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

Since when is getting DSL turned on an exercise in futility? It's DSL!!!
Written by Christopher Dawson, Contributor

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?

Editorial standards