Years ago, Internet access felt more like a luxury than a necessity – but fast-forward to today, and the situation has certainly changed. Now, it seems more people than not would consider Internet access to be a necessity. We use it to pay our bills, to research, to keep in touch – and of course, to post pictures of our food on social media. Internet access has become a given, something we’re simply not willing to go without.
That reality leads to another: Some houses are better than others because of their Internet access options. This is something that Seth, who wrote to The Consumerist, found out the hard way. After checking with both Comcast and CenturyLink in advance to see if his new potential home would be serviceable – and was told that it was – he went ahead with the purchase. The euphoria of owning a new home didn’t last for too long, though.
Seth’s soon-to-be-old home
For those interested in all of the details, I’d recommend hitting up the article at The Consumerist because it’s far too lengthy to rehash all of the details here.
After moving in and finding out that he didn’t in fact have Internet access, Seth battled with both Comcast and CenturyLink to a mind-numbing degree, ultimately reaching the conclusion that he wouldn’t ever be getting service from either of them.
ISPs claim that the Internet access situation in the US is great, so Seth began to explore other options. Unfortunately, all of them bring a number of caveats, from either not being available even when they say they are, or carrying exorbitant costs (such as a business line for $600/mo). Since living in his new home, Seth has relied on his mobile phone to get online, but the costs and limitations prohibit that from becoming a long-term solution. Satellite isn’t an option, either, as Seth requires VPN access, and satellite latency prohibits it.
Ultimately, Seth is without options, and thus he’s on the path of having to sell his home – something that’s going to result in a substantial financial hit. We could easily blame Seth for not having enough foresight to investigate the Internet situation at his potential home better, but not one ISP guaranteed him service, but two.
Being an Xfinity home is never guaranteed
None of this surprises me much, as I’ve experienced much the same thing when moving into a new apartment. I felt confident in the choice because a popular ISP here, Bell, said I’d be able to carry over my high-speed DSL (25Mbps) to the new location. Once I arrived, I realized that wasn’t in fact the case. Instead, I was knocked-down to 5Mbps, and I hate to admit how long I put up with it for. Ultimately, I decided to sign my soul over to Satan (aka: Rogers), because the 80Mbps I get now for about $10 more a month is worth it.
A major problem with all of this is that ISPs don’t seem to even understand where they can serve – or, they could be misleading us all on purpose. The Broadband Progress Report, which is produced by the FCC, claims that 4% of all Americans are without good access to the Internet. That’s a number that could be throttled simply because areas said to be covered are not – such as in Seth’s case.
Two things can be learned here: The Internet infrastructure in the US still needs work, and if you’re planning to buy a new home, this issue is just one more that you’ll have to worry about.