Wednesday, when I was home on sickleave, someone rang the doorbell. It was someone from UPC, the local cable-monopolist. He wanted to talk to me about offering internet and phone services, but I invited him in to check out our cable-TV.
You see, soon after we had moved in, we lost the signal from the cable TV. We hadn't notified UPC of our move yet, so I filled in a form on their website. And lo and behold: we did receive the bills on our new address -- but no television. We hadn't missed it that much, so we hadn't undertaken any action to get the situation rectified.
But when someone presents himself on my doorstep, saying: "Hello Mr. Ragas! You have cable television from us..." then I will interrupt him and say: "Funny you should mention that..."
It turns out that this guy had been a UPC mechanic before he was 'promoted' to a door-to-door salesman, so he checked out the cabling (which looked fine to him), and he called the billing department to check it out. He couldn't fix it right away, but I expect to be called by a mechanic some time in the future.
Next, he started to explain to me that I paid too much for my connectivity, and did the whole Triple Play song and dance routine. I have my telephone from KPN, my ADSL from PN and the television from UPC -- and yes, if I did everything via UPC (or any of the bazillion other telecom operators who have jumped upon the Triple Play bandwagon), my bills would be a lot smaller.
The thing is, I live 3.5 km away from the phone exchange. I can only get 512 kbit down via ADSL (but while I thought at first that it would be too slow, I find that we manage quite nicely with this bandwidth). If I got my internet via cable, I could get 20Mbit down -- or at least, the package would be sold to me as if I could get 20Mbit down. I have it on good authority (a colleague who used UPC for his internet connectivity) that they routinely 'pinch' the bandwidth of people who use 'too much'.
In September 2000, I took a subscription to the UPC cable internet, and all was well in the world. But in November 2002, I was kicked off their network without propert notification because they thought 17GB of traffic was not 'fair' (as in: 'fair use policy'). It was then that I opted for the wide-open ADSL -- and I chose PN because they quantified their fair use policy.
When I told the friendly salesman that, he smiled apologetically, and said that data limits were a thing of the past. Nowadays, everybody says that -- but I guess that if I were to constantly saturate my download, people will notice.
Anyway, the only reasons I would have to switch to UPC would be bandwidth -- and we know that that is a shaky proposition. I am not impressed with the service UPC has given me in the past, but I am impressed with the service I got from PN.
Also, do I really want to introduce a single point of failure for all of my communications? Suppose I opt for UPC's Triple Play deal -- if my internet connection drops, I have no way to call them to notify them of this problem.
Thanks but no thanks, guys!