internet connections suddenly crawl

A little over a year ago I picked up a Power Mac 6500/275 on clearance.  I bought it as is, so I don't even know what kind of internal modem it has - just that it's 36K.  Up until recently, my internet sessions were noticebly snappier than most Pentium II / 56K hook-ups I've seen.

About a month ago, the internet through-put suddenly and inexplicably crawled to a near halt.  Remote Access shows a nominal connection rate of 36K or 38K, but everything - ftp, http, newsgroups, e-mail - actually downloads at about 250 BYTES/sec, sometimes even less. Occasionally after an hour or two connected at this ridiculously slow rate, all of a sudden downloads will speed up - but not by much (the most 14K).

I tried getting another ISP, replacing all the DNS settings, and it made no difference; neither did performing a clean install of the OS (8.6).

Any idea what might be causing this?  (Otherwise, my Mac is performing no differently than before.)  I've been forced to switch to text-only browsing until I can figure this out.
jjazAsked:
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weedCommented:
Could have nothing do do with your ISP or your computer. That nefarious little strand of copper that connects you to the rest of the world may be causing mischief. In other words, you could have a noisy line. There may be water in it, someone down the street just got a new phone and their line is interfering, etc etc. Call your phone company and have them check the line for noise. Be sure to tell them that you are having data problems, not voice problems, otherwise theyll tell you that everything is just groovy  when its not.
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jjazAuthor Commented:
As simple as it is, it never occured to me that the phone line could be the problem.  I changed the phone extension line and am back to a through-put of about 42K.  (Wish I hadn't done the clean install...)  Thanks!
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