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Avoiding the obvious subject

So instead, let me tell you about the misadventures I had with Verizon Online (VOL). We subscribed to their DSL service as soon as the house was in our name, so March 2001 timeframe. Aldelphia, who was the local cable company, did not offer high speed internet service, so DSL was my only choice then. At the time, VOL gave me a Frame Relay based DSL service, 768/128 at the going price of about $35. And over the years, technology and pricepoints changed, but there was VOL, making me pay the same rate for the same service without even offering anything else.

Earlier this year (March?), when they were advertising $14.95 for the same speed service I was getting at $35, and after I read the fine print to see that this was NOT an introductory special, I called VOL and asked for a description of their plans. My intent was to get a faster connection at about the same price. The person I talked to said that, because I was on the grandfathered Frame Relay service, I was going as fast as I could. If I wanted faster, they would have to convert me to ATM, which would involve a new modem and everything. I agreed that I wanted off the Frame Relay and onto the ATM circuit, and was assured by the CSR that it would be done. Sure enough, the next phone bill came and I was now paying $14.95 a month.

Okay. Never did receive a new modem, and the speed didn't go up. However, I never called back to figure out what happened due to a lack of time on my part. Well, somewhere in all this, my DSL modem's power supply died. Fortunately, I had a spare Fujitsu modem so I wasn't completely down.

Fast forward to Wednesday, wherein I called VOL to inquire about getting a faster service. The first person I spoke to said I was still on Frame Relay and therefore at the fastest speed that I could be provisioned. I said that shouldn't be, since I called earlier in the year and this was all changed. She dug a little deeper, and did indeed see that there was conflicting information about what kind of service I had. She conferenced in her lead, who also noted the conflicting information. Delving down even further, she saw that indeed, I was still on Frame Relay though reported to be on ATM in another system. She recalled that there was some bulletin she saw about getting someone switched from Frame Relay to ATM...

*clicky clackity click* "You can escalate to MCO if the modem is having issues... MCO will convert from grandfathered plan to current technology as a resolution. Say, Mr. Knecht, your modem isn't functional, is it?" "Absolutely not!" "Good. Let me get MCO on the line here..." Needless to say, I liked this person. =) So while she was on the phone with George from MCO (I keep saying that like I have a clue what MCO is...), George ran a line test, which came back successful. Duh -- my modem is currently plugged in and functional. So I told him I was on a loaner modem from a friend and "put the original back", while I had my dear darling wife unplug the modem. Needless to say, the second line test failed.

Aparently, at that point, the ticket leaves MCO and into the local central office's queue. They continued to run tests, all of which failed. They dispatched someone on sight, only to see a dead DSL modem. It's a good thing that I swtiched back to the deam modem when I got home Wednesday, huh? Anyway, we got a voice mail saying that they would be converting me to ATM and that I'd have a new modem delivered the next say. Should be able to plug it in and go. Great.

Friday, when I get home, the modem is sitting and waiting for me. Giddy as a kid on Christmas, I tear into the boxes, plug everything in as it should be and ... nothing. The power light was on, the DSL light was on, but the INET light was not. I went into the modem/router, and saw they had it set up by default with PPPoE. Well, the former GTE areas only use DHCP, so I switched that. No good. Well, maybe they changed things. So I went back to PPPoE, put in my account information and ... nada.

I call VOL and say I'm having installation problems. The first person I talked to got very quickly that I was a technical person, and had me into the bowels of the router/modem quickly. He siad it should be PPPoE, reset my password, and various other items with no success. He said he would put me on hold to run another line test and, well, back into queue I went. Grr. The second person I got was, frankly, irritating as all get out. Everything was "kindly" this and "kindly" that. She moved at a snail's pace, and expected me to as well. She wanted me to go to the WAN IP Address page, I say that I'm there, and she then procedes to tell me how to "kindly" click my way there, step by step, refusing to go on until I said that I was at that step.

So after her worthless support, she put in a ticket to have someone local investigate this. Mind you, at this point, it's now 4:45 pm on Friday. She mentions that the technicians only work M-F 8am - 5pm, I will have to be home if they need to come out, and that it will be 2-3 business days before anything happens. So I'm looking, at the worst case, Tuesday night before anyone even LOOKS at the ticket, much less fixes it. Yeah, great. Oh, and Jen is not around, so I physically will need to be around. If I'm lucky, they will call before needing me there. I unloaded a bit that this was unacceptable, but was told "kindly" that there was nothing she could do since this was a different department.

At this point, I am close to calling VOL and telling them to shove their service, but know that cable in my area is much more expensive, especially since I don't use their television serivce. Also, because of my call in March, I'm still under a one-year obligation to VOL. So I sit and stew.

Saturday, I get a call from a local central office asking me to look at the modem's INET light. It's lit! Seems that whoever was building the circuit forgot one step which, effectively, made the circuit unusable. After making sure the modem was set for DHCP (and getting confirmation that only the former Bell Atlantic customers use PPPoE), I was ready to go. Of course, the first thing I check is my speed -- still 768/128.

So after all this, I still have 768/128 service, have a new router/modem, and am set up for ATM. Later today, I'll call to see if, finally, I can get 3MB/768k service for the remainder of my contract with VOL, then seriously investigate alternatives.



( 1 comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 12th, 2006 01:42 am (UTC)
I've actually heard fairly good things about TW Cable as well. They are in the transition from Adelphia to TW, so I'm hoping that TW will bring in some good things since Adelphia ... well, the less said, the better.
( 1 comment )