Seniors & Aging

Pam Stone | Losing Internet causes waves of woe

Our Internet has been out. For days, weeks, months. A “good” day is when it drops, oh, maybe 20 to 30 times. And while I loathe to use my column as a way to shame any provider or name them, publicly, sometimes I feel that when we complain, Paul and I are just whistling in the wind.

As the seasons passed by, crews have surmised it was our modem (replaced), our equipment (nope), then a faulty cable, which we were assured would be replaced the following day (no one showed). Paul called, rather testily (Dutch guys get really annoyed when they’ve tried multiple times in vain to order their favorite imported cheese online), only to be told that the work order had been pushed to sometime in June. Then Paul got really testy and said that was utterly unacceptable, and the crew showed up four days later, on Sunday, to dig. They were extremely pleasant, apologetic, not to mention hard-working.

And we still haven’t got Internet.

“Use Charter!” friends on Facebook implored.

“Whatever you do, don’t use Charter!” others screamed (seriously, in capital letters).

“Why not Verizon? Why not Hughes Net?”

“Verizon? Hughes Net? They’re the worst!”

“Use your personal ‘hot spot!’”

“That’s what you get for living out in the boonies.”

Typing furiously (on “hot spot” but using sparingly, as I’d rather not take out a second mortgage to pay for it), I tried to explain to these unhelpful suggestions that “living in the boonies” has absolutely nothing to do with it, and there simply is no other provider available, we use a tremendous amount of data as we work from home, but finally, another Facebook friend came to my rescue with the most succinct explanation yet, and I defer to him:

“There’s so much more to this story. From our state legislature selling off 80 percent of our bandwidth to private corporations, to those corporations setting themselves up as monopolies and refusing to invest in fiber optics, to a complacent public accepting the status quo. People just aren’t aware of the situation or how far behind the rest of the civilized world we are. IMHO it’s not just inconvenient, it’s criminal.”

Tom pretty much said it all, but if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s complacent. I’m impatient as hell, especially as we have been paying out the nose for service not received, and we wait, and we wait, and honestly, I’m beginning to feel that same wave of hopeless despair that Walter Cronkite reported every night on his newscast from 1979 to 1981 …

“Good evening. It is now day 383 for Americans held during the Iranian hostage crisis … ”

Will it ever be over?

As I tried to write this column, I turned off “hotspot” and tried my Internet. It promptly dropped. One of my editors sent an email asking politely when I’d be sending my column, as I was past deadline.

I’m typing as fast as I can, and I pray when I hit “send,” it’ll actually make it to them. If not, perhaps I’ll just print it out, fold it into an airplane and toss it out the front door.

Because certainly, the wind’ll stream it there.

Reach PAM STONE at