Discussion:
Sonic's surprising mandatory modem rental
(too old to reply)
Glenn Geller
2012-09-23 00:43:40 UTC
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Today while signing up a client via the Internet for Sonic's Fusion
service (which is a bundle: POTS line + DSL), I was about to
commit to the order when I noticed in the summary a modem-
rental fee of about $7.00 per month.

My client intends to use his own ADSL2+ modem and won't need
any Sonic equipment, so I called Sonic to find out how to delete the
modem from the order. They said that rental of the modem (a Pace
4111n, I think they said) is mandatory and that while he may use his
own modem on the service, the monthly rental fee is mandatory.

I was flabbergasted: mandatory modem rental seems so un-Sonic
and so Huge ISP-ish. Struggling to reconcile my long-standing
positive impression of Sonic with the modem mandate, I asked the
rep whether Sonic had recently been bought out or whether Dane
Jasper had stepped aside or become incapacitated. Nope, they
said. May I speak with a supervisor, I asked. None available,
they said. Good-bye, I said.

I'm suddenly wondering if Sonic's owners have commenced
the trashing of the Sonic brand by squeezing subscribers à la
AT&T and Comcast.

What do you folks think?


**********
9470913662
Glenn Geller
2012-09-23 01:16:29 UTC
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I now see this topic from July, which includes a posting from Dane Jasper
(second from last):

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups%23!forum/ba.internet%23!forum/ba.internet#!topic/ba.internet/6ftsr5Fzk-0

His posting partially addresses my concern, but these questions linger:

1. Sonic told me that my client could use his own ADSL2+ modem, so why
the mandatory rental fee for a modem that he won't use?

2a. Even if Sonic insisted that my client use a Pace 4111N , why can't my
client escape the mandatory rental fee by using his own Pace 4111N?
(They're $50 new on eBay, as here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/140855252592 )

2b. Or, putting it another way, why does Sonic charge a mandatory $84
per year (or $420 over five years) for rental of the very model that I can
buy for $50?
Steve Pope
2012-09-23 01:20:21 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
I now see this topic from July, which includes a posting from Dane Jasper
https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups%23!forum/ba.internet%23!forum/ba.internet#!topic/ba.internet/6ftsr5Fzk-0
1. Sonic told me that my client could use his own ADSL2+ modem, so why
the mandatory rental fee for a modem that he won't use?
I'd try calling Sonic back, perhaps you'll get a different salesperson
who will then drop the "mandatory" charge.

Steve
NoOp
2012-09-26 02:16:26 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
I now see this topic from July, which includes a posting from Dane Jasper
https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups%23!forum/ba.internet%23!forum/ba.internet#!topic/ba.internet/6ftsr5Fzk-0
1. Sonic told me that my client could use his own ADSL2+ modem, so why
the mandatory rental fee for a modem that he won't use?
2a. Even if Sonic insisted that my client use a Pace 4111N , why can't my
client escape the mandatory rental fee by using his own Pace 4111N?
(They're $50 new on eBay, as here: http://www.ebay.com/itm/140855252592 )
2b. Or, putting it another way, why does Sonic charge a mandatory $84
per year (or $420 over five years) for rental of the very model that I can
buy for $50?
<quote>
Post by Glenn Geller
Our new modem/router offering brings some advantages.
First, it's a better device than we have ever sold or "given away" in the
past. Fast sync speeds, a great analog front-end and nice features like
missing filter detection. It's WiFi-N is 2x2 (up to "300Mbps", which in
WiFi land seems to not mean what any of them say), good RSSI and a power
adaptive system that offers up to 400mw what needed. The Pace 4111N is
miles ahead of the ZTE bridges and routers we have most recently provided.
Second, it is integrated into our support and configuration systems. Other
ISPs have had this capability in place for years, but it's a first for our
call center. Our Agent Support Tool portal allows a technical assistance
employee to see things like whether there is interference with the WiFi,
dropped packets on the Ethernet, or if a filter is missing. This premise
level visibility should remove a lot of the guesswork in support when the
trouble is on the LAN side. We can also upgrade firmware if a bug is found
in future or new features become available. (We plan to use this to upgrade
the CPE to native IPv6 later this year.)
Finally, the cost covers rapid advance replacement if we ever suspect that
the modem is the source of any trouble with your link. Eliminating the
dialog "maybe it's your modem, do you have or can you go buy another one?"
is a huge win in my mind.
As Fusion "grows up", we are making choices that we think will improve the
customer experience and reliability. Supporting a hundred different modem
models doesn't scale well, and makes it challenging to deliver consistent
support and reliability.
</quote>

Wow... Smacks of AT&T's 'WirePro':
http://www.turn.org/article.php?id=524

Or at the very least:
<https://secure.dslreports.com/shownews/Comcast-Still-Faces-Cable-Modem-Fee-Lawsuit-117881>

I recall in Hong Kong many, many years ago, Cable & Wireless would do
the same. To help justify the charge they'd send in a guy once a month
with a duster & dust off the modems in the racks. I wonder if Sonic will
send someone to dust off your modem monthly as well.

I can understand the reasoning for Sonic to want to support only
certified modems - no argument there. However if a customer
owns/purchases a 'Sonic certified' modem why the charge?

BTW: this page shows $6.50 per month:
" Equipment fee of $6.50/mo. See See Equipment & Installation"

This one shows that you also have the honor of paying:
"$8.72 shipping will apply. Equipment rental subject to the Equipment
Policy" to have it sent to you.

Gotta love this:
<https://wiki.sonic.net/wiki/Equipment_Policy>
"Fusion & Legacy DSL residential service includes an equipment fee for
the modem/router. A shipping fee applies for delivery and return of the
equipment.

Customers who wish to use their own equipment may do so, however, the
equipment fee is required for service and the customer must retain the
rented equipment. "

Don't lose it...
" Equipment Return Policy

All rented modems and components must be returned within 30 days of
cancellation or your account will automatically be charged. If modem and
components arrive after the 30 day return window, but prior to 90 days,
these charge will be reversed. After 90 days, returns will not be
accepted. "

Of course there is no mention of how much you will be charged if you
lose their modem that they require you keep & has been sitting in a
closet for x months/years when you cancel. No mention of equipment
depreciation, no mention of replacement cost, etc., etc.

Other than Sonic firmware, I wonder how different their modem is from
this one from At&T for $100:

<http://www.att.com/equipment/accessory-details/?q_categoryid=cat2020062&q_sku=sku5520238&q_manufacturer=&q_model=>
David Kaye
2012-09-23 02:07:34 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
What do you folks think?
I think Sonic provides damned good service, so I wouldn't begrudge them an
extra $7 a month. If I were within Sonic's area I'd drop Comcast in a
minute and go with Sonic.

Just pretend that their monthly service is $7 higher. BFD.
Steve Pope
2012-09-23 08:00:10 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
I think Sonic provides damned good service, so I wouldn't begrudge them an
extra $7 a month. If I were within Sonic's area I'd drop Comcast in a
minute and go with Sonic.
Just pretend that their monthly service is $7 higher. BFD.
Well, it's worth beating on them anyway, regardless of how good
they are.

There is no extra $7 on my Sonic bill. Maybe I am "grandpersoned".

I actually haven't even turned on my Sonic modem in a year,
so maybe that is why.


Steve
Keith Keller
2012-09-23 18:14:50 UTC
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Post by Steve Pope
There is no extra $7 on my Sonic bill. Maybe I am "grandpersoned".
We are "grandpersoned". That might also be an explanation for the
ridiculous $7 charge--this way they can keep us and new customers on the
same base plan, and simply charge new customers the $7 fee. I imagine
that if our DSL modem broke they might try to make us switch to their
lease plan.

--keith
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sms88
2012-09-23 20:10:02 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Post by Steve Pope
There is no extra $7 on my Sonic bill. Maybe I am "grandpersoned".
We are "grandpersoned". That might also be an explanation for the
ridiculous $7 charge--this way they can keep us and new customers on the
same base plan, and simply charge new customers the $7 fee. I imagine
that if our DSL modem broke they might try to make us switch to their
lease plan.
I don't think so. You could still buy your own modem and put it into
service.

I think that having fewer modem models is a big help to their tech
support. But they should offer to sell you a modem.
Otto Pylot
2012-09-23 20:50:42 UTC
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Post by sms88
Post by Keith Keller
Post by Steve Pope
There is no extra $7 on my Sonic bill. Maybe I am "grandpersoned".
We are "grandpersoned". That might also be an explanation for the
ridiculous $7 charge--this way they can keep us and new customers on the
same base plan, and simply charge new customers the $7 fee. I imagine
that if our DSL modem broke they might try to make us switch to their
lease plan.
I don't think so. You could still buy your own modem and put it into
service.
I think that having fewer modem models is a big help to their tech
support. But they should offer to sell you a modem.
That's what I'm hoping for. We have Fusion with about 18Mbps download
(we're close to the CO, copper-wise) and are still using the Comtrend
CT-5072T gateway that they "gave" us when we switched up to Fusion. No
increase in our monthly charge and I expect it to stay that way until
the Comtrend fails and we have to replace it. I don't see why we can't
replace the gateway with whatever we want as long as we don't ask them
to service it. The only thing "special" about the Pace is the
proprietary software that Sonic loads on them for troubleshooting.
--
Deja Moo: I've seen this bullshit before. Please respond to: ***@invalid.net
replacing invalid with sonic.
David Kaye
2012-09-24 21:13:18 UTC
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Post by sms88
I think that having fewer modem models is a big help to their tech
support. But they should offer to sell you a modem.
I agree. AT&T is a perfect example of modems-gone-wrong. They must have 20
or 30 different varieties out there, and some are very tempermental.
David Kaye
2012-09-24 21:17:29 UTC
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Post by Steve Pope
Well, it's worth beating on them anyway, regardless of how good
they are.
No, it's not. Yeah, it's dumb marketing for whatever reason, but they're a
local company employing local people (nobody in India or even in Alberta),
and as I understand it, their staff turnover is low. They provide excellent
service, so again I say, why begrudge them the $7?

As for me I have to keep beating back Comcast's increased rates. Every few
months I have to threaten to leave or browbeat their rep into changing
something here or there to keep my rate low. Currently I'm at $114 a month
after they, unannounced, raised my service from $136 to $163.
Keith Keller
2012-09-24 21:30:28 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
As for me I have to keep beating back Comcast's increased rates. Every few
months I have to threaten to leave or browbeat their rep into changing
something here or there to keep my rate low. Currently I'm at $114 a month
after they, unannounced, raised my service from $136 to $163.
What services do you have for this price?

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
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David Kaye
2012-09-24 23:11:55 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
What services do you have for this price?
Internet and Digital Plus TV.

Do you consider this a high price or a low price?
Keith Keller
2012-09-24 23:33:56 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
What services do you have for this price?
Internet and Digital Plus TV.
Do you consider this [$114] a high price or a low price?
It seems high to me, but I don't know what's involved with your TV
package. The TV packages I've been looking at would put my internet +
TV at about $100/month. Since I expect Comcast to be cheaper in a
bundle, I'd expect a similar package to be $70-80/month ($20/momth for
internet, $60/month for TV, some discount for bundling).

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
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Marcus Allen
2012-09-25 04:58:57 UTC
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On Mon, 24 Sep 2012 16:11:55 -0700, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
What services do you have for this price?
Internet and Digital Plus TV.
Comcast has a handful of different Internet service offerings, each of
them priced differently.
David Kaye
2012-09-25 16:31:33 UTC
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Post by Marcus Allen
Comcast has a handful of different Internet service offerings, each of
them priced differently.
Well, there's the "bundle" which includes phone, which we don't use. But I
was never told of any level but the 12 Mbps service, which is actually about
22 Mbps. Reluctantly I haggled with them for a lower speed service. The
one I moved to is about 3 Mbps, a bit slow when I've been used to something
faster. Uploads are a pain, though, because FTPs to web servers and the
like crawl at about 10 kbps -- yes slower than dialup! Very odd.
Thankfully I don't have to do this very often.

I absolutely hate Comcast for what they won't tell you is available. If
only they broke out the pricing and said, pay X for this and pay X for that,
people would be much happier and they wouldn't have so many people cursing
their existence...
Jeff Liebermann
2012-09-25 16:53:11 UTC
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On Mon, 24 Sep 2012 23:58:57 -0500, Marcus Allen
Post by Marcus Allen
On Mon, 24 Sep 2012 16:11:55 -0700, "David Kaye"
Post by David Kaye
Post by Keith Keller
What services do you have for this price?
Internet and Digital Plus TV.
Comcast has a handful of different Internet service offerings, each of
them priced differently.
Home Service:
Economy
Economy Plus
Performance Starter
Performance
Blast!
Extreme 50
Extreme 105

Biz Service:
Basic Connect
Standard Connect
Starter
Premium
Teleworker Premium
Deluxe
Deluxe 100
Deluxe 100 Plus
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
Jeff Sutter
2012-09-26 23:34:41 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Glenn Geller
What do you folks think?
I think Sonic provides damned good service, so I wouldn't begrudge them an
extra $7 a month. If I were within Sonic's area I'd drop Comcast in a
minute and go with Sonic.
Just pretend that their monthly service is $7 higher. BFD.
Well I do begrudge them.

Dane holds his company up as the anti-ISP, victim of Ma Bell, the Davey fighting Goliath. But now, he forces his customers to rent equipment, and excuses the policy, because the big guys do it.

Sonic forces customers to buy unwanted dialtone - not Voip, but genuine dialtone, which begets $10/month or more in taxes. $40 Fusion is closer to $60/month.

And that's "one price for all". No matter how poorly the line performs (i.e. 500kbps), Fusion clients pay the same rate.

While I know much better than to blame Sonic for bad copper and AT&T issues, it would appear that a significant number of Fusion subscribers are very disappointed with the product.

I hate to say it, but while we've been willing to pay a premium for Sonic for a decade, to counter the legacy of Ed Whitacre, U-Verse is looking better every day.
David Kaye
2012-09-27 00:54:28 UTC
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Post by Jeff Sutter
Dane holds his company up as the anti-ISP, victim of Ma Bell, the Davey
fighting Goliath.
But now, he forces his customers to rent equipment, and excuses the
policy,
because the big guys do it.
Rather than engage in conjecture, why not ASK him? He's not exactly holed
up in a highrise in Texas or anything.
Keith Keller
2012-09-27 02:21:13 UTC
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Post by Jeff Sutter
Sonic forces customers to buy unwanted dialtone - not Voip, but genuine dialtone, which begets $10/month or more in taxes. $40 Fusion is closer to $60/month.
I'm pretty sure that dialtone is a requirement of DSL, perhaps from
AT&T, or perhaps a regulatory regulation. I don't think it's fair to
say Sonic "forces" dial tone on its customers (especially when this is
specifically what many of them are looking for).
Post by Jeff Sutter
And that's "one price for all". No matter how poorly the line performs (i.e. 500kbps), Fusion clients pay the same rate.
If your Fusion line is getting only 500Kbps, you should call support or
cancel. Otherwise, of course all Fusion customers pay the same rate; if
you absolutely require a minimum rate you should purchase a business-
class connection.
Post by Jeff Sutter
While I know much better than to blame Sonic for bad copper and AT&T issues, it would appear that a significant number of Fusion subscribers are very disappointed with the product.
Where exactly are you getting this impression? I haven't heard of a
major uprising of angry customers.
Post by Jeff Sutter
I hate to say it, but while we've been willing to pay a premium for Sonic for a decade, to counter the legacy of Ed Whitacre, U-Verse is looking better every day.
Best of luck! But unless you have existing fiber in your area, don't
expect any better speeds from AT&T DSL. If you're going to turn to
evil, you may as well hit Comcast, which is more likely to be faster
at least some of the time.

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
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Marcus Allen
2012-09-27 03:48:45 UTC
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On Wed, 26 Sep 2012 19:21:13 -0700, Keith Keller
Post by Keith Keller
Post by Jeff Sutter
Sonic forces customers to buy unwanted dialtone - not Voip, but genuine dialtone, which begets $10/month or more in taxes. $40 Fusion is closer to $60/month.
I'm pretty sure that dialtone is a requirement of DSL, perhaps from
AT&T, or perhaps a regulatory regulation. I don't think it's fair to
say Sonic "forces" dial tone on its customers (especially when this is
specifically what many of them are looking for).
What about naked DSL?
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_dsl>
Steve Pope
2012-09-27 03:59:25 UTC
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Post by Marcus Allen
On Wed, 26 Sep 2012 19:21:13 -0700, Keith Keller
Post by Keith Keller
Post by Jeff Sutter
Sonic forces customers to buy unwanted dialtone - not Voip, but
genuine dialtone, which begets $10/month or more in taxes. $40 Fusion
is closer to $60/month.
Post by Keith Keller
I'm pretty sure that dialtone is a requirement of DSL, perhaps from
AT&T, or perhaps a regulatory regulation. I don't think it's fair to
say Sonic "forces" dial tone on its customers (especially when this is
specifically what many of them are looking for).
What about naked DSL?
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_dsl>
I was thinking the same thing.

What I'm unsure of is whether the incumbent is required to resell
DSL over a dry pair.


Steve
Roy
2012-09-27 04:08:49 UTC
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Post by Steve Pope
...
What I'm unsure of is whether the incumbent is required to resell
DSL over a dry pair.
Steve
If you are talking things like Fusion, no POTS is required. That's
Sonic equipment on the other end of the dry pair

If you are talking regular DSL, AT&T required POTS service in the past
if the connection is for another ISP. I don't think that has changed.
David Kaye
2012-09-27 09:46:49 UTC
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Post by Marcus Allen
What about naked DSL?
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naked_dsl>
Yeah, and see how long that lasts. An AT&T tech will come along, connect a
butt set, hear no dialtone, and yank out the circuit and use it for
something else. Happens all the time, whether accidentally or on purpose.
Jeff Sutter
2012-09-27 07:43:01 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
I'm pretty sure that dialtone is a requirement of DSL, perhaps from
AT&T, or perhaps a regulatory regulation. I don't think it's fair to
say Sonic "forces" dial tone on its customers (especially when this is
specifically what many of them are looking for).
Sonic does, indeed, _require_ its new Fusion customers to buy dialtone, which incurs a $10+ tax, in addition to requiring a $7 "modem rental".
Post by Keith Keller
Post by Jeff Sutter
And that's "one price for all". No matter how poorly the line performs (i.e. 500kbps), Fusion clients pay the same rate.
If your Fusion line is getting only 500Kbps, you should call support or
cancel. Otherwise, of course all Fusion customers pay the same rate; if
you absolutely require a minimum rate you should purchase a business-
class connection.
I read a variety of accounts regards Fusion's disappointing performance compared to the DSL it replaces - even though ADSL2+ is supposedly faster.
We've done plenty of calls to support over the years for our DSL lines. 500kbps is about all we get on a good day, Fusion might double that. Not sure what a "business class connection" would be, but residential U-Verse delivers a consistent 12/1 for about the same price as Fusion.

Most broadband is sold on speed tiers. Fusion's "one price" feels to me like the unlucky folks at the end of the road are being taxed to subsidize the lucky CO-adjacent class. (We're one block from the border of the next exchange.)
Post by Keith Keller
While I know much better than to blame Sonic for bad copper and AT&T issues, it would appear that a significant number of Fusion subscribers are very disappointed with the product.
Where exactly are you getting this impression? I haven't heard of a
major uprising of angry customers.
I haven't seen a major uprising - and I don't know what that would look like.
I think most old-school users give Sonic a lot of grace. But the complaints I read on Yelp suggest that new customers, attracted by the $39.95 Fusion pitch, may not be so ready to forgive.

Dane's overpricing strategy may actually work to quell complaints - as he's so defended it - the consistent deployment of a managed modem - may serve to improve quality of service and give CSR's the ability to better diagnose trouble.

I'm not a cheapskate per se - always willing to pay more for good service.
But I'd rather own the modem, and own a spare, so there is no 72-hour downtime waiting for a "free" replacement to arrive and disprove the "new modem" theory so often invoked when the cause is elsewhere. Even Sonic's reps are not infallible.
Post by Keith Keller
Best of luck! But unless you have existing fiber in your area, don't
expect any better speeds from AT&T DSL. If you're going to turn to
evil, you may as well hit Comcast, which is more likely to be faster
at least some of the time.
I'm comparing with U-Verse, not AT&T DSL.
David Kaye
2012-09-27 10:08:05 UTC
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Post by Jeff Sutter
I'm not a cheapskate per se - always willing to pay more for good service.
But I'd rather own the modem, and own a spare, so there is no 72-hour
downtime waiting for a "free"
replacement to arrive and disprove the "new modem" theory so often invoked
when the cause is
elsewhere. Even Sonic's reps are not infallible.
Really now, how often has a modem gone out in your experience? I've been
doing tech support in-home and in-office for nearly 11 years and I've seen 5
or 6 of them in about 500 clients, and I've never had my own go out.

Routers -- those I've had to replace.
Jeff Sutter
2012-09-28 06:03:48 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Jeff Sutter
I'm not a cheapskate per se - always willing to pay more for good service.
But I'd rather own the modem, and own a spare, so there is no 72-hour
downtime waiting for a "free"
replacement to arrive and disprove the "new modem" theory so often invoked
when the cause is
elsewhere. Even Sonic's reps are not infallible.
Really now, how often has a modem gone out in your experience? I've been
doing tech support in-home and in-office for nearly 11 years and I've seen 5
or 6 of them in about 500 clients, and I've never had my own go out.
Routers -- those I've had to replace.
Really now, if you actually read my post, you would note that *I* never, ever, said a modem went out.
Kevin McMurtrie
2012-09-28 06:44:42 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Jeff Sutter
I'm not a cheapskate per se - always willing to pay more for good service.
But I'd rather own the modem, and own a spare, so there is no 72-hour
downtime waiting for a "free"
replacement to arrive and disprove the "new modem" theory so often invoked
when the cause is
elsewhere. Even Sonic's reps are not infallible.
Really now, how often has a modem gone out in your experience? I've been
doing tech support in-home and in-office for nearly 11 years and I've seen 5
or 6 of them in about 500 clients, and I've never had my own go out.
Routers -- those I've had to replace.
The issue is that most DSL modems are poorly made and offer no useful
diagnostics when there's a problem. Swapping in a cheap spare modem is
often the only diagnostics there is.

I've had the DSL hardware fail once on my side and a few times on the
telco's side. In both cases, all diagnostics claimed there was no
problem. There was just that one little symptom of having absolutely no
traffic passing through.

(I'm no fan of Sonic's ZyXEL modem. I'd ditch it if anyone else still
made 2-line bonded ADSL2+ modems.)
--
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Jeff Liebermann
2012-09-28 13:38:21 UTC
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On Thu, 27 Sep 2012 23:44:42 -0700, Kevin McMurtrie
Post by Kevin McMurtrie
(I'm no fan of Sonic's ZyXEL modem. I'd ditch it if anyone else still
made 2-line bonded ADSL2+ modems.)
Cruzio is using a Comtrend AR-5630u router (not modem) for bonded
ADSL2+.
<http://www.comtrend.com/cgi-bin/na/db-searchn.cgi?template=overview1.tmpl&dbname=product&key2=77&action=searchdbdisplay>
Other than reading the difficult to find manual, I have no experience
with this unit. Note the lack of support info on their web pile.

I get a fair number of ADSL modem failures. The silver colored
Motorola/Netopia 2210-02 are junk due to overheating and chronic
bulging capacitors which are impossible to recap.
<http://802.11junk.com/jeffl/pics/repair/slides/Motorola%202210-02-1002.html>
The current black colored version has different caps, but still gets
too hot.

The more reliable older Speedstream 4100 is a survivor, and allegedly
supports ADSL2+. I haven't tried it on ADSL2+ yet. I use these on
older ADSL systems. The 12v power supplies sometimes fail, but the
modems are quite reliable. There are some diagnostics available, but
those require custom firmware to enable telnet.

I'm also not a fan of Zyxel, mostly thanks to their VoIP hardware.
--
Jeff Liebermann ***@cruzio.com
150 Felker St #D http://www.LearnByDestroying.com
Santa Cruz CA 95060 http://802.11junk.com
Skype: JeffLiebermann AE6KS 831-336-2558
Anthony
2012-10-01 08:27:00 UTC
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Post by David Kaye
Post by Jeff Sutter
I'm not a cheapskate per se - always willing to pay more for good service.
But I'd rather own the modem, and own a spare, so there is no 72-hour
downtime waiting for a "free"
replacement to arrive and disprove the "new modem" theory so often invoked
when the cause is
elsewhere. Even Sonic's reps are not infallible.
Really now, how often has a modem gone out in your experience? I've been
doing tech support in-home and in-office for nearly 11 years and I've seen 5
or 6 of them in about 500 clients, and I've never had my own go out.
Routers -- those I've had to replace.
I had one go out in 2006, but not before or after.
SMS
2012-09-23 03:16:59 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
What do you folks think?
I think that they just need to raise the price of Fusion service by $7
rather than do this sort of thing.

Fusion seems like a good deal when you compare it against AT&T DSL plus
AT&T phone service, especially if you were to purchase and calling
features from AT&T. But the DSL speed is becoming an issue for those of
us that don't live close to the central office. Today I was talking to
an Xfinity sales person at a street fair about their $19.99/month offer
for 15Mbps broadband. He said that while the offer was good for six
months, all I would have to do was to call him (not Xfinity) every six
months and he would renew the introductory offer indefinitely (there is
no contract). Combine that service with aftermarket VPN ($70/year) and a
VOIP service like Google Voice ($0 for now), and you're close to Sonic
Fusion functionality at a lower price.
Keith Keller
2012-09-23 04:22:53 UTC
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Post by SMS
Fusion seems like a good deal when you compare it against AT&T DSL plus
AT&T phone service, especially if you were to purchase and calling
features from AT&T. But the DSL speed is becoming an issue for those of
us that don't live close to the central office. Today I was talking to
an Xfinity sales person at a street fair about their $19.99/month offer
for 15Mbps broadband. He said that while the offer was good for six
months, all I would have to do was to call him (not Xfinity) every six
months and he would renew the introductory offer indefinitely (there is
no contract). Combine that service with aftermarket VPN ($70/year) and a
VOIP service like Google Voice ($0 for now), and you're close to Sonic
Fusion functionality at a lower price.
That Xfinity guy sounds like a scammer. It can't hurt to try it, but
I'd be skeptical that this one guy could renew your offer indefinitely.

Is Google Voice really a full replacement for a real dial tone? I'd be
worried about that, too, especially for 911 service.

I'd also be worried about running services off of Xfinity. If you're
just using it to browse or stream, or other basic client services,
you're probably okay, but I want to run my own servers off of my link.
IIRC Comcast doesn't allow servers on their lines.

Finally, though I've heard people say it's improved, I suspect that
Comcast technical support is nothing like Sonic's. I've always gotten
fantastic tech support from Sonic, and I'm skeptical that I'd get that
level of support from Comcast.

I'm also not convinced that needing 15Mbps is needed, at least for my
purposes. I've been able to have two simultaneous video streams going
without sacrificing quality, on my line that speed tests at about
4-5Mbps.

I lucked out in that I started my Sonic service before the "mandatory
modem lease" started. I wasn't so happy about that, but if you think of
it as $47/month with a free modem it's better than thinking you're
getting ripped off for a $7/month "equipment fee". Perhaps there's a
reason Sonic calls it a lease instead of rolling it in to the monthly
fees, but it still seems a bit dodgy. Even if they said $45/month and a
$2/month lease it'd still sound better than a $7/month equipment lease.

Anyway, let's summarize:

Xfinity data: 15Mbps, $26/month (based on your numbers), no servers,
likely inferior tech support, no true dial tone, possible price increase
if intro price can't be renewed

Sonic Fusion: 5Mbps, $47/month (let's not lie about the "equipment
fee"), run whatever you want, great tech support, real dial tone, price
increases minimal and infrequent (I haven't had one yet)

Is Sonic worth $20 more per month for 1/3 the speed? I think that
depends on the customer. I'd tell my mom to go with Comcast, because
she doesn't need all of Sonic's features, and would be willing to cancel
if she couldn't get renewed. But I prefer the stability and power that
Sonic provides.

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
sms88
2012-09-23 05:50:55 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Post by SMS
Fusion seems like a good deal when you compare it against AT&T DSL plus
AT&T phone service, especially if you were to purchase and calling
features from AT&T. But the DSL speed is becoming an issue for those of
us that don't live close to the central office. Today I was talking to
an Xfinity sales person at a street fair about their $19.99/month offer
for 15Mbps broadband. He said that while the offer was good for six
months, all I would have to do was to call him (not Xfinity) every six
months and he would renew the introductory offer indefinitely (there is
no contract). Combine that service with aftermarket VPN ($70/year) and a
VOIP service like Google Voice ($0 for now), and you're close to Sonic
Fusion functionality at a lower price.
That Xfinity guy sounds like a scammer. It can't hurt to try it, but
I'd be skeptical that this one guy could renew your offer indefinitely.
He said that every six months he'd renew it with a different name but
the same address, i.e. a spouses name.
Post by Keith Keller
Is Google Voice really a full replacement for a real dial tone? I'd be
worried about that, too, especially for 911 service.
It's not a real replacement, but so many people have no landline at all,
that it's better than nothing. Callcentric or Ooma would be better than
Google Voice.
Post by Keith Keller
I'd also be worried about running services off of Xfinity. If you're
just using it to browse or stream, or other basic client services,
you're probably okay, but I want to run my own servers off of my link.
IIRC Comcast doesn't allow servers on their lines.
True.
Post by Keith Keller
I'm also not convinced that needing 15Mbps is needed, at least for my
purposes. I've been able to have two simultaneous video streams going
without sacrificing quality, on my line that speed tests at about
4-5Mbps.
I am at about 1.5 Mbps. I used to get 3Mbps when I first started with
them. I can't do even a single video stream anymore.
Keith Keller
2012-09-23 18:10:44 UTC
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Post by sms88
Post by Keith Keller
That Xfinity guy sounds like a scammer. It can't hurt to try it, but
I'd be skeptical that this one guy could renew your offer indefinitely.
He said that every six months he'd renew it with a different name but
the same address, i.e. a spouses name.
That sounds even more dodgy. Was this a real Xfinity employee or a
reseller?
Post by sms88
Post by Keith Keller
I'm also not convinced that needing 15Mbps is needed, at least for my
purposes. I've been able to have two simultaneous video streams going
without sacrificing quality, on my line that speed tests at about
4-5Mbps.
I am at about 1.5 Mbps. I used to get 3Mbps when I first started with
them. I can't do even a single video stream anymore.
Is that Fusion, or straight ADSL1? If it's already Fusion, then you may
be in trouble. If it's not, you might see if you're close enough for
Fusion before ditching Sonic completely.

--keith
--
kkeller-***@wombat.san-francisco.ca.us
(try just my userid to email me)
AOLSFAQ=http://www.therockgarden.ca/aolsfaq.txt
see X- headers for PGP signature information
sms88
2012-09-23 20:08:51 UTC
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Post by Keith Keller
Post by sms88
Post by Keith Keller
That Xfinity guy sounds like a scammer. It can't hurt to try it, but
I'd be skeptical that this one guy could renew your offer indefinitely.
He said that every six months he'd renew it with a different name but
the same address, i.e. a spouses name.
That sounds even more dodgy. Was this a real Xfinity employee or a
reseller?
Reseller.
Post by Keith Keller
Post by sms88
I am at about 1.5 Mbps. I used to get 3Mbps when I first started with
them. I can't do even a single video stream anymore.
Is that Fusion, or straight ADSL1? If it's already Fusion, then you may
be in trouble. If it's not, you might see if you're close enough for
Fusion before ditching Sonic completely.
It's Fusion. I like Sonic as a company, and like the Fusion product
other than the speed. My friend that I referred to Sonic who lives in
downtown Palo Alto is at 20Mbps on Fusion. And I don't like Comcast as a
company. But I need to look at ways of increasing my data speed.
Glenn Geller
2012-09-27 05:11:18 UTC
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I'm the original poster.

I talked to a Sonic supervisor by phone yesterday, and
I asked him about this angle: Many businesses entice new
customers by offering them a temporary discount from
regular prices. In this case, new customers pay more than
old customers, and they'll probably pay more indefinitely.
He had no good answer for this.

Given the apparent unavoidability of the "modem rental"
fee for new Fusion customers, I'll regard the extra $7 as
a de facto Fusion price increase. I wish it had been couched
straightforwardly as such, but whatever: now I know. The
original client doesn't need the POTS line, so the extra
$7 was just enough to be a deal-killer for him.

When I complain about a company in an oligopoly raising
its prices, my real complaint is about a lack of appealing
alternative products. (I bristle at the cellphone oligopolists in
the same way.) On the other hand, if the product in question
were Cheerios, I'd probably find them cheaper at another
store and be content: there are no significant barriers to
entry in the retail breakfast cereal market.

I don't expect anything great to last forever, so I won't be
surprised when someday Sonic.net, Inc., obtains new
owners who bust the company to the lowest common
denominator. Part of my concern about the "modem
rental" fee was that it might be the leading edge of an
effort to increase ARPU to pump the balance sheets
in advance of a sale of the company. But now I doubt
this: I think that the new fee is simply a ham-handed
price increase.

Regarding the matter of why Fusion is a bundle of
POTS and DSL: About 10 years ago, ATT won either
a court case or FCC ruling that established that ATT
can't be compelled to resell DSL service. Although
they haven't threatened to stop reselling it, I understand
that Sonic, to protect itself, became a CLEC and thus
entitled to install its own telephone switches in COs,
and has piggybacked Fusion on the CLEC POTS
lines. I suppose that as a CLEC, Sonic might be able
to sell naked DSL on its own lines, and I'd jump at
that.

Here's another recent Sonic change that I don't care for.
If you establish new Sonic Fusion POTS service for one line
and you activate a new number with Sonic (that is, you
don't port in an existing number), Sonic will not create
a CNAM record for you in the major line-information
databases (LIDBs). So when you call out, your callees
won't see a telco-provided name on their caller ID; instead,
they'll typically see the city and state associated with your
telephone prefix.

Nothing above is guaranteed to accurate, so have at it.
Glenn Geller
2012-09-27 05:15:52 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
Nothing above is guaranteed to accurate, so have at it.
And I should include that sentence itself.
David Kaye
2012-09-27 10:04:32 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
I talked to a Sonic supervisor by phone yesterday, and
I asked him about this angle: Many businesses entice new
customers by offering them a temporary discount from
regular prices. In this case, new customers pay more than
old customers, and they'll probably pay more indefinitely.
He had no good answer for this.
Many/most businesses offer a discount to new customers and standard rates to
old customers. This is exactly the OPPOSITE of what it should be, and I'll
tell you why. Old customers deserve the discount for being loyal customers,
whereas trashy customers are going to shop around for the best price and be
a pain in the neck. Two examples from my own experience:

I was enticed by Yelp to offer a discount coupon for my tech services,
against my better judgment. I'd set up the coupon Monday night before going
to bed. The first call I got Tuesday was from someone who told me he'd seen
the coupon, and then proceeded to ask me to discount my rate FURTHER because
he's a new customer, and then had the gall to say that he'd already asked
around and that he could get someone to go to his house and fix his computer
for $20, and asked me if I was going to match that. Oh, and get this: he
mentioned several times that he lives in Pacific Heights and that he could
get me "lots of star power clients". I cancelled the coupon immediately.

Another example: When I was in the restaurant business I joined a coupon
book where lots of hospitality companies give 50% off coupons. I learned
quickly that the coupon shoppers were (1) obnoxious to deal with because
they were demanding, and (2) didn't stick as customers.

A third example (I'm on a roll here): When I was in the telephone call
center business I priced our service the highest in SF because I noticed
that my competitors were pricing so close to the bottom that few were making
much money. I gladly told the low-ballers that we provided a premium
service and charged for it. I was also happy to refer those people to my
competitors (and collect commissions for the referrals, no less). The
result was that my competitors got all the complainers and folks who were
always late on their payments, and I got the cream of the crop. Our
telephone operators stayed with us longer than average because they liked
our customers so much more.

So, I say unto you folks: If I were in the ISP business I'd be making notes
about who was trashing my service for a measly $7 rate discrepancy and I'd
get them off my service. Who needs to be bothered with such nit-picking?
sms88
2012-09-28 15:00:15 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
Today while signing up a client via the Internet for Sonic's Fusion
service (which is a bundle: POTS line + DSL), I was about to
commit to the order when I noticed in the summary a modem-
rental fee of about $7.00 per month.
<snip>

I've sent many former AT&T customers over to Sonic (including a friend
in Palo Alto that gets 20Mbps!). The price increase of $7 is pretty
significant, and while it does not affect existing customers, it could
make the difference between people choosing one of the seemingly endless
promotions from AT&T U-Verse or Comcast, especially if they are willing
to do their own VOIP for a landline, and especially if their DSL speeds
are not very good. I'm now getting 1-2 Mbps, down from about 3Mbps when
I first got Fusion. I need to decide what to do about this. With all the
complaints about U-Verse, that's not an option, so it leaves only Comcast.

If only Sonic would run fiber in Cupertino.
m***@gmail.com
2017-02-04 02:57:09 UTC
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Post by Glenn Geller
Today while signing up a client via the Internet for Sonic's Fusion
service (which is a bundle: POTS line + DSL), I was about to
commit to the order when I noticed in the summary a modem-
rental fee of about $7.00 per month.
My client intends to use his own ADSL2+ modem and won't need
any Sonic equipment, so I called Sonic to find out how to delete the
modem from the order. They said that rental of the modem (a Pace
4111n, I think they said) is mandatory and that while he may use his
own modem on the service, the monthly rental fee is mandatory.
I was flabbergasted: mandatory modem rental seems so un-Sonic
and so Huge ISP-ish. Struggling to reconcile my long-standing
positive impression of Sonic with the modem mandate, I asked the
rep whether Sonic had recently been bought out or whether Dane
Jasper had stepped aside or become incapacitated. Nope, they
said. May I speak with a supervisor, I asked. None available,
they said. Good-bye, I said.
I'm suddenly wondering if Sonic's owners have commenced
the trashing of the Sonic brand by squeezing subscribers à la
AT&T and Comcast.
What do you folks think?
**********
9470913662
I agree says 40 but turns into almost 63.

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