Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

Summary: Thwarted again in my quest for broadband from Verizon. They just canceled order #3. Without telling me.

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Last week, I posted a rant about Verizon's inability to provide DSL service to an address where it had steadily serving broadband for the previous three years. It looked, at the time, to be a process issue in which the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. Orders were getting randomly canceled, modems were shipping about haphazardly, and the customer (me) certainly wasn't being kept in the loop.

Not surprisingly, I got a call the very next morning from Verizon's "Social Media and Customer Experience Team." These are what you'd call cleaners in a gangster movie. They make everything work for high-profile folks who will keep telling the world about their bad experiences if things keep going wrong. Fundamentally this really bothered me. Why should I get the royal treatment just because I get to write blogs on ZDNet and tens of thousands of people get to hear how upset I am?

I'd actually pay more on my phone and internet bills to get this sort of service all the time. But then, what would be the point of escalation?, as one Verizon employee asked me.

I'm not a stupid man, though, and I rarely look a gift horse in the mouth, so I took the top-notch customer service, took the personal attention from engineers, took an expedited install date on my new order (since they'd canceled the previous two, I was up to number three), and even took the primer on home phone wiring and central office connectivity from the local tech. I only felt a little bit guilty over the special treatment

So I'm typing this connected to the ZDNet servers using my newly reinstalled DSL, right? I could stop paying for one bar of crappy 3G to keep doing my job, right?

Wrong.

Despite new cables and a spiffed up network interface, I still don't have DSL. This time, however, it's because of poor planning, miserable foresight, and the sad infrastructure of bandaids that characterizes rural broadband in this country. There weren't any open ports in our junction box. They'd all been used up by other members of our community, hungry for access to something that didn't involve a 56k modem.

I know this is a small community, but wouldn't it make sense that this little, rural town with more millionaires per capita than any other town in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, home to artists and retired New York bankers, would need more than a few ports in a junction box?

And wouldn't it have been better to install a box that didn't require frequent trips out by Verizon construction crews to add more ports? Because that's what I'm waiting on now, apparently. A crew to upgrade our box so that it can handle a few more of us who would like to bask in the glory of 3mbps broadband. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we set our sights low out here in the sticks. Just 3mbps. Not some fancy big-city, fancy-pants FIOS. I know I'm going to pay a price for one of the quieter places in New England to spend my days writing and working in peace.

But really? Nobody expected that there might be significant demand and therefore thought to build in reasonable capacity in the first place.

I know it could be worse. There are people in this town living along certain roads who have been told they'll never have broadband. They're kids won't ever get to have rich e-learning experiences and they won't ever be able to telecommute. Sure, they can enjoy the great outdoors, but here in 2011, the Internet makes the world go round. It's time that we caught up with the other countries worldwide that have managed to get broadband to both urban and very rural communities. No more geography excuses. Just broadband. And maybe a bit of room for growth down the road.

I wonder if my 3G reception would be better in my attic? The weather is improving...my roof looks better and better every day.

Topics: Verizon, Broadband, Fiber, Mobility, Networking, Servers

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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75 comments
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  • 3Mbps in the sticks? Big-city FiOS?

    I live in Baltimore, in the city proper, and there's no FiOS here, and there won't be. The best I can get through Verizon DSL is 3Mbps. Verizon keeps sending ads to me for both FiOS and 7Mbps DSL, neither of which is available at my address. I switched to Clear, where I get around 4Mbps, but they have peculiar infrequent outages. I may have to pay Comcast for their services, but thus far the "techs" they have sent to my house and my friends' places make my look like a friggin' genius.

    It's not just the sticks that have issues. The state of broadband in this country is pretty shameful.
    dragontiger
    • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

      @dragontiger I am one of the lucky ones to have FIOS, so I can't complain too much.
      Real World
    • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

      @dragontiger
      <i>I may have to pay Comcast for their services, but thus far the "techs" they have sent to my house and my friends' places make my look like a friggin' genius.</i>

      Well Comcast is even more convoluted than Verizon. There have been several occasions that my modem?s Mac Address has mysteriously been deleted from the system. Mind you it is not due to an unpaid bill. Nothing like getting home to check email and have the system down. Also of note, the hidden fees of about $35 a month, for not having other services (digital cable, or phone), add up. When I pay $89 a month for 12 MB/s service, I do not appreciate these ?random issues?. Mind you it happened about every other month, so I do not think it is random.
      Rick_K
      • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

        @Rick_K Comcast is quite frustrating to deal with however I found that moving to Comcast Business Class elminates a lot of the "dumb tech" issues. I don't have any other service with Comcast so the 12Mbps "starter" is $59.99 and the slightly higher speed "residential" is the same price. Hrm, business class internet = better TOS, unfettered access to the CMTS, and the ability to host servers. It's a definate win.
        JT82
      • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

        @JT82 I usually just tell comcast I run Solaris or Linux to cut through the windows red tape and ask the guy to just stick in the mac address... Otherwise they'll make you use some shitty software.
        snoop0x7b
      • Comcast is even more convoluted than Verizon

        As for "technical" service, I'm very happy with Comcast. It has simply worked for the past 10 years - but their business practices are on par with Verizon. All that too sad, since in essence there are NO CHOICES for most of us when it comes to Broadband connectivity.
        To "connect" is not a "right" but in a modern country like this, we should be able to do better, having more providers in any one location, etc. It really is not rocket science to have a bit of foresight and put fiber in the ground (not on poles) and then be able to benefit from that investment for decades to come, instead of re-stringing some copper along rickety poles every time a tree has fallen, or there's been a bad storm.
        wellcraft19
    • What is pathetic, is Hong Kong has wide spread...

      @dragontiger... Gigabit service for about $30 per month USD. But in scope of things, where the average person there only makes about $2 per day, that would be a fortune.
      Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
    • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

      @dragontiger I guess my in-laws are lucky in the fact that their Clear service doesn't go out and runs around 7-8 mbps. It's actually good enough, where I stuck their modem into a washing machine (not running, because that would be stupid) and it still ran 4-5. That put it at a faster speed than Charter, for the same price; DSL isn't exactly an option in their St. Louis neighborhood.
      Champ_Kind
    • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

      @dragontiger
      "Verizon keeps sending ads to me for both FiOS and 7Mbps DSL, neither of which is available at my address."
      Don't you hate companies doing this! Qwest was always doing this to me when I was living in the sticks; I'd call and say 'sign me up' and then they'd tell me that service isn't available where I live. How difficult is it for a company to not send promotional material to locations where it cannot be provided?
      RodsMine
  • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

    I had a similar run-in once with BellSouth. I had them take out a 1,5Mbps DSL so they could put in a 3Mpbs DSL. They told me after they took out the one that it would be three months before they could put the new one in and to enjoy 56Kbps in the meantime. To get that fixed I finally got to the CEO's office--I kid you not.. 72-hours later the neighborhood had a new DSLAM in the junction box and I had DSL again..

    Steven
    sjvn
    • Not Lucky

      @sjvn@...

      Some of us aren't lucky enough to have the name sjvn.

      All us little people are told is "sorry" nothing we can do for you.

      Infuriating considering the $billions the telecoms have received in subsidies.
      Tim Patterson
      • Who said the name helped?

        @Tim Patterson
        "sjvn" may have been a bit of a hinderence. :)
        Will Farrell
  • 4G LTE to the rescue?

    What really needs to happen is the 4G LTE networks need to be built to handle a huge capacity & then quickly implemented with decent coverage at a competitive price. I would gladly switch over to it as my primary means of connection if it was not so expensive. Verizon is charging $80 for 10gigs/month, that is just legal rape of the consumer. If they lowered their price and/or made it unlimited they would get 2X the customers joining up. I used one of their new 4G MiFi's at the mall a few days ago, it is very fast. Fully buffered up a 720p 2 minute long Youtube video in about 5 seconds.
    tgschmidt
    • 4G LTE to the rescue?

      @tgschmidt:
      4G/LTE is VERY fast (from a technical standpoint) but like everything else you need spectrum, lots of it. Once you sit at the mall next time, and are surrounded by 50 other LTE users, speed will be less than stellar, and unlikely fit for video.
      wellcraft19
  • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

    You are dead on as the right hand at Verizon has not idea what the left hand is doing. For five months I have to call up Verizon every month to have a $90 charge for an extra internet internet service, in addition to the FIOS triple play package. Finally I get through to someone who can stop the extra charge. Next day no internet! TV and phone still work. You think your orders are being cancelled? The technical side had no idea what the billing side is doing.
    pinotthecat
  • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

    And how do you propose getting broadband out into rural areas? If we involve the Federal Gov, then that almost guarantees super high cost and crappy service. Imagine having to go to the DMV every time your internet goes out. <br><br>The problem is about choice, you chose to live in the sticks, nobody forced you. You chose to use DSL, instead of Satellite internet (about the same price as DSL). The rest of us should not have to pay higher taxes because of your choice. If internet is that important for you then move somewhere that has better service, otherwise deal with it. Socialism is not the answer.<br><br>I also live in a small town. But as a town we got together and started our own ISP (www.sfcn.org) and we installed cable throughout. Perhaps you should talk to all your millionaire neighbors and see if they are interested in something similar. Our ISP is now completely self sufficient and they don't require any tax dollars, plus I am getting 6Mbps for only $35 ($28 if I sign up for cable). I think that is a great price. Our ISP has even branched out into TV and Phone service. All of which is much less expensive than what is available commercially. <br><br>Keep things local and you will get much better service.
    ryanmc
    • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

      @ryanmc Socialism is apparently always the answer; that's why the socialist countries rank higher than us in dang near everything.

      By the way... if the city owns sfcn.org as their website seems to indicate, doesn't that make it government-run?
      jgm@...
      • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

        @jgm@...
        Probably so, but the local government has more pressure on it to maintain performance and cost goals than a few thousand bureaucrats in D.C. Other cities, like Farmersville, TX, have encouraged a local ISP to extend their wireless network beyond the city limits so the rural population will get cost effective service. Where there is no local ISP, then the city/county government should get involved.

        Compare that to city dwellers who have to pay out the wazoo for little or nothing from companies like Charter. I recently increased my plan to 25MB, but during a recent problem (0-6MB according to their test), I was told that I should be essentially grateful for getting 70% of what I am paying for, and no, I can't just pay 70% of the bill.
        watkins12aa@...
    • At one time we used to have local telcos

      @ryanmc .. then ATT lobbied for a govt monopoly, claiming national security was the reason...
      otaddy
    • RE: Verizon fails me again: This time it's infrastructure

      @ryanmc "Socialism is not the answer."

      If your city owns and runs your ISP, that makes it "socialist".
      knot44