Anyone who’s been trying to reach the Web or email servers for the past year-and-a-half is aware that we’ve been offline. Here’s why:

(This part is now historical.)
Our upstream ISP, SpiritOne, handles IP address assignments and technical issues; however, we have to rely on Verizon to provide the physical connection and raw bandwidth. Sometime in September, Verizon started a rollout of FIOS (a fiber-optic Internet connection service) to our area, which would be great, except they won’t allow us to continue using SpiritOne as our ISP if we switch to FIOS. At the time of the rollout, we had a stable and reliable connection at 300 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream. Within hours of the FIOS rollout announcement, that relationship became highly unstable and unreliable. After exhausting all technical support channels, we asked our ISP to reduce the speed to 150 Mbps down/50 Mbps up, and for a while that seemed to solve the stability and reliability problems, at the cost of speed.

However, within the past couple of weeks, the usable speed has gradually decayed, to the point that we are now getting a little over 100 MBps downstream, and between 10 and 12MBps upstream – and that upstream speed is what determines how fast you can get Web pages from our server. As a comparison, a typical modem can deliver 150 Mbps on a regular basis, so right now, we are paying for approximately 7 and a half times the speed we are getting. SpiritOne is unable to do anything about it because the problem is within Verizon’s physical network. Verizon, of course, denies that they have done anything to cause this issue, and refuses to try to fix it.

So, to solve the problem we are going to locate a small server in another facility which will handle relaying email for us, and convert our connection here to FIOS – and the promised speed, for half of what we are currently paying, is 1500 Mbps down and 60 Mbps up, or 16 times the speed we are now paying for, and 120 times the speed we are actually getting.

Please bear with us; this changeover will still require another couple of weeks. We expect it to be completed no later than the end of December, and hopefully before the 15th.

SpiritOne has apparently used small words to explain to Verizon that they are the problem. As of this morning, our line speed is closer to 350 MBps (we’re paying for 384 MBps , but at this point, I’m happy enough to be above 256).

The move will proceed on schedule.

Verizon installers have been around the outside of the house all day, running the fiber-optic line up to where the remark will be. We have an “appointment” (meaning: The installer may show up at any time in the 4-hour window from 8:30 AM 12:30 PM) for tomorrow to get the actual FiOS connection finished. Based on past performance, I expect chaos, and a complete loss of Internet connectivity for several hours.

Hopefully the final update. The FiOS was installed on 23 January. Incoming Web traffic was blocked by Verizon; we ordered an upgrade to “business class” service. That took place on 2 February. Unfortunately, Verizon decided to switch our DSL line from copper to fiber on 29 January, effectively putting us out of business. We had specifically told them *not* to do that, repeatedly and in minuscule words, so that even an idiot could have understood that it was a Bad Thing To Do. The “business class” service was turned on later the same day – but incoming Web traffic was still blocked. We then ordered another “upgrade” to “business class with static IP assignments.” That was finally done in the evening on 7 February. We have now had about 48 hours of connectivity on the new fibre-optic lines. The speed is obviously a lot faster, both on downloads from this site and uploads to it. Since there are no copper wires to corrode, nor to pick up interference from radio transmitters, electromagnetic pulses caused by nuclear wars, or whatever, stability should be excellent. Also, we have added a new UPS (“battery backup” to you non-geeks out there) to keep the server running through short power outages, and protect it from power line surges.

And we were only offline for a week and a half, thanks to Verizon’s malicious disruption of the service we were obtaining from a third party ISP, in competition with Verizon. I spoke to dozens of people at Verizon during that time, and of all of them, exactly two did what I thought was their best to help; “Jim” in the Beaverton/Tigard district, and his assistant(?), “Steve.” Thanks go out to those two guys, and to a tech in the California fiber operations center, whose name I didn’t write down; and a big, fat, wet raspberry to the rest of Verizon. May you experience the kind of “support” I got from you the next time your income is in peril. May you learn first-hand that “bait-and-switch” is a despicable marketing tactic.

The following countries have been permanently blocked at the firewall because of long-running malicious attacks, and a complete lack of legitimate traffic:

China
Korea
Nigeria
Romania
Turkey