Hein (fub) wrote,

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Triple Play

The new magic word in the telecommunications business (at least here in the Netherlands) is 'Triple Play'. It means that telecom operators offer you both internet, telephone and television for a special price. Apparently, it is the Holy Grail of marketing.

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!
Tags: technology

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