The reason I am sticking with Earthlink and have not switched providers weeks ago is because I am planning on moving in the near future. (Hopefully in a month or two, but the exact date will depend on the vagaries of the Bay Area housing market.) I don't want to pay out for an installation fee, since I won't be in my current residence for that long. I also don't want to sign a year-long contract, since I don't know what DSL options (if any) will be available when I eventually find a house. And either of those options ends up costing me some cash for what is, fundamentally, a short-term solution.
I could probably safely go with SBC. I do, however, have issues with SBC, based on hearing bad things about their support/service, and because they stupidly screwed over a friend of mine. (It was stupidity on their part, really. Lots and lots of it.) And even though SBC is fairly pervasive, it's always possible to end up too far away from a repeater, and hence end up with no DSL.
And so I am stuck with Earthlink for the foreseeable future. The only up side is that I will have free dial-up for as long as this lasts. Not that dial-up is so exciting -- but it's a better option than nothing. And for only two months, I consider it preferable to shelling out $100+ for any other potential options.
It's not that I have a great fondness for talking to Earthlink tech support. It's that I don't have a lot of options that I consider acceptible at this time.