Cable to DSL switchingCable to DSL switching

From Ars

Much of that growth is going to DSL, which now beats out cable as the number one broadband technology in the US. When Pew did the study back in March 2003, the situation was reversed[….] The reason isn’t hard to find—it’s price. DSL remains consistently cheaper than cable (an average of US$32 a month compared with US$41).

I’m not sure that remaining cheaper is a good explanation for the change in market share. Are we to assume that broadband buyers have become more frugal since 2003?

I fault the unreliability of cable Internet. People are growing less tolerant of its outages, even (or especially) the ones that last only five minutes. I noticed my cable modem having short outages at least once a week, and outages of over an hour (sometimes in inclement weather, like “rain”) about once every two months.

It’s no wonder, considering the carelessness of most cable installations. In my five storey apartment building the wires are draped over the roof’s edge and down to their destinations, blowing around in the wind constantly.

And cable signals are often spliced more times than they’re designed for. I don’t know if that was the cause of my problems, but after the second time I had to stay home for a technician’s visit I gave up. It’s just not worth the trouble to make their rickety system work.

It turns out that so-called “dry loop” DSL (meaning, you don’t have to pay for an obsolete phone line you never use) is available from Verizon in my area, even from independent ISPs. That last part is important, since Verizon is so block-happy you’re lucky they let you browse the Web, let alone use BitTorrent.

So I’m now subscribed to a relatively expensive static-IP service from AceDSL, who’s cool enough to advertise “no port blocking” on their front page. The downstream is significantly slower than I had with cable, but that’s been irrelevant to me. (I don’t frequent broadcast-type sites that have crazy bandwidth on their end anyway.)

After two months with no loss of connectivity, I’m trilled to have dropped cable. Now if I could just do something about those wires blowing around outside my window.

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