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Orange Evolution (part 1)

[part 1? I have a feeling this story will progress, so I'll keep you up to date.]

Yesterday, just before I was to leave for work, the phone rang. A perky girl from Orange Internet to explain how our setup is evolving. No longer will I need to pay the additional €7 for unlimited international calls. It will be included.

But there's a catch. I must purchase a "decoder" for Orange TV for €49. Well, sort of. It is a security deposit that will be refunded when I return the unit. So my €49.xx a month will become a much lovelier €39.xx a month.

It would appear that saying "no thank you" and staying as it is is not an option. As I had the money available, I said "oh, whatever". She repeated herself a lot because she just wouldn't slow down - probably trained to talk at speed. I was getting late for work, and my brain boredom threshold just maxed out. I'd get my cash back one way or another if I really wanted it, so...

Thus, time for some observations:

  • She said that receiving the decoder was an absolute requirement, despite my pointing out we do NOT watch French TV. However my money would be refunded if I took the decoder to my local Orange agency.
    • Therefore, does this mean I must accept a decoder I have no need for in order to benefit from free international calls? What the hell logic is this?
    • Or, even worse... Is she stating that I must accept and pay for a decoder in order to evolve to this new tariff, however once the decoder arrives I take it back to my agent for a refund? What the hell logic is that?!?
    I mean, I understand Orange will want to push their television offering heavily now because analogue is being switched off (they probably think we get our telly from "across the border in France" which is being switched off this year; though no self-respecting Breton would watch foreign channels even if it is the exact same thing! ☺). Orange apparently offer 100-odd channels. Think of the opportunity if you jump in to poor reception areas (i.e. not-a-hope-in-hell-of-digital-terrestrial-like-EVER) and capture the market.
    But, come on, this is a bit of a weird way to go about it.
  • I have accepted the box. I have a legally sound 7 day cooling down period in which to change my mind. But for a 'free' box, it will be worth it for the b.log entries because...
  • You just won't get digital telly down a one megabit line. It ain't gonna happen. So either:
    • Orange is going to have to come up with something clever (satellite maybe?)
    • Orange is going to have to admit they missold this - if the conversation was recorded, I specifically asked if the line could be sped up a little beyond one megabit.
    • Orange is going to have to admit they lied shamelessly about me being limited to a megabit because of the distance. Technical note - the Livebox itself reckons it is good to go for sync at 3.8megabit, with a 900K up-channel (as opposed to 1m/256k).
  • The tariff no longer talks about "1 megabit" or "8 megabit" or whatever. It would appear to be a single flat fee for "up to 20 megabit".
    It would please me greatly if this one megabit restriction was lifted. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely do not expect to whizz by at 20 megabit. That's in the realms of LaLaLand given my location. However I have always believed the "one" limitation was arbitrary. If they release the line so the Livebox can sync at what it thinks it can sync at, then I will be quite happy with three-and-a-half down, 900K up. I totally get that I'm a billion miles from the exchange. So while such a piddling little change is next to nothing, would you even really notice 16megbit->20megabit?, it represents three to four times faster for me.
  • Sweetheart, 49 minus 7 is not 39. Your tariff is 39, it says it all over your site, but I bet the 3/month extra for the Livebox rental is not folded into the subscription, so you really mean €43. Come on, if I can do the maths, you have zero excuse!
  • And if this was a giant con (though she does have the email tied to the phone number and it came with an "accept this" email apparently from Orange, so I don't have any specific reason to doubt it)... good luck. That's not my primary bank account. That's just the one in which I put enough money to cover what I need to do using my eCard. I guess if I was feeling playfully malicious, I should have gen'd an eCard number for her!
At any rate, at this moment in time (at least), I can afford the fifty euros demanded. In a way, it'll be worth it just to run with this for a while. If you want to know why I feel like that, just read the bullet points above one more time.

Hey? Maybe it'll rock and in two weeks I'll have not-quite-four megabit plus a whole bunch more television channels to choose from, including an awesome "subtitled in English" animé channel. What d'you mean this is France, it won't be in English? We left reality as soon as this paragraph started. Oh, and lots of J-Pop too. Or failing that, "Kōra Suna" (Arai Akino) on a loop. ☺


Orange, if you want to please me... about you sort out the friggin' USB host in the Livebox? It can't talk to removable media (you know, like it says it can in the user guide!), and it is zero use with printers. Wouldn't it be nice to sit here (<cough> in bed <cough>) and be able to send my print jobs to the printer via WiFi? I know you can get WiFi'd printers, but if my Livebox is a router with a USB host, can't IT help? You know, like the older British Livebox could?

Oh, and a visit to LaLaLand again - 20 megabit would be awesome. In fact, screw that, whack a dish on the house, feed me a 100 megabit duplex direct satellite link. At least then the Koreans won't think I'm so tragically slow. Oh, and for €39,99 a month. ☺


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