My conversation with a Qwest DSL supervisor yesterday went just about as horribly as I expected. When I asked why the 70 or so homes in our quasi-rural neighborhood just five miles from the Salem city limits, and two miles from the nearest existing DSL “crossbox,” couldn’t get DSL, he evaded the question. “We’d have to go through too many gyrations,” he said irritatingly. “So this is something we’re just not going to do.”
Well, thank you very much, Mr. Public Utility representative. Your dedication to bringing much-needed utilities to the public is underwhelming. To work out my frustration I dashed off a complaining email to the Oregon PUC, pointing out what I’m quite sure is the truth: Qwest is refusing to bring DSL to Spring Lake Estates not because it is technically infeasible, but because Qwest wouldn’t make enough money. The supervisor so much as admitted this when he told me, “Your area doesn’t meet our criteria.” Meaning, $$$ rather than $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
Unfortunately, I was told by the PUC that DSL is an interstate commerce deal and that I needed to voice my concerns to the federal FCC. Yeah, right. Somehow I can’t visualize Michael Powell making a mega-corporation toe the line on customer service (he’s too busy keeping breast-flashing off the airwaves to worry about little things like broadband internet access).
So my Lucy Liu/samurai sword fantasy (see previous post) was strengthened after talking with the unresponsive Qwest supervisor. But I have to be realistic, since Lucy and her band of Yakuza may not be available, even if they read my weblog and want to help out. Another problem is that Lucy and company aren’t as real as I would like them to be, being the product of Quentin Tarantino’s marvelous imagination.
So I’ve been spending some time (slowly) surfing the Internet, looking for alternatives to Qwest’s DSL. Starband and DirecWay satellite internet services are possibilities (a neighbor uses Starband and seems to like it). But they’re spendy. And I don’t get good intuitive feelings from either of these firm’s web sites.
I might be getting my hopes up prematurely, but an up and coming satellite internet provider, WildBlue Communications, looks more promising. Those of you out there (I recall WildBlue says there are 30 million of us) who lack access to DSL or cable broadband might want to get on WildBlue’s “priority wait list.” If their satellite gets launched in a few months as they expect, and the service is as good and fairly priced as they promise, this could be the broadband answer for me.
Unless Lucy Liu comes through. Lucy, are you reading me? I need you. I’m not getting any respect from Qwest.