I read in the newspaper last night that Verizon’s profits were down 7% from last year due to their investing a lot of money in FIOS.

I love the way the financial writers spin things to look bad. Let me put the same facts to you another way that makes it sound completely different…

Verizon continued to earn 93% as much profits as last year even while making substantial investments in fiber optic infrastructure to ensure future profitability.

There, that wasn’t so hard was it? Didn’t their Mothers tell them that if they couldn’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!

Speaking of Verizon, I changed my DSL service and calling packages around the other day and cut my bill in half.

I have had Verizon DSL since the day it became available here. I paid top buck for a “Professional” package – the best available to a residential line. It was a blazing 1.5m downlink speed with 768k (if I recall correctly) uplink. The uplink speed was important to me since I was doing a lot of uploading files maintaining web sites. I had tried cable and while their downlink speeds were still better than DSL, their uplink was a piddly 128k. Plus those were on a good day figures. The local cable system had some kind of intermittant problem that they acknowledged but couldn’t find.

That was way beyond what the entry-level DSL was at that time and I was happy to pay it. Besides there were a lot of extras included, like 5 (egads!) mailboxes, free dialup access, and a few other things. Dialup was cool at first. I did use it from time to time, but eventually it became irrelevant. It only worked locally. I couldn’t use it when travelling, even if Verizon did supply dialup seervice wherever I was. I ended up using AOL for travel (I had a company-subsidized $3 per month AOL account.) Nowdays, there is wi-fi in every hotel and it’s not a concern at all.

The mailboxes became less of a selling point too. Eventually, everyone began offering more and more. 5. 7. 10. And my kids didn’t even care. They just used Yahoo, Hotmail or later, Gmail, for their email. And kids use IM more than email anyway.

The piddly little webspace they gave me was of no consequence either. I’ve been doing web sites hosted all over the place and a 5M hosting with no CGI, and some silly templates was a joke.

Eventually, when I got the site that hosts this blog and several other projects of mine, even the mailbox issue was moot. I have 1000 mailboxes at my disposal currently. I don’t have that many friends and relatives, much less kids, needing email.

Meanwhile, the deals Verizon was giving to entice new subscribers kept getting better and better, all the while with network improvements, faster as well.

So I called a while back and while I couldn’t get the speed I had, I could get a much cheaper DSL service. But I stuck with the one I had. For one thing, they no longer offered it and if I gave it up, I could never get it back.

But I called again this week and found that I could get a DSL service with 3M down and 768k up and not lose anything except maybe the dialup access. The cost? Half what I was paying. My DSL went from $79 a month (I complained a year or so ago about the high price and got it down to $65 with a “Bundle discount.”) for the obsolete “Professional” package to the higher of two residential rates – $29.

Meanwhile, I had an unlimited extended calling area plan that cost me $45 a month. I found out that if I took their unlimited long-distance package, I could get all the extended local calling area plus long-distance for just $39 a month. Plus it included the call-waiting and caller ID I was paying extra for.

All-in-all I just about cut my phone bill in half, while giving up nothing. Well, almost nothing. I won’t have dialup access anymore. Especially after I retire and lose the corporate AOHELL. I don’t think I’ll miss it.

Now if I could just have as much success with the cable company…