21 October 2006

Geeky Pleasure

The next step in the broadband revolution has hit the UK in the past 12 months. A year ago we faced a very similar broadband situation to what we saw in the US: we were paying £25/month for a 2Mb connection (2Mb down, 200Kb up). This was about the fastest speed you could get, and the price was average.

But over the past year there have been a number of 'free' broadband services launched, most with download speeds of 'up to 8Mb'. These are offered by landline telephone companies, mobile telephone companies, and Satellite TV operators as an 'add on' to get you to stay with them and their package. Overall, the results have been mixed: if you are lucky enough to get hooked up quickly and lucky enough to receive speeds close to the 'up to' amount, then it's a fantastic deal. But of course everyone and their dog is signing up, so it may take months to get hooked up, and if there's a problem you can be sure that the company is too busy signing others up to help you out very much.

So we didn't sign up for any of these deals, since a reliable broadband connection is a high priority. Our Cable modem provider, however, has had to keep up with this new marketplace, so they have taken the following steps over the past few months:
  1. Doubled our bandwidth to 4Mb (400Kb up) for no change in price.
  2. Offered us (when I phoned in to 'negotiate') 10Mb service (500Kb up) for £17.50 per month.
  3. Gave us two months free (when we had some reliability issues).
  4. Silently put us on an experimental 20Mb (768Kb up) service.

All of this means that for the moment we are paying nothing at all for broadband, and we should not have to pay more than £20/month into the foreseeable future. And for that price, we get the following results:

And for a geek like me, this produces much pleasure....

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