SamKnows Whitebox Stats
Long post, mostly venting/ranting my frustrations for the first time in a long time, my apologies if you've heard this broken record before from others:
This shows the test results in the past 11 months from my SamKnows whitebox line monitor, which performs a variety of tests every few hours. As you can see, it was relatively smooth sailing from last August until recently. This has been the pattern for the past few years.
Everything is fine for several months at a time with speeds of 1536/768. No connection drops, no noticeable packet loss, very smooth. Then suddenly I start having problems like this, when I'm dropped back to 1024/640, or worse, 640/640 or 640/256 and only a phone call or chat with technical support can bring the speed back up. After asking that the speeds be permanently fixed to what I should get, I've been told by several support people that this "throttling back" is done automatically by an automated system, with no manual override to make my proper speed "stick". I've also been told that this should be a short-term thing when it happens (I think the term used was "conditioning" or "provisioning"), with explanations on how long it will last ranging from "a few hours" to "a few days". I've waited as long as a week, and only talking to technical support and begging them to return me to the speed I had ever resolves this problem, sometimes only short-term, sometimes for a few months.
I do have very poor line quality (although most of it is distance-related, not a dirty line I've been told), with a loop length measured by the modem at 20,100ft, SNR margins normally around 10/6 and attenuation near maximum (63/31). After more than half a dozen truck rolls over the years (maybe closer to a dozen now) I'm afraid nothing short of a serious neighborhood upgrade like a remote terminal will solve the problem for good.
I've been told for years that "it's coming", and it never does.
I hope that with the recent decision to expand Centurylink Prism IPTV into Colorado Springs, that this might actually have a small chance of changing. But after such a long time, it feels like a -really big- maybe.
Unfortunately I and my neighbors have no other serious broadband option, aside from expensive and limited satellite and 3G/4G wireless. I've used 3G from three different providers (AT&T, Sprint & Cricket), and while it was relatively fast 4-5 years ago, now it's normally saturated to dialup-like speeds (worst ever was 12k down, average about 40k on Sprint) in my cell, no doubt from people attempting to use it as a full internet solution. Even dropped calls are common.
It's very frustrating, I've contemplated moving *just* to have reliable internet access for a change, but I just don't have the resources. This isn't exactly a rural area, either. I live within mere blocks of three 50+ room hotels, a 12-storey office building, a highschool, Interstate 25, two department stores, three gas stations, and numerous homes, apartments and small businesses. This neighborhood has been here for over 50 years. It's been 10 years since I first had DSL service here, and it's still the same "1.5Mbps on a good day, with the planets perfectly aligned" now as it was back in 2002, and I wonder if this area will remain a broadband hell forever.
I'm not asking for much, just the ability to have one standard-definition Netflix or Youtube stream without waiting for buffering literally half of the time.
Of course, being able to have a few HD streams would be nice too.
I read the front page news regularly, I know I'm not alone.
But when you can't flee to a cable company, I get the feeling that 4G/5G may be my only hope.
That is, if it ever gets to the point where watching a single HD movie doesn't use enough expensive bandwidth to wipe out your life savings and require a second mortgage.