When I first moved here, I had a brilliant connection to the Interweb.

It was a 56K modem.

Many happy days were spent watching a simple file download, while Herself spat feathers as I was tying up the phone line.  It was cheap because I had somehow [*cough*] discovered a special line that the phone engineers used to test connectivity.  In other words, it cost me nothing.

After a couple of years they must have discovered my little ploy because they changed the password.

Inconsiderate bastards.

So I started on an expedition to find myself a wee drop of broadband.  I phoned the phone company.  Oh, how they laughed!  "Broadband?" says they.  "You must be fucking joking!  Yiz live up the fucking mountains so just put that little idea out of your head for at least a century,"

After a year or so of expensive [and therefore rare] dialing into the Interweb I heard of a company that was installing a wireless kind of setup.  They were in Skobieville which is miles away, but I phoned them anyway.  Oh how they laughed!  "A connection?" says they.  "You must be fucking joking!  Yiz live fucking miles away so just put that little idea out of your head for at least a century,"

I persisted.  I told them I could see their mast on a very clear day and if I used a very powerful pair of binoculars.  They eventually sent out an engineer, obviously to try to get rid of me.  But said chappie found that I actually had a signal.  I signed up, and they installed a mast on the house.  I had broadband!

A year or so after that my connection suddenly stopped working.  I phoned them.  "Ah yes" says they, "We twiddled the mast so it no longer points in your direction.  Tough shit.  We'll send someone out to collect all the equipment and it was nice knowing you."

Sure enough, a week or so later, a van arrived to remove the aerial and all the other shit.  I told 'em to fuck off.  I told 'em that there was another mast that they had just erected and it was much nearer.  Oh how they laughed!  They said that mast wasn't visible from my house and they fucked off, but at least I kept the equipment as I wouldn't let them on the roof.

I rang the company.  I told them about the new mast [in case they didn’t know] and how I wanted to be connected to that.  They said it wasn't visible from my house.  I sent them a photograph of their mast taken from my roof.  They sent out an engineer and he relocated my equipment and gave me my broadband back.

I have been using it now for many years.  It's solid and reliable.  It is supposed to give me 3Mb [down and up] and in practice it's just that.  Never varies.  Always constant.

Speed test

I have a problem though.

As the years passed a load of trees have grown up and are about to block my line of sight.  Nature is about to deny me a connection, and there is fuck all I can do about it except install higher and higher masts on my roof.

There is a steel cabinet out on the road.  It's quite handy as I can stand on it to cut part of the hedge.  I discovered recently that this is in fact a fibre cabinet and if I connect to it I will get 100mb.  The ony problem is that it isn't working just yet.  They say it will be in operation within the year.

If I connect to it, it will cost a fair bit more, but for the price I can do away with the phone and probably the satellite, so there would be a net profit at the end of the year.  In fact I would save quite a bit and get a really fast connection.

I'm happy with my 3Mb.  It suits my needs and I couldn't normally justify the connection, except that I would be saving a bit and I wouldn't have to worry about those damned trees.

So it's just a question now of who gets there first.

The fibre connection or the trees.


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The Need for Speed — 11 Comments

  1. I'd put my money on the trees, GD.

    What surprises me about your speed test is that you have the same speeds for both upload and download. At home, I get on average about 12Mbps download (from a supposed 24Mbps connection) and about 3Mbps upload speed. I just did a speed test here (I'm in Patras at the mo), where I'm using my phone as a WiFi hotspot for the laptop, and I'm getting 8Mbps download, and 1Mbps upload. I thought it was always a slower upload speed, wherever you are, but obviously not.

    • I think you're probably right.  What's worse is that I only have one long pole left, though raising the aerial further should give me some grace.

      The crowd that [reluctantly] provide my service are the only ones that provide a synchronous connection.  It has always been three up and down, whereas others offer a higher download and a lower upload if you follow my drift.  Only a few of the others offer a service here and seeing as mine is so reliable, I never shifted to another carrier.

      Of course my service is bound to collapse any minute, now that I have been singing its praises……..

  2. It's tough living in the bogland of third world Eire. Here's what Confucius said about thwarted mountainy people:

    “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” 

  3. It's 4:30ish in the afternoon here so all the kids are home from school and online.  The best I could get was 87 down and 12 up.  If I test it in the morning I get well over 100 down and 20 up.

    • I wonder though what real difference there is between 3 and 100?  I know that sounds daft, but the only time that really comes into play is when streaming videos or downloading large files.  The average web page is small enough that the increase in speed is not really that significant.  The only time it would really affect me is when watching a streamed film, and it takes a while to buffer it before I can watch it, but I can wait!

  4. We're in the same boat, and had roughly the same story. Local ISP came up did a survey and said 'no go'. I went down to the farm where the mast is (with binoculars) and was able to see the end of our house (to the left of some trees). Asked them to come back with a 'trust me' sort of approach. Their engineer, who is a nice guy but very cynical, had to leave with tail between legs after successfully connecting us up. I now watch those trees every spring and wonder when the prob will hit.

    They're deciduous trees so I guess we could have 'seasonal internet' !!

    • Indeed the two histories are very similar [I'd say they were the same company but I know they aren't].  The one big difference though is that my trees are coniferous and growing at a great rate.  At least you'll have a connection in Winter?

  5. Oh, and before the broadband we too also had the old Eircom dial-up connection. Every spring the connection would drop from an average of 48kbps to 24 or if lucky 32. I rang their service centre and they explained that it was down to sheep farmers turning on their electric fences! yeah, right!

    • Hmm, just got curious about the electric fence thing and a bit of googling implies they were'nt actually bullshitting me!

      • How about an entire suburb of Dublin that used to lose all television reception because a bloke was shaving?  No kidding!  Actually happened.  Must write about it sometime.

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