Drinking from the Firehose

It’s been a journey that has taken more than five years, but we have a fibre-optic broadband network connection here at the farmhouse at last. Now we have an internet connection speed of 200 mbits/s instead of just 3 mbits/sec.

When we first moved to the farmhouse back in 2006, we had only dial-up internet access (50 kbit/s) via the telephone line during the first months of living here. We should have had ADSL internet access (3 mbit/s), but there was a mixup made by our service provider, and the ADSL service was not transferred from our previous house in Gouda to the farmhouse.

It’s also a bit strange to think that, back then, I thought of ADSL as “drinking from the firehose” – I suppose it was, considering it was 60 times faster than dial-up access. However, as the demands made by websites on internet speed grew over the years, a speed of 3 megabits per second dwindled in my perception to be akin to watching paint dry.

After a false start in 2015, the campaign to get a fibre-optic network in our region of the Netherlands got properly underway in November 2017. Work started on the network in March 2018, and the expectation was that we would be connected by mid-2019. In the event, there were delays caused by weather conditions, and getting licenses from the highway authorities to lay cables under motorways. However, by last September the physical network infrastructure had been completed for our area and there was a fibre-optic connection in the farmhouse. Then came some hiccups with my service provider, Solcon.

I finally received the fibre-optic modem and the router from Solcon on the 21st of November, complete with clear DIY installation instructions. That weekend I connected everything up, but the connection didn’t work. I rang the Solcon service desk, only to be told that my connection would not be activated until the 9th of December. This turned out to be the case for all Solcon customers in our area. Someone in Solcon should clearly rethink their business process for new connections – either make it clear that installing the equipment before the connection in the local distribution centre is ready is pointless and will only lead to frustration, or ship the equipment to the customer once the connection has been activated (as other service providers do).

Needless to say, on the 9th December my connection had still not been activated, so I had an angry telephone call with Solcon. Lo and behold, the following day everything started working at 11am. Well, almost everything – I discovered that phoning our home telephone number resulted in getting redirected to a mysterious voicemail system. Another call to Solcon got that fixed quickly. We’ve also noticed that the TV picture will freeze for a few seconds once or twice per evening’s viewing. This is a known problem, which is being investigated and hopefully will be fixed in the next few weeks.

So now we have internet, TV and telephone services via our new fibre-optic broadband network. Our subscriptions to our old service providers for internet, TV (via satellite dish) and telephone have been cancelled, and will stop working by the middle of January.

It’s been a journey, but I think a worthwhile one.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Drinking from the Firehose

  1. Ludwig says:

    Congratulations and happy New Year. You should be good for a few years before even that speed seems pedestrian. Now you can show lots of hi-res images in your posts. Be well!

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