Which is more evil, Qwest or Wave Broadband?
I’m sure most of you have heard of Qwest, but not many of you have heard of Wave Broadband, the cable company that services my area.
For the past several years, I have had cable internet service first through @home, then Charter (which was the cable company here at the time @home went bust), and now Wave. Unfortunately, I’ve had to subscribe to business-level service to get the speed and features (static IPs) that I need.
Recently, my cable company adjusted the speed tiers to get more in line with everyone else. Considering I was paying more than $200 a month for 2mb downstream and 512kb upstream, I was looking forward to paying far less, even though my employer picks up the tab.
The price for bi-directional 1.5 mb on commercial grade is $52.95, which isn’t all that bad. It hits my sweet spot in terms of price. However, to get what I need, it’s more — much more.
The price Wave charges for static IPs is way out of line. For $15, I can get one static IP with Wave, or I can get 5 usable static IPs from Qwest using DSL for the same price. Oh, and I can adjust my reverse DNS settings on my Qwest DSL static IPs online, whereas I have to call someone at Wave to do it.
The biggest objection I have is the need for a contract. Not only am I not a big fan of contracts in general, I am not a fan of how Wave handles them.
At the end of the required 1 or 2 year term (and they encourage 2-year agreements by charging you $20 more a month for a one-year), unless you contact them to change something, your contract will automatically renew for 1 year. If you want to cancel, it must be done in writing 30 days prior to the end of your term. Should you cancel? Half your monthly service charge times the number of months left becomes immediately payable to Wave. What do I get for having a business agreement? Slightly more upstream bandwidth and priority for service calls to my house (which has happened once in three years). I don’t even get direct access to Tier 2 tech support like I got with Charter.
It gets even better. As I mentioned abouve, Wave changed their speed tiers. I was looking forward to paying a cheaper price. Turns out that Wave won’t really give me the cheaper price unless I pay the difference between the rate written into my contract and their new rates times the number of months left in my contract UP FRONT. So basically, if I change my service level, I wouldn’t be paying any more than I was previously agreeing to pay, I will just have to pay a huge chunk of it up-front. Again, no thanks.
Regular readers to my blog will know that I took the DSL plunge. Qwest had it live this past Friday, though the package with the DSL modem, DSL filters, and other information is still in transit (blame UPS). I had a DSL modem handy, so I plugged it in, called Qwest, and even though it wasn’t a supported modem, they gave me the information I needed to get my DSL Modem online. A few minutes later, the DSL circuit was up and running.
$37.99 a month for the base service, plus whatever taxes they throw in. This isn’t their “MSN Premium” crap service, this is Qwest.net Internet Basic with just IP connectivity. No email addresses, web space, or anything except the option to obtain static IPs. This also includes 24×7 customer support, which Wave doesn’t offer.
Unforutnately, Qwest screwed up my order, so I’m only getting 640/256 on the line at the moment instead of the 1.5/896 that I ordered (they don’t even offer 640/256 any,ore). Speed tests on the DSL line show numbers in that ballpark, so I feel fairly confident I’ll get similar results when Qwest ups my speed to the 1.5/896 I ordered.
Meanwhile, I’ve moved my wife and son over to the DSL circuit to ensure it is reliable. They are your typical light web users and likely won’t notice the temporarily decreased speed, but can provide good feedback as to how reliable the DSL connection is.
Qwest has screwed up on more than one occasion throughout my time living in Washginton state, though they generally have made the situation right. Wave, on the other hand, I can’t say the same for. The whole way they’ve handled the contract has pretty much turned of off to continuing with Wave, even though I will be getting slightly slower service.
Unless Qwest can’t give me 1.5/896 for some reason, I think Wave will be losing one of their business customers to Qwest. Yes, Qwest is an evil ILEC, but it’s an evil I am comfortable and familiar with.