How my grandparents' home connection got 100x faster than my server's

Tags: computers, real life.
By lucb1e on 2013-06-09 22:38:42 +0100

Reggefiber is putting down FTTH connections to most people around here. Much of the network up to the local exchange points is already optic fiber, only now it goes from the local exchange point to your home over fiber. This is quite a massive operation to connect thousands of homes, and at least 30% of the people have to do it to make it worthwhile. Most cities reach 30% and can then choose which ISP they want. Reggefiber just puts down the connection, they don't provide the internet service itself; nevermind that they're 51% owned by one of the ISPs, namely KPN, but on paper they're unbiased.

So my grandparents are almost 80 years old. Quite active people, they don't need anyone's help and live completely by themselves (can't say that of everyone). My grandfather has between 5 and 11 percent vision, which is legally blind. He never got money from the government for it though, they had a flower shop and things worked out without help. Quite impressive if you ask me, practically everyone else sits at home receiving government payment.

Nearly ten years back they quit the flower shop, and their full-time employee took it over with his wife. Now some dude called Reggefiber comes by and asks them whether they want optic fiber. The story is that with a fiber connection, you're finally ready for the future. Of course they believed it, and it would be good for people hiring the flower shop downstairs (they still own the building). A modern connection is a selling point, right?

Although right now it's not really all that useful to have a fiber connection as a flower shop with two elderly people living above it, it's still a selling point, especially if they can get the connection for free and are prepared for future expansion.

However, that's not what they were told.

You had to get a service contract of at least a year before you would get the cable. That's entirely false. You get the cable even if you won't be using it, for free. They were never told this. Same story in the town I live in; we were told the same thing.

Moreover, how would you expect those elderly people to know which kind of contract they want? They basically had to rely on what the seller told them.

I didn't experience the last 50 years myself, but looking at companies that are not in the tech business (and that existed 50 years ago), it seems the world became quite screwed up. If you ask a car dealer what car you should take when you're eighty years old, they won't give you a family car that goes very fast but doesn't have features like air conditioning or a radio. (Why no radio? I'll get to that.) However, if you ask someone selling fiber what subscription you should take, they sell you a 100/100 connection. 100mbps download, 100mbps upload.

They had 1.5 download and 0.4 upload, and were completely happy with that.

They sell them a Ferrari that goes 350km/h, despite the fact that they don't even drive on highways.

No actually I got an even better comparison: they need 1.5 and are getting 100. If this was about cars, and the fastest they ever drive is 80, then basically what they're getting right now is a car that goes five times the speed of sound.

Then again, it was for a fairly reasonable price. Much more than they need of course, but a reasonable price for the speed nevertheless. Wish my father would find it a reasonable price and we'd get that speed here...

So that's how they're getting a 100/100 connection. Tech advances in a way that many people don't know what they need, ask the sellers what they need, and then the sellers get Dollar-signs in their eyes. "Ha! Another pair of unknowing people that we can give an arbitrary amount to pay us." Oh and guess which company sells it to them? KPN, the guys that practically also own Reggefiber.

Turns out they're also getting television from KPN (they currently have Ziggo). They have 4 TVs around the house (two of which have a decoder for more channels, the rest has only the basic channels but needs no decoder), two radios, and a couple VHS recorders are connected. About six coax connections in total. Now, with fiber, they'll be getting two decoders. And a decoder is required to replace each and every coax connection. The expensive radios, speakers (custom built by a family member), two out of four televisions, and four VHS recorders, all became useless because they were told that this package is what they needed. Even with more decoders, you can't connect the radios anymore, or so they tell us.

Then the telephone system. Two base stations and four wireless phones. Guess what? You can connect only one. Just what they needed...

Where is it going to stop? It seems the tech companies only stop pulling your leg when they've run out of technologies to exploit and oversell. But we're not done yet. So far this was only my grandparent's part. What about the flower shop downstairs?

Haha accepting debit cards, nope you can't do that with fiber! Yeah when you buy some extra equipment, then you can use it.

The people hiring the place were smart enough to stay away though. They came into the picture late enough that the story of having to get a year of service just for the cable was already busted. They're having the fiber thing laid down, but not connected. With ADSL and a normal phone line, all existing equipment works fine, including accepting bank cards. No need to change all the equipment put down in the sixties or seventies. Yeah fifty year old equipment. All that old stuff still works without issues and is perfectly interoperable and can reach speeds of, surprise surprise, up to 100mbps.

It's amazing what we can do with technology nowadays.
Another post tagged 'real life': Argument against teachers refusing to give you a 100% score

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