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Old 01-22-2012, 12:03 AM   #1
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Telecommunications

What's the best business package deal you've found for : Phone, Internet, and Cable combos ? Comcast, Charter, ATT ? What were / are your costs ? Any rip-offs or fine print details one needs to know before signing on the dotted line.
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:24 AM   #2
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Over the air tv with homebuilt DVR, a giant wifi antenna, neighbors with unsecured wifi, and skype. Best deal in town and no long-term contract ;-)
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:34 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by glippy View Post
a giant wifi antenna, neighbors with unsecured wifi, and skype.
Do you have your neighbor's permission to use his bandwidth?
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:38 AM   #4
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No.

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Do you have your neighbor's permission to use his bandwidth?
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Old 01-22-2012, 02:42 AM   #5
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No.
Isn't that illegal?
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:07 AM   #6
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It's unclear. I'm probably violating their agreement with their ISP not to share their bandwidth.

I live in a dense area where I can see about 75 access points from my place. So it would be just about impossible for me to track down the owner to see if he wants to give me permission or not.

But in my favor, he is actively sending a radio signal into my living room that is actively inviting my computer to connect to it. Some operating systems will even connect without any user interaction at all. Many people use their neighbor's wireless without even being aware of it.

I'm operating on the assumption that if he didn't want me to use it he wouldn't be broadcasting an invitation into my house. I have no way to know if he's doing it on purpose or just out of ignorance.

Quote:
Isn't that illegal?
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Old 01-22-2012, 03:11 AM   #7
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Isn't that illegal?
No?

Maybe the neighbor is offering the unsecured access as a courtesy to his neighbors. Maybe they want plausible deniability on their own actions, and run a tor exit node. There could be any number of reasons it's unsecured.

I'd still check out of politeness, and notify him/her that their wifi is unsecured (and offer to help them secure it), in case they didn't know.

But why would accessing a utility left open for use be illegal? If your neighbor leaves an exterior light on which lights up the sidewalk, do you close your eyes so you don't use their light and electricity?
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:50 AM   #8
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The downside of this is that he can see all your non-encrypted internet traffic using a $5 hub, a couple of ethernet cables, and any of several free protocol analyzers.

Thing is . . . he probably does not know enough to do that.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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But why would accessing a utility left open for use be illegal? If your neighbor leaves an exterior light on which lights up the sidewalk, do you close your eyes so you don't use their light and electricity?
Regardless of the arguments as to whether it should or should not be legal, I had a suspicion that it might actually be illegal. That's why I asked.

According to this article Legality of piggybacking - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, laws in the US vary from state to state, though enforcement is rare. In practice then, the main issue seems to be more of an ethical one.

As you mentioned arebelspy, the polite course of action would be to ask him, but then that might result in glippy losing his free internet

Yes - and what Rustward said.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:24 AM   #10
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In practice then, the main issue seems to be more of an ethical one.
Agreed.

I think notifying the neighbor is the right thing to do.

In the case stated, that might be hard to do, with the crowded WiFi spectrum, without doing something uncomfortable to figure out who it belongs to. I mean, you can make a message pop up on their computer, but that brings up its own questions.

Personally in a situation where you can't reasonably find who it belongs to, I'd avoid using it simply as a matter of respect. But I don't have an issue with occasional use, and I actually don't have an issue if someone else decides for themselves that they want to use it, as it is a rather grey area.

And if someone wants to sniff traffic, it's ten times easier, more profitable, and harder to get caught to go to the local Starbucks than wait for someone to connect to your local network.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:26 AM   #11
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To get back on topic for the OP, I use my cell phone at home to tether to my computers, so I save money by having no Internet bill.

It could be something to look into if you want cheap telecommunications capabilities.
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Old 01-22-2012, 10:45 AM   #12
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This is not really the answer that ferco was looking for, as I don't have a telecommunications package as such, but my entire monthly telecomms bill is < $28, which consists of a basic landline and basic dsl (no TV here.)

For calls outside my local calling area, I use Cheap International Calls, Internet Fax, VoIP, Call Forwarding, All Pay-As-You-Go in OneSuite which adds about $2.50/month to the total.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:31 PM   #13
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When I used to w*rk, I flowed along with the crowd and religiously paid a monthly cell phone, cable bills. When I FIRE'd, the monthly bills and package offers all felt like a rip-off. I guess it's just a matter of priorities. I had to ask myself "How much did I really need the services?"

Competition for packages are heated...that's good and bad. Competition to drive down costs (hopefully), but also creates confusion.

p.s. as for my setup --

TV: OTA TV with self-built TV antenna and DTVPal DVR
Internet: basic DSL
Phone: basic landline (use only to receive calls and caller id w/name), Nettalk/magicjack use to make calls via internet
Mobile: tracfone prepaid
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:05 PM   #14
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  • TV with antenna
  • Basic landline / DSL
  • Google Voice for all long distance (free except international)
  • $5 a month Virgin Mobile cell phone, burn up excess credits with international calls
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:28 PM   #15
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The downside of this is that he can see all your non-encrypted internet traffic using a $5 hub, a couple of ethernet cables, and any of several free protocol analyzers.

Thing is . . . he probably does not know enough to do that.
Or he does know. It's called a honey pot.
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Old 01-22-2012, 05:48 PM   #16
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I live in a rural area so my choices are limited. I use Dish for TV (2 TVs with a DVR + one other TV) for ~$75/mo. Internet is DSL for $50/mo. Phone is Ooma for ~$13.50/month with two lines (one home, one home office) and unlimited US calls. Total $138.50/month less $60 employer reimbursement = $78.50/mo. Employer reimbursement will end when I ER in February.
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Old 01-22-2012, 07:06 PM   #17
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- OTA TV: Free; $13 for Tivo. Also stream through Playon (with PS3) and Netflix.
- Phone: Ooma; $3.5 (will likely upgrade to Premier at $13.5 when intro over); FYI, Ooma works great!
- Internet: Uverse (12 MBps) $29.95; in theory will go up to $45.95 after 1 year (I'll call to cancel to get it dropped back to $29.95)
- Cell: Way too much! (2 smart phones and 2 regular phones); not sure how to reduce this other than the obvious. Use Verizon, which has great coverage. Don't forget to sign up for discounts 10% - 18% for various affiliations to include fed employees, military, some companies, etc.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:18 PM   #18
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For all you OTA folks, how are you getting sports? Here in the Chicago area, Comcast's hook into guys like me is access to sports. I can get all but the Monday night game for the Bears. But, the Cubs, Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks are frequently only on cable channels. Drives me nuts. Other than sports access, I have plenty of OTA channels (even with a simple indoor antenna) to satisfy my craving for TV.

To OP: I haven't found a bundle that beats shopping around service by service. I have Verizon for the smart phone, ATT for cheapo landline and DSL and Comcast for cable.
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Old 01-22-2012, 08:46 PM   #19
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For sports that aren't OTA, I use Playon streaming through my PS3 to my TV. I get ESPN3 (some cable networks may block this), MLB, NHL, ESPN, etc. The streaming can be at times temperamental. I may add a video card with an HDMI out to send content directly from the computer to TV.
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Old 01-22-2012, 09:48 PM   #20
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For sports, if it's on cable, I resort to the old fashioned method -- listening to the radio. If I travel and the game is on OTA TV, I also have a Slingbox so I can watch the broadcast from my home TV/DVR on my netbook.
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