RCN Not Perfect – 404 Redirects

Redirected 404 Page Thanks to RCN

Well I wondered how long it would take before I hit a snag with RCN’s internet service after praising it. It turns out it only took a few days before I found out they redirect 404’s (incorrect addresses or webpages that are temporarily down) to their (spammy-looking) “help” page. Now perhaps I’m too picky but I’m quite happy with the way my browser handles things now and if I wanted something different I sure wouldn’t pick crappy search results mixed with ads for my solution. I suppose I could live with the useless page but it also rewrites the address so if I type exmple.com/longstring/ I have retype the whole thing instead of just adding an ‘a’ to exmple (really a pain when developing websites). And mostly it just annoys me to suddenly be on a page that sets off my spam detectors. So I set out to figure out how to fix it.

On the bottom of the RCN page, there is an option to opt out but it actually then sends you to a buggy Internet Explorer error screen (and still rewrites your address). Since there’s no opt out that left working around them. RCN is inserting their page through their DNS servers so using a different server should fix the problem. I had been meaning to try out OpenDNS anyway so I figured I might as well make some lemonade out of lemons. But it turns out OpenDNS do the same redirection thing to their own page. So it was back to a google that turned up this helpful page of alternate DNS servers. I’m a little leary of using unknown servers (since you send them the address for every site you visit and they can send you wherever they want) but the servers through are all from Level 3 Communications Inc which seem pretty widely used and reputable. OpenDNS provides a handy guide to changing your DNS servers (if you don’t want to use theirs you can substitute any other IP address) for anyone with similar problems.


Comments (0)


Internet in Philadelphia

Map of (some) of the Internet by Matt Britt

I just moved to Philadelphia and had to find internet. I was having a pretty rough time so I googled around for advice but didn’t find any so I thought I’d put this up to help any other new Philadelphians. Anyway, it looks like there are three possible companies in Philadelphia: Comcast, Verizon, and RCN.

Comcast charges $62/month for basic internet if you don’t get some sort of bundle with phone and cable (which I didn’t really need or want). $62 seemed too much so I didn’t go any further with them although they do at least tell the truth about their prices on the internet (I think).

Verizon says they charge $30/month but once you get through the endless holds on their phone system, it turns out to be $45/month if you don’t get phone service from them. I can’t find any sign of this on their webpage. Did I mention you have to wait on hold more than half an hour to even talk to some one? I waited 45 minutes before their phone service dropped me, then waited another 30 minutes (this is when I still though their service was reasonably priced) before I got to talk to anyone (I had waited more than 10 minutes and given up a few times earlier so this isn’t an isolated event). Even better, once I finally got someone I couldn’t actually start my service because some other customer had their suspended account registered to my line. They would only allow me to use the line if my landlord called them personally (not very likely given the 30 minute holds). So in summary Verizon sucks. Oh also it would have taken at least a week to get my service started.

I was about to bite the bullet and go with Comcast when my girlfriend found RCN. They offer (1.5 mbps) internet for $17/month (or 5 mbps for $35). An actual human operator picked up the phone without any holding when I called. There wasn’t any bundling crap (they did have a $25 installation fee that didn’t appear on the internet but the operator said they were updating the webpage). And they had a cable guy at my house less than 24 hours after I called. After all the crap with Verizon, this was amazing.

So if you’re looking for internet in Philadelphia (or perhaps anywhere these companies operate) RCN seems like a much better company than Verizon (did I mention Verizon sucks?) and offers cheaper services than Comcast. I’ve been using the $17/month internet for a couple days now and it seems fine for normal usage (I don’t do much file sharing so I’m not sure how that would hold up).


Comments (6)