Step 2 is the hard part.

Matt Ginzton writes here.

State of the Last-mile Internet Connection, Year 2003

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In 2003 when I moved to San Francisco, I didn’t look around too hard but just signed up for the Speakeasy DSL connection that I had wanted before, and which was actually available at my new address.

I kept that connection for 5 years until I moved in 2008, and it worked out pretty well, though the speed was more impressive for 2003 than for 2008. Said speed: 6mbps down, 768kbps up, the fastest I’ve seen deployed in the US for standard ADSL (not ADSL2+).

The good: the connection was reliable; Speakeasy was easy to deal with; their tech support people were clueful; their policies were customer-friendly (no caps, no restrictions on server hosting or sharing my network with others); pricing was transparent and up-front. (Some of these shouldn’t even count as benefits, but compared to a lot of the competition, they are, so I list them.)

The bad: it was expensive ($116/month for “naked” DSL with a static IP and no phone line); no faster speeds were available. (They eventually rolled out a 15mbps ADSL2 service that would reach me, but the cost was really high — over $200/month.)

When I first moved in and got this service, I chose it because it was the fastest DSL connection available, I’d heard bad rumors about cable modems not reaching their advertised speed because of neighbor traffic (which I’ve since found to be untrue, but that’s a story for another time), and I wanted to deal with a company whose priority was the data network, not propping up an aging TV or telephone business. I was pretty happy with this over the years, but by 2008, I probably would have bailed on DSL and gone to cable internet even if I hadn’t moved.

(Note: all of the Speakeasy experiences described here were true at the time, before Speakeasy was acquired by Megapath. While I haven’t been a customer since, I don’t think all of these advantages are true any more; namely, the DSL lines have usage caps and it’s no longer possible to get a straightforward price quote from their web page. RIP, customer-friendly policies.)