Monday, August 20, 2007

The Latest on

Well, so after a summer of slower-than-dialup DSL service, my small local mom 'n pop Internet Service Provider,, finally restored my connection to normal less than a week before I left on vacation. And (I think not coincidentally) just a few days after I called yet again to complain to them. Said connection worked beautifully for about three and a half days, then reverted to problem-ridden molasses connection, just a couple of days before I left on two and a half weeks of vacation.

I returned from vacation last Wednesday, still a molasses connection. Ah, but this time I have with me a second computer, brought back from vacation, and running under Windows XP! No longer can shuffle me off on the grounds that my main computer uses Linux, and "we don't support Linux."

Busy those first few days back from vacation. Then, over the noon hour Friday, DSL connection mysteriously returned to normal again. Remained normal, over either of my computers, for the rest of Friday.

Saturday the connection was all over the map, sometimes good, sometimes so-so, sometimes slow as molasses. Though always the same on both computers, exploding's beloved excuse that "Maybe it's something on your computer."

Sunday morning about 7:30 AM, my DSL connection cut out completely. No connection at all. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Talked with some neighbors, they were experiencing the same outage. Still out Sunday noon. I gave up on it until this morning, when now I find service restored, with a pretty good connection. Good connection over either computer, of course.

If we continue to have further problems, I'm going to phone This time armed with my new ace in the hole, a computer that has Windows on it, so that they've got to give me customer support.

Give me customer support and get this problem fixed, or else. As in, or else satellite Internet, here I come!


Blogger The Tetrast said...

I started to think that I had begun to have Internet connection problems too, until I realized that it's just the new version of Norton, especially when my computer has been on for only a few minutes. It's always, they give you something but they take something away.

Monday, August 20, 2007 9:51:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Yeah, I used to have terrible problems with Norton Anti-Virus on the older ThinkPad I had several years ago. I used to say, Norton itself is worse than a virus. Fortunately on my present ThinkPad, Linux doesn't need any anti-virus software; and the Windows computer I brought back with me has (free) Avast Anti-Virus on it.

As for the changes in my DSL service these past few days (as of mid-morning today, still very much a change for the better), I wonder if they're a side-effect of the fact that, late last week, my neighbors finally talked into sending a technician out to tinker with the box right across the road from me, which serves all the DSL customers in this part of the countryside.

Get it? Service call late last week, noon hour Friday our DSL connections suddenly are working right. Over the weekend further tinkering at or from offices, service is all over the place, up and down. They finally get it adjusted right, and this morning it's working beautifully.

I mean, zero latency time, no delays, no errors, no hiccups. Every site I visit starts loading immediately, and continues at full speed without interruption until it's completely loaded. If past experience is any guide, my DSL connection will continue to run flawlessly like this for several days, then degrade slightly and stay there until the next time it goes on the fritz.

"Degrade slightly," I can live with; it's the slow-as-molases, slower-than-dialup "on the fritz," which has been the situation out here nearly 25% of the time this past year, that gets me.

Monday, August 20, 2007 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh. You just don't know the "magic words". I learned things from watching my little brother and the phone company. Similiar tale of service-but-only-sometimes and we're-sure-its-your-fault. Until he used the "magic words" ...

"Fraud ... failure to provide service ... neighbors talking ... class-action lawsuit"

Not so very many words, but scared the life out of the phone company. They replaced some junction-box and now everything works all the time :)

Monday, August 20, 2007 5:00:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Lucy, it's been building to that point around here for years. I know many people out here who are frustrated, and hardly anyone who is satisfied, with

This same DSL problem has recurred in this part of the countryside again and again and again and again, ever since's (monopoly on) DSL became available out here a few years ago. It's not just most of this summer. It's not just more than 3 months total over the past year. (Come to think of it, closer to 4 months total.) It's been for over 2 years now. Although since last fall the problem has been occurring more frequently, and has been more protracted when it occurs.

And I really do think the only reason the problem got solved this time is because my neighbors finally talked into sending that technician out to tinker with the box across the road from me. As my neighbors said in an email today, hopefully now the fix will hold until the next time tinkers with its DSL service...

I think the real story is simply that is a small, one-horse company, and they have only a couple of individuals in the entire company who really understand the technical side of things. When they split off from a larger regional ISP maybe 6 years ago, they had only 6000 customers. I doubt they've got more than a couple times that many today. In one town where they've got some landline-based competition, I hear they've been losing customers, due to their, uh, quality of service. I really suspect the company only just barely has the technical know-how to make things work, let alone keep things working right.

Over the years I've spoken on the phone with two individuals at who I'm convinced knew what they were talking about, technical-wise. As for their customer tech support people, they've been uniformly pleasant and courteous, but I suspect that, like most folks in tier I tech support, they're required to follow a script. A script which includes lines like "We don't support Linux," and "Are you sure the problem isn't in your computer?"

Oh well. The problem is resolved, and my DSL connection is running beautifully, for the time being. (Knock on wood!) And if the problem recurs, I've now got a Windows computer to use as leverage, and the threat of ditching their DSL service in favor of WildBlue satellite Internet as further leverage. In almost any situation, the power belongs to the person who can credibly threaten to walk out the door.

Monday, August 20, 2007 6:43:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home