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… to paraphrase the words of George Bush. For the past 7+ days, I've had limited Internet access because of myriad problems at Comcast and with the weather in the Bay Area, where I live. Three technicians, 7 calls and 4 online chats later, the problems aren't fixed and I keep getting different information from people I speak to. (I'm cheating on a neighbor's unreliable Wi-Fi network when I do get on.)

I have two contradictory thoughts: Being offline for most of last week gave me some much needed perspective that the Internet isn't the alpha and omega of existence—of course, I already knew that intellectually— there are many more "human" problems (and pleasures) that should and do trump the questions of search engine market share and online demographics. However, admittedly, I am somewhat compulsively involved with the Internet and its many dramas.

The Internet is now a utility and should be as reliable; it's no longer a novelty. It must work all the time, and there must be redundant systems to ensure that it does. Right now, amazingly (because of my own "inertia"), I pay $61.90 per month for my Comcast "high-speed" Internet. I've considered switching to ATT-Yahoo!, but the speeds are slower (although so are the prices).

Yet most of the time I don't in fact get on at the promised superior cable speeds. Indeed, one of the amazing things I discovered during this little ordeal was that Comcast was actually rationing the signal strength to my house. That was revealed when one of the technicians removed the device constricting the bandwidth to boost the signal speed I was receiving.

But enough of this griping … Bring on the municipal Wi-Fi (GoogleNet, whoever; I don't care). It can't happen fast enough for me. Maybe that would put some fear into Comcast to deliver better service and better speed at more competitive pricing.

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