Northpoint blows chunks - how they can prepare for new technologies is beyond me.
May 10, 2000 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Northpoint blows chunks - how they can prepare for new technologies is beyond me. forgive me if i'm bring up a dead or overtired subject but i'm new here... I'm on a personal campaign to let the world know how crappy Northpoint DSL is... I'll try to keep this as short as possible but basically we run a small business out of our house. We're developers. Working via modem isn't really an option (especially when you've got ancient, multiplexed phone lines). When our 1-up/1-down sDSL finally started working my roommate and I didn't leave the house for a week.

Anyway, to make a long story a tad shorter, it's been down for three weeks now. we've lost several days and several thousand dollars worth of billable hours sitting on our butts waiting for technicians to show up whenever they please. I am NOT pleased, and what also really irks me is the fact that basically, Northpoint runs the DSL monopoly in my brooklyn neighborhood. We have no other choice. I'm also taking this to dsl reports. I just really don't think DSL technology is that ready for the masses.
posted by cadence (12 comments total)
When will it be and what's it going to take to get us there?
posted by greyscale at 9:12 PM on May 10, 2000

Is DSL reliable anywhere? I hate to break it to mathowie, but Pac Bell DSL has had more problems staying up than Bob Dole.
posted by luke at 9:14 PM on May 10, 2000

No one will be more surprised by this than I have been but the reliability of my BellSouth DSL line has been very good. Been hooked up with them for about four months now. Negligible downtime.

However, if you love your computer you won't let a BellSouth installer anywhere near it. A friend who works there tells me if you scream loud enough they'll let you buy the stuff to install yourself, though it's not "officially" something they offer. I HIGHLY recommend it.
posted by Sapphireblue at 10:20 PM on May 10, 2000

hmm...actually recently PacBell has been pretty good. Now when they do go down tech support is a bitch and I am cursing their name. As far as I'm concerned no one has offered a better alternative. Covad? Earthlink/Mindspring?
posted by bvanveen at 10:22 PM on May 10, 2000

Speakeasy via Covad has been very good to me. Reflex is also a dream, if you're lucky enough to live in a building that has it.
posted by endquote at 11:14 PM on May 10, 2000

I've only been with speakeasy & covad for a couple months, but so far they've been flawless in every respect. At work we've been up with flashcom for almost a year with only one significant downtime that lasted less than a day.
posted by muta at 12:05 AM on May 11, 2000

Um, yeah, I was gonna put in my $.02 for Speakeasy since I work there & I know they try hard. Special offer to Metafilter folx -- email me if you think you're getting the runaround from my coworkers and maybe I can work some tech support magic.

That aside, selling DSL seems a bit like selling spaceships -- some of the technology is so bleeding edge you kind of have to marvel that it works at all... Covad's switching to voice-over-data mid-year somtime so there will be less of a need to rely on the telcos to drop new lines, not steal old ones, etc.
posted by jessamyn at 12:58 AM on May 11, 2000


Oh how I wish...

Over here we're getting excited about dial-up ISDN for the home user.....

posted by tomcosgrave at 5:17 AM on May 11, 2000

We're in the Tampa/St Pete market in Florida, where GTE has been offering wires for almost 2 years, and has had competition (at gunpoint, I'll admit) on the router side of the equation for about a year.

Our loop has been very reliable; I can't think of but maybe one outage attributable to copper. The biggest weak link to date has been the crappy ethercables they ship with the Fukitsu/Orckit modems; we now replace them immediately.

We've got 4 customers connected via GTE/GTEi (now Genuity, I *think*), ourselves and one other connected via GTE/Internet Junction, and we previously tried Oasis Technologies in Tampa for our router service.

What I've found is this: on the router side of the equation, you want a company that is large enough to get the work done and stay up, but small enough that you can talk to the guy with the keys to the Cisco when you need to.

GTE is so big that *everyone* is a retail customer... and if you're a network manager, you'll hate that. Some companies, though, are so small that they just can't get it done.

YMMV, of course; and Covad and Northpoint are not in my market yet; I expect we'll be trying them out once they build out here.

But overall, in my market, I've been just this side of ecstatic over ADSL; they're sure less finicky to deal with on stuff than RoadRunner is...
posted by baylink at 6:37 AM on May 11, 2000

Northpoint is only part of the problem. The bigger problem is Bell Atlantic. I ordered DSL in Mid-March through a company called MediaLog, which re-sells Covad's DSL, which comes directly from Bell Atlantic.

In early April, I got an email from Covad saying that the order had been cancelled, with no explanation. A week later I was informed by the MediaLog people that Bell Atlantica cancelled the order because they claim that I live too far from the local C.O. (Central Office). Covad says that I don't, and I fact live very close to the C.O.

So, Bell Atlantic says one thing, and Covad says another, but since Bell Atlantic is the source for all (100%) of all DSSL in Brooklyn, Covad's (and MediaLog's) hands are tierd until Bell Atlantic get their head out of their ass and fixes their customer service.

So, here I am two months after placing the DSL order, I am still without even an installation date. Now I have to wait probably another six weeks.

Bell Atlantic is getting hammered. though. MediaLog provides the DSL for Rush Limbaugh's apartment and office in NYC. When his DSL went down unexpectedly recently, he learned that it wasn't Covad's fault, nor was it MediaLog's The blame went directly to the top, Bell Atlantic. Rush then proceeded to completely slam Bell Atlantic on his radio show about how pitiful their customer service was. It all comes back around...

Lane Becker has a personal story about DSL woes from a while back.
posted by camworld at 8:59 AM on May 11, 2000

Speakeasy/Covad are coming by tomorrow. I *hope* that the 2-pair wiring I see is going to do the job.

To Cadence: DSL does seem to be highly dependent on local conditions. If Northpoint is the only one in your switch now, well, wait a few months and one of the other guys will get there. Everything I've heard says that Covad, Northpoint, and Rhythms are all far above the level of service and reliability you can expect if you're locked into your local telco's DSL. And as a business, you really need to look into redundancy and backup capability, in other words, backhoe protection. That's just the way of the world.

I've had one customer on Covad/Concentric for two months now with zero downtime. The biggest problem was getting a union guy to do the install due to lease restrictions.
posted by dhartung at 12:36 PM on May 11, 2000

i don't want to bog down this page, so i've posted some comments elsewhere. of course, i can't post *this* now because my DSL is down. again. when it comes back up, i'll post.
posted by Zeldman at 1:58 PM on May 12, 2000

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