HURRAH! Casa Smith/Stanford is now officially back online, thanks to Vodafone DSL! And it only took 3 weeks…
When I signed the lease for the apartment, I also signed up for cable service. It wasn’t really a choice – it was just part of the deal: €12,16 / month for basic cable, everyone in the building has it. I had hoped that signing up for internet service would be (nearly) as simple, but it turned out to be a real pain. (Update: cable is also a pain.)
The first hurdle was actually figuring out who to sign up with. There are a LOT of choices here, as all the cell companies (T-Mobile, Vodafone, O2, etc) offer internet, as well as the main telephone service (T-Com) and the cable companies (we have NefTV). Unfortunately, everyone requires a 24-month service agreement, and we’re only planning on being here for about 16.
Originally, I planned to sign up with T-Mobile since my mobile phone service was through them, and the deal seemed reasonable, but the salesperson at the mobile office showed me the Vodafone package, which had basically the same service but about €15/month cheaper. The only real difference that affected me was that the T-Mobile offered free service at their Hot Spots worldwide. This service is fairly expensive on its own, but I didn’t figure I’d use it enough to justify the difference in price, so I went with Vodafone. Pretty decent price, actually, €30/month for unlimited service with first 2 months free, including local telephone service.
So I signed up on the Monday after we got here, June 30. Had I done this in the states, I would have taken the DSL modem home with me (I bought it as well) and waited a couple days for them to activate the service. However, with the typical German timetable, they sent me the modem FedEx (couldn’t find us the first time, had to call me and make sure we were really at the address we gave, then re-schedule shipment), then it took 2 weeks to schedule the “install” (Anschluss).
I thought this was going to be a long, complicated process. I was wrong. The day of the “Anschluss,” dude showed up at our house about 10:30, plugged this tricorder-looking device into the phone jack, pressed a few buttons, then said he was done. The whole process took about 15 minutes, then we were told it would take up to 12 hours after that for service to be “activated” from the business office.
All a bunch of red tape, but the upshot is that we’re FINALLY connected!
The ironic part is that we ended up paying for a month’s worth of T-Mobile Hot Spot during our “offline” period so that we could check email and such at Starbucks.