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March 19, 2000

Will my area ever be set up for high speed Internet access?  I've wrote about this subject before, to no avail, so it would seem to met that I, ever so surprisngly, don't have the power or influence that someone such as Sandy McMurray of the TORONTO SUN possesses.  I recall that one week, he bitched about not being able to get high speed cable access in an area that he recently moved to.  The day after the column was published, there were ROGERS trucks circling his area, and workers digging up cables, getting ready for the next wave of Internet access.  

As for me, I don't possess that sort of power, but I can still bitch and complain.  I've had an Internet account for about six years now, since back in the day when the only option in the hick town I live in was to access Passport Online through a long-distance number, or get an AOL account through a pay-per-minute 1-800 number.  I've done the time, and quite frankly, I'm a little bitter about newbies who are hooking up for the first time and enjoying the luxury of a speedy connection.

My first experience with a modem was one of those 2400 baud jobbies that you could access local BBS's with.  The next step up was to a 14.4 modem, which is what I started out accessing AOL via (there's nothing more annoying that downloading graphic interfaces that you don't even want @ 14.4 over a pay-per-minute line!), then to a 33.6 modem, and once the protocols for V.90 were worked out, I upgraded to a Motorola 56K modem, which seems to work slower at times than the old 14.4.

On the ISP front, I started with the long-gone Hookup Communications, as they were the first company to set up a local dialing pool.  They were bought out in 1998 by...at first it was by a local company who would acquire the user base, but once it became apparent that the local company would confuse easily when bombarded with all of another ISP's local subscribers, we were all shunted off to Netcom.

I can't say I had any bad experiences with Netcom - their support staff (once you reached them) were always knowledgeable and helpful, as opposed to when I was with Hookup (their network worked only about 40% of the time and toward the end of their existence, they stopped giving a shit and made themselves impossible to reach via voice mail "network not working...tough shit!" messages on their tech support line. 

 However, in the great power struggle that is the quest for media monopolies, Netcom has been bought out by AT&T Canada, and suddenly, my service sucks ass!  It seems that for the past few weeks, I am unable to stay connected to the Internet for more than 20 minutes at a time.

This has frustrated me to no end.  Why the fuck don't you get a cable modem, you are probably asking?  Well, McFly, I'll tell you.  It seems  that Rogers laid the wiring in my subdivision (which consists of all of two streets, most of which have given up on cable and own those little satellite dishes instead) just before they decided to upgrade for things like digital cable and "the wave", as they used to call their @Home service.

For a couple years, I've been inquiring on a regular basis as to when they are going to get off their fat corporate asses and set up my area.  My most recent response from their autoresponder was the same as it always is:

Dear get off your fat corporate ass and set up the area of

Thanks for completing our Rogers@Home Web form.  Your name has been placed on our priority contact list, so as soon as your home becomes Rogers@Home ready, we'll be sure to let you know.

Rogers@Home Customer Service

Wow.  I'm special.  Now it was over to Bell Canada's website to see how they were doing in the race for my Internet dollar.  As I've said before, the first one who gets their shit together gets my business.  

Hey!  Guess who appears to have won?  Bell Canada tells me that my city now has high speed Sympatico access available, and that I can even install it myself!  No Rogers trucks, no digging up the neighbourhood, no autoresponders telling me I'm shit out of luck.  How about that?  I'm off to see the wizard this week, and if all goes well, I might even get one of those mini satellite dishes too.  

I've just about had it with companies that want your money for cable service three months before you even get the service.  What if the world were to end tomorrow?!?!  Would I really want civilization to end knowing that Rogers Cable has that much more of my money?

Check back next week to see how it went!

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