Trust big service companies to a) screw their customers if they can and b) assume (count on) that their customers are clueless idiots. I recently found out that Orange (France) screws their customers, in this case me, by applying something they call DLM (Dynamic Line Management) to their ADSL connections and they, of course, advertise it as a bonus to their customers. In reality it is, of course, a bonus to Orange and nothing else.
A while ago my ADSL line suddenly dropped from the usual 5-6 Mbps down to 2(!) Mbps and stayed there. 5-6 Mbps, even 4 Mbps, is acceptable but at 2 Mbps things really starts to slow down and it’s next to unusable if more than one person is on-line at the same time. Given that JJ already started his summer holidays the latter is almost a certainty.
Since it didn’t go back up in a reasonable time I started to Bing around on the net to see if I could find if someone else in the region had a problem. I then found out that Orange employs this DLM and that it was a source of much irritation among the more knowledgeable Orange customers. If you read the Orange blurb about it on their site, which is next to impossible to find unless you know where to look by the way, it’s supposed to “improve line stability by compensating for dropouts and other instabilities”.
What it really does is to simply to drop the line speed, often drastically. If it detects dropouts it will assume the line is bad and then drop your speed. Now rebooting you modem counts as a drop. Reboot the modem 8 times during a 24 hour cycle and your line speed is dropped. And there’s nothing subtle about it, an 8 Mbps line is dropped to 2 Mbps. That’s just insanely stupid. Furthermore, you actually never get the full speed that your modem can handle. It always gives you a little less.
Now, this is off course a shitty deal for the customers, who are in most cases getting screwed on bandwidth, and a good deal for Orange since it not only helps cover up really shitty lines so they don’t have to fix them but it also covers up the lousy quality of their Freebox modems that they want to offload to their customers (that one lasted for a couple of weeks then I replaced it with something that actually worked) and it sneakily helps them save (a lot of) bandwidth. Many of their customers probably never notice that they get a lot less than they paid for and those that do notice that their connection is slow just gripe a bit about it but never do anything about it.
Luckily, there is a well hidden web form here (there’s a hotline phone number as well but, according to the forums you then get a clueless outsourced help desk that only tries to feed you their standard pre-canned bullshit answers), that allows you to “blacklist” your phone number so it’s no longer under DLM control. I filled in this form and submitted it. A little more than 24 hours later I got a confirmation and voila, my speed was back up to 5.6 Mbps and I haven’t had a drop since.