Internet Withdrawl

Too much of anything can form an addiction. This is true for food, sex, alcohol, television … and even internet.

I live in a very connected state. I am typically on the internet in one form or another 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Recently, these forms expanded to include a simple eggdrop bot, and this simple website. I have the ability to connect to the internet with my PDA almost anywhere in North America and Europe, and of course, I'm connected while at work and at home.

This level of connectivity keeps me in touch with my digital and physical surroundings. When disconnected, I feel almost lost … mute, if you will. I no longer have the answer to the unknown. I no longer have access to the various places I work. I no longer have the ability to talk to some of my friends. And more importantly, I can lose the ability to easily talk to my Reiko.

For the past few weeks, Telus (my internet provider) has undergone several changes to their systems. Unfortunately, these changes often bring several days worth of unstable net connections. With these instabilities I find it difficult to collect the several gig worth of information that I enjoy every night after a day's work. I find it frustrating when I cannot chat on IRC with friends and aquaintances all over the world. And worse … I find it painful when I can't communicate with Reiko either in text, or with our webcams.

I do have backup methods to connect when Telus fails. However, these methods are often slower and more expensive than my main internet connection. I'm charged a premium by Telus because of the package I use, as well as the service level that I demand. Yet it seems that Telus consistently fails and never reports the reasons why. It has always been up to me to find the reason for the constant outages.

And unfortunately, my tools can only say so much.

Typically I cannot reach Telus during these outages, as their phone systems are over-loaded (pretty scary, since they're also the primary phone company in this province). Nothing is ever mentioned on their website afterwards. And it's equally difficult to find other power-users explaining why an outage had occurred.

Several weeks ago, Telus had upgraded their DNS servers. When this occurred without notice, I changed from Telus' servers, to those offered by OpenDNS. A week later, they stress-tested some of these servers for the Vista release, again without notice or warning, knocking tens of thousands of people offline.

Not one email or apology.

Phoning customer service never resulted in any decent answers, as often they're the last to know why things fail here and there. I can't really fault these operators either, because they could be thousands of kilometers away and have no way to access the local server statuses due to these failures.

I'm really at a loss about which direction to go with Telus. Their biggest competitor in the area is Shaw, and I refuse to go with that company. The remaining ISPs are little operations that would cost more than they're worth. So what option do I have?

I sometimes wonder if it would be worth moving to a commercial package. I could try to force information out of the company should their service be sub-par, then, as a business line is expected to have a higher Quality of Service. If they weren't five times more expensive than the residential packages, perhaps it would be worth it.

So come on, Telus! Give your customers some credit! We understand that things break, or need to be upgraded from time to time. But if you're going to knock us off the internet for the better part of a day, give us the courtesy of a generic email. Let us know what you're doing and when we can expect these things. Your competitors don't seem to have a problem doing this. Many people buy the premium packages expecting better service. But it seems that ever since this package upgrade, I've had nothing but problems.