Industry analysts are often caught up with projecting a vision of the future rather than the reality of the present. Take the implementation of broadband services, for example. Digital subscriber line (DSL) was going to be the simple solution that brought inexpensive broadband services to the home and small business. But DSL’s potential is being impeded by service provider provisioning incompetence and politics.

My firm has experienced firsthand the complexity and frustration of ordering and implementing DSL. We recently decided to switch one of our offices from ISDN to symmetric DSL (SDSL) and change the provider of our Internet access, hosting and e-mail services. After searching for SDSL vendors in our area, we began vendor and service selection. First we went to the Web and gathered service plan documentation. No two plans were alike, preventing a simple apples-to-apples comparison – good marketing differentiation, but frustrating to the buyer.

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