I followed the suggestion from mobilecracker and signed up for the free Terafile account. I was then able to download the complete 1.2G 4.3 firmware for the Note 2 without a hitch. Even though my "broadband" provider here in the Philippines, Globe, is at best mediocreband, it still downloaded in under 6 hours. So thanks for the tip mobilecracker, and I suggest anyone else having trouble follow his/her suggestion.