When Will Qwest Learn?

I got an invitation in the mail. Pretty. Silver-lined. It was from Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q), inviting me to their new high-speed fiber service. I was intrigued! Finally – fiber has come to my neighborhood! This deserved some exploration. Quickly I went to their Website to find all of my options and pricing. At first glance, things look pretty good – 12 Mbit/s for $49 per month, 20 Mbit/s for $99 per month. Wow, not bad. I am currently using Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) for my Internet service, with a cable modem. The price/performance ratio is something Qwest hasn’t been able to touch with their DSL service, no matter how many times they try to tell me my connection is “shared."

What technology are they using? No one has knocked on my door, so I know it’s not FTTH. It’s the next best thing – fiber to the node. This is great! You know what this means? No more ADSL! Perhaps – dare I dream – I might get synchronous speeds? Up and down at a golden ratio of 1?

OK, let’s search the page – upspeed... upspeed... hmmm, don’t see it. I do a browser search of the page to make sure I haven’t overlooked anything. Nope, can’t find anything. How can I find this out? There’s a live chat option, so I go for that – surely someone can tell me what I’ll get for my money. I start my conversation with the customer service rep:

    Me: "Hi, can you tell me the upload speeds for your fiber service?"

    Them: "Sure, just check our page for all of our speeds and pricing here: http://www.qwest.com/residential/internet/fiber-optics.html"

    Me: "Yes, thank you, I was just there, it doesn’t say anything about upload speed."

    Them: "One moment, let me check with our engineering department."

    Them: "Thank you for waiting. The upload speeds for our service is 896 Kbps."

    Me: "Is that for both the 12 and 20 meg service?"

    Them: "Yes. Is there another question I can answer?"

    Me: "No, thanks."

896Kbps up. Seriously? When will Qwest learn?

I am a Web programmer. I work from home sometimes. I upload files. Sometimes a lot of files, sometimes a lot of big files. I use Remote Desktop to access my PC at home. I am a Power User. I am the first one on the block to upgrade to the fastest fill in the blank techno weenie gadget. I understand computers, networks, servers, hardware, and software. Why doesn’t Qwest understand that I want fast upload speeds? I mean, even T1 equivalent upload would be good.

Sure this sounds self-indulgent, but I’m not alone here. Online backup services are more popular than ever. Social networks are more video-enabled than ever. Photo sharing, with huge files, is an afterthought for most people. More and more, upload speeds are a big, big deal.

These days, I pay $62.95 per month for my Comcast service, which includes 8 Mbit/s down, and 2 Mbit/s up. Why would I change?

Qwest continues its lumbering big telco mentality by not paying attention to its customers and their wants and needs. Perhaps they should do some research on who would buy this service, and also brush up on the competition. It’s killing them.

–Bill Burns, Light Reading

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