Thursday, September 27, 2007

Qwest IPTV?

As a telecommunications consumer, I'm actually just as much a throw-back as I am an advanced user. On one hand, I need multi-megabits so I can look at video via the Internet and also for transfer of large files with clients. On the other hand, we need regular old fixed-line voice-over-copper telephone service.

So imagine the surprised look on the face of the Qwest installer when she saw that we wanted three analog POTS lines to our house. But that's what we have: one for my business, one for my wife's and one as our "regular" home phone (which we don't give out anymore because we're more reach-able via our business or mobile lines, but that's another story).

Anyway, after she finished the installation ("I haven't done one of these in more than six months!"), she commented that Qwest was going to begin upgrading the switches in neighborhoods of our town, Issaquah (Washington).

Technician: "They're going to start with the fiber-fed switches first, so your neighborhood will be early."

Me: "So what's our available bandwidth now?"

Tech: "About 1.5mbps, but it's going up to at least five."

Me: "What kind of switch do we have down the hill?"

Tech: "AT&T? No - Lucent!"

Me: "Stinger?"

Tech: "Yes, that sounds right"

Me: "ADSL? ADSL-2? ADSL2+? Pair-bonded? ..."

Tech: "Well they were talking about doubling up the feeds from the line cards."

Me: "That might deliver enough for video."

Tech: "That's what I'm hearing."

Me: "MPEG-2? MPEG-4? HDTV?..."

Tech: "I haven't heard those terms..."

So I guess it will be awhile before they train up their field personnel, but it might be soon. Now that she's gone, I kick myself for not asking "when?"

Still, this is more than I probably would have heard from a Qwest executive. Promising. I hope it's soon - I can't wait to dump our surly cable company (from whom we DON'T take TV).

Right now, we have (I counted them) nine communications service providers: Qwest (local phone), Comcast (broadband/data/Internet), Dish (TV & PVR), Sprint (Long distance), T-Mobile (mobile phones), Go Daddy (my wife's Web host), 1 & 1 (my Web host), Earthlink (personal email) and eFax (digital fax service).

I think we'd become a triple-play customer in a NY minute, given the opportunity. Plus, given the business I'm in, I'm sorta pre-disposed to favoring the Telcos.

The other lesson? Always talk with the technicians. They're your friends!

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