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Summary:

Okay guys – if you are in the market for a DSL service, let me tell you which company to avoid: Speakeasy. Last year in a bid to help a small company and support competition in the broadband market, I signed up with Speakeasy. The whole […]

Okay guys – if you are in the market for a DSL service, let me tell you which company to avoid: Speakeasy. Last year in a bid to help a small company and support competition in the broadband market, I signed up with Speakeasy. The whole thing was supposed to be a free sign-up, except the little clause which basically said well if a certain day passed by, I would have to pay a whopping $200 or so for modem and other stuff. Then there was the regular fees – about $50 a month, and that’s fine. Now that was cool for sometime up until I noticed that SBC … yup the dreaded incumbent and monopoly…. was offering the same service speeds for about $40 a month. Comcast was offering twice as much speed at roughly that same price. I decided to switch to Comcast, and tried to cancel Speakeasy.

Since my year is not up, that means I will be hit by a $300 disconnection fee. Ironic… because SBC disconnection fees are a $100 less. In other words a monopoly is charging me less to switch. I did the comparison pricing on what Covad, the company Speakeasy uses to provide DSL services – its about $10 less than what Speakeasy is charging. Why? There is nothing exceptional about the service – it went down as much as the SBC service, the sales people are well equally blah!

Speakeasy says, they are broadband for open minds. How about Broadband for open wallets? Guys don’t make the mistake I made – DSL is DSL is DSL. Go with SBC or Earthlink!

  1. Sounds like sour grapes Om, how many more months did you have to go on the contract? By being a little more patient, you could have avoided the disconnection fee altogether and then jumped. There’s early termination fees with any kind of telecom service contract. If you cancel early, then the company has to eat fees charged to it by the ILEC also. You don’t think SBC is charging Speakeasy for cancelling their line early? Hence the difference in cancellation fees. Speakeasy has to eat the $100 that Covad is charging, and Covad has to eat what SBC is charging it for the same reason. There’s also a flaw in your last statement, I think. Doesn’t Earthlink have to rent the copper from SBC, your ILEC? If so, then the only choice for IP over twisted pair is from the ILEC that owns the copper.

    The same thing would happen if you wanted to get out of your mobile phone contract early. Betcha Comcast has it in there too. Just don’t jump too early to the wireless broaband provider, put your anniversary date in your PDA now! :-)

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    1. Report them to the FCC Sunday, May 3, 2009

      It sounds like Craig is either being paid by Speakeasy.

      I run a business in Chicago, maybe Craig has heard of it. We are located in the Central business district. We ordered a T1 line, VOIP and our hardware from Speakeasy. The person that we initially spoke to was great. He told us that he was going to be our contact for its duration. Despite the negative comments and reviews we had heard about Speakeasy and Covad we decided to give the company a try, for one year. Even before the installation occurred the person we initially spoke with had left the company. This should have been a sign of things to come. In the time that we had the contract, we have spoken and/or communicated with over 40 different people.

      When you run a professional service company, one of your most basic but important tools is great communication service. Needlesstosay, this did not occur with Speakeasy. We were told that we needed to buy our telephones from Speakeasy because they would then be responsible for servicing them if there was a problem (the one stop shopping sales tactic). This pitch became very important shortly after the contract began. We paid a T1 technician to work with Speakeasy’s installer. We received an invoice for the T1 line, however we had not yet received our telephones (we had forwarded all of our calls to our cell phones). It took several phone calls, emails and a significant amount of my time to resolve this. After receiving the phones the problems continued, there were times when I could hear my clients but they could not hear me; there were times when I could not hear my clients but they could hear me, in either situation not good for business. There was a constant echo or reverberation. We reported it to Speakeasy and they tole me that they checked their line and there was nothing wrong and the call was perfect. I told them that I knew this to be false since I was the person on the call, had just hung up due to numerous outages during the conversation. We were told to keep a diary of these events, which we did. What a waste of time and money! We reported our findings and were told that it could be the connection so we needed to have someone sit with the router all day and let them know if a problem arose. This is when it really became idiotic. I refused to assign one of my employees to sit and watch their router. I also mentioned that it could be the telephones and since we bought them from them I wanted two of the 8 purchased to be replaced to see if that was the problem. This request was ignored for 9 months when they finally agreed to send one. This did not solve the problem completely but it was reduced by about 30%.

      Now the real kicker occurred when we advised them we wanted to cancel. Remember, we signed a one (1) year contract. Despite the lousy service and ridiculous prices, we patiently waited for the expiration of our contract. When that occurred we initially canceled the T1 line. We received substantial resistance and a threat that there was going to be a cancellation fee. After pointing them to the fact that we had a one year contract and the term had expired, they relented and canceled the T1 and actually prorated and credited us for the unused portion. Next we need to discontinue the VOIP portion. Keep in mind this was after the T!. Both had been subject to the initial contract, one year. The Contract had expired. Proof-they agreed when they terminated the T1 and gave us back our unused prepaid fee. There have been been more telephone calls and emails with over 10 different people at Speakeasy, all giving DIFFERENT STORIES. My latest invoice is for over $2,100. This includes the prepaid fee, although I canceled their service, a cancellation fee and missed appointment fees (which is another story for a different day).

      I have tried to work this out with them to no avail. After hours on the telephone and email, they have sent me a threat that I pay or they will send me to collections. At this point I believe that the FCC and our State Attorney General needs to resolve this. If you are having problems with this company I strongly recommend that you contact the FCC and your State Attorney General. Depending on the magnitude of the consumers and whether fraud was involved you may want to speak to an attorney about a class action suit or a Consumer Fraud Claim.

      Do not use this provider, the quality of service is so poor that your business will suffer and they customer service is worse.

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  2. Om, DSL is not DSL is not DSL the same everywhere else. I’ve had this argument on both sides of the fence working in a DSL ISP as well as in a cablemodem ISP. What it really boils down to is service and how the ISP is managed. A well managed and run DSL line can outperform a poorly managed cablemodem. Basically, if the people running the ISP aren’t suffering from rectal cranial inversion then the speed of the DSL/cablemodem/etc should be 85-95% of the rated line speed. Period. As for service outages go there are things that can be done to reduce the causes and manage the effects but its not something that is cheap to do and I’d be surprised if Speakeasy was rolling in the kind of money to build out redundancy needed. And in the end, to the DSL ISPs their regional Bell’s copper loop is a huge black box that they have to rely on and trust the RBOC to know how to best maintain and address problems with local loops when they happen. As an example, Verizon takes up to 24 hours to respond to a trouble ticket on a DSL line issue. So a customer calls us and we determine there is some kind of line issue. We then have to call into Verizon to report the problem (something which usually takes at least 45 minutes on hold) and then 24 hours AFTER that we begin to hear about any kind of resolution. So basically, the customer is dead for a good day, maybe two if things are really bad. This is why full blown T1 circuits cost what they do, better garanteed service response times.

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  3. I’m about to choose speakeasy and for a couple of what I believe are good reasons. Their terms of service allow me to run a server on the connection while someone like the local bell or comcast wouldn’t allow me to do so. Also, they now offer a 6 Mbps DSL service that i haven’t seen elsewhere.

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  4. Speakeasy Sucks?

    Om Malik evidently isn’t too thrilled with Speakeasy these days. It would appear his complaints are centered around his attempt to leave their service because of competing, lower cost services.

    First, why should Speakeasy make it easy for you to le…

    Trackback by ryan’s blog

    I’ve used speakeasy for 6 years now, and while their pricing is a bit steep, I’ve been happy with it. Their customer service is top-notch, I’ve had very little downtime, and they have the most liberal policies I know for 1. static ips 2. running servers, and 3. unlimited data transfer.

    They are pretty bad with pricing. I had a measly 256k upstream for the longest time, and they wanted $$$ just for a upgrade to 384, let alone something reasonable. At least they decided a few months later to give everyone that speed boost for free (glad i didn’t pay!)

    I started with them because they were a local (seattle) company, I knew people who worked there, and I hung out in their coffee shop all of the time. Speakeasy is a far different company these days, but so far I see no reason to go elsewhere.

    In fact, I’m going to signup for their onelink service, and ditch qwest all together.

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  • Speakeasy Sucks

    See: Om Malik on Broadband Why I think Speakeasy Sucks

    If I had read this post two weeks ago my response would have been completely different. I would have raved about SpeakEasy’s connection speed, their customer service and support, and their …

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  • Speakeasy Sucks?

    Om Malik evidently isn’t too thrilled with Speakeasy these days. It would appear his complaints are centered around his attempt to leave their service because of competing, lower cost services.

    First, why should Speakeasy make it easy for you to le…

    Trackback by ryan’s blog

    I’ve used speakeasy for 6 years now, and while their pricing is a bit steep, I’ve been happy with it. Their customer service is top-notch, I’ve had very little downtime, and they have the most liberal policies I know for 1. static ips 2. running servers, and 3. unlimited data transfer.

    They are pretty bad with pricing. I had a measly 256k upstream for the longest time, and they wanted $$$ just for a upgrade to 384, let alone something reasonable. At least they decided a few months later to give everyone that speed boost for free (glad i didn’t pay!)

    I started with them because they were a local (seattle) company, I knew people who worked there, and I hung out in their coffee shop all of the time. Speakeasy is a far different company these days, but so far I see no reason to go elsewhere.

    In fact, I’m going to signup for their onelink service, and ditch qwest all together.