Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Slow as Molasses

So this morning it's six days since our DSL connections out in this neck of the woods slowed to a crawl. Six days that our DSL has been running at roughly half the normal speed of a dialup connection. I mean, things work. But it takes a minute or two for any nontrivial webpage to load. Over DSL.

Not that this is anything new to me and my neighbors, who've suffered now, lo, these many years under a small local mom-and-pop Internet Service Provider which I shall refer to as Stupid-ISP. Every now and then this happens. For days at a time. And unless you're willing to go to satellite (much more expensive), there is no alternative. Because there is no local competitor. It's just a fact of life that every now and then, Stupid-ISP's DSL service goes on the fritz.

At least this time it's only slown down to 5% or 6% of its regular speed. Other times, it's stopped working altogether. For days on end. And then there was the time Stupid-ISP somehow managed to accidentally delete its entire username and password database for its email service, and they had to reenter it manually, because they had no electronic-media backup.

I'm tempted to say I have the strong suspicion that they don't have anyone at Stupid-ISP who knows how to configure DSL and keep it running right. But in fact I have spoken over the phone with a fellow at their central office who convinces me that he does indeed understand the technical aspects of it all. So the question devolves into whether they have anyone else on their payroll who has a technical grasp of what's going on. A person is driven to wonder. After six days of molasses.

Look, our DSL service out here amidst the cornfields of Iowa works just fine. When it works. But one of the corollaries of dwelling out here in a remote rural location is that we have to resign ourselves, in the realm of Internet and the like, to not quite living in the 21st century yet. Thanks to the monopoly of Stupid-ISP and their countless malfunctions and service interruptions and slowdowns.


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