ISPs who suck, ISP Hall of Shame, Metricom, Ricochet, Rhythms DSL, Covad,, AT&T Wireless

But not these losers

ISPs who suck, ISP Hall of Shame, Metricom, Ricochet, Rhythms DSL, Covad,, AT&T Wireless

My current ISP

Metricom Inc. - Ricochet defunct

Metricom Inc. (NASDAQ: MCOM) operates the Ricochet wireless network. They have 128K wireless modem service which isn't good value for the price, but it's adequate for people on the go (in the metropolitan areas which have decent coverage). However, Metricom is strapped for cash and may not be around for much longer. They had enough dough to last through June, but they conjured up a few extra bucks and now have enough cash to last through August. They allegedly have about 40,000 subscribers. In the words of one analyst, that's the same as zero subscribers.

July 2, 2001 update

Chapter 11 for Metricom, baby! They've lost something like half a billion dollars. Yes, that sort of behavior earns you FC points. Nasdaq halts trading of MCOM pending "additional information."

August 2, 2001 update - The fat lady sings!

Metricom, with its red letter stock symbol (NASDAQ: MCOMQ), receives its delisting letter from Nasdaq. The bankrupt ISP also plans to auction off its assets; what happens to its 51,200 subscribers is unclear, but service is to be suspended in a couple of days. I can't believe that employees will be sticking around to the end.

August 3, 2001 update

Pud speaks! 200 FC points. As I predicted, Metricom enters the FC Hall of Fame. There are already reports of Ricochet subscribers being disconnected and employees being given one week severance.

August 8, 2001 update

Metricom is expected to shut down its 17-city wireless network today. Their assets will be auctioned off on the 16th to deal with their $1 billion debt load.

September 7, 2001 update

Reports are surfacing that Metricom has turned down Aerie Networks' $20 millon offer for its assets.

October 1, 2001 update - Cool

This is actually good news in a way. Well, at least it's cool.

A small part of the Ricochet wireless network was temporarily reactivated in the area of the World Trade Center attacks to aid the efforts of the relief workers. The City of New York is footing the bill to run the network through the end of October, including keeping a Metricom employee 24x7 in the San Jose network operations center. Other former Metricom employees in New York are volunteering their time to make the network run.

November 3, 2001 update

Metricom is accepting Aerie Network's second bid at $8.25 million for certain assets and intellectual property. The highly prized radio frequency rights, valued at $50 million, are not part of the deal.

December 8, 2001 update - Back from the dead?

There is some talk on the 'net that Aerie Networks will attempt to resurrect the Ricochet wireless network in a few months. Allegedly, since the company acquired the network assets very inexpensively, they can afford to offer service at a much lower rate than Metricom did, maybe even as low as $50/month.

February 19, 2002 update

The city of Denver has initiated a four-month trial run with the resurrected Ricochet network to see whether it finds it useful to keep around. Uh, huh.

February 25, 2002 update - Back?

Aerie Networks has tentatively scheduled a return to limited markets including those of Southern California in the spring and the SF Bay Area this summer. About half of Metricom's Ricochet customers were in the Bay Area. Differences? Not a lot of specifics but Aerie will be selling the modem for about a hundred bucks and service will be $44.95 per month. When Metricom ran the network, the modem was a costly $300 and the service was a painful $80 per month.

November 17, 2003 update - Naaah

The struggling rebirth of the Ricochet network fails. Again. Dozens of customers in Denver and San Diego distraught.

Rhythms NetConnections Inc. defunct

Today, August 2, 2001, Englewood, Colorado-based Rhythms NetConnections, with whom Telocity was unable to set up my new DSL service, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. They say they will try to reorganize, but if they can't, they'll sell off assets and ride off into the sunset, just like dead competitor NorthPoint Communications.

August 6, 2001 update

Awesome! 199 FC points for Rhythms demise!

August 10, 2001 update - "The day the music died..."

The following hit PR Newswire today:

Rhythms is going to join NorthPoint in the DSL cemetery, albeit in a slightly gentler way than NorthPoint's pull-the-plug-from-the-wall, disgracefully rapid exit.

September 10, 2001 update

There are reports that the FCC will order bankrupt Rhythms NetConnections to keep its network alive to give stranded customers more time to find alternate service providers. Hey, guys, where were you when NorthPoint pulled the plug?

September 24, 2001 update

The FCC has given Rhythms permission to shut down their DSL network; it may occur as early as midnight. Telecom giant WorldCom is interested in obtaining some of the defunct DSL network's assets.

Covad Communications

That leaves the ailing Covad Communications the sole player of the big three DSL providers. And today, August 7, 2001, there's talk about a probably trip to the bankruptcy court in mid-August in order to do something about the $1.4 billion debt. It trades over the counter now that it's been delisted from Nasdaq (OTC BB: COVD.OB).

On July 27, Covad announced that it had purchased FirstWorld Communication's DSL subscriber list.

At least in my neighborhood, consumers can't go to Covad and say, "I want a DSL line." Covad sells DSL to ISPs (like the aforementioned EarthLink). With Covad's precarious financial situation, there's just no way I'd sign up for DSL service if there's a good chance that the line will go dead in a few months down the road. I learned my lesson with Telocity via NorthPoint.

August 9, 2001 update - Gee, let's go visit bankruptcy court today!

Hey Pud, thank you for the 196 FC points from a couple of days ago! Chapter 11 should let them restructure their debt and keep them alive for a few months after which, they need $200 million to to alleged reach positive cash flow by the end of 2003. That is one heck of a long way away.

October 9, 2001 update

Covad Communications Group (OTC BB: COVD.OB) hits a new 52-week low of $0.32 per share today.

December 18, 2001 update - Back from the dead?

Media reports are indicating that Covad Communications Group is attempting to emerge from bankruptcy.

I went to the corporate site to check availability, but they force you to give up your personal information so I backed out. They offer static IP SDSL and claim speeds up to 1.5Mbps. I visited DSL Reports and plugged in my ZIP code; apparently, I do not live in's service area.

September 28, 2001 update

New Haven, Connecticut-based, Inc. (NASDAQ: DSLN) closes at $0.15 per share, a brand-new 52-week low after hitting an intraday low of $0.14 per share.

October 16, 2001 update - Pick out a nice coffin

Pud reports that is giving 80 folks the axe. 90 FC points and a Hall of Fame induction. He claims the company is toast and the rest of the people will be gone soon.

Sprint ION defunct

Sprint (NYSE: FON) offered ION (Internet On-Demand Network), which includes 8Mbps upstream/1Mbps downstream, voice-over-IP, etc. Again, Sprint doesn't provide ION services to people in apartment/condo complexes with more than four units. This services was announced in 1998 with big fanfare, etc., sort of like a successor to the expensive Sprint DRUMS network.

September 5, 2001 update

Reports are surfacing in the media that Sprint may cancel their ION project. A final decision is supposed to be reached at the end of the month, but "sources familiar with the situation" are betting on the costly project's demise after three years of inexorably slow development.

October 17, 2001 update - ION is toast

Sprint shutters its money-losing ION division amidst a series of cost-cutting moves (including laying off 6,000 employees). 129 FC points.

AT&T Wireless (fixed) defunct

I guess AT&T Wireless, Ma Bell's wireless spin-off, has a fixed wireless broadband solution.

October 24, 2001 update

AT&T Wireless (NYSE: AWE) is calling it quits on its fixed wireless service, canning 1,000 employees and stranding 47,000 customers.

My current ISP

Last modified on Tue Dec 2 01:35:19 GMT 2003
Copyright © 1999-2003 Tara Hertz.
All rights reserved.

ISPs who suck, ISP Hall of Shame, Metricom, Ricochet, Rhythms DSL, Covad,, AT&T Wireless