Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Low cost internet rules!

It is now 42 days since DSL in the form of Windstream got the boot. On October 20th, a 4GB internet card was purchased for $40 from Walmart together with a $80 MiFi pad. Since then just about 2.8GB of data has been used. Based on a month and a half's usage it seems to be around $20 a month is fine. During this period it should be pointed out that about a week was 3 tablets using the internet simultaneously with the MiFi pad in use for up to 4 hours a day. That's pretty impressive!

Windstream was used for 3 years approximately at $55 a month, costing a grand total of $1,980. Had a MiFi pad been in use and used in the way it is used, that cost would have been $720 - that's over a grand cheaper. Indeed, MiFi was considered at the start but not employed because back then it was $50 a month and I got suckered by Windstream's dishonest pricing in which they told me the price without any taxes added. Thus the cost piled up tremendously. Parting from Windstream wasn't that easy either. It wasn't the fight that Comcast puts up but the conversation went...

*me* Why is this month's bill $5 more expensive?
*windstream shop* Because we added a $5 late fee to your bill.
*me* Did I forget to pay it?
*windstream shop* Yes
*me* How many times have I forgotten to pay my bill? (knowing full well it was only the second occasion)
*windstream shop* We don't have that information.
*me* Here's your money - I'd like to cancel my Windstream account
*windstream shop* Why?
*me* Because you added a late fee and never attempted to email me to notify me that it was late.
*windstream shop* You have to call this number and your billing cycle ends on the 19th.

At that point, realising it was the 2nd of the month and I was in for a month's internet whether I used it or not, I decided to leave it until later in the month. This, ironically, gave time to research via Windstream, alternatives to Windstream. It turned out that of the alternatives, Walmart's Straight Talk MiFi which is run by Tracfone on Sprint's network was the most economical.

On the 16th I ordered the MiFi pad and a refurbished Nexus 7 online from Walmart because both were way cheaper online than going into the store to buy them. It just seemed more practical to use a tablet and a MiFi pad for most internet usage than a MiFi pad and a laptop.

On the 18th, the pad and tablet winging their way toward the local Walmart store (which I passed every day and eliminated the need to pay postage) I called the number Windstream had given me. Oh how I hate these telephone call centers.

*me* I'd like to cancel my windstream account
*windstream call center* Why? Have we done something wrong.
*me* (lying through my teeth in order to avoid a retention pitch) I'm moving house.
*windstream call center* You can transfer your account to a new address
*me* (thinking hard) I'm moving into a motorhome
*windstream call center* (ego deflates with a loud hiss) Ok. Thanks for being our customer for 3 years.

Now, had Windstream not charged me that $5 late fee, I'd still be sucker enough to be paying them $35 a month more than I'm paying Straight Talk. My internet usage has moderated in response to the new paradigm and my sleep patterns have improved as a result of moderated internet usage.

On the whole, MiFi is greatly to be recommended over constant internet as long as endless videos are not watched and mostly mobile websites are used. The connection on 3G is fast enough for the things I want. As far as I'm concerned, I have lost nothing that I really care about and gained a whole load of things I do care about by switching to MiFi.

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