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Subject:  Re: Local DSL vs Comcast Cable Date:  4/14/2006  10:46 AM
Author:  Chopec Number:  32616 of 71046

If you're considering not going with a big provider (tying into the university system suggests you are), make sure that they aren't going to hassle you about using a Mac. There is absolutely no reason you can't use a Mac, but some companies are bitchy about it. And not consistently bitchy, either.

I've had a cable modem with the only cable provider in this area since they were first available ( 2000, I think). Several times I've been told "we don't support Macs" when calling because my internet connection went down. Since I'm a web professional, I knew that the trouble was not my Mac, so a lot of persistence would always force them to fix the problem. But it was a hassle.

I've noticed that this happens less nowadays, and the latest tech they sent out didn't even bother to whip out his Windoze disk to try to install software I didn't need. But I may have just been lucky.

So I wouldn't worry about this if you're going with a national provider, but if you're going with someone local, try to find out if this is going to be a problem.

The only other thing to consider about cable modems is whether or not the cable company is in the middle of major upgrades to their network. If they are, your cable modem service might suffer constant service interruptions. I dealt with that for a little over a year when what is now Comcast was upgrading its network to supply digital cable and on-Demand programming in this area.

The companies won't tell you if they're doing this; you have to be a sleuth. But sometimes it is possible to figure it out (search the web, check out what services they offer (or plan to offer), and look at the press statements and annual reports).

My cable modem connection is quite good these days. Switching to DSL might be a tad cheaper (I bundle my ISP with digital cable for a discount), but I don't want the hassle of setting up a new ISP.

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