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Pivot.net page on DSLReports
No six month summary.
Closed to new reviews.

Reviews:
bullet 7 reviews (0 good) (3 bad)

Review by spnvdwtzsrt

  • Location: lancel
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Good "lancel pas cher"
Bad "lancel pas cher"
Overall "lancel pas cher"

A photos are secondary - we need interesting banter, soulful doubt, gripping streams of reviews bursting away from your photos.

(review was emailed from domain gmail.com)
lodged 1.8 years ago

Comments:






Review by jmaraia See Profile

  • Location: Burlington,Middlesex,MA
  • Cost: $47 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 17 days
Good "None"
Bad "Intermittent connection"
Overall "Go with a Cable Connection"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

I have not had good success with pivot.net or their tech support team. I was blocked from forwarding email to other accounts. My connection routinely times out. I will look into time warner.

member for 7.5 years, 11 visits, last login: 2.6 years ago
lodged 6.7 years ago

Comments:






Review by dayylin See Profile

  • Location: Vienna,Kennebec,ME
  • Cost: $34 per month
  • Install: about 2 days
  • CLEC party: Commtel
Good "Better than dialup, fairly reliable"
Bad "Outsourced helpdesk that is clueless"
Overall "More reliable than Adelphia. Ok til something better arrives"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

I did the self install. Install is easy as I didn't rely on anyone else. I used to lead the CommTel support team and had to explain to the the helpdesk that I was just trying to verify that the system was down. They are located down south and had NO clue.

The customer service side ( I talked to the folks in Winthrop), are pretty good. Then again, I have worked with them before.

Overall, the CS was better than Adelphia and while the speeds don't always compare favorably, it's not too bad.

member for 11.7 years, 277 visits, last login: 5.6 years ago
lodged 9.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by krispen0 See Profile

  • Location: Augusta,Kennebec,ME
  • Cost: $45 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 30 days
Good "It isn't Adelphia"
Bad "Clueless scripted technical support, frequent lengthy outages, no servers"
Overall "Given Adelphia and pivot, I barely choose pivot"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

I've had Pivot.net for over three years, since I moved into my house in early 2001.

It was expensive to start, but they've become realistic with their pricing of late. They also bumped up the speeds, which was nice. It is generally pretty usable, but when it sucks, oh boy does it suck.

Every couple of months there will be an outage to last all night. A couple times a year the connection will be down all weekend. Given they don't call in anyone unless there's a major outage, you're screwed for the weekend. Absolutely screwed.

Technical support was at least competent up until a few months ago when they decided to outsource to a company in North or South Carolina who can do nothing but read scripts. "Did you restart your computer?" "No, but I restarted the networking process." "You need to restart Sir." "No, I don't. " "Yes sir, you do." "Okay, fine, I just restarted. It's still broken" "Okay, let's try... " and they continue the script. Once they realize that they have completed the script and that no rebooting of anything actually helps, they say "we'll put in a service call for you... " "When will I expect a call back?" "Oh Sir, we don't know that." "I'm requesting a call back in two hours." "We can't do that Sir, we just pass it on to the local provider." "Well, pass on that I'm requesting a call back within two hours." "Sir we can't.... " blah blah blah.

Even management has been poor. I was promised a month refund and received about $3.85 instead of $38.50. I didn't bother to call to correct it. It simply wasn't worth my time.

I have a static IP, which always screws things up. Once I remind them of this, they go "Oh, ok... " and generally it magically gets fixed shortly thereafter. Most of my problems tend to be focused on authentication. DSL lines are fine, but I can't authenticate. Tech support rarely could help before, but now tehy can't do ANYTHING until they run their script and have me reboot everything.

There was a nice time when they cranked up my speed to 7 meg download (configured) and it was pretty damn fast, but that was an error they soon corrected.

I was shut off once because they thought I had an infected machine here. When I asked for the logs of what violating information they found, I couldn't get one. I asked for protocols, I couldn't get one. All I could end up getting was "there were connections to you from 64 different IP's all around the world... " Well, I do consult for people around the world, so that's not unusual. However, I moved some of my VPN things around and eliminated their sight of this issue.

I have a static IP, but it's close to useless without being allowed to run servers. I'm still waiting to hear on official permission to run some services. I asked a while ago and haven't heard, but my query is still in the loop AFAIAC.

My DSL CPE (customer premise equipment) recently stopped providing DHCP server to my network, so I finally replaced it with a Cisco 827. The previous one, the VisionNet ES200 (I think) was their answer to my previous issues with authentication. They threw hardware at my problem to fix it, which did nothing at all to fix it. The efficient networks CPE was okay, but they charged me $180 for it and now it's not even good enough to hold open my door.

It's not been great. Generally stable, but they also just posted that there's an upgrade window between 11 pm and 6 am, so not sure if this review will post or not. Which is another bother - WTF is up with these 11 pm maintenance windows?! That's what 4 am is for!

Sorry for the rantiness of the review, but it's been a difficult 3 and a half years under the thumb of this monopoly.

member for 10.2 years, 10 visits, last login: 8.8 years ago
lodged 10.2 years ago

Comments:

Review by xQim See Profile

  • Location: 01234
  • Cost: $45 per month
Good "Reliable (now), and fast"
Bad "Help desk is useless"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

I had moved into a rural area and went from Roadrunner to dial-up. I couldn't stand how slow 56k, or rather 33.6k which was what I was actually getting, so I looked into their DSL. The original DSL packages were really steep, $55/month for 256Kbps/96Kbps, ouch. I don't enjoy getting robbed, so I decided against getting the service. Awhile past, and the company finally established new packages and prices. In mid July I called up and ordered the DSLx package 768Kbps/128Kbps. The price was more reasonable $45/month, but nothing compared to the $35/month I was paying for Roadrunner.



I refused to sign the contract or have a tech that knows nothing, come out a fiddle with my computer. I found a way around this and got to install the DSL myself. I went to the local office and asked for a modem. Unfortunately, they didn't carry DSL modems at their office, so I had to wait a couple weeks. When the modem came in I just hocked it up and the internet came to life. The actual speed wasn't to bad, average was 630-670Kbps/80-100Kbps. I figure that's pretty good for 16500ft away. The service was solid for the first couple of weeks, and actually improved considerably during the third week. I was uploading a file and noticed that it was sending at 70k\s. I Checked the DSL log and wouldn't you know it, someone at the CO put my package as 3362Kbps/692Kbps. This service was splendid for 45 a month. However, good things never last forever. They found out, maybe coincidental or because I was abusing my luck, so my speeds returned to normal.

After being back to baseline the connection pretty much died. I think they were mad at how much bandwidth I used, I don't know. Anyways, the reliability went out the window. For four straight weeks in a row the DSL kick out on Friday night, just after they closed the offices for the weekend. Well, Pivot is closed on weekends, so I'd have to wait till Monday every single time to complain. I intially called the help desk, but realized they were/are useless. The reliability got so bad that the service was down more then it was up. It took them six weeks to actually send a tech out to check the issue, of course when no one was home. Back to the phone I went, and the complaining continued. A week later they sent another tech, this time I was home to intercept the visit. The tech came in, and checked the connection out. He had no idea what the problem was. He switched modems, tried my computer and his with no luck. He tested the line and it passed. This meant that the problem was on their side. I already knew this because of what the DSL diagnostics said. He said that he'd give the office a call and address the problem.

The next day I recieved a call from the supervisor in my area. He drove down to further examine the dilemma. After two hours and numerous phone calls he said the problem was in NY. Sounded kind of fishy, but he said it was with their backbone. Service should be fixed within 24hours. At this point I had experienced 24 full 24 hour days without service. I told him this and I got 2 months and a modem free.

My service came back up as said, but it was a bit rocky. Down speeds were considerably slow, 300Kbps. I e-mailed them and I women called and said that they were in the middle of upgrading.

The service now has improved immensily. It has been about a month no from the last time I had problems. Since then, the service hasn't gone down since. I also found a worm on one of the computers, which was causing the slow speeds. So that wasn't their fault. Like anything the DSL can't be perfect. The thing that bothers me the most now is that the modem has to run a firewall to function. The firewall blocks all pings so I can never find the best server. It is trial and error. Aside from that the DSL is respectable. Is it the best? No, far from. Does it do what I want it to do? Yes.

member for 11.4 years, 321 visits, last login: 40 days ago
updated 11 years ago

Comments:

Review by indigo31 See Profile

  • Location: Sebago,Cumberland,ME
  • Cost: $80 per month
  • Install: about 60 days
Good "Decent peering"
Bad "Expensive bandwidth:price ratio, interleaving lag, PPPoA, servers banned, PPPoA outages"
Overall "Get it if it's your only broadband choice"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:

This is my final update. I changed over to a full T1 line on March 10th and haven't looked back. Good riddance Pivot. My 4 years of service with them can be best summed up with the phrase, "broadband exile."

That said, if you are a casual user the service is ok, although if you are a gamer you will probably run into problems. I'd wager that Adelphia would be a better choice, and that's saying a lot. Certainly roadrunner is, so if you live in an area where that's available go with them. Both RR and Adelphia are much less than what pivot charges for comparable download speed.

If you are a power user like me and like to run your own servers, you'll have to move out of Maine or get a T1 line. There's really no other choice. I ended up getting a T1 from AT&T.

If you decide to get pivot's DSL, be prepared for PPPoA outages. They seem to happen on average once a month. When they happen, you will be unable to access the internet. The outages last anywhere between 3 and 18 hours.

Pivot has also banned servers, even though they used to permit them. They say it is because they had to change the Maine telephone AUP over to the Fairpoint one. They also say a lot of morons on the service here are running unsecured web and mail servers, which spammers find and exploit, getting pivot in trouble. They feel allowing servers is too much of a liability. In addition, since pivot has their own webhosting business, allowing servers is a conflict of interest for them.

I used to give them a passing grade since even with all their downfalls servers were allowed, but at this point, the bad far outweighs the good.

As far as their prices goes, they certainly set double standards. They told me they could not charge any less than they were right now because they wouldn't stay in business. And yet, they are rolling out a new wireless service in Windham, and the prices are as follows:

$100 install fee.

PivotAir Port $34.95

Access rate up to 768k downstream/128k upstream

PivotAir Plus $42.95

Access rate up to 768k downstream/384k upstream

PivotAir Premium $79.95

Access rate up to 1.5M downstream/512k upstream

Those rates are 50% less than the DSL ones. These guys are unbelievable.

Here's a list of Pivot's DSL offerings (all speeds are kbps unless otherwise noted):

128/128:

This is a new package they recently added supposively to compete with 56k. Problem is, their price for it is $35 a month. If they really want to compete with dialup, they need to drop the price about $15-20.

768/128

It costs $43 per month. This would be a reasonable price if it were 1.5Mbps down and 128kbps up, but as of now it's still less for more when compared to most areas in the US.

768/384

It costs $80 per month. If it were 1.5Mbps down and 384 up it would be in line with most offerings in the US.

1.5Mbps/512 package:

It costs $150 a month. Still out of reach for most, and with the interleaving and NAT problems, mostly a waste of money. And if they ban servers, what can possibly be the justification for spending this much money a month?

All DSL packages have an interleaving lag and NAT problem. This means you will be getting a 20-50ms ping to your first hop. It also means that you will be unable to use your own NAT device to share your connection, you are forced to use the DSL modem's NAT, which is usually shoddy at best and lacks features. You can get your own NAT device to work with the service if the modem has PPTP relay and your NAT device has a PPTP client. It's pretty hard to setup and get working, however.

It should also be noted that all DSL packages require a DSL modem, either purchased from pivot, or elsewhere. If you buy a modem elsewhere you need to ask them for a list of approved modems so it will work with their service. They do run promotions from time to time where you can get the modem for free if you're a new DSL subscriber.

Business package:

There is a 2Mbps symmetrical connection that can be obtained from pivot. It costs $715 per month and is still applicable to the terms & agreements, so servers are still banned on it. I feel sorry for anyone who gets duped into paying for this. Bottom line: Get a T1, it costs less and you'll be a lot better off (SLA, QoS, 24/7 tech support, etc etc)

I've noticed that during extended power outages the service stays up and running, so they have a good backup power system in place at the central office, which is a plus.

Well, that's my final review of Pivot. I am keeping my previous reviews on file below so you can read about their humble beginnings, so do not take any information below here as fact..

---- Previous update from April 2003 ----

Pivot and Maine telephone recently got bought out by Fairpoint New England. On April 17, 2003, pivot announced a price drop.

First off, they got rid of the $32 surcharge for having a DSL line. Second, they upped the bandwidth on their packages. This brings them more in line with a conventional DSL provider. I give them points for this, but, really, this should have been done back when they started the service.

Interleaving and NAT problems:

If you are looking to run a UT or other game server, look elsewhere. The DSL interleaving lag will make sure to keep your server empty of players. Pings to the first hop average 23ms in the 768/384 package (round-trip min/avg/max/mdev = 22.216/23.351/24.016/0.433 ms), and when I had the entry package (256/96 at the time) pings were double that. If you want to run a game server, you need to be sure your pings to the internet are less than 10ms.

Playing games isn't a problem, I usually get pings in the 40-100ms range, the average being around 60 or so. I don't usually play many games online these days, however.

Bandwidth usage:

In the early 2003, there were couple of months where I downloaded over 30 gigs and uploaded nearly 20. I never got a peep from pivot about this, and that is the way it SHOULD be. If anything changes, this review will be one of the first places I update.

---- Pivot.net from October 2002 to April 2003 ----

Servers:

They banned servers in September 2002, but they decided to reverse their ruling and are now allowing servers, but only if they do not host porn, copyrighted materials(like mp3s), or are unsecured (like open mail relays). Apparently there was a lot of complaining about them banning servers (which is justifiable, for the prices they charge the least they can allow is for servers to be run).

Interleaving lag:

After upgrading to the 768 package in October 2002 I noticed the lag to the first hop dropped by 50%. I now get pings in the low 20s for my first hop. That isn't bad at all compared to the 40ms it was before. It's borderline on whether a game server would be viable with that extra lag, but you may be able to get away with one. The lower ping certainly helps with gaming. The only snafu with this is that the lag to the first hop should be the same no matter which service you have (256/96, 768/256, 1.5M/512). One would almost think they were doing it on purpose to make more people get the 768 or higher DSL package.

Forced NAT:

There is a way, using PPTP, that you can actually bypass the Efficient's NAT and use your own NAT device (as long as it has a PPTP client built in). I have gotten this working after much trouble, but I now finally have a bridge like connection again. This is very nice after being behind the accursed Speedstream's NAT for 2+ years. In my opinion, this is the way it should be to begin with, and it was very hard for me to accomplish this seemingly simple request. I still think they should find a way to allow users to run the DSL modems in bridge mode like most other DSL providers, but at the very least I have accomplished this now. It's the way most tech-savvy people like to have their connection set up, because that person usually has his or her own firewall/NAT device they want to hook up the DSL modem to. One shouldn't have to fool around with TWO NAT devices (if he or she wants to use his or her NAT device) or be forced to accept the DSL modem as his or her NAT/firewall.

---- Pivot.net from October 2000 through October 2002 (contains outdated information, but is here for a history standpoint) ----

In the summer of 2000, I moved to Sebago from Casco, ME, where Roadrunner is. Time warner is not in Sebago, so I had no choice but to look into other options. Maine telephone first started offering DSL service in October of 2000. They were originally supposed to have DSL available by June of 2000, but they had their coodination problems and it kept getting pushed back.

In order to get the DSL service, I had to pay $500 for the DSL modem and another $100 for the install. They refused to let me rent the modem or buy my own. I had to buy it from them. In addition, since this is G.lite DSL, filters needed to be purchased for the phones on the line. Not a good start. Installation was troublesome, the modem did not sync up but they managed to fix that in 8 hours. Maine telephone charged $40 a month just for the right to have DSL on the phone line. An additional $20 a month got the basic DSL internet service, which is 256kbps download and 96kbps upload. Roadrunner at the time was 3Mbps down and 1Mbps up for $35 a month. So this was a big downgrade.

I was also dismayed to find a 50ms lag to the first hop, induced by interleaving on the DSL line. I tried multiple times to get interleaving turned off, but they claimed it was not possible to do. In addition, their clunky way of authentication, PPPoA, required that the DSL modem function as a router with NAT. I was at the mercy of the competancy of the NAT firmware coding in the modem. I believe the least they could do is fix their DSL so users could have the option of using the DSL modem in bridge mode. Not only does the router cause unnecessary hassle, but I could not even do pings or trace routes because the NAT firmware in the modem would not support it.

At first, only the 256/96 package was available. By February of 2001, 2 other packages had become available: 768kbps down/256kbps up for $80 a month (plus the $40 for the DSL line, totalling $120 a month), and 1.5Mbps down/512kbps up for $200 a month(plus the $40 for the DSL line, totalling $240 a month). Both prices are outrageously high when you consider that this is ADSL, not SDSL, not to mention the interleaving lag forced NAT problems. Just compare these prices/service to that of speakeasy's SDSL packages and you know what I'm talking about. Better yet, compare it to other telcos ADSL and you will see that the bandwidth/price ratio is probably one of the highest (if not THE highest) in the US and Canada.

Connection reliablity: This was not as good as it should be. There were often mysterious unexplained outages that occured even when the modem was in sync with the Central Office. Thankfully these usually got fixed within 1 hour, but they shouldn't have happened nearly as frequently as they did (it averaged about 1-2 times per week). The best part about this was 9 times out of 10 when calling tech support, they were not aware there was a problem and used their standard "reset the modem and restart the PC" line (which didn't fix the problem course).

Tech support: The tech support people were not very well educated in the DSL service to start, I had numerous times when one of them told me that this wasn't "in their training" or that they wished Maine telephone would give them more info about the DSL. This was finally resolved by mid 2002, but it's inexcusable to have a service released in Oct 2000 and then finally train your techs on it almost 2 years later. Other than the lack of coordination between maine telephone and their techs, I found that in the areas the techs had been trained on they did a more than satisfactory job.

Mail, DNS, News: Mail service was for the most part rock steady and reliable. I think there was only 2 outages on the mail server in the last 2 years. DNS was somewhat flakey, as they were slow to update their cache which can cause problems when a site changes the IP their domain name points to. Other than that, the DNS server had good uptime. News server? Was atrocious to start with, until early 2001 when they decided to contract out to newsfeeds.com. Retention and selection of groups then became much better, but an advertisement gets placed on all outgoing usenet posts. Unacceptable.

In the spring of 2001 I was having problems with IRC locking the DSL modem up because of the shoddy NAT firmware coding in it, so Maine telephone offered me a newer model that "only" costed $250 instead of $500. At first they refused to take the old modem back, but after much hassling and bitching I got them to take the old modem AND refund me the difference in price between it ($500) and the new one ($250, a speedstream 5660), which is what they SHOULD have done to begin with. The new modem fixed the lockup problem, but I still had to use it in router mode because of the PPPoA authentication.

member for 15.5 years, 2700 visits, last login: 211 days ago
updated 11.1 years ago

Comments: