Wednesday, July 26, 2006

DSL roulette

Having just changed residences, I decide it's time to ween myself from the high-bandwidth Comcast internet and plug into ATT Yahoo! DSL instead. Should be easy enough, right?

I fancy myself tech-savvy. There was a time in my life when I managed a network of Macs at an ad agency where I pulled double-duty as a graphic designer. I'm pretty handy at diagnosing (and fixing!) computer-related problems. Thus my consternation with the DSL line and AT&T's taking advantage of a bad situation and making it worse.

Before we moved, I went online (using Comcast internet, the irony!) to AT&T's site to set up service. Our new phone (and DSL) was to be hooked up on July 20. The DSL modem and filters for our phones all arrived on the 19th. The transition was looking easy.

Then I tried to fire the thing up. No dice. The DSL modem light flashed red (a bad thing) instead of shining a solid green, and I couldn't get any internet connection on the line.

I rebooted my computer and rebooted the modem. I rebooted the modem on its own. I unplugged all the cords (power, ethernet, phone) and replugged them into the appropriate jacks. Still the flashing red light.

So I called AT&T at 6pm on a Sunday night. Matthew was good enough to spend 15 minutes on the phone with me walking through his script. Actually, I spent a good 10 minutes of the call on hold while Matthew click-clacked away in the background and apologized for how long it took to file a trouble ticket. Final result: AT&T would call me back within 24 hours to follow up. Keep the modem on so they can diagnose it from the Central Office (the "CO" to the tech folks).

At 6:15p Monday night, I called up AT&T and got patched through to Robert. I asked if he could update me on the ticket and he informed me no ticket had been filed. Would I like to file one? GRRRRR. 15 minutes later I had my first (according to them)/yet another (according to me) trouble ticket filed. Final result: AT&T would call me back within 24 hours to follow up.

AT&T left a voice mail indicating I needed to call back and schedule a technician to come out and check our equipment. I called and spoke to Ellen and was all set to pull the trigger until I heard there might be a $60 charge involved.

Excuse me? Can you tell me what "might" means?

If the technician comes out and finds out it's a problem with the external box (outside the house), there's no charge.

If the technician comes out and finds out it's a problem with the DSL modem, there's no charge.

If the technican comes out and finds out it's a problem with our internal wiring, there's a $60 charge to fix it.

If the technician comes out and finds out it's a problem with our internal wiring, and I tell him thankyouverymuch I'm going to go back to cable, there's a $60 charge for his diagnosing the problem.

Ellen informs me that it could be my computer that's bad (uh, no, am using it now to post this blog item) or that my phones aren't working (uh, how have I been calling you my dear?) or there's no dial tone (answered that one already), so we'd need to pay the technician for his/her time to come inform us of that problem.

So, by scheduling the service tech to come out, I'm playing roulette with $60 on the table. I'm pretty sure there'll be no charge, but I'm completely powerless to hedge my bets because AT&T won't tell me how to self-diagnose where the problem is.

Oh, and the kicker is that I'm paying for DSL service all this time it doesn't even work.

Great way to start off our relationship with AT&T, no?

A quick Google of ATT DSL sucks should have warned me to stay with Comcast. But then a quick Google of Comcast cable internet sucks says pretty much the same thing.

1 comment:

Gary said...

Wow I can't believe that no one has commented on ATT or Comcast:)

I share your pain though. Having recently purchased a new house and moving from Tulsa, OK a reasonably sized city to a more rural Bristow, OK.

We had Cox Cable in Tulsa with a 5+ line. Hoping to get cable in Bristow we blithly called the company that Cox sold their network to Alliegence(?). 4 1/2 weeks later they offered to come out and hook cable up for us but no guarantee of internet. We declined stating that we had ATT hook phone, DSL, and Dish up.....
oh if we had only knew how deep ATT would be in our life....