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
    Kate, 2 Dec 2006 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Re: Now wait just one damn second...

    Once last little caveat before I bow out of this discussion completely... but you are right, we do offer unlimited bandwidth, however you don't get at all at once. You can stream as many of your mp3s and .wmv files as you want but you can't stream 6000 of them simultaneously. Unlimited bandwidth means that we cap you at around 5 - 10 gigs at a time and we don't charge you if you exceed your monthly limit. That doesn't mean that you can use a terabyte of bandwidth all at once, just that we don't slam you with bandwidth charges on the 30th.

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