I have a small business client located in the North Shore, an area immediately north of Chicago. They’ve been connected to the Internet via a DSL connection from MegaPath DSL. Every time I’ve been at their office and have done any serious downloading, I was amazed at how slow their connection was. I have them on hosted Exchange, and Outlook 2003 in cached mode performs admirably. But when it comes to significant downloads — well let’s just say I’m glad there is a coffee maker nearby. Let me give you some hard numbers from a speed test I ran from dslreports.com:

Speed Test #41883941 by dslreports.com
Run: 2007-12-15 15:39:57 EST
Download: 129 (Kbps)
Upload: 134 (Kbps)
In kilobytes per second: 15.7 down 16.4 up
Tested by server: 56 java
User: 2 @ dslreports.com
User’s DNS: dsl.net

To add insult to injury, the rates they are being charged are insanely expensive for what they are getting. I can’t remember exactly what they pay MegaPath, but what I do remember is the reaction I had when their office manager told me — disbelief. So I counseled them on what their options were and helped them seek out alternatives. Although Comcast has service in their area, they don’t have any Coax pulled into their office suite, so I put that on the back burner (although it may quickly move to the front burner). We spoke to AT&T about getting their DSL service — and it only reinforced my opinion that they like sell first, and worry about service availability later. It’s going on the fourth day of a supposed “outage in the area” as we haven’t been able to fully activate the AT&T DSL modem yet. We’re going to try once more, then return the modem kit and tell them to take a hike. Even if we were to get the modem lit up, the fact that they’ve had an outage of this magnitude doesn’t exactly instill confidence in their service. What is their motto, “Your World, Delivered.” As if.

I have to wonder if there is just some kind of infrastructure issue in the immediate area — based on the horrible DSL speeds from MegaPath, and the non-availability of AT&T’s DSL service (so far). And yes, we were told by AT&T that the service location was well within the maximum distance from their CO for stable service. Again, I think they are so eager to sell packages, that whether they work or not is secondary. So, we may see what Comcast can do in terms of bringing Coax into their office suite, then try out one of their high-speed Internet offerings. Stay tuned.