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   We get phone calls, periodically throughout the week, asking the Question:

"How can I get a more reliable Internet connection?"

   Followed by horror stories that range from disconnects, busy signals, inability to complete online transactions, sometimes resulting in substantial financial loss, and at the least, extreme frustration.

What can you do?

   It all depends on where you live in Grays Harbor County. Some areas have phone systems that have been upgraded to offer a superior Internet connection.

   In areas with upgraded phone systems, you will receive more reliable Internet connections and be able to use most of your 56K modems. Also, if you desire, you have the opportunity to use the superior Internet service referred to as Digital Subscriber Lines (DSL).

   For the rest of us, still using phone lines left over from prehistoric communication in Grays Harbor County, we suffer from the same problems as you currently experience. Each circuit must be conditioned to qualify for service. (Maybe you've heard of companies fighting over the last mile, this is it.)

   The phone companies still waive promises to upgrade, with expected dates being pushed further into the future than some of our expected lifespans.

What if I switch Internet Service Providers?

   If you have tried this approach to get a better Internet connection, you already know that this does very little to solve the problem.

   If you are experiencing problems with busy signals, server crashes or poor customer service, then switching to another Internet Service Provider (ISP) may offer you some relief.

   All ISPs rely on the quality and integrity of the telephone network to connect your computer to the Internet. If this is not a high level of Integrity, then you will still experience the same, low standard of Internet connectivity. A drop in line condition will result in a disconnect from your ISP's system.

   In other words, When your computer's modem makes contact with your Internet Service Provider's modem, it establishes a standard rate of transfer at which it will be able to accurately transmit data between the Internet and your machine. This transfer rate can vary due to the quality of your line condition. Once a rate is established, if the transfer rate falls below the negotiated rate, then the system starts to see gibberish instead of the data and a disconnect will result. This forces the user to reconnect to negotiate another acceptable rate of transfer.

   For those of us who must use the poor quality phone lines, using a Back Up ISP is a better solution, while we wait for promised upgrades.

   Many Grays Harbor residents are experiencing satisfactory dialup service from our association with Excel. They are the fourth-largest telecommunications company in the world and offer local dial up in Aberdeen.

   Although, we at Grays Harbor Online suggest supporting local Internet Service Providers, some of our Excel customers are dropping their local ISP accounts.

   Other advantages of using Excel include Unlimited Hours reliable live, 24-hours-a-day Customer Service (who won't keep telling you, It's your machine), 5 FREE Email Accounts and what is in my opinion, the best feature of all... National Dial-up Access. Since Excel offers dial-up almost everywhere in the United States of America, you can take your laptop with you and get local dialup from almost anywhere at No Extra Charge. All you have to do is lookup the local dialup number before you go. Very exciting. All this for only $14.95 a month!

   When the kids and I take off to Salem for a break. I just bring along my laptop, dialup via Excel, and BOOM I'm online, checking my local e-mail and working, just as if I were at home, dialing up in Aberdeen. If you ask me, it doesn't get any better than that.

   You may (as I do) desire to maintain your local ISP account, because you have an email address that everyone knows you by, to change it is a hassle. It's worth the extra $20/month, to me, to keep using my local e-mail account.

   The biggest advantage? Hey, when I want to get online, I'm there. No messing around, redialing, competing with kids downloading Napster songs, or reliance on an imperfect system. I'm covered coming and going and have a dependable back-up just in case I need it.

   What? More questions? No problem. Why not visit our F.A.Q. (that's Frequently Asked Questions), maybe you'll find the answer that you're looking for there.

   You may, or may not, agree with me. Tell me what you think by sending me an email at

That's the way I see it



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