DSL and the great Rip Off


OK. So you've tried your local providers 768 Kbps service. You get used to the idea that it is fast but also a lot of times terribly slow. So the provider offers you a 3 Mbps plan for more money. Sounds good right? You don't even need a new modem/router. They just "turn you UP." What could be simpler?

Here's the problem. Most people don't realize that a 768Kbps service rarely runs half that speed. It eventually dwindles off down to dial-up speed and croaks. So people get the idea that 768 is really slow because they don't realize that the modem/router has reduced the speed.

But why does this happen? Because the router/modems supplied by the DSL companies are defective. They are good at turning the speed down to compensate for bad connections or periods when internet traffic is so high that all internet access is slowed down. But they don't re-adjust upward when connections are better. Ever notice how much faster the internet is after a modem poweroff/power on cycle? This is why.

So here's the scenario Your provider gets crippled by high traffic. Your modem compensates and drops down to "their" highest speed at the time, and stays there. What you think is 768 Kbps suddenly seems slow. You buy more from the provider thinking that will help.


  • If the provider can't deliver more that 32-160 Kbps during peak times on their network,
    a 3 Mbps plan isn't going to change that.

  • You still have the same piece-of-garbage modem/router they gave you in the first place. It's just going to continue degrading your conection speeds. If you read the service agreement it does say that the consumer shall expect no service or connectivity and is obligated to pay for it whether it works or not. Who made the laws allowing them to rip us off? The Republicans of course.

  • Stay with the cheaper 768 plan. When it is running closer to full speed it is good enough for most. Even at slower speeds it is good enough for email. If you anticipate large transfers or downloads, do a power cycle on the modem/router to jump-start it to the highest connection speed available at the time.
  • Read the contract. It basically states that you agree to pay for the plan and will harbor no expectations of speed and that you agree not to hold the provider accountable for any expectations, failures or perceived outages of service.

Questions? Feedback?