Denver Direct: Tech Note: Grinding to a halt

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tech Note: Grinding to a halt

Over the past month, my internet speed seemed to be slowly decreasing. I noticed it first with streaming video and YouTube clips. More buffering and less playing. At first I concentrated on the video aspect of the problem, but eventually I started measuring the actual internet speed ( The “advertised” rate is 1.5 Mbps (mega-bits-per-second), I was coming in at around .5 Mbps as my download speed. Not good.

Customer Service closed on the weekends

I finally got around to calling CenturyLink, (formerly Qwest, formerly Mountain Bell) my “service” provider. It took two days and 5 telephone calls, but finally, yesterday (Saturday) I was able to get a CenturyLink operator (thanks Debbie) that 1) I could understand, and 2) stuck with me for the arduous task of re-programming my modem (PK5000), rebooting, etc. and the use of so that she could see the results of my speed test. Conclusion: new modem is needed. Solution: I will have to call Customer Service on Monday to ask them for a new modem to be sent out. Why wait ’til Monday? Because customer service is not open on the weekends. Couldn’t she order it for me internally and save me the call? No, she didn’t have the authority to do that. Would there be a cost to me? She couldn’t say.

Aside: 1.5 Mbps is the highest speed available “in my neighborhood” even though others can apparently get plans with speeds as high as 40 Mbps. I’ve been told this for years and I don’t expect it to change any time soon. I’m paying $75/mo for this and one land-line. Ironic and most irritating was the incessant message repeated while I waited (15 minutes) that I could “up-grade and take control of the power of the internet”.

I didn’t suspect my modem because I didn’t realize that it would slowly grind to a halt rather than break down completely and just not work at all. For now, until I get my new modem, I’ll have to limp along and avoid downloading anything of size.