ISP Customer Service a Dead Art Form?

from the lets-hope-nobody-notices-our-screw-up dept

The e-mail and connection reliability of major ISPs frequently leaves plenty to be desired. MIA e-mail is most frequently thanks to botched spam fighting efforts, such as when Verizon customers suddenly stopped getting e-mail from outside the country. Or more recently when BellSouth's spam fighting system was so poorly implemented, people weren't getting any e-mail, forcing them to revert to their previous spam fighting solution. Huge outages thanks to network upgrades or transfers is also a concern, as many of the customers caught in the Adelphia, Comcast, and Time Warner cable switcharoo can attest.

PBS's Bob Cringely laments that there really are no consumer protections for these kinds of outages, and that ISPs are increasingly willing to bumble their way through botched network upgrades or capacity issues while hoping impacted customers don't notice. Users seem increasingly willing to click through mouse-print EULAs that leave them with no room to complain if their service stinks. One obvious solution would be to upgrade to a business line with some kind of reliability guarantee - but if the best solution is to upgrade to a more expensive business line, isn't this just encouraging ISPs to make their consumer lines worse and worse in order to convince everyone to upgrade?

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  1. identicon
    Unabashed Critic, 2 Dec 2006 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Bend over, they'll service you

    I second what Kate said. The port blocking is absolutely necessary due to the widespread existence of mailbots on unsuspecting/clueless customers' machines. These could get an ISP's entire domain blacklisted in very short order.

    Building a debian box and setting up postfix might not be a valid alternative, however, depending on your T&C/AUP from your provider. Very likely, you are prohibited from running a server on your connection, due to the same reasoning for the port-blocking and the possible upstream traffic limitations on your connection (actually, in many cases these traffic limitations are imposed in order to prevent mass outbound traffic such as mailbot activity.)

    Regards,

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