Saturday, December 27, 2008

I have internet!

I finally have working high speed internet, and phone, and 180 something channels of cable tv! Funny thing is, except for checking sports scores, and not being able to upload pictures for my blog, I didn't really miss the internet. George however, was going crazy. I'm not sure what she does on the internet, but she can sit for hours with the laptop in front of her browsing and typing.

Communication services (in some aspects) are quite advanced in France, compared to most offers in the US. We have high speed cable internet, cable tv with 180 something channels (including NASN the european ESPN with lots of AMERICAN football and ice hockey), and a land line that lets us call, for free, any land line in France and Europe, and any phone in about 45 other countries (including the USA and Hong Kong). Calling mobile phones in Europe, and calling countries not included in the list of free countries costs alot, but we'll just not do that.

All of the above services are just 50 euros per month, and we have one of the more expensive providers (because it is cable instead of ADSL). These services, of course, make use of VOIP and sometimes even TV over Internet to support such low prices. You can get these services in the US too, with vonage or skype or something, but the big companies don't really support them, and a similar package to what I have here would cost atleast 120 bucks per month in the US.

Mobile phone services, however, are retarded in France. Calling mobile phones always cost more than calling land lines, and calling numbers from mobiles phones can cost more than calling them from a land line, and its not always clear how much. I look forward to lots of surprises on my monthly cell phone bill.

Cell phones do have one positive over the US though. In Europe you only pay for calls you initiate, so other people can call you or text you or send you pictures, or whatever, and it will never cost you a thing.

Now that I have internet, I can upload some pics from around the new 'hood, and of my awesome (ly ugly) apartment. Update coming soon.

Oh, gotta go. V is on (and not V for Vendetta, but V the 1980's alien invasion mini series with Marc Singer). The French love old American TV. I watched Fall Guy the other day!


Tim said...

Congrats on getting plugged in :)

We're paying about $110 NZD per month here in New Zealand for combined cable internet + land line - which isn't too far off given exchange rates, etc.

Speeds are decent, averaging about 1-2 Mbps, and sometimes going up to 4-5 Mbps depending on the time. The big downer is that there's a monthly cap of 20GB (combined up + down). We could raise the cap by going to a more expensive plan, but it's not really worth it. It's the same here in that it costs more to call a mobile phone.

But you can call anywhere in the country for free. The best thing is that calls to most other countries, including the US, will be charged at most $6 for up to two hours talk time. Nice for those times when Skype isn't an option!

What are speeds like on your cable connection?

michael said...

Yeah, I really like that I can call my family and friends in the US for free. Skype isn't too bad, of course, and its relatively cheap too, but i like talking on a phone :-)

Theoretically my line is 100 Mbps, but of course I have never seen that. Using websites in France that test your connection speed, they usually tell me I have about 15 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Downloading big files from microsoft or something, I have seen 7 Mbps, but I do not think I have seen higher.

I have no idea if i have a download limit! I should definitely check that.

Scott McArthur said...

That's great man! I am glad that you are good to go. I love how people in the U.S. get raped on their communication and mobile services and think that they are getting a good deal. I have dropped everything in my house except a cable modem and still pay $50 a month for that. I am just using OTA tv, DVD's, hulu and whatnot for tv and I have been using a Magic Jack for home phone service. Of course my 3 mobile phones and blackberry service are costing about $160 a month. :(

BTW, the best way to test your download limit is ... bittorrent. ;) at least that is what "they" say.

michael said...

Cell phone service is prolly a bit more expensive here than in the US. We have a family plan so George and I share the minutes and such, and for 42 euros per month (almost as much as our cable, internet, and home phone combined) we only get 120 anytime minutes, but we can call each other as much as we want for free. Since you only pay for calls you initiate though, i think 120 minutes is prolly okay.

Combine that with the extra expense of calling certain numbers from mobile phones, and our cell phone bill might be more than our cable/internet/home phone bill.