March 26th, 2015

Broadband services woes in Washington State

I don't have a lot of love for the Consumerist, because a lot of the time, when I am able to dig around and confirm/disconfirm details elsewhere, it turns out they've significantly misrepresented things (or their sources have). So I don't know if I trust Consumerist.

I'm inclined to trust this particular story, however, because it is _so so similar_ to one a friend of mine has been suffering through in Snohomish.

On the one hand, I have always been a little bit negative on living way out where it is easy to see the stars and hear the crickets. That's nice to visit, but maintaining a well and septic dealing with low priority power outages and the generator and All That is sort of a pain and no way to live. Also, my experience living way out where your telescope owning acquaintances LIKE to come to visit and where it is easy to hear the frogs mean that the peepers can be DAMN LOUD part of the year. Also, deer. Long driveways. Poorly maintained roads.

Back In the Day, however, broadband was not so urgent, and there were landlines and the kind of service that went with that. Cell coverage was virtually non-existent where we were, but, again, land lines. Now? Crappy broadband, cell and the end of PSTN? Oy. You can really see where google is going with balloon based internet. Just because I only want to visit the Country doesn't mean there aren't aren't a lot of decent, hardworking folk who are gonna go out there and raise the kiddies and work from home.


"I spend all day on a VPN back to company HQ and use close to a gigabyte a day, so I bump up against the 30GB cap every month."

I think this person would be using at the very high end of a good residential connection, which is probably why some of the point to point solutions suggestions in the comments are not pursued.

I remain very confused why he did not confirm with a home inspector the presence of a connection. Home inspectors can do that.

"We searched the property, and in fact, there was no Comcast box anywhere. Now, there is a coax utility box, but it wasn’t Comcast’s. That originally confused both of us, but on further inspection, the utility box with coax running into it used to be hooked up to a satellite system on a pole near the house (with the dish now removed), so it wasn’t CATV at all."

He should have heard this from a home inspector, not a tech after moving in.

Does That Make Sense?

So there's a broadband service woes making the rounds today.

Here is the Consumerist coverage:

Here is Seth over at his own blog a month earlier:

We are, of course, all sad for first time homebuyers who are surprised, because if you've never been a home buyer it is your main fear and if you _have_ bought a home, you have been there, possibly more than once.

Seth discovered that he could not get wire-full broadband to the house AFTER closing on the house (bought in mid December and he was optimistic this would be resolved until February). Did Seth make some less than optimal decisions? Sure. But let's ignore the past. Sunk costs. Water under the bridge. What's going on _now_?

In February, he was contemplating having to sell:

"I don’t know exactly how much money I’m going to lose when I sell, but it’s going to be substantial. Three months of equity in a house isn’t a lot of money compared to sellers fees, excise taxes, and other moving expenses."

Well, let's make some assumptions. Zillow believes his house is worth about $442K, a little more than what he paid for it back in December (he got it for about $415K). Let's further assume that _if he decides to sell_, he will have some costs associated with that sale. Like, 3%. Which is optimistic -- it could be a lot higher. And we'll ignore whether or not he makes or loses money on the sale and focus on the "costs" of the sale. That's about $13K. How many months of "frightfully expensive" cellular broadband could he buy from Verizon's Jetpack solution which he is currently using? Well I don't know for sure what he's paying, but he says he's using it at the 30GB level, which suggests he's paying $225/month for the data allowance, plus some kind of line and account fee, presumably. If you take that $13K and divide it by $225, you get almost 60, which is _5 fucking years_ at his "frightfully expensive" cellular broadband.

Presumably, if Comcast was willing to sell him service, they would charge him _something_, so to be fair, one really should only compare the amount he is paying _over_ that (how much is he overpaying because he doesn't have a line to the house). After all, he seemed to think he could afford to live in this place with broadband in its line-ful form.

He may have some very good reasons for wanting to move. Fam could be going stir crazy. Schools might suck (I don't actually have any idea). Maybe the crickets are just Too Damn Loud. Maybe seeing the stars at night is freaking them out. Perhaps there are termites, or ants or a funny smell in the attic that they just can't seem to get rid of. But I hope it's more than just paying $225 a month to Verizon for cellular broadband.

Because that would seem to be a very un-economic decision to make.

Is It April Fool's Day Yet? Verge covers Tinder redirect prank

Somebody created dummy profiles of women, and then redirected the _men_ who were contacting the non-existent women to talk to each other, with a little supervision. He prevented meetings and scrambled phone numbers.

It doesn't _seem_ like this is the sort of thing that would work (on a human level, not on a technical level), but it reminds me a little of that cat instinct extinction thing (cats give up on eating the animals they catch long before they give up chasing, playing with and killing them). The drive exhibited by these men is a little astonishing.