Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

Summary: Since when is getting DSL turned on an exercise in futility? It's DSL!!!

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I moved recently, leaving behind spotty 3mbps DSL for 15mbps cable internet. I'm only a few miles down the road, but telecommunications laws being what they are, that's all it took to get some decent Internet service. Even 15mbps is slow by international standards, but out here in the sticks, I'm happy.

However, a variety of circumstances led me to try to reactivate the DSL service at my old house, the foremost of which was my inability to sell it in the long, slow recovery from that little recession that nailed all of us. Why not use it as an office and deduct a big chunk of the mortgage, right? Stick my relatives up there and make sure they had something that could be loosely called broadband, let my older kids and their friends hang out there and still be able to access Facebook, whatever. You get the idea. We're a family of geeks that doesn't consider a house (even one out in the country) usable without at least some sort of broadband.

So since I'd already had DSL there for 3 years, you'd think it would be pretty simple to just turn it back on, right? Apparently not. Attempts to order the service online with Verizon yielded errors about someone who already had internet and phone service there. Squatters? Nope, I'd been there just the day before. And it was my house. And I'd already canceled all service there months before.

So I called, gave up my $5 discount for ordering online, and had service ready to be installed early last week. Tuesday, to be exact. My modem was delivered and I even reran the phone line to make sure my modem was easily accessed and running on new wires. Tuesday came and went with no service.

An hour on the phone with scripted tech support ended when I was disconnected.

Another half an hour determined that my local Verizon office had to activate the line. I would have expected that to be part of the installation, but what do I know about telecom?

@VerizonSupport on Twitter responded to my angry Tweets with offers of help. Of course I'd follow them and send them a direct message with my issues! This, however, was not the panacea for which I was hoping.

After I called tech support again and dug through the menus to find someone unscripted who could help me without transferring me across continents I found out that tech support had canceled my original order. They apparently weren't going to tell me. Maybe they figured that I'd just eventually give up on this silly Internet trend.

But not to worry! My friendly tech went ahead and placed the order again for me. If I could just send back the modem they had already sent, they could get another one to me for my new order. It would only be another few days for the install. For sure.

@VerizonSupport jumped in with a very helpful DM on Twitter:

Was the ordering department able to get a new order in quick to turn it on?

Uhhhh, sure.

As of this afternoon, everything was looking good. UPS had my modem on a truck (they had the wrong address, but the UPS website said that had been resolved--I wish Verizon could send my bills to the wrong address). I had received a service update earlier noting that I was on track for a Thursday install and providing UPS tracking information. What else could go wrong this time?

Next: Oops. Spoke too soon. »

Oops. The final straw that set me writing this little rant came about half an hour ago. Here's an excerpt of the email I received from Verizon:

We're sorry that we cannot currently provide Verizon High Speed Internet service to your home. We are continually expanding our network in order to provide service to more locations. Please check back at verizon.com in the future to see if Verizon High Speed Internet service becomes available on your home.

In the meantime, we do offer a terrific Dial-up Internet service.

I'm sorry, what? I can see the freaking DSL/POTS junction box from my living room window! I had DSL service at that address for 3 freaking years! All of my neighbors have DSL! And the fire station that sits right next to the box has E911, again, enabled by this very same box!

DSL has been around for a while. This is nothing new. Verizon, presumably, has managed to get DSL to more than a few households in the States. It's 2011. How could they screw this up? How could they not know where they have equipment already? And why not flag an order in real time instead of days after it's been placed.

I'd just get a MiFi (not that I want to give Verizon any business, but, as I said, we're out in the sticks and if I'd like to get a bar or two if signal, it's Verizon), but 1 or 2 bars of 3G won't make for great Skype and WizIQ sessions with my colleagues in India.

So sure, I'll just order some terrific dial-up! What is this, 1989? Maybe if I duct tape that MiFi to my chimney I can eke out an extra bar. Oh, wait, I'll blow through my data allowance in a week. It just gets better and better, doesn't it? Do you think anyone would notice me running a fiber line from my house with the cable modem?

Topics: Verizon, Broadband, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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111 comments
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  • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

    What a nightmare
    amanatee
  • Monopolies and Government

    The bigger the company, the worse the service. Bureaucracies can screw up anything - even the easiest task. That's why monopolies and government are the worst possible way to do almost anything.
    bobpeg
    • And let's not forget the CWA unions

      @bobpeg govt bureaucracy and unions = great customer service!
      otaddy
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        @otaddy
        <i>bureaucracy and unions = great customer service!</i>
        Now that was truly funny. I really needed that laugh this morning.
        Rick_K
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        What does any union have to do with this. There's no person in the loop here. Does Verizon have computer unions?
        dsimpsonjr@...
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        @otaddy Verizon outsources everything it can to non-union labor. If you had one of the old Union telephone guys doing the install, it would work the first time.
        datrappert
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        I don't like unions any more than any other non-union person but you are just showing prejudice and sheer ignorance by connecting the DSL and the unions. Verizon is killing the unions, the local phone guys that come to your house and work on your copper lines, the union guys you degnigrate, Verizon hasn't hired anyone in that shop for over 10 years. All the new services, Wireless and FIOS and all that is done by hired guns, outside contractors. The poor service the original poster received, sorry to say is what I have come to know as Standard Operation Procedure for all of the Telcos and every cable company that I have worked with. It is based on the worse form of capitalism and greed. As long as we keep giving them money, they will keep screwing us, the customers. Oh Verizon does have classed they teach the higher ups on how to design the phone system to be so difficult as to discourage people to hang on while they laugh at your problems.
        ranger1701@...
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        @otaddy What's with the anti-union crap? Who said Verizon was a union company? Are you from Wisconsin?
        saminsc
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        @otaddy Yeah, I'm sure all the indian's in VZ's call center are unionized... You tell 'em!
        snoop0x7b
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        @otaddy You left out Microsoft.
        blueskip
      • Unions? No its the back office scripted support

        @otaddy <br>Didn't you read his article? It's the back office scripted support people overseas. They had me going from room to room making sure all of my phone jacks had the little adapters for voice twice, despite the fact I told them I'd done that already. I finally got a tech, who understood the union guys hadn't been scheduled to come out to flip a switch on a box outside the house.
        Orodreth
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        @otaddy

        MOST of his verbal exchange was probably NON-UNION employees outside the USA.
        tombutler
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        @otaddy Bringing the unions on this? Seriously? What do the unions have to do with the install? Verizon subs out the installs to non union contractors so your comment makes little sense but does expose your anti union bias and sheer ignorance.
        athynz
    • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

      @bobpeg You said it. Get a load of AT&T's new TOS:

      e.Conversion from DSL to U-verse High Speed Internet. When AT&T is able to provision Service to you via our U-verse High Speed Internet at your location, we may, in our discretion, discontinue your DSL service and make available to you AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet at the then applicable rates, terms and conditions, which may differ from your previous DSL Service rates, terms and conditions (including bundle discounts). If you are on a term plan and your price will increase as a result of this conversion, you will not have to pay any applicable ETF if you elect to cancel service.

      Your new AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet will require different customer premises equipment ("CPE"). When you are selected for conversion, we will provide at least thirty days' notice of the discontinuation of your service via e-mail. Thirty days after such notice, we may at our sole discretion, either disconnect your service or temporarily suspend your service for up to fifteen days before we permanently discontinue service.

      As of May 2, 2011, AT&T DSL customers no longer get to chose IF they want the more expensive U-Verse Internet services. It is at AT&T's "SOLE DISCRETION" once they are able to provide U-Verse Internet at your location, they decide IF AND WHEN to do switch the customer. The customers either bend over and spread wide or cancel their service. Who's going to choose not having Internet service? Government killed Net Neutrality and AT&T crowned itself KING!
      QueenieJ
  • RE verizon dsl

    This is not like the old days when they built the network with extra capacity and put new equipment out when they saw it getting full now they wait. What has happened is your office has no more room for new dsl customers (they have Closed the office) as soon as you are disconnected they give that port to someone else who is waiting. Boy how I wish it were the old days, when we watched our network!!!!
    Telcom Tech
    • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

      @Telcom Tech - There is a cost associated with not investing in yourself. It is a high price.
      pwatson
  • I have a similar story, but I only get 768k download

    Seven years ago I built a house five miles out of town where I work as an IT Manager for an insurance company who has the largest private network in the U.S. Cable isn't an option and my line qualified for 1.5mb download. I had the 1.5 for awhile and decided to save a few bucks and downgrade to 768 since that was before streaming media was a big deal and we mostly just did email and web browsing at my house. When I downgraded, I asked the Verizon rep if I could go back to the 1.5 if I wasn't happy with the service. They said that wouldn't be a problem. Needless to say, I regretted downgrading and called to get the 1.5 back and was told my line didn't qualify for the faster speed! I informed Verizon that my house wasn't a mobile home and that I was still the same distance from the central office as it was when my line qualified for the 1.5 before and so began my fight with Verizon...
    srtaylor70
  • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

    A similar thing happened to my at my old house. Shortly after I cancelled, I tried to re-connect, but they had given my slot to another person who had been waiting for years to get DSL. Verizon really wants to get out of the landline/DSL business, so they are investing nothing in it. They sold my current market to Frontier, and things have improved somewhat. Frontier isn't the best, but they seem to be trying at least.
    ncted
    • They want to go all Fios

      @ncted
      And I can't see why they wouldn't want to get out of the DSL business
      John Zern
      • RE: Shouldn't Verizon be able to manage a DSL install by now?

        I'd love Verizon to bring Fios to my town. I live in Gilroy, CA, just south of the Silicon Valley, a little pocket of Verizon surrounded by AT&T. When I last asked Verizon when they plan to bring Fios to Gilroy, I was basically told NEVER. You see, our market is too small. We should be happy with our 768DSL, because it's all we are going to get out of Verizon. And even that, the majority of people can't get because they are either too far from the CO or they are on a multiplexed carrier loop that doesn't support DSL signals. Verizon doesn't care!
        stefanis