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DSL Rising 402

Steve wrote to us with an article about the rise of DSL throughout the world. What I find most interesting is the discussion about cable vs. DSL; in the United States cable is winning, but globally, DSL holds the cake.
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DSL Rising

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  • First post? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @01:58PM (#4899627)
    No, not quick enough.....is this why people get DSL?
  • by Randolpho ( 628485 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @01:59PM (#4899629) Homepage Journal
    But they're national network only solutions. Local ISPs have no real broadband alternative available to them yet.

    Hopefully 802.11(x) will allow the little guys to compete.
    • All the local ISPs in my area are selling DSL. I guess they are just re-selling Pac Bell's DSL...is that your point?
      • All the local ISPs in my area are selling DSL. I guess they are just re-selling Pac Bell's DSL...is that your point?

        Yes. Local ISPs (like the one I work for) make little to no profit on resold DSL. If they make any profit per connection at all, it's because they charge more than the phone company does for the same service.

        Ironically, that usually means they still make no profit.

  • by semifamous ( 231316 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @01:59PM (#4899637)
    Wireless seems to be getting better and better all the time. Now that the hardware and software actually work well, this little ISP (that I work for) is actually able to provide a decent service without having to go throught he monopolistic phone company or the incompetent cable co...
    • There's a wireless ISP in my area that offers apparently good service, at prices roughly the same as cable; thing is, on their website, they mention initial fixed equipment costs at $500-1000. If it weren't for the high initial cost, I'd switch in a heartbeat.
  • DSL == LSD (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:00PM (#4899641)
    For those of you who noticed that the submitter is dyslexic, the article is really about LSD, not DSL.

    And of course LSD is beating out Cable. There's just no comparison in the forms of wholesome entertainment.
    • Too far from CO for a DSL hookup. With LSD I couldn't tell the difference between line noise and data. My main man @Home, went busted. I really need is a speed fix. Worldcom offered me a hit of T1 for $1000/month. Looking for a high quality, low cost bandwidth pusher to satisfy my habit.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:00PM (#4899645)
    "Many legislators believe faster Web access can make people more productive at their jobs and help increase the gross domestic product . . ."

    Unfortunately, I think that they don't take into account what a small proportion of those people would religiously read slashdot.
  • by McFly69 ( 603543 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:02PM (#4899660) Homepage
    Thats funny.... Steve wrote to us with an article about the rise of DSL throughout the world. Is this why they I am losing my Directv Dsl [slashdot.org] so others can use it throughtout the world??
  • DSL is better (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ccgr ( 612619 )
    I would prefer DSL over cable but alas I cannot get either. Too far for DSL and even though I have access to digital cabel they don't offer cable internet. Wireless is not an option, trees int he way. And Satellite has limits on downloading (169MB in 8 hours!) I'm stuck with 56K woe is me
  • Have it, love it (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RalphJay ( 617820 )
    I've had ADSL for a couple of months now, and I love it. It's very reliable and the speed is always consistent - which is about the complete opposite of what many Dutch cable-internet providers are selling.
  • cable IS better (Score:3, Interesting)

    by visionsofmcskill ( 556169 ) <vision@nosPAm.getmp.com> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:03PM (#4899673) Homepage Journal
    I hate to say it, but i had DSL installed 2 months ago and had continual headaches with it.... between loosing connectivity due to crappy PPOE software, inability to host web services on the line for the same reason, pain in the ass phone filters all over my house and other various odities i became frustrated.

    Now add to that the fact that Cable is Faster and works invisibly to my machine (DHCP) gives me an accesable IP and has no additional hardware (phone filters) yada yada yada.... Why WOULD i want DSL...

    i opted out of DSL for cable within a month an have never been happier
    • Re:cable IS better (Score:5, Informative)

      by darkfrog ( 98352 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:12PM (#4899774) Homepage
      I think the majority of the problem is the DSL providers making it HELL to use. Mostly the Bells trying to control their network by installing their sh*t all over your computer, giving you USB modems that suck, and generally giving crappy service. I had an excellent small time DSL provider that gave me INCREDIBLE service without the headaches and I would go back to them in a heartbeat, but the bells are completely worthless from day 1. Cable on the other hand almost always use ethernet modems from my experience and don't tend to install much if any special software on your PCs and don't hassle you as much...
      just my experience and $.02
    • by MosesJones ( 55544 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:14PM (#4899793) Homepage

      My DSL has DHCP, an accessible IP, has a small cable I plug into the phone socket which isn't exactly much.

      Oh and Cable isn't in my area. In most of Europe Satellite TV rules the roost, except for major cities and even there Sat tends to have an edge. Europe didn't spend the 50s,60s and 70s installing a cable TV network, it went straight from terrestrial to Satellite. This means that the only network that is EVERYWHERE is the Phone network hence DSL.

      So you'd want DSL if you were in a place where the investment in the Phone infrastructure has been going for the 40 years that cable investment has been going in the US.

      This is why no-one is suprised (except the Slashdot editor) that Cable is big in the US and DSL big everywhere else. Its sort of like saying "Hey look CDMA is big in the US but GSM is big everywhere else".
      • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:25PM (#4899918)
        "Europe didn't spend the 50s,60s and 70s installing a cable TV network, it went straight from terrestrial to Satellite."

        Which may very well be the reason why cable is "better" in the US.

        Of course, Europe didn't really need to run much coax to begin with. They don't need anywhere near the same amount of UHF/VHF broadcasters to cover their entire country.
      • Some european countries *do* have wide-spread cable-tv network, like germany and its 90+% coverage. The problem is that most parts aren't upstream-capable, and since most cable networks are still in the hands of the former public monopolies nobody invests into the infrastructure in large scales.

        Sad, but true.
      • yep, and then, you have exceptions within europe, with usually small countries (like Belgium or Switzerland) having both cable and phone networks almost everywhere (90%+).

        In fact, in my case, for broadband, I have the choice between ADSL, Cable, Powerline (!) and (soon to be deployed) public wireless lan.

      • by suss ( 158993 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:57PM (#4900274)
        Europe didn't spend the 50s,60s and 70s installing a cable TV network, it went straight from terrestrial to Satellite.

        I don't know where you're from, but here in the Netherlands, cable-tv has a coverage of 98% or more in all homes.

        Still, DSL is getting more and more popular, because the cable providers (like Casema and UPC) are simply offering a godawful excuse for service.
    • Re:cable IS better (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MeNeXT ( 200840 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:15PM (#4899808)
      Now add to that the fact that Cable is Faster

      This is like saying that a 5 lane highway is faster than a 3 lane highway. It's how many people or on that counts, and what speed limit is permited

      I see no diff between the two.

      • I'm no expert on cable internet service, but my understanding was that there was less control over service quality with Cable vs. DSL.

        I have SDSL 768K service with SpeakEasy [speakeasy.net] and a service level guarantee of 80%, which means that should my upload or download speeds drop below 80% of 768K (about 614K) then they're required to jump on the problem and fix it.

        I'll admit that in practice...this doesn't happen as quickly as I'd like, but they still took care of the issue within a few days.

        Do cable companies provide a service level guarantee?

        • Granted, I'm on a shared stack of T1s, but it seems to me that once you get into the broadband range the limiting factor on a connection's bandwidth is often the server on the other end, not your computer. . .
    • Re:cable IS better (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sporty ( 27564 )
      ...between loosing connectivity due to crappy PPOE software, inability to host web services on the line for the same reason,

      That is dependent on your DSL provider, no? I have a dsl bridge, so my traffic is raw. Unfortunately, acedsl, in ny, is a shitty provider as well. I see other people's arp requests. They use a software router that will ban arp's that aren't listed in their db at a 5 minute refresh rate. Stupid stupid stupid.

      pain in the ass phone filters all over my house

      Sounds like your place didn't have dsl installed on a particular extension in your house. It was done like that for me. One jack had it installed, one phone filter.. don't notice anything.

      Now add to that the fact that Cable is Faster and works invisibly to my machine (DHCP) gives me an accesable IP and has no additional hardware (phone filters) yada yada yada.... Why WOULD i want DSL...

      Depends on where you live. Because your line becomes dedicated in DSL, you can have guaranteed line speeds TO your isp. With cable, correct me if I'm wrong (nicely), hubs/switches are installed regionally. Small regions... like 1 per house or set of houses. They can become saturdated if you are in an apt building and have a lot of downloaders. Some places, 1.5Mb/s is about $40. In nyc, it is a bit pricier.

      Why would you want dsl? Some cable providers filter, manipulate and/or track. I can't speak for who-does-what, but I've heard stories. You can't find a mom-and-pop cable provider that has nice restrictions. I don't like AceDSL? I can go to clound9, or speakeasy or nyct.net. There are more than a dozen out in brooklyn. Cable? All i have is cablevision. I don't care for them much, but i have more choices.

      Maybe cable is great for you, but dsl does have its merits and advantages depending on who you are :)
    • I hate to say it, but i had DSL installed 2 months ago and had continual headaches with it.... between loosing connectivity due to crappy PPOE software, inability to host web services on the line for the same reason, pain in the ass phone filters all over my house and other various odities i became frustrated. Now add to that the fact that Cable is Faster and works invisibly to my machine (DHCP) gives me an accesable IP and has no additional hardware (phone filters) yada yada yada.... Why WOULD i want DSL...

      I guess there are good and bad experiences with both. I have had Earthlink DSL for about a year, and only had one instance of downtime for about 6 hours (power cycling the modem cured it). I use an old Pentium machine as my firewall and it runs pppoe with a dynamic IP (all under Linux). I have a domain registered with dyndns, and it works like a charm in updating when my IP changes (rarely). The phone filters are unobtrusive. I get great download speeds, can (unofficially) host a web/game server, and haven't had to call tech support once. I was leery of getting DSL because of the horror stories I had heard, but when I signed up, my line was active in 2 days, I had to wait 10 days to get the modem!

      I am moving within the next few months, and only hope that where I move is capable of DSL. It is my first choice, but if I can't get it cable will be my second. I had better be able to get one or the other, or I will be pissed. Have a high-speed always-on connection has spoiled me.

    • Re:cable IS better (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BShive ( 573771 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:22PM (#4899887) Homepage
      Funny, my experience with Cable is the exact opposite of yours. If I had the choice right now I'd switch to DSL in a heartbeat. Many times the Cable/DSL debate comes down to the quality of the provider, not one technology being better than the other.
    • Well, that's just your DSL provider. There are DSL providers that truely do rock. Well, there WERE until DirecttvDSL closed down.

      Now, I suppose it's Speakeasy or nothing. That is, if you can get Speakeasy in your area. I personally can't.

      As for Cable, in my area, Cable ISN'T faster. It's horribly slow. They won't give a static IP. The upstream is only 128k (though you won't ever even send THAT much because their network sucks). As if that weren't bad enough, it's nearly impossible to keep connections to servers active for long. They know about the problems, and they don't care. Gaming? Don't even try it. File sharing? It'll take you forever. Forget about streaming unless you don't mind serious lag.

      As if all that wasn't enough, they offer three packages (silver, gold, and platinum) and from what I've been told by people who work there, anyone who gets gold or platinum is wasting their money as the network is too slow to give them even what silver promises.

      I realize of course that not all cable providers are like this. What makes you think all DSL providers are as bad as the one you had?

      Telocity/DirectTvDSL kicked ass. But Bellsouth in my area sucks. They suck the same way it sounds like your DSL provider sucks. In the end it comes down to who you use. In my case, I have nobody reliable left to use. :(

      I vote against shitty service by not spending my money on it. I guess I'll be offline for a while.
    • Re:cable IS better (Score:2, Informative)

      by Eraser_ ( 101354 )
      Verizon DSL has DHCP, and is dirt simple to setup. The phone filters are also easy as cake to install if you have the phone network in your house setup properly. If you split the lines coming out of the access point into "computer room" and "the rest", you simply install a filter on "the rest", and possibly one more onto whatever phone you want in the computer room, you're good to go.

      The only companies i've seen using PPPoE (via WinPoET) recently, are AOLDSL. Are you admitting to using AOLDSL? ;-) Actually, i remember a couple years ago PPPoE was the dominate way to connect, and it was hell to get setup if you couldn't use the cd that it came with, however the telco's have wised up that it's more of a PITA to deal with it, than to just let people plug in, and let the default settings of windows/mac's take over. "Shut down, plug in, start up" and you get a DHCP lease is pretty failsafe for the average Joe.
    • Re:cable IS better (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Let's see... upload/download caps. they disable your account instantly upon detecting any open ports running services.

      if you are a "bandwidth hog" they automatically upcharge you. just because you were using your broadband for what they sold it to you for.... I remember watching the "download movies,music,etc..." ad's... now they want to recind that.

      Cable versus DSL? easy one... DSL all the way.. until cable operators get a clue that the customer is not the enemy and that the upload caps will solve server problem anyways.. (hell let me run 90,000,000 servers at 128Kbps it doesnt matter anyways.

      I'll take DSL above cable anyday... the Cable TOS is way too restrictive for what you get and pay for.
    • Install ONE filter at your external connection point, on your second line.

      All your outlets should be wired to your second line.

      Your DSL modem is connected to your primary line.
      (or vice versa).

      At least that's how I did it.

      Then get a Linksys router and don't use the PPPOE software.

      Do those things, and DSL is better than cable, AND most DSL companies aren't nearly as restrictive as far as ports and quotas and such. AND you're not sharing your connection with every other joker in your neighborhood, (and they're not sniffing your line, or hacking into your system).

      All in all, DSL is way better than cable in every way.
  • It is time to go back to your roots and fight the temptation to obtain more bandwidth. See my sig.
  • "; in the United States cable is winning, but globally, DSL holds the cake."

    Ahem...Takes the cake, TAKES the cake, what a wordsmith.
  • Doesn't Matter (Score:2, Interesting)

    by E-Rock-23 ( 470500 )
    I still can't get either-or in my little podunk redneck town. Sucks being the only geek in the county. Whichever becomes available first, I'm going to jump on with reckless abandon. And I pray that it's Cable. I've seen both in action (Verizon DSL and Adelphia PowerLink), and Cable, for my needs, is the easy way to go.

    Now, if those corporate control freaks would just get off their keisters and hardwire my town, I could pay their salaries...
  • nice, but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:04PM (#4899687)
    That's nice, but for those of us still in the boonies (I connect at 24kbps on my 56 modem, due to phone line quality) who will never see cable or DSL, what kind of alternatives are there? Wireless is a no-go (no LOS to a good point for a central AP), satellite sucks for gaming (which is my killer app for bandwidth), so I guess I have to wait for my neighbors to realize that they too need a fast connection - then we can form a Network Neighborhood with a leased line and wireless with coffee can antennas.
  • by MasterOfMagic ( 151058 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:04PM (#4899688) Journal
    "If you show a politician some of these numbers, this should get them into action," Rodey said.

    In other words, what Mr. Rodney is trying to say is that the United States needs laws to help DSL penetration and to give DSL providers a competitive advantage in the United States. Excuse me Mr. Rodeny, isn't it your department to become competitive?

    I have DSL through BellSouth, and I had to call them today because they billed me incorrectly. Two weeks ago I had to call them because I wasn't getting synch. A week before that I had to call them because something else wasn't working. (It's turned out that a BBG is down.) Yet this entire time my friend with cable didn't have to call his provider, got better speeds, and doesn't have to pay a mint to the phone company.

    What am I missing? Do DSL companies not want customers? Can they not do regular network maintanence or bill correctly? It seems that cable internet providers can do all this and cheaper. Kind makes me want to switch to cable.
    • What am I missing? Do DSL companies not want customers? Can they not do regular network maintanence or bill correctly? It seems that cable internet providers can do all this and cheaper. Kind makes me want to switch to cable.

      I have DSL through Covad (ATT is the actual ISP), I've had it for a few years now, I've never had to call them once, it's never been down and it's probably faster than your friend's cable (of course, it may not be). It's expensive, but mostly because I need decent upstream bandwidth (oddly enough, for work).

      The point being that comparing two companies isn't necessarily comparing cable to DSL.

    • "If you show a politician some of these numbers, this should get them into action," Rodey said.

      In other words, what Mr. Rodney is trying to say is that the United States needs laws to help DSL penetration and to give DSL providers a competitive advantage in the United States. Excuse me Mr. Rodeny, isn't it your department to become competitive?

      Hell, no wonder he can't get anything done - how the hell do people know who to contact? Is it Mr Rodey, Rodney or Rodeny? :-)


  • US vs other Nations (Score:5, Informative)

    by vor ( 142690 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:04PM (#4899690)
    Many areas of the US can't get DSL service due to their distance from the phone company central office. So they are left with no choice but to get cable, if it's availible.

    I fell into this category, as even though DSL was availible in my town (a suburb outside of NYC), I was wayyyy too far from the central office to get DSL. Only just recently did my local cable supplier begin offering broadband.

    In smaller countries with more concentrated populations, more people live within the appropriate distance from the central office. Hence the larger amount of people with DSL service.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's why South Korea has a large percentage of broadband users. When you have 90% of the country living in or around Seoul it's so much easier to deploy dsl. Not only that, but many asian country's urban centers have higher population densities than large U.S. urban areas.
    • DSL harassment (Score:2, Interesting)

      by EEgopher ( 527984 )
      On the flip side, many areas of the US have their phone companies run by scum-bag pirates with no morals.
      I recently called my phone company to inquire about the second line that serves my mother's 56k modem. Before the representative would answer even ONE question of mine, he turned the tables for a full 5 minutes trying to convince me, insult me, and belittle me into purchasing DSL service instead of fixing the 2nd phone line. Seeing through the bait-and-switch pricing plan, I continuously refused him.
      When he finally did answer my simple question involving dial tones and a "live line", it turns out he didn't know anything at all about electronics, modems, or software protocols. All he knew about was how to be an arrogant COCK.
      After rejecting my EE hardware solution, which involved unplugging and re-plugging the jack before connecting, my brother (Biffer4810 on /.) got to the root of the problem and bought a new modem.
      DSL should be a choice. For as seldom as my poor mother does email, the phone-modem works just fine.
  • Short of the Verizon local loop that I need to live with, at least with DSL I can choose a provider who doesn't treat me like a complete computer illiterate.

    In my old AT&T Broadband area, they were the only game around until RCN took interest in the town. Where I'm at now, I'd be stuck with Charter Pipeline and there are no other options.

    So I got DSL when I moved. While Covad/VZ provide the local loop and data-link layer, I can choose from a number of companies to take care of the network stuff...and for that I am glad.
  • Good reason too (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:05PM (#4899694)
    There is a good reason for DSL winning world wide and loosing in the US. First of all most countries do not have a cable TV system like the US, so it would take a lot of money to drop cable, just to compete with an infrastructure that is already there. On the other hand in the US we have cable TV, and well the cable companies are big media companies that can offer better service at a lower price than DSL here, because they can pad their losses with moeny they make on other products, not so for the hurting telecom industry. Microsoft and other large companies do this to get a hold of the market.
  • by newsdee ( 629448 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:06PM (#4899704) Homepage Journal
    ...internet usage becomes more mainstream worldwide.

    In South Korea almost everyone is aware of new computer technology, to the point of housewives watching virtual sports on TV such as starcraft or soccer simulation competitions. That would explain the high rate of DSL usage, because the desirability for a high speed connection increases with awareness.

    On the other side of the ocean, DSL and Cable are relatively expensive, and only used by people with enough knowledge to feel a need for it or enough diposable income to feel a want (even if not needed) for it.

    Maybe if we reduce computer prices (I'm sure a $100 internet-enabled PC compatible would sell very well in supermarkets), and phone companies include cheaper DSL for their subscribers, then we would see a significant rise in usage.

  • I believe (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:06PM (#4899706) Homepage Journal
    That there are two main factors in this.

    The first is that the US is large and other countries, for the most part, are small. Geographically speaking that is. I understand the DSL has a limited range and that you must be within X miles of certaint equipment in order for it to work. Cable modems don't have this limitation.

    The other reason is that in america a great deal of the telephone wire (which DSL runs on) is complete crap. I went to Israel a couple years ago. The pay phones are so cool, they don't take change, only cards, and they have lcd screens. Not only that, but I was in this guys house, and I thought I saw a cat5 plug in the wall, but I was wrong. It was the telephone. Their telephone infrastructure is 1000 times more modern than ours.

    That's the big problem with america. Our country is so large that in a time of rapid technological change we can't change our infrastructure fast enough to keep up with the rest of the world. It's feasable for say japan to cover its entire country in an amazing wireless network. Not so for the US. Cable modems require no new infrastructure. They just require people who already have cables coming into their house to get another wire run inside. DSL requires the phone company to update its stuff and put up new equipment.

    From my experience though, DSL is cheaper, faster, and more reliable. And if your provider doesn't suck, they don't limit your bandwith.
    • The pay phones are so cool, they don't take change, only cards, and they have lcd screens.[...] I thought I saw a cat5 plug in the wall, but I was wrong. It was the telephone.

      France has also very advanced phones, and they even invented the calling card with a chip for it. ^^ But in this case the technology quickly rose because the government had a monopoly on telecommunications until recently.

      And that's a mixed blessing. At the beginning of the 80's France Telecom introduced the Minitel, which was an unexpensive mini computer terminal, using teletext but allowing user input via an integrated keyboard. The problem is that it became such a cash cow that they NEVER updated the technology.

      People from all ages still use it today, and at first sight it's hard to understand why they haven't updated it to offer a small computer terminal that can access the internet. My theory is that it's because of their revenues: the Minitel relies on company servers (like BBSes) and since what you pay depends on each connection (much more expensive depending where you log in). The Internet, on the other hand, cannot be billed in the same way... you can bill per time usage but not per site. It's sad to see that even a government company can have a great technology wasted to maximize profit.

      The U.S. has more competition, so a technology like the Minitel could have worked and would be updated faster. Meanwhile (around 1995), France Telecom was still trying to convince people to stay on the Minitel for e-mail (and thus pay much more)...

    • Cable modems require no new infrastructure. They just require people who already have cables coming into their house to get another wire run inside. DSL requires the phone company to update its stuff and put up new equipment.


      Both require new infrastructure. However, while telephone companies started updating their infrastructure to four-wire in houses and digital backbones 20-30 years ago, it's only been within the last decade that cable has realized they need full-duplex connections. In some places where you can get "cable broadband," you actually only get a broadband downlink and are still uploading through a 56k connection.

      DSL on the other hand has been quicker to implement since the new equipment needed is fairly centralized. They need to install the stuff at the CO, but not to rewire your house (usually). If they do need to rewire your house, you'll probably get better phone service afterward too.

      My theory on why cable is more popular than DSL here? Service. Customer service, that is. Cable companies seem to have a better attitude towards customer service than phone companies. It's simply *harder* to get DSL, and more of a pain. The distance limitations add to the problem. (Actually, you can get DSL at more than 12,000 feet from the CO, they just can't guarantee the same speeds. Most phone companies don't want to go there, but you can often contract with third-party companies that will still hook you up. Friend of mine has DSL even though he's more like 17,000 feet away.)
    • Cable modems require no new infrastructure.
      On the contrary, the cable provider where I used to live only provided one-way cable [avenuecable.com] that still required a modem for upstream connectivity, because of old infrastructure [avenuecable.com] that still hasn't been updated in two years.

      Where I live now, a coworker still had to have the line to his house upgraded to get a cable modem running. So the infrastructure issue for cable isn't negligible.

      Don't get me wrong, I like cable. I use Adelphia's PowerLink and it's good in my area. It's two-way and I have essentially no competition for the bandwidth.

    • If cable modems require no new infrastructure, then why did AT&T spend a bundle wiring my city with fiber two years ago?

      Strictly speaking you're right, but in practice the infrastructure's overall bandwidth needs to be boosted greatly if your marketing efforts are successful in selling a large percentage of your customers on your broadband service.

      Thus the huge investment in upgrading the bandwidth in my city. The feeds to individual houses are still copper coax but fiber's been spidered all over the city to fill those copper coax pipes.

      QWest also invested fairly heavily in upgrading the quality of lines in my part of Portland, OR. But they're not really pushing DSL as agressively as before because my city lost its fight to force the cable companies to allow users to choose their own ISPs. Until the suit was one by the cable companies QWest faced no competition from the cable companies and pushed DSL hard to take advantage of the window.
  • by hhawk ( 26580 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:07PM (#4899714) Homepage Journal
    Most of the places around the world don't have cable like we do (large and going pass most homes), and they also have teleco companies with huge national power. SO while DSL is winning, it isnt' because it's the better choice, it's winning more by default and by the control of the marketplace by Teleco companies.
  • by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:07PM (#4899717) Journal
    In my experience telephone lines in the Bay Area are not really suitable for reliable DSL service. A bit of weather (like last night, but not also on much milder days too) and signal quality degrades. For voice it just produces crackling on the line but it kills DSL. If I speak to Pac-Bell (or whatever name my local phone monopoly has this week) the response is simply "it's raining, that's normal". DSL runs over ordinary telephone lines which were not designed to carry high bandwidth data.

    With Cable I experienced a reliable weather-independent service.

    • You must live in a neighborhood whose power and phone lines haven't gone underground yet. Any smart city should get rid of its power poles when a street has sewer work done on it. My parents house had the entire street and sidewalk removed about ten years ago for sewer work. The poles went underground, and there's a new sidewalk and pavement now. Sure this will take several more decades, but when everything gets replaced you can be sure the phone and cable companies will lay decent quality lines.
  • by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:07PM (#4899718) Homepage Journal
    in the United States cable is winning, but globally, DSL holds the cake.

    I'm still giggling over this, and I have no idea why it's so funny. "Holds the cake?" Where did THAT expression come from? I suppose if the shoe were on the other hand, I'd have just turned the other chin, 'cause I hate to kick a man while he's spitting into the wind. But a closed mouth gathers no foot, so I'll say my two scents' worth and walk off into the sunspot.
    • Well, if you wanna eat your cake, who would you rather holding it? :)
    • Holds the cake?" Where did THAT expression come from?

      It comes from Victorian Britain, and is to do with sanitation. In public toilets, they used blocks of cleaning agent to wash the urinals - these blocks were commonly referred to as the cakes. Because they were small and could be sold on easily, the 'cake' was always held by whoever was in charge of the facility. So the person who 'holds the cake' is basically the guy who's in charge.


  • by asdfasdfasdfasdf ( 211581 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:07PM (#4899725)
    Considering MY DSL provider [directvdsl.com] just tanked. [slashdot.org]

    Thanks Slashdot, for making the holidays truly happy. ;-)
  • DSL Limitations (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bravehamster ( 44836 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:08PM (#4899735) Homepage Journal
    I think one of the main reasons DSL isn't catching on so quick in the US is the distance limitations. With the urban sprawl and wide open spaces and all, there's an awful lot of people not within the required distance. Other countries tend to be more densely populated than the US, and thus more people are able to get DSL. Also, I don't know how it is in other countries, but most people would rather deal with the cable company than the phone company.

  • by PotatoHead ( 12771 ) <doug AT opengeek DOT org> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:09PM (#4899737) Homepage Journal
    Cable was too restrictive. Sure, the speed is better in my neck of the woods, but choice matters more to me.

    With DSL, in Portland, OR at least, I get to choose from a number of different speeds and ISP's.

    For me this is the difference between a *real* connection to the Internet, and a download only one.

    (Shameless plug --If you do not live here, skip!)

    - Shell account on server via SSH or (gasp!) telnet.
    - Some level of free web site hosting.
    - Good connectivity
    - Only real user restriction is that you do not abuse the connection. So running a commercial site is out, but all the hobby level stuff is ok.
    - IP address by username in dns. Not static, but very useful. eg: user_name@dsl.spiretech.com

    These things matter a lot to me. I use my home connection for many different activities. Many are related to my job, but some are just for learning.

    So, you basically trade choice and connectivity for speed. For me that's fine. Maybe others see the same?

    • I'm also a Portland DSL customer and was able to keep Pacifier.com as my ISP. They provide service similar to what is described for spiretech. In my case I've got a static IP and, yes, a DNS name mapped to it so I can send out something less confusing to non-techies than an IP address.

      It's been very reliable for me, even though my line barely qualified. I have to recycle my Cisco 675 occasionally in winter and twice (in three years) the techies in Colorado had to recycle the card down in the CO when I lost connectivity. There's an 800 number available that's answered by knowledgable people 24/7 and service has been excellent (again, I've only had to call twice in three years, so my experience is hardly a statistically valid dataset, but I don't mind that!)

      On the other hand I've had friends who've had horrible experiences with PacBell's DSL service and another who gave up on Atlantic Bell after they missed over a dozen installation appointments !

      So it's not technology that's the issue, IMO, it's the companies behind the technology.

      Ironically everything about QWest *other* than their DSL service and tech support pretty much sucks ...
  • I've Used Both (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TTMuskrat ( 629320 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:09PM (#4899744)
    I've used both cable modems and DSL and I have to say that I prefer DSL. I had constant mini-outages with the cable modem - ICQ up, ICQ down, ICQ back up, ICQ back down - coupled with several major network issues that kept me disconnected for long periods of time (upwards of 10-13 hours). Of course, this may be only a fault of Time Warner's service. I've yet to have any connectivity problems with my DSL.

    Also, I've not noticed that "...cable modems, which in general costs about $10 less a month in the United States than DSL service does." Both my cable and my dsl cost $49.99 a month - though I did get a special on my DSL ($25 for the first 6 mo).
  • Interesting stats.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dj28 ( 212815 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:10PM (#4899761)
    I believe that more people in the US use cable rather than DSL due to the distance limitations of DSL. Since the population of America is so widely dispersed over a vast land, I think that cable becomes more practical. However, in places like Western Europe and Asia, DSL becomes more practical due to a very dense population. Nevertheless, I think DSL will hit it off big in the major cities and metropolitan areas of America. Cable will make it in more rural areas.
  • by The_Shadows ( 255371 ) <thelureofshadows ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:10PM (#4899762) Homepage
    high-speed Web surfing done via cable modems, which in general costs about $10 less a month in the United States than DSL service does.

    So... any idea why cable's more popular in the US?

    Seriously though, DSL is expensive. When my sister ot her apartment, there was no way to get cable access and DSL was, IIRC, $70-80 a month. Much too much for a grad student to pay, unless you'd absolutely die without it.

    The DSL companies may be very popular, as is cable, but if they don't drop their prices to more afordable levels, they'll lose out on customers. More importantly, we won't beadvancing the world of tech as quickly. In a few years, if it's not already, it's going to be damn near impossible to do much with a dial-up connection. Web sites are getting larger and more complicated, and more people will need wider pipes.

    Anyway, back to work.
  • by crystall ( 123636 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:13PM (#4899781)
    I may be totally wrong about this, but can't cable modems use existing cable lines, where DSL needs either fiber or at least better than two-wire phone line? So it makes sense that since the USA has a fairly large existing cable infrastructure that the growth might be faster in that area.

    In the case of my area (Salem, Oregon, an hour south of Portland), cable was much more readily available to a larger subscriber area than DSL was, at least at the time we first subscribed. Plus DSL was more expensive at that time as well.

    • I may be totally wrong about this, but can't cable modems use existing cable lines, where DSL needs either fiber or at least better than two-wire phone line?

      Real cable broadband requires a full-duplex connection, while most cable infrastructure is/was one-way. Some companies have worked around by doing cable downlink with a 56k uplink, others have made the investment and replaced the existing cable with full-duplex connections (in hopes that other applications such as on-demand movies and such will also justify the expense).

      DSL does require at least a 4-wire phone line, but it became standard practice to install these in new buildings I think at least 20 years ago (sorry, tried to find a link, couldn't dig one up). ISDN also requires four-wire, and it's been around much longer. So while the requirement is there, it's been met in many places well before DSL ever arrived on the scene.
    • DSL needs either fiber or at least better than two-wire phone line?

      No xDSL (Digital subscriber line/loop) uses the existing twisted copper pair of the phone line. It was designed to exploit the fact that voice uses only a very narrow 14k band in those wires. xDSL exploits the rest for data.
    • I may be totally wrong about this, but can't cable modems use existing cable lines, where DSL needs either fiber or at least better than two-wire phone line?

      DSL uses standard 2-wire phone line. With telephone lines clearly have a far greater install-base worldwide than cable, it makes sense that it's more popular. Telephone lines have been standard installation for > 30+years in most places, not so with cable.

      Also, as other say, the US is far more spread out, which is harder for DSL as it requires you to be within a couple of km of an exchange. In Europe, people tend to be a lot closer to an exchange.

  • Hi,

    would be interested in what you pay for your connection?

    I'm paying about 40 EUR/month, (24/7 ADSL 768/128 Kbit) with unlimited traffic via German Telekom (T-DSL). Which is running very reliable.

    IMHO this isn't really cheap, but much cheaper then the metered ISDN access before.;)

    Cable isn't an option for most people here.

    Thx for reading
  • by curtis ( 18867 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:13PM (#4899790) Homepage Journal
    When I first got a cable modem, I was blown away by the speed, often in excess of 350k/sec but after a couple of years and the popularity of the internet and broadband the speed has dropped significantly as my neighbors have all jumped on the shared bandwidth. I think my average speed has dropped down to 120k/sec which isn't bad but there are times (often after work at night) when the speeds are much slower than that and there are signs that it may drop even lower than that...

    • Umm.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by destiney ( 149922 )

      Wake up and smell the coffee.. You've been throttled back to 120K/sec just like me and many other cable customers over the past year or two.

  • by frooyo ( 583600 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:14PM (#4899795)
    is because the U.S is NOT densly populated. For example, Europe is extremely dense in population thus make DSL an easy choice with many people close to the relay stations (within 3 miles). Where as in the U.S. you have mountains, deserts, artic tundra where lower population live so they must use cable.

    Also, much of Europe and Asia use satelite for television so people don't have the option to use the exist co-ax that is running into their homes as almost all have in the U.S (for Internet access).

    This all goes back to why Europe and Asia are ahead of the U.S in mobile phones. To cover the population of lets say Japan, with relay towers is relatively simple because of the dense population. Thus making new technology easily upgradable (for relay towers) because they don't need as many and they are not spread over long distances.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      You have some points wrong:

      "is because the U.S is NOT densly populated. For example, Europe is extremely dense in population thus make DSL an easy choice with many people close to the relay stations (within 3 miles). Where as in the U.S. you have mountains, deserts, artic tundra where lower population live so they must use cable."

      Population density in Finland is lower than in US, still ADSL is pretty popular here. I believe that majority of population in US lives in cities (>100000) cities, thus mountains, deserts and artic tundra won't make big difference.

      "Also, much of Europe and Asia use satelite for television so people don't have the option to use the exist co-ax that is running into their homes as almost all have in the U.S (for Internet access)."

      At least in Finland this isn't true, Internet connection via cable modem is available in all major cities.

      Reason for ADSL success is it's stability:

      With cable modem you will get fluctuating 50-500ms ping in Online games with 10-60% packet loss. This is totally unplayble.
      With ADSL you will get stable 90% of Finland's land area (and >95% of population) was covered by GSM network by 1998. As I pointed earlier Finland has lower population density compared to US.
  • by Mhrmnhrm ( 263196 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:15PM (#4899801)
    is a no brainer. The telco's in the US are primarily concerned with keeping their monopoly at all costs. This isn't too surprising, considering that all of them were in the not-too-distant past just one company that was forced to break up. Unfortunately, by breaking them into regional monopolies, nothing was accomplished (Which is also why I, and several other insightful posters, were against breaking MS into an OS company, and an applications company.), because while they no longer had an iron grip on the whole nation, the smaller companies has iron grips on blocks of states, with no danger of competition from neighboring baby bells. True, the long distance market really took off, but the local/regional pie is still nothing but SBC, NYNEX, Bell South, and the rest. These smaller companies are the ones responsible for DSL's terrible acceptance in the US. A quick check while writing this post on dslreports.com shows that I can get 608/128 for $42 a month. I've hit speeds of 2000/128 with my cable modem, for $40 a month. Cable is faster, cheaper, AND IT WORKS. Yet with DSL, the happy people are happy, and the rest have nothing but horror stories of telcos missing appointments, not bringing the right equipment, damaging existing wiriring, and generally making it a royal pain. Sure, there's "competition" in the DSL market (again, the baby bells versus Covad, et al), but with prices being less attractive, and the installation/support headaches, it's not worth it unless you have a cable provider that spies on you (comcast) or blocks practically all useful services (cox).
  • Winning? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sielwolf ( 246764 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:15PM (#4899806) Homepage Journal
    Ok... winning? Have we all of a sudden picked sides? I'm sorry, my friend, but I'm on the side of cheap, fast, unhindered broadband (i.e. the best product). There are no sides therefore there is no winning other than in the very individualistic sense.

    Right now the cable BB is much better than DSL: the service is more consistent, it is faster, and price is comparable. Now what happens if everybody in my complex jumps on Roadrunner? Well then switiching over to DSL might be an opprotune move.

    Actually the only people who I can say are winning are e-businesses. Wasn't one of the roots of the dot-bomb the lack of sufficient average internet speed? The faster, more persistent the connection is, the more likely consumers will browse which is important for that Impulse Buying thing.

    "Ohhh! They released Hoop Dreams on DVD! Gotta pick that up!"*

    *Note: the commie bastards still haven't released Hoop Dreams on DVD.
  • by JeffL ( 5070 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:15PM (#4899811) Homepage
    In my local area, the telco, Qwest, appears to be at capacity for providing DSL. Of the many people I have encouraged to get DSL, only those folks living in outlying cities have been able to successfully get it installed. People living here in Boulder, CO have repeatedly been told their line does not qualify, when people living in the same building already have DSL.

    It always amazes me to read articles about the US lagging in DSL uptake, or the telcos not signing up as many people as they hoped, when in fact they are turning people away.

    Maybe there is an explanation other than capacity, such as Qwest pulling a BT [theregister.co.uk] and refusing to signup people who don't request MSN as their ISP.

  • I am in the UK and I have just switched from Cable to ADSL.

    From a technical point of view cable is a much better solution than DSL. If you want to send broad band signals then you have to be better with a nice controlled impedance transmission line like coax cable rather than some birds nest of twisted pair. Never mind the lower potential for interference.

    However, in most of the UK people don't have any choice about cable supplier. I had to use NTL and they were totally useless. I spent 1 month off line when my cable modem failed (I rented it from them) and the only way to get technical support was to phone after midnight and listen to musak for 45 mins.

    With ADSL I have dozens of suppliers to choose from and I can go to someone who provides the services I want (e.g. static IP). They all depend on British Telecom to service the wires, but at least the people I am dealing with have an interest in retaining my custom.

  • cable around my neck of the woods (new york city, time warner cable) thinks blocking ports is a good idea (anti-kazaa)

    the village voices discusses [villagevoice.com]

    [cynic] you decide if verizon (my dsl provider) does not block ports because blocking ports is bad, period, or simply because it is not a content-oriented company like aohell time warner. [/cynic]

    either way, i think the us will quickly catch up with the rest of the world in dsl usage over cable usage.

    since the coupling of media content companies and cable companies is a lot tighter than the coupling of media companies and telephone companies, then port blocking will always look more attractive to cable companies. so cable companies will port block more. and then irate current customers and potential customers will sense this, and more and more will choose dsl.
  • reasons (Score:5, Informative)

    by Martin S. ( 98249 ) <Martin...Spamer@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:22PM (#4899888) Homepage Journal

    Two main reasons

    1) Network topology. Cable is a ring, so all the consumers are sharing the bandwidth, the local connection forms the bottle neck. xDSL is star, each customer has exclusive use until the backbone. It suffers less contention. This benefits the consumer.

    2) Cost. Cable expensive to install, you need to install a new cable ring and new run to each subscriber. XDSL operate of the existing twisted copper pair of the local loop. This benefits the ISP.

    AIH, We are rolling out a broadband Interactive DTV using IP over ADSL because of these advantage.
    • Re:reasons (Score:4, Informative)

      by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @05:51PM (#4901665)
      A few corrections:

      1. Cable isn't a ring, it's a tree-and-branch.
      2. xDSL has contention at the DSLAM, not the backbone.
      3. It's only expensive to install cable in an area where it doesn't already exist (as many others have said, it's extremely extensive in the US and some parts of Europe, much less extensive in others).
      4. You're probably rolling out video over DSL because who in the hell would want thin-pipe IP video over a cable connection that was designed to deliver TV-quality video in the first place?
  • by martinde ( 137088 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:26PM (#4899930) Homepage
    One thing that I like about DSL over cable (having used both in my area) is that the latency of the DSL is better. I think most people are probably more latency sensitive than bandwidth sensitive. When you are clicking links, you want that instant feedback.
  • I went with DSL out of convienance. At the time of the broadband revolution, cable was light years from my area. However, there is a switching station litterally 250 feet from my apartment, so I went with DSL. At such a close proximity to the switch, I enjoy constant speeds in excess of what many of my cable-using friends get. Of course, in theory, they should be recieving much better performance then I with their cable, but that is hardly the case in my city for some reason.
  • by MImeKillEr ( 445828 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:31PM (#4899985) Homepage Journal
    .. from cable to DSL. The only thing thats keeping me? The contract.

    With cable, I can drop them any time I feel like it. With DSL, I have to sign at least a 1 year contract. Then there's the issue of the bandwidth caps.

    I'd gladly give up any instance of having TWC at the house. I could get DSL for easily $15 cheaper/month but won't for these two reasons.

  • Im in the UK and have a 2Mbs aDSL link, 256kbs upstream as all UK adsl is, I pay 100 UK pounds per month for this, which is pricey for me but I love the fact I get zero restrictions, my ISP (Griffin Internet UK) doesnt care what servers I run or how often I run them, gives me 8 Static IP address's and really good support (my router died last night, called support in the morning, new router installed in the afternoon). I couldnt ask for more really. I have a Windows 2000 server running and 2 FreeBSD servers running managing my databases, web, mail and dns and use file sharing progs all the time with no worries.
  • by louzerr ( 97449 ) <Mr@Pete@Nelson.gmail@com> on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:48PM (#4900187) Homepage
    I first went from a dial up to cable - which needless to say was a welcomed improvement. However, I soon found the downside of my cable service from Charter Communications, or actually a third-party company called High Speed Access (AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!). The problems not only came from total lack of customer support, but stupidly designed networks. My whole town was on a single network node! So you could tell when the kiddies came home from school - you'd loose all connectivity as all the packets started colliding.

    Making matters worse, I'd frequently wait on hold for 40 minutes to argue with HSA's 'support' desk. I'd tell them there was a problem, they'd tell me they didn't have any record of the problem, etc, etc. Funny, when I pay $50 / month for a service I can't use, I fail to see why I should continue paying. They were down every other weekend!

    Charter was very good about the issue, but unfortunatly, HSA was impossible to work with. In the end, I dropped the Cable modem - and HSA kept charging me. I finally had to forward my many deliquency notices to Charter, who dealt with HSA's substandard billing department. I believe I am finally off the hook for this service that did not provide the high speed access (or even 'access') they claimed.

    After dumping cable, I got DSL from my phone company (Frontier) and have had the best of luck. Maybe once every 3-4 months, the service is out. But when I call, there is usually a message explaing the outage, and giving an estimate of when it will be back. No more waiting 40 minutes on hold for an argument! What's more, I have never seen any of these downtimes last more than an hour, where with HSA's cable service, it would last entire weekends!

    But best of all DSL provides a ROUTER - I'm on my own node. The only packets going out of that router are the ones intended to go out of the router. Cable modems toss packets indesciminately (unless you have a firewall infront of it).

    A Friend of mine has Time-Warner cable, and does not have the problems I had with HSA. I believe this is because they came in later in the game, and learned from the mistakes of the other cable providers. But from my experience, most cable networks are poorly implemented, and extremely insecure. Not worth the money, from my experience.
  • Breaux-Nickles (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PtM2300 ( 546277 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:50PM (#4900197)
    Another thing worth taking a look at is the legalities behind both systems in the US. While cable companies are selling broadband internet service with little to no regulation, phone companies must abide by numerous policies set for them in years past. This leads to unfair competition and an unfair advantage for the cable companies. It helps explain the reason why cable is winning! The Breaux-Nickles bill in congress was attempting to even up the regulations.
    • Re:Breaux-Nickles (Score:3, Interesting)

      by squarooticus ( 5092 )
      Does that mean they're going to reduce the regulation on the DSL providers?


      Oh, you mean they're going to make it fair through an ebbing tide that lowers all boats. That's typically what government does: make it harder for everyone, all in the name of fairness.

      Doesn't anyone see a problem with this?

  • by Gerein ( 169540 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:53PM (#4900235)
    For those who are interested, the actual numbers can be found here [point-topic.com].

    Top five for those who are too lazy to click:

    (country, DSL-lines in 1000, lines per 100 population)

    1. South-Korea, 6076, 12.7
    2. USA, 5837, 2.0
    3. Japan, 4223, 3.3
    4. Germany, 2800, 3.4
    5. China, 2220, 0.2
    Numbers are supposely from september, but I know that Germany is at >3000000 lines right now, so maybe they're not too accurate (or Germany's market is growing real fast... :-))

    Look out for China, it'll lead this ranking soon, just because of being HUGE.

  • Good points but (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tmortn ( 630092 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @02:59PM (#4900303) Homepage
    Lots of people are pointing out the issue of population densities which are in inhibition on the ability of DSL to penetrate the market.

    However in the US there is also a real problem with the control the phone companies have over the telephone infrastructure. Not that they don't have a right to control of something they invested in but where the phone companies are not diving into DSL they are charging the DSL providers an arm and a leg to install and modify customer connections.. sometimes as much as 50-100 bucks simply to follow a customer through an address change.

    Ultimately both cable companies and Phone companies have to integrate new technologies to add broadband net connection capabilities but for DSL providers there is the additional 'access' to the infrastructure charges that the cable providers are largely not having to deal with. To add insult to injury in most cases where the phone companies are attempting to provide DSL service themselves they are charging only a minimal amount less than non-phone company providers.. and generally tie those rates to using them for your phone service provider as well.

    Population density is only part of the story... if you check census data you will find that the majority of the US population lives in fairly dense poplation areas.. DSL could easily have more users in the US if it were not for the issues presnted by the phone companies... as is cable companies have embraced broadband access much more readily and have thus secured a competitve edge.

    In the long run I think both are doomed... the cost of a physically wired infrastructure is insane, creating, maintaining and updating. Countries on the scale of the US face and even larger problem in trying to maintain and update its many sparsely populated areas. On the other hand Wireless technologies are rapidly maturing to the point of being able to replace a wired infrastructure. In fact in many countries cellular services have all but replaced land line phone services. The same will happen in the US and in the rest of the world I imagine. .... Now if only we could figure out a way to do away with those unsightly power lines to boot.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:01PM (#4900324) Homepage
    "If you show a politician some of these numbers, this should get them into action," Rodey said.

    What's the problem? The product is available and more people sign up every year. Wait a few years, and everybody with disposable income who wants a fast Internet connection will have one.

    What the telcos are really whining about is competition. They want the third-party providers, like Covad, to go away, so they can have a protected monopoly with unregulated prices.

  • My experiences... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wumarkus420 ( 548138 ) <wumarkus&hotmail,com> on Monday December 16, 2002 @03:19PM (#4900490) Homepage
    As a college student, I have lived in numerous places and have had first-hand experience with 3 different cable connections (Adelphia, Cox, and Comcast), and 4 different DSL providers (Covad, Sprint FastConnect, Verizon, and my current provider - Cavalier Telephone). In every single case, DSL has been the most reliable and consistent connection for me. First of all, I do not understand how the $10 cheaper price for cable makes any sense. Cable is actually $5-$10 more expensive for people who aren't already cable subscribers. For us people with DirecTV - paying the cable companies is something we find insulting. Second - uptime. Cable service in my area (northern virginia) has a tendency to go out more often than the electricity. Thunderstorms are a 99% guarantee of downtime with cable modem service for us. Even if there is a network outage, I almost never see a DSL sync drop out, even during heavy storms. Third - bandwidth consistency. Adelphia offered me 3Mbps. Guess what, I was lucky to get 512Mbps even on a Sunday afternoon. I would honestly take a 768kbps DSL connection over a 1.5Mbps cable connection that wasn't consistent. Of course, all of these are related to my personal experience, and I cannot speak for anyone else. I'm sure there are plenty of people with crappy DSL service and excellent cable providers. However, that has not been the case in the DC area for myself. And the PPPoE argument is pointless. Get yourself a Linksys router and you won't know the difference anyways.
  • by CKW ( 409971 ) on Monday December 16, 2002 @04:15PM (#4900863) Journal
    I don't buy all these "we're too thinly populated" excuses from America. Canada isn't any more heavily industrialized than America, and yet our DSL providers are *way* ahead of yours.

    I think the heart of it is something in the culture and management of the respective telco industries in each country. Canadian telco's embraced DSL as their future, and worked hard to have the infrastructure in place. In Canada ILEC's are forced to share their back ends with third party DSL providers, and so far they haven't resorted to dirty tricks.

    In the US, it sounds like they're dragging their feet, and crying loudly about not wanting to share their lines. Not only that, but it sounds like a lot of your copper is pretty crappy (rain taking out DSL service??, never heard of it up here), and your CO's spread thinly - I'm guessing that it's a result of "cheapest at all costs" operating methods.

    There are 48, yes forty-eight, different DSL providers in Toronto. I've got 3500 kbps DL and 800 kbps UL for $70 CDN per month, available to over 30% of Canada's population, growing all the time. More than half of Canada has access to 1200/160 DSL service. And my Mom will have access to DSL in RURAL SASKATCHEWAN (one town of 1000 people every 20 miles) in two years.

    You need to quit making excuses, and start screaming at your corporate and governmental "masters" for better results.

Philosophy: A route of many roads leading from nowhere to nothing. -- Ambrose Bierce