Wifi…..A blessing or a Curse??

So now…..uuuum…..Wi-Fi…..what a necessity it has become (well in my house anyway). With two teens and now young adults in the house, this was always a prickly issue. From as far back as I can remember, there was never ”enough data”, ”fast enough upload and/or download”, ”let’s just get uncapped”, ”let’s just get fibre”, ”lets just change the service provider/contract”, blah blah f****ng blah!!!!!

Until COVID (sigh…so tired of that word now being part of our daily vocabulary), I was the fuddy duddy Grumpy Mummy who was not feeling the whole unlimited, uncapped, fastest upload and download thing. I had quite enough for my emails and messages on my phone, and these children just needed to deal with the unfair and ”torturous hardships” of our always ”worst Wi-Fi of anyone we know”. To make matters worse, we have a bit of a dodgy signal residence, and there are certain rooms in the house that battled with signal more than others….even with an extender.

So there were negligible upgrades over time. Of Course with upgrades always comes higher costs. So my long held personal mantra that our lives would not revolve around Wi-Fi, and I would not be selling my soul to afford it, started showing cracks a while ago. But still, we actually were the people with the ”worst Wi-Fi of anyone we know.” So all in all, my ”underprivileged” children (you know….the ones WITH WI-FI AT ALL) had to endure these tortures themselves. I was happy…that was all that counted.

Then COVID struck (words which have literally become predictive text on my keyboard), and life changed. We had had paid T.V for a gazillion years, and from the time that my children had started to speak for themselves (why did I let that happen), they tried to convince me that it was a total waste of money. They argued that everything gets repeated continuously (100% true), that I was just in a comfort zone with it (100% true), and that actually I could be SAVING money by cancelling it and upgrading our Wi-Fi.

Now these little swines just KNOW, when they say ”saving money”, they have my attention. So, I listened….. They (well Pepper was the main culprit….always up to no good that child), explained that if I subscribed to Netflix, get a Smart TV and have access to YouTube, I will be more than happy with the variety of viewing. ”BUT WE HAVE TO UPGRADE OUR Wi-Fi TO DO THAT”, he stressed. So obviously, all I heard was, ”Smart TV” and ”upgrade Wi-Fi”, and I totally dismissed his argument that I would be saving money!!

Now my T.V comes first, then it is a photo finish between my children and everything else. I do not read (attention span of a guppie), I do not go out and about often (retarded social skills) and I do not have any hobbies (nothing interests me). So when it is time for me to get into bed at the end of the day………my T.V viewing I must have!!! If not, sleep bad, feel bad and become worse.

However, on going to work the next day, I was telling a colleague (closer to Pepper’s age than mine), of what a swine bastard Pepper was for trying to MANIPULATE me into upgrading our Wi-Fi. She mentioned that it would not be necessary for me to purchase a Smart TV, I could just purchase a ”Smart Box” to convert my stupid TV into a smart one. On explaining the costs, and how it works, I was most sceptical, as it just seemed to be too good to be true!! Essentially, by cancelling my monthly (exorbitant) paid T.V subscription, purchasing a ”Smart Box””, and upgrading my Wi-Fi to a fibre package, I would INDEED be saving a couple bucks.

Needless to say when I told Pepper of the plan, his jaw nearly shattered as it tumbled to the ground. Salt took it in his stride, but think he was internally jumping for joy, as he is the YOUTUBE King!! So as fast as you can say “I might just have been duped”, pay TV cancelled, Smart Box ordered (online….as one does with everything since the “”C”” word), and fibre requested, with new Wi-Fi, uncapped…..like ”everyone else’s we know”. Working remotely a fair amount since COVID, kind of would have had me needing to upgrade anyway….but wasn’t going to tell Pepper that…..just felt he needed to bask in his triumph. 

For the most part, the last year has been fairly seamless. Well other than the few times my f****ing Smart Box was not so smart, and had moments where it would not connect to the Wi-Fi.
However, two very pertinent issues reared their ugly heads in the last few months.

Firstly, I have now become informed about the fact that ”uncapped” does not mean ”unthrottled”. Ever the cynic when it comes to service providers in my part of the world, I inadvertently learnt about this thing they call ”unthrottled” data. I have found that at various intervals, I was having to reboot my router at least once every day. The Wi-Fi slowed down during those periods too. Each time, I would phone my service provider to request a reason, and they would have me switching on, off, unplugging, plugging, pooping and farting, all the while doing something on their side. Then, for a few weeks after that, perfect signal, life was good!

After a few months, I made what had by then become the customary call, but inquired why it is that after I have spoken to them, it seems to sort the problem out. 

Perhaps there is a fault with my router,” I naively offered forth. “should you not send a technician out to see if there is a problem?”

”No, your data is being throttled, so we unthrottle it when you call”,  said the naïve call centre lady, not realising that she was revealing the little known abuse we as customers endure.

”Throttled??” I asked.

”Yes, when your line has used too much data for the month, we throttle it so that it slows everything down until the end of the month”, she unashamedly continued.

”Oh, but you must be mistaken, I have uncapped Wi-Fi,” I said calmly, totally convinced she was not in the least bit correct.

”Yes”, she continued, ”but uncapped does not mean unthrottled”.

”Well why are we not told about THROTTLING when we sign up?” I said, a little less calmly. ”Is that not deceptive, misleading, and false advertising?”

”Well yes, but…….” she said, going on to explain in some or other Wi-Fi dialect, why they do that.

” So if I upgrade my package, will that stop you from UNILATERALLY THROTTLING MY Wi-Fi?” I asked, a tad more irritated by then.

”It might help, but it is not guaranteed. How many devices are used in your household?”

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THAT MAKE?? I AM PAYING FOR UNCAPPED WI-FI, NOT WI-FI PER DEVICE”, I screamed, while going purple in the neck and jaw area.

”Well….” she continued CALMLY, and started speaking that other techno rot lingo again.

So here we sit, still having uncapped, but still being THROTTLED!!

Next issue reared it’s ugly head up a couple of weeks ago…..thank goodness for all the little puppies, Pepper was not at home during that week. There I was, on my Sunday afternoon…so involved in Episode 9087 of Season 643 of Outlander…and poof…….those dreaded words….”Netflix cannot connect to the internet” pop up. Now I was totally calm (well maybe not totally), and off I skipped (stomped) to restart the router. Nothing. Again…nothing!!! Salt then piped up that the internet light was flashing. Now that does not normally happen.

Anyway the condensed version is that there were countless calls to the Call Centre over the next few days, and it took 4 days to realise that the problem was not with the service provider, but with the fibre provider!!

Once the weekend ended, I needed to stress about the fact that I would not be able to do my work remotely. You see, I am working off a 1932 PC which connects me to the shared server at work via a …..wait for it….phone cable, which is plugged in from my motherboard to my router. So there I was scuttling off to get some gadget to make my motherboard Wi-Fi compliant, so that I could hotspot off my phone data. Wow!! Look at me being so techno literate and all!!

The only reason I became so exceptionally techno literate, is because my IMMEDIATE concern was HOW AM I GOING TO WATCH T.V?? In my old life, no Wi-Fi…no problem. My T.V viewing was not reliant on Wi-Fi.

So Sunday night I was squealing like a pot bellied pig about the fact that I could not watch my T.V that night, when Salt casually mentioned that for 12 bucks, there was an option of buying 1 gigabyte for 1 hour with my service provider, and then I could watch Netflix by hot spotting off my phone, so that my now totally dumb box could have the Wi-Fi it, well I, so desperately needed!!! 

To be fair I did ask the question as to what happens when the one hour runs out, and he seemed to think it ”probably” would cut off.

So cut to me getting into bed, all chuffed with myself, technology and the fact that it was only costing me 12 Bucks for 1 gigabyte of data.

As always, after two-and-a-half minutes of watching television I fell asleep. Now you might ask yourself why is it so important for me to have my viewing time, when I fall asleep so quickly? But that’s not when it is desperately required. No it is desperately needed for the 8 times I wake up during the night, and need to lull myself back to sleep by watching TV. 

I had by this time reconciled myself to the fact that for that evening I would not have access to TV viewing the entire night, and would just enjoy the hour so graciously granted. I had accepted that I would just have to toss and turn, poop and fart until I fell back to sleep for the rest of the evening, almost proud of myself that I had managed to be so flexible!!

Anyway next morning I wake up to find that my new little “nifty portable router” (aka my phone) has been depleted of all its data, airtime, oxygen and blood supply levels, and was completely useless to me for the remaining three weeks of the month. So then I was required to buy more airtime, which I would then be able to convert into data in order to have a phone that works for the rest of the month. 

After 4 days of arguments, screaming and making myself mental, I wondered is this bloody Wi-Fi a blessing or a curse??? Maybe the answer would be to try and actually get a life, and not rely on Wi-Fi to give me a life.

But once the situation is restored, one forgets how lost we were without the cursed Wi-Fi………so probably not gonna happen …

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