earthlink for technical support.

My old man has been running E-mule for over a year, getting between
50kbps-300kbps 24 hours a day. All he does is grab foreign language movies.
Never had a problem.

I'm theorizing is that although the physical plant is owned by the local
cable company, he is not their customer, he is Earthlink's customer, and
they are -- understandably -- hesitant about screwing around with someone
who's not really their customer. If they start monkeying around, he's going
to call Earthlink, and Earthlink will find out that the local cablecompany
is messing with their customers. Probably there some nasty legal issues with
that, I suppose.

Just a data point for those who are evaluating cable Internet…

Jonathan Kamens

unread,
Sep 8, 2007, 9:21:07 PM9/8/07
to
Duncan,

Thanks for all the great data, it's quite helpful.

Concerning the question of which cable company to go with, obviously I
can only choose from the ones that actually offer service to my
address. Alas, the only cable company other than Comcast which offers
service here is RCN, and as you noted (and we've figured out for
ourselves), they're even worse than Comcast.

I suppose another option I should consider is Verizon DSL. They're
offering 3.0/768 for $27.99 per month with a two-year commitment.
Adding in another $20 per month for hosting my servers, and I'd end up
with connectivity that's twice as fast as what I've got now for $15 per
month less than I'm paying for Speakeasy, along with all the advantages
of hosting my servers elsewhere.

I don't konw whether Verizon offers a VoIP bundled with their DSL, but
if not, I could either get Verizon VoIP unbundled or get some other
VoIP service like vonage, and I'd still end up saving money over what
I'm paying now for my POTS line plus long distance service.

Duncan

unread,
Sep 9, 2007, 7:09:52 AM9/9/07
to
Bruno Wolff III <br...@wolff.to> posted slrnfe62js...@wolff.to,
excerpted below, on Sat, 08 Sep 2007 15:48:15 -0500:

> On 2007-09-07, Jonathan Kamens <j...@kamens.brookline.ma.us> wrote:
>>
>> Comcast 6MBps high-speed internet plus digital voice will cost me
>> around $70 per month for the first year. They threaten to jack up the
>> price after that, but if they pull that shtick I can always threaten to
>> switch to RCN or Verizon, and do it if they don't agree to keep the
>
> Make sure the contract doesn't force you to keep the service past the
> intro period without paying a penalty.

That's generally not a problem with at least residential CHSI (cable high
speed Internet). Unlike DSL, residential CHSI is normally month-to-
month. OTOH, if you go for a biz account, then 1-2 year contracts often
apply.

> Comcast messes with your packets. It's one thing to throttle traffic,
> but another to throttle based on protocol and yet another to forge
> packets. See:
> http://torrentfreak.com/comcast-throttles-bittorrent-traffic-seeding-
impossible/

Thanks for reminding me of that! I knew there was another thing I had
Comcast on my "bad" list for, but I couldn't remember what it was.
That's it! Regardless of the opinion one has about P2P in general, if
Comcast is willing to forge reset packets attacking bit-torrent, what are
they NOT willing to do. That's crossing the line IMO, and reason enough
to pretty much obliterate them from any possible consideration, again,
even if you do NOT do P2P and are in general somewhat negative to the
idea.

Duncan

unread,
Sep 9, 2007, 7:28:08 AM9/9/07
to
Sam <s...@email-scan.com> posted
cone.1189288270...@commodore.email-scan.com, excerpted below,
on Sat, 08 Sep 2007 16:51:11 -0500:

> Here's another data-point. My parents ordered cablemodem service from
> Earthlink. Their actual local cable company is Time Warner cable, but
> they apparently live in a rare geographical area where -- according to
> them -- they can order cable Internet from four different Internet
> providers, which gets provisioned through the single local cable
> company, TWC. One of them is Earthlink. They get billed by Earthlink,
> their E-mail address is @earthlink.net, and they call Earthlink for
> technical support.

Time-Warner is a special case. They were forced to open up their plant
much like the telco DSL providers to at least three other ISPs, in
ordered to get approval for their merger with AOL. It's certainly
possible to do and they prove it, but the cablecos resist the idea with
everything they've got, as did the telcos. I really don't know how the
FCC ever really justified treating them differently, requiring the telcos
to unbundle while not requiring the cablecos (in general, this being an
exception) to do so, but of course, when Bush came in with his lasse
faire approach to regulation, the FCC essentially settled the matter by
relaxing the regulation on the telcos as well, dropping the telco
unbundling regulation on them too (altho by that time many contracts had
been signed, so the effect has only slowly been seen as the contracts
expire). Some of us would have hoped it would have gone the other way,
forcing both sides to must-carry at wholesale rates. Instead, the Bush
administration view has generally been that the technologies compete,
even tho that means there's a de-facto monopoly in many areas, and a
strongly anticompetitive duopoly in most others. (At least the Bush
admin view has been consistent, however, not treating the one technology
different than the other in terms of unbundling regulation, as the
Clinton admin did.)

> My old man has been running E-mule for over a year, getting between
> 50kbps-300kbps 24 hours a day. All he does is grab foreign language
> movies. Never had a problem.

FWIW, I've only recently merged (Gentoo, so installing==merging) a
torrent client here, ktorrent. It has been my first real experience with
P2P. Cox doesn't seem to block it either, at least here in the Phoenix
area. (There are rumors they throttle it in some regions, but no hint of
the the deliberate forged resets of Comcast's ilk.) I've not played with
it a lot, but certainly enough to know it's not blocked and apparently
not seriously throttled, and enough to know what everyone's talking about
now. =8^)

Thomas P Brisco

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Sep 9, 2007, 5:13:08 PM9/9/07
to

As well, consider how much of that "5" you're going to be really able to
use. No, it's not obvious, but the further away site are, the less
bandwidth you get. I occasionally think of upgrading my service, but
when I'm doing something like downloading Linux ISOs, I always notice
that my download tops out much earlier than I think I should -- but I
notice that multiple copies all work well. That is; I wind up being
latency bound, not bandwidth bound.

The _one_ application I've seen - Netflix on-demand movies - looks like
it might could use some more bandwidth. My 1.5/384 link is quite a bit
cheaper than the OP's (I run linux at home, so shell accounts aren't
necessary, etc etc) -- but I also keep noticing that I couldn't use more
bandwidth if I had it (as well, I hear enough horror stories from people
who really try to use their "5"Mbs, that I'm reluctant to even try it...)

- Tom

Jonathan Kamens

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Sep 9, 2007, 7:52:47 PM9/9/07
to
Thomas P Brisco <spa...@hotmail.com> writes:
>As well, consider how much of that "5" you're going to be really able to
>use. No, it's not obvious, but the further away site are, the less
>bandwidth you get. I occasionally think of upgrading my service, but
>when I'm doing something like downloading Linux ISOs, I always notice
>that my download tops out much earlier than I think I should

You need to find a different server to download from. If you find a
server with enough bandwidth at its end of the transfer, you should
have no trouble maxing out your 1.5Mbits when your'e downloading. I
use ftp.tu-chemnitz.de, and while it may seem non-intuitive that a
server in Germany would give me better download speeds than a server in
the US, in fact I consistently get 1.5MBit downloads from that server.

>The _one_ application I've seen - Netflix on-demand movies - looks like
>it might could use some more bandwidth. My 1.5/384 link is quite a bit
>cheaper than the OP's (I run linux at home, so shell accounts aren't
>necessary, etc etc)

I run Linux at home as well, but it is sometimes useful to be able to
log into the Speakeasy shell account, since it's got more bandwidth and
since sometimes I need to check if a network problem I'm seeing is
localized to my DSL connection or geographical area (and the Speakeasy
shell server is in Seattle, whereas I'm in Boston, although
topographically, my DSL traffic goes through NY).

I don't really need the shell account (it's good enough that I still
have a couple at MIT), but it's grandfathered from when they didn't
charge extra for it.

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