I recently wondered why I’m paying $100 for DSL service, when I can get comparable – if not faster – Internet service for less. I’ve been a Speakeasy customer for the six years I’ve been a homeowner, and I’ve been absolutely delighted with the service. But it’s been bothering me lately that I’m paying twice as much as I might pay were I to use cable Internet.

I originally selected Speakeasy because they permitted home users to run their own servers. For several years I ran this website (and many others) on an older computer tucked under the desk in my bedroom. I liked knowing that I had full control over all the data on the computer, as well as having physical control over the server itself. Occasionally the server would foul up, and having console access allowed me to administer it more effectively.

Looking over my support history with Speakeasy, something made extremely easy through their customer portal website, I see I’ve opened a couple dozen support requests. Most of them were resolved extremely quickly, and with little fuss. This is in stark contrast to the few support requests I remember from when I was a Road Runner customer. The Speakeasy support staff are responsive, extremely professional, and competent. I don’t think I’ve ever dealt with anyone reading a support script. Quite the contrary: I’ve had in-depth technical discussions about Linux configurations with Speakeasy support staff, something that would never happen with cable support.

I have a static IP address from Speakeasy – a real static IP, not just a long-lived DHCP lease. They provide reverse DNS for this IP, which was important when I was managing email services from my own server. They permit me to run servers, allowing me to make incoming connections to computers within my network. I know lots of people do run servers on their cable lines (and I did, too, when I was using cable), but that’s a violation of the terms of service and can be shut down at a whim by the Internet provider.

I opened a trouble ticket with Speakeasy yesterday, inquiring about any “customer loyalty” discount for which I might be eligible. I pointed out that I could get similar speeds for half the monthly fee I was currently paying. I also indicated that I don’t take advantage of many of the other perks offered to me from Speakeasy (1 GB NNTP throughput, complimentary dial-up access), and wondered if I could rescind those in exchange for a lower rate. 35 minutes after I pressed the “Submit” button on the support form, I had a reply from Speakeasy. I had been given a $10/month discount on my service.

My initial reaction was mixed. I was pleased that they were so quick to respond, but thought that maybe $10/month wasn’t a sufficient discount to keep my business. I thought about it through the day, and slept on it before making any kind of final conclusion.

Ultimately, I’ve decided that I don’t mind paying a little extra for Speakeasy DSL service. I’ve only ever had superb support from them, and knowing that that’s available to me is worth a couple extra bucks a month. The fast response in regards to my discount inquiry and the no-fuss application of said discount reassures me that Speakeasy really does want to retain my business. I have no doubt whatsoever that such a request to one of the cable providers would have fallen on deaf ears. Finally, it’s nice to know that my monthly Internet fees are going to a company that permits me to use my connection for the things I want, whether that be constant download (ie: no hidden quota or usage caps) or running servers.

Speakeasy gets it. They’re an ISP worth having.

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