...Continued from page 1

No More Mr. Nice Guys

In France, bad surprises are reserved for back-to-work and school, and the New Year, and this year is no exception. Internet access providers have saved September to surprise their clients with massive increases on access rates - with pluses as high as 60 percent.

AOL-France for example, had an 'unlimited' monthly rate of 199 francs, which has been boosted to 328 francs, about equal to slightly over 50 dollars. Other operators have been less greedy, but like the mobile-phone people they all have their complicated 'formulas.'

Many of these involve flat-rates for so-and-so-many hours of connection - such as three hours per month. They offer little perks too, such as crediting unused minutes from one month to the next.

Apparently these massive hikes are due to the high costs of attracting new subscribers, which the access operators have now decided to pass back to the subscribers.

Recently, the operator called 'Noos' has been offering ultra-fast Internet access via TV-cable, with 99 channels of TV included, for 199 francs for the first three months.

This is supposed to be not only 'unlimited' access, but high-speed too. But one of Metropole's club members told me his new 'Noos' access is slower than his old Wanadoo dial-up connection, which he has retained 'just in case.'

The odd thing is that 'Noos' has done the same thing before. When new subscribers complained about the lack of speed with the high-speed cable connection, 'Noos' claimed that too many of them were online at once, and some users were abusing the 'unlimited' aspects of the offer.

When I went online in 1994, fairly high flat-rates for so-and-so-many hours of connection were normal. A little later, when another operator came along and offered a modest flat-rate for 'unlimited,' I switched in a flash.

What really doesn't make sense is my first operator is no longer with us, and I'm still wired to the second, and still pay the same rate. I guess I must have 'paid off' the cost of signing me up - in 1996 - and am sort of getting a 'free' ride.

The real question is - what business school did these Internet providers go to? My guess is that it was the same one the mobile-phone operators attended. It must be called the Stupid Business School - the one with the slogan, 'Never Give a Sucker an Even Break.'

Apparently the lesson is to give away whatever it is that they're selling, until they think it's safe to turnphoto: fountain, place concorde around and gouge their customers, and expect them to stand still for it just because the access providers' lawyers have written clever contracts.

If 'grand' and 'big' at Concorde get overwhelming, you can opt for 'nifty.'

This could blow sky-high if any one of them tosses out the 'lesson' and simply offers an unlimited access for a modest flat-rate, without gimmicks and other colored ribbons - and all the other 'free' stuff that only the customer is going to pay for, eventually.

Small wonder that so few people in France bother going online, and think the Internet is probably a rip-off. Small wonder that so many people are right.

One-Stop French Tourism Re-Run - The URL for this started out with a description of what was supposed to be one jumbo Web site that included links to all the major sites dealing with 'everything you wanted to know about tourism in France.'

However, this proved to be less than advertised - or I got an 'E' with it - but finally I got to somewhere that seemed to show promise.

This seems to be the 'Tourisme en France' Web site, which has versions in French and English, and the URL here is for the version in English - but don't be surprised if its text seems to be in French - much as the 'French' in Metropole is as 'French' as I can make it, like the phrase 'Tourisme en France.'

Your Paris Web URLs

If you have any favorite Paris Web sites you think other readers should know about, please send them in. If they haven't been featured before and they don't crash my browser, you'll get a modest 'thankYou' here.

'Vigilance Météo' Officially Begins

For about six months now I have been mistakenly saying here that Météo-France's 'Vigilance-Météo' service is available, but according to tonight's TV-news and to Météo-France's Web site, the warning service has had its official start only today.

This consists of assigning four colors to departments in France liable to be attacked by hurricane-speed winds, torrential downpours, heavy storms, tornados, blizzards and/or avalanches - and it is updated twice daily, just in case.

There are a lot of departments in France - too many to show their names. But as your cursor glides over the map, the department names pop up, and when 'Paris' pops up, you click on it. When I did this nothing happened, because the area of the country where Paris is, is all green - which means it is A-OK as far as weather dangers go.

Tonight's map did show northwest France in yellow. I think the TV-weather lady said some winds were expected up along the channel coast, and maybe heavy rains.

If you are curious or need to know more, give the Météo-France Web site a hit, for its short-range forecasts. The 'Vigilance-Météo' area is on the page's top left.

Go to page : 1 - 2
In Metropole Paris
Latest Issue
2008 Issues
2007 | 2006 | 2005
2004 | 2003 | 2002
2001 | 2000 | 1999
1998 | 1997 | 1996
In Metropole Paris
About Metropole
About the Café Club
Links | Search Site
The Lodging Page
Paris Museums List
Metropole's 1996 Tours
Metropole's 2003 Tours
Support Metropole
Metropole's Books
Shop with Metropole
Metropole's Wine
metropole paris goodblogweek button
Send email concerning the
contents to: Ric Erickson, Editor.
Metropole Midi © 2014
– unless stated otherwise.
logo, metropole sml midi logo No matter how good it tastes,
there is no such thing
as a free lunch.
Waldo Bini