I’ve been spending more time back in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After being in Lincoln, served with Internet by Verizon FiOS, the most painful thing is using Internet from a Comcast cable modem. Maybe it is the slow Comcast name servers, but there is a painful 1-second lag prior to visiting Web sites. Nobody at Comcast seems to have any idea what products they offer here in Cambridge. The Web site says the standard Internet speeds are 20/4 Mbps, 6/1 Mbps, and 50/10 Mbps (in that order and with the 6 Mbps service priced higher than the 20 Mbps service; this is with me signed in so that it knows the location). The customer service agents talk about a totally different range of speeds being available, e.g., 12/2 and 16/3. The discrepancy may be due to some marketing fraud by Comcast where they talk about “PowerBoost” for the first 10 MB of upload (e.g., the first out of 100 digital photos being uploaded). The “chat analysts” have no explanation for why their numbers are different from the advertised numbers.
The technician who showed up to install the service was well informed and efficient. He took one look at my Cisco/Linksys router, a 3-month-old E1200 that has to be rebooted every few days despite firmware upgrades, and said “You should throw out anything from Cisco/Linksys. They never work. Netgear is what you want.”
So let me take this opportunity to thank Verizon for, thus far, four years of high quality service. Another plus for Verizon is that they seem to be able to state what it is that they are selling!
[While Obama and Romney never tire of talking about how the U.S. is the world's greatest country in every possible way, it seems that 11 other countries have pulled ahead of us in average Internet speed. This article shows that South Korea is the fastest at 16 Mbps, about 2.5X what we've got here (6.7 Mbps).]