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Price Let's just start with the basics, what does their service cost? A new customer can expect to pay a $300 setup fee and $70 a month just for their most basic bare-bones plan.
They don't really offer "full" internet access at all You pay premium prices for full access to the Internet, but peer to peer file sharing eats huge amounts of prairieinet.net bandwidth, so prairieinet.net summarily blocks all P2P ports. Do they tell you that they've suddenly decided they are the internet police? Hell no, it took me a week of daily pestering, heckeling, and harassment to pry that little nugget out of tech support. They wanted to admit they were blocking P2P ports about as much as Michal Jackson wants to admit diddling child cancer patients.
So what excuse does prairieinet.net give for censoring my internet access? They were affraid that if someone somewhere somehow broke the law using their network, they might somehow be held sort of responsible. Hmmm, so if prairieinet customers might potentially download child porn from web sites I suppose prairieinet will just have to block everyone's web access as well. What if someone might unexpectedly email death threats to the president? Better block everyone's email access too. Oh hell, why take any chances, let's just block all internet activity. Oh yea, they're supposed to be an internet service provider, guess they can't block it all, just the bits that cost them bandwidth. If I use the post office to send illegal material, the mailman isn't arrested. If I phone in a bomb threat, they don't haul Ma-Bell off to jail. If I share illegal files over my P2P network they don't haul my ISP to court. These people can't even come up with a decent lie.
The biggest reasons prairieinet.net's blocking P2P is total bunk:
Home page? You don't need no stinkin home page... You would think if they are raking in this kind of dough they might offer that most basic of basic ISP services, somewhere for you to put up a simple home page. You would be wrong.
Terrible customer security So a customer signs up for prairieinet.net service. They have a couple computers in their house on an in-house network with default file and printer sharing settings. You don't suppose prairieinet.net is going to allow everyone in my town to rifle through my folders, read my personal files, and print to my printer, do you? Surely they wouldn't configure an internet service that way, would they? I'm sorry, perhaps you haven't caught on to the theme yet. Hell yes they would do that, I've seen it with my own eyes.
Let's completly destroy important inbound email... So they have this "quarantine" place where all email identified as spam is suppoesed to go. Is that where it actually goes? Oh hell no. My off-shore web designers email gets absolutly destroyed with no notice to me whatsoever that they ever sent anything. Turns out prairieinet.net thinks that email from the country of Sri Lanka might be spam and instead of putting it in my quarantine folder they just send it off to the great bit-bucket in the sky. So sorry.
Let's block all outbound email with attachments... So one day out of the blue I find that prairieinet.net is eating all my outbound email that has any sort of file attachment on it. Anything at all. Try to send a picture of my daughter to her granpa? Eaten. Do I get a bounced email? Does the recipient get told of the missing email? Hell no. Just missing in action. No telling how many of my email went to the great bit bucket in the sky before they cleaned that little mess up.
Newsgroup support (NOT!) Want to access news groups? The backbone of internet information sharing? Fugetaboutit. After a week of hassling with prairieinet.net, yelling at them for ignoring and not responding to me, demanding the address of their newsgroup server, it turns out they don't have one. That's right, that most basic of internet services, the newsgroups, are NOT SUPPORTED by prairieinet.net. Not that prairieinet.net will admit that, hell no, we've been over that ground before. Admit nothing, put the customer off until he stops bothering us with his silly support questions. It's a week later and he's STILL there? Oh hell, might as well fess up and get rid of him, same as the P2P problem, the file caching problem, the security problems, the email problems, just ignore the jerk, maybe he'll go away.
"Hello, you have reached Crappy Tech Support, how may we ignore you today?" So you would think that for the prices I pay for basic internet (or at least the parts of the internet that prairieinet.net doesn't block) that they would at least get back to me when I have a problem. You would be whistling in the dark if you thought that. I email these jokers and wait a few days, email them again asking if they got my email, wait a few more days, wash, rinse, repeat. These people truly suck.
Oh but wait, it gets even better. These guys will put you on hold for 5 seconds over and over and over because they are exchanging insults about the people they are talking to. I can hear it in the background when other support people talk to my guy, and best of all my guy missed hitting the mute button one time and was telling his buddy he had no idea what was wrong with my service and didn't really care cause he was going to cut me off in five minutes anyway when the shop closed and to hell with me. And you better believe they don't refer to you in any sort of terms that would be acceptable to use in public. And to think I was being polite to this jerk!
File caching You go to an internet site, you expect to see that internet site, right? Naw. You see some old, stale, cached copy of that site that prairieinet.net stored on their servers so they wouldn't have to spend the network bandwidth to go fetch a current copy. AOL is fameous for this crappy trick, it's why most web sites won't work for AOL users. How do customers change this setting? They don't. You're stuck with it. How can you go manually update the site you are trying to reach? Fugetaboutit, you can't do it.
Crappy UDP support You don't know what UDP is? You don't have to, just know that it's the second most popular way that computers talk over networks, second only to TCP/IP. Everything from database administration to online gaming uses it. From day 1 prairieinet.net has not been able to offer anything even remotly resembeling decent support for UDP traffic. I have torn my hair out trying to administer databases over prairieinet.net service. I can connect from anywhere else on the net, just not from the prairieinet.net network. Online games? Fugetaboutit, the UDP packets are so bad I can't even connect to the servers, let alone get a game started. Don't bother complaining to tech support, they don't know their heads from their asses.
Oops, I was 5 days past due with a payment... So our bank issued new credit cards and we didn't update our prairieinet.net accout with the new card for the automatic withdrawl to pay for the crappy, over-priced prairieinet.net service this month. A couple days later we get a letter asking for payment. No problem at all, comletly reasonable. But wait, before payment could possibly even make it to their office they have throttled my bandwidth back to that of antique dial up modem speeds not seen in general use in the last 20 years. I have to wait 5 minutes for a lousy web page to load. So after doing a full system restore on my machine to make sure the problem isn't on my end I report the problem to prairieinet.net. The next day and six email later they finally admit that yes they did this on purpose in order to hasten payment for their crappy service. Mind you now I'm about 5 days past the normal automatic withdrawl date and I've been a customer for 3 years.
Google Search Whoo Hooo! I've got the number 2 Google spot for a search on Prairieinet! Hey, wait, that's just the initial position, we haven't even done the monthly Google dance yet, their page rank is only 1, my page rank hovers between 4 and 5, I bet I beat them out for first place after the next dance.
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