Moving house: diary of a dial-up user (part 2)

Summary:As you know from my previous post, it has been an absolute battle to try and get broadband connectivity to my new house in Canterbury. All the other seemingly complicated "hardware based" products like electricity, gas and water supplies have been easy to set up and continue flowing.

As you know from my previous post, it has been an absolute battle to try and get broadband connectivity to my new house in Canterbury. All the other seemingly complicated "hardware based" products like electricity, gas and water supplies have been easy to set up and continue flowing. So why is it so bloody difficult to get an Internet connection?

Saturday 5th July 2008 12:20am I fired off a text message to my brother back up north, asking him to do a quick Google search for free dialup Internet numbers. He text me back a few minutes later with the phone number, username and password, and this is what I'm using at the moment to write this.

You see, dialup Internet is underestimated nowadays. It'll go at maximum 56kbps, roughly 15-20 times slower than a 1mbps connection. It'll take a good while to load up any average webpage nowadays because, as dialup has decreased and broadband increased over time, entire web sites have been designed to show more content of greater file size.

Yet when broadband breaks, and more often than not, something seems to happen, good ol' dialup is there to rescue you. It's reliable, it's on-demand to some extent, and it works no questions asked. If your computer is old enough to have a modem still (my laptop is brand new yet still has one), a 5 minute dialup connection will often allow a full download of your email inbox(es) and maybe a quick look on Facebook if you're lucky.

The UK is currently undergoing a major analogue turn-off, finally turning off the last set of analogue broadcasting transmitters in mid-2012. During this time, the dialup Internet will be turned off and we'll all be reliant on broadband. After this last couple of weeks, I'm not so sure that's such a great idea - at least keep a couple of ISP's with dialup providing capabilities just in case; can't harm, can it?

Monday 7th July 2008 This morning had no productivity involved in getting the Internet sorted; I was in London "by compulsory request" of the past "employers" to attend the 7th July bombings memorial which is held every year. Poignant and quite sad, but am I a bad person for my mind being elsewhere, more specifically in getting my broadband setup?

Alright, granted, I'm a bad person. Having full blown Tourette's during the two-minute silence isn't exactly easy either.

Got back home at about lunchtime and rang the customer services number the lass on the phone gave me before the weekend. I got through easily enough and explained the whole situation. I thought I was finally going to catch a break and have it all dealt with and sorted. I should be so bloody lucky.

Another woman spoke to me, and told me due to the previous tenants of the house also having a Tiscali account, it had to be wiped off the system entirely, as opposed to just having the account closed if it was with another provider. Again, it's paperwork and procedure, more and more crap the customer shouldn't have to deal with.

I was told I needed to provide proof of current address, that I was in fact living in this house. Because all of my bills are "paid" by the landlord, I told her I didn't have any bills coming through here so I couldn't provide proof of address. Through quick thinking, I said, "I'm ringing from the house phone, I'm jingling my set of keys for the house...", I was jingling my set of keys for the house, by the way, "...surely that's enough proof that I'm living here?" It seems this isn't the case.

She suggested I ring the landlord and ask them to write a letterheaded page explaining that I live here and this will do as proof of address, and with it send a covering letter to this random farm building in Milton Keynes. This baffled me, but after ringing my landlord, she's sending a letter which "is being put in the post this afternoon."

Friday 11th July 2008 Letter from the landlord still not here. After 4 days of waiting now, there's a chance she didn't put a first-class stamp on it; failing that, a stamp at all. Because of this, I can't progress with getting my broadband set up. I've been relying on walking up to the university campus to mooch off their wireless Internet. I feel like a broadband thief.

On that note, a few days ago, I thought I'd take a pop at breaking the WEP key for next doors wireless router. I downloaded an array of probably highly illegal software's, but none of them worked, so once again I'm writing this with, what says, is a 31.4kbps connection. Life as a student is hard.

They'll be more in a few days, hopefully once I get the letter from the landlord. Fingers crossed it arrives this (Saturday) morning otherwise it's a wait until Monday morning at the very least.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Networking, Telcos


Zack Whittaker is a writer-editor for ZDNet, and sister sites CNET and CBS News. He is based in the New York newsroom. His PGP key is: EB6CEEA5.

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