I have the misfortune of having signed up for Orange’s Livebox service and I cannot even begin to say how terrible it is. As a warm up, let’s just say that my old dial-up service from the early 1990’s was better. Random card based dial up ISPs I used while traveling South East Asia almost a decade ago were better than this nonsense. First, it’s ADSL which I have my own issues with (I hate it). I am at the very furthest point from the CO possible, which with DSL means a glacial up/down speed – 120 KB/s download max – and an overall world of pain. Then they arbitrarily moderate your HTTP requests, so if you make too many calls in too short a timeframe, you’re blocked for a while. Lord help you if Firefox crashes and you have to reload your 20-30 tabs – on relaunch, about 75% of them don’t load and you have to go to each tab and command-R over and over until it takes (my current record is ~40x) The next step in their assault on your Internet is to start blocking ports including but not limited to: 22, 110, 143, 443, 993 and (my favorite) 80 albeit intermittently. So you can forget about SSH, SFTP, IMAP, SSL, POP, iTunes Store, and intermittently, web pages altogether. Oh yeah, don’t even bother with videos, so no YouTube, Vimeo, uStream, et al… This is where it gets really great and their plan comes together. I called customer support for the nth time and was summarily told “we do not block any ports on our end so the problem is with your computers, and luckily for you we have a service where we can send someone out to verify and reconfigure your computers for a fee”. How much you ask? Well, it starts at 29 Euros PER machine. Who know how long each machine would take to be “fixed”. Now that’s a bargain. Thankfully I figured out a pseudo-fix which drastically reduces my already painfully slow download speed but circumvents their garbage; it involves using the iPredator VPN and tunneling all traffic through it, but since iPredator has its own set of unresolved issues (it is in beta after all), I had to layer TOR & Polipo on top of it to get things smoothed out. Good times.