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ADSL final grinds into action - and I recommend it

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So God punished me for being triumphalist about getting this column's ADSL line installed.

Since last week I have been having long and courteous conversations with the BT complaints person and the ADSL helpdesk, which seems to be located in a call centre in a nice little village north of Inverness. You get an image of a vast behemoth of a place, a giant bothy with turf roof and cheaply reconstituted stone lowering over a dinky highland village. But it is probably a dozen kindly people in the local Sunday school hall.

I've memorised all the procedures in their 'Frequently Asked Questions' scripts, so I'm down to only two conversations a day. It did not work again this morning, but by closing everything down and starting up again I've got the BTopenworld home page up once more.

Ah, wonderful, reliable, blindingly fast twenty-first century BT technology.

I have had whoosh tests, enigmatic stories about the state of the local exchange, promises about engineers. I tried it all out on several computers and very largely devoted my life for the last week to ADSL. Thank you very much BT.

And thank you too for the green zoomorphic ADSL modem which looks like a sinister flat fish with two green leds for eyes at the front. It was plainly designed by an admirer of that Swiss bloke Giger who designed the sets for Alien.Where do I put it? Is it an icon? Or is it just too '80s? But, and this is what my BT-battered correspondents agree with, ADSL is indeed blindingly fast - when it is working.Lest readers think I've gone soft on speed I'll be looking at sites using an ordinary V90 modem. OK that's all on ADSL.Despite its flakiness, the fact that you can run it in parallel with your existing modem for security and the fact that it is probably 10 times faster means you have to get it. Persuading BT to install it before the end of the decade and then getting it to work is quite another story.

Giger's stuff, incidentally, is at www.giger.com

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