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It's official: my broadband nightmare is over

Beginning today, I proclaim an international day of celebration.Over the course of 31 days, I've been without broadband.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

Beginning today, I proclaim an international day of celebration.

Over the course of 31 days, I've been without broadband. It hasn't been without whinging about it at every given opportunity of course. If it wasn't for the close proximity to my university campus and a very good friend of mine who got broadband before me, I would have been well and truly screwed. I am pleased to announce that my struggle is over.

Over the course of this month, I've documented many times my broadband woes; not only that, included are my other consumption's and statistics:

  • 11 hours and 33 minutes spent on the phone to either BT, Tiscali or another ISP.
  • 1 hour and 2 minutes spent on the phone to O2 Broadband, my current provider.
  • 78 hours spent on the University campus using a public PC with 1Gb broadband line into the campus.
  • 62 hours watching downloaded TV from 4oD or iPlayer to keep myself occupied.
  • 47 hours watching downloaded films or series television, again, to keep me from going nuts.
  • 14 hours spent at the pub with friends because "it's something to distract me from my lack of broadband".
  • 22 hours spent connected to a national-rate dial-up Internet connection.
  • £13.20 ($27) spent on the phone bill connected to a national-rate dial-up Internet connection.
  • 68 cups instant coffee with a dash of milk, two spoons of coffee, no sugar.
  • 383 tea bags, add hot water, a dash of milk, all in the name of fixing one's connection.
  • 4 mugs Starbucks coffee with a dash of semi-skimmed milk (I like it simple, nothing fancy).
  • £5.00 spent on using the crap wireless Internet at Starbucks, courtesy of the equally crap T-Mobile.
  • Twice I've broken down and cried.
Finally this morning, I got the magic text message through my phone telling me that my broadband was connected. This was one of the nicer ways to wake up, as opposed to being knee'd in the nuts by my girlfriend before screaming at me to make a brew. Oh the finer points of a relationship.

Without wasting a moment of time, I made a brew, had a smoke, checked my emails (using EDGE/3G over-the-cell-network, of course) and relaxed. After all, I didn't want to seem desperate... that would have been crazy...

I plugged it in, and there it was - within minutes, super fast broadband flowing through the copper cables, emanating a subtle resonance recognised only by a geek, a pulsating motion of flowing information, gently caressing the walls and surroundings as the wireless signals bounced from side to side, through and around every corner of the house.

Within minutes, the arse next door had already connected to my wireless network; I set up the security as soon as I saw him stealing my precious signals.

It has taken me 31 days from start to finish, with many-a-time in between tearing my hair out, getting angry, drinking heavily and bitching to the world about the entire process. Instead of being mad at anyone; the ISP's, the telecoms company, the arse who lived here before hand who caused the troubles - I'm just thankful to have my connectivity back.

I'm one of the lucky ones, considering Canterbury (south-east coast of England where I live), isn't exactly famed for its great network speeds. The BBC reported a full broadband speed map for the UK and wider world, and even though you may think 3.2Mbps isn't very fast, it's really good for a small rural city/town.


I'll be writing at a later date about the case against broadband ISP's and the problems the ordinary consumer faces, not to mention even the geeks of this world and the troubles to be had. I'll be speaking to the long suffering (with us at ZDNet, of course) and legendary Tammy Cavadias, and the paradoxical failure-loving Michael Krigsman about these such things to get a techy perspective on why such a simple pleasure in life such as broadband, can be so difficult to come by.

For the time being, I've settled down, connected everything up, ran Windows Update on my Vista machine after a month of it being offline (only 1 critical update and 2 optional...), and I'm finally with an ISP which doesn't screw you around to no end for one reason or another.

My faith in broadband providers has been restored at long last, and me and my new O2 wireless router are getting on like the best of friends. I love technology, especially when it works.

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