My server has been down for about a 6 days. The short story of why my site has been down is because Verizon sucks. The long story however…
I discovered on Thursday (Feb 7th) that my server, gerf.org was down. I went home to check it out and discovered the dreaded blinking DSL light.
I called up Verizon’s Business DSL Support and to put in a trouble ticket. I have to do my usual song and dance to get around the fact that the Verizon phone system think I’m a non-business customer and wants to redirect me to the residential support the moment it knows who I am. I have been told this is because the phone number I was given for my DSL (which is a dry loop; it has no phone service, just DSL) used to belong to a residential customer and the system is confused. I was told they would fix this when I signed up in November.
The guy I talk to checked a bunch of things and in the end said that while he could just barely detect a signal from my equipment. Which is odd because I’m very close to the C.O. and the signal usually is pretty darn strong. He says he’ll put in a tech ticket for Friday and a tech should come by and possibly need access to the house. This isn’t a big deal because I can walk 10 minutes down a hill to get to my house from work.
However, I don’t get a call. I don’t get anything. Around 4pm on Friday, I call and ask what’s going on. The guy I talk to says it looks like the trouble ticket was just closed. No reason or anything put in the ticket. He starts to look around and discovers that my line was disabled deliberately. Because I hadn’t paid my bills, except that I have and he can see that I have paid my bills. Either way, he says I have to talk to the “local phone company” to fix this, the business DSL department cannot see the local info.
Me: “I’m sorry? I have to call? You cannot call them yourself and fix this?”
Me: “Can I speak to a supervisor?”
Me: “So let me get this straight? I’m paying extra for business support and this is what I get? I have to do this myself?”
Them: “FCC rules won’t let us talk to the local telephone company.”
Too bad I didn’t have Internet connectivity to look this bit of bullshit up.
Anyway, he gives me some allegedly local numbers and I start calling. It takes four hours before I’m done with this. The phone system doesn’t want me to get to a local phone representative. When I get a local phone representative they are very quick to transfer me to someone non-local. I do my best to remain calm and not to take out my growing frustration and anger on the people working for a broken system.
I finally get a guy, Joe Hinkle, who is only one state over (West Virginia). He manages to get me the right department and stays on the line as that department tries to figure out what happens.
The story, as told to me by Verizon, is that the phone number they were using to track my account belonged to someone named Ester (should they tell me this info?). Ester canceled her account with Verizon in August of last year. However, Verizon was still billing her. So her mother called up and finally got them to stop billing her, etc. Unfortunately for me, the system decided that my phone service had to be terminated to make the billing stop.
I’m told that it is entirely a billing problem and that nobody can start working on fixing the problem until billing fixes their problem. However, billing won’t be back to Monday. At which point gerf.org will have been down 5 days minimum.
I double check this. There is nothing that they can do (oh, except order another line from Verizon, which was a non-starter. How stupid do they think I am? Obviously dumb enough to stay with them!)
This is the end. I went to the T-Mobile store in my neighborhood, and bought T-mobile phones (my wife and I both got Motorola KRZR K1 phones) and got an internet package so I can still have internet connectivity.
On Monday, I canceled the Verizon service. The retention agent was super nice of course, but screw that. The time to fix the problems was Thursday, not 5 days later.
I called up Speakeasy because a friend said that they could call speakeasy’s tech support and say stuff like, “You have a flapping route” and they respond with “Oh, thanks! We’ll fix that right away” instead of “Duh?”
I was impressed with everything so far; they have a status page that shows the state of the order, including equipment arriving, etc. It even has the status of the mail-in rebate for the modem and all my routing and IP information. Cool! (Though why didn’t they just give me the modem for free instead of via a stupid mail-in rebate?)
gerf.org is temporarily being hosted by a friend, I should be up and running on Speakeasy by the 27th.
UPDATE: 2008-04-08 Well, apparently they still had to try to screw me over one more time. They tried to bill me for more money. True, it was only $28.07 but by this time it was the principle of the thing.
I called the up and the stupid voice system didn’t know my account number (it’s been closed, don’tcha know). I managed to remember how to get through the damn thing without an account number (“Try another way” followed by “I don’t know”).
Finally I made it to billing where after a little detective work on their part they figured out that they were trying to bill me for the days that I had no network connection and 3 days after I closed my account!
She repeated the mantra of all computer enslaved humans, “I can’t change it once it’s in the system.” Fortunately, she agreed to just adjust the money since it was small enough she could do that.
What a horrible horrible company.
Last year, after 100% uptime since 1999, we got into an 8-day pickle with our “premium” DSL provider, and found that their personal competency didn’t mean much so long as Verizon was still providing the copper.
Our solution was to order a cable modem ($35/month, though we’ll probably get it down soon.), and switch to cheap native Verizon DSL. That didn’t prevent another 8-day outage (resolvable in 20 minutes, once connected to a tech that believed my diagnosis and pursued it.)
But having the cable modem meant we didn’t really lose any sleep, or remaining hair on our heads, as we spent oodles of time talking to droids in Umbai, Cebu, Vancouver, and some actually intelligent people in Mexico City.
Whether you switch to Speakeasy, DSL Extreme, or any other non-LEC ISP, you’re still going to deal with the same last-mile issues, and the same firewall between the ISP and the LEC.
We’re hoping to get some of our neighbors to set up with Fon, so we’ll have WiFi backup options.
Verizon DSL - RUN LIKE THE WIND DON’T LOOK BACK. DO NOT INSTALL VERIZON DSL. It is not high speed internet. My service was less than dial up. Service installed August 6, 2008. Service canceled August 11, 2008.
Start up error messages. Poor upload and download speeds. Can’t open web pages. Poor tech support - and they speak very bad english and tell you lies.
I will never forgive Verizon. They made my PC so unstable with all their so called screen sharing tech assistance, that my computer crashed and died. My less than 2 years old computer that never had any problems until installed with verizon modem Westall 6100 that is not going to work, and all the rest of the mess that is installed on your PC by Verizon.
VERIZON YOU KILLED MY COMPUTER AND I HATE YOU. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW! ! !