Tech Stuff

I’ll Say It’s The New Standard! (Updated Tuesday)

My sense of irony is turned up to 11.

Remember, gentle reader, how back in 2010 I went through the steps to get my Comcast service switched over to Verizon FIOS? Not that there was anything particularly wrong with Comcast, it’s just that FIOS sounded like a better deal financially with slightly faster upload speeds thrown in.

Visit Number One

We called a day after the storm and were pleased that Verizon was going to send a tech the next day. Of course, that was too good to be true. The tech said we needed a new pole and they’d have to get a construction crew out. The deal is explained here.

In short, they need to re-connect us to a box, but the box is on a pole that is cracked and about to fall off. It’s unsafe to climb up there, and I accept that. I wouldn’t be caught dead putting a ladder on that thing.

Visit Number Two

Unannounced, but he came anyway. Told us we needed a new pole. Good to have a second opinion.

Visit Number Three

Another ticket a week later, a visit last Saturday from a crew that at least cut down the trees that had fallen across the wire the week after that, and another visit yesterday. Other than the tree guys, nobody could do anything but tell me that they needed a construction crew to put in a new pole.

Chatting with the supervisor with them, he thought they’d have a pole up that very day, my suggestion was why not just connect us to the next VAT (Verizon Access Terminal) up the block instead of the unreachable one? That got blown off pretty quickly, and I was impressed with his general level of dismissiveness and unwillingness to think outside the box. A vague excuse that the signal was coming from the opposite direction, along with some hand-waving, was my reward.

Hey, but the tree guys cut the trees into fireplace-sized chunks, so there’s that. The tender is getting pretty full.

Visit Number Four

As a matter of fact, the guy yesterday morning (Terence, a good guy) was the same one who visited us originally. But he’s just a lineman-slash-tech, and doesn’t carry around tall telephone poles with the equipment necessary to stick them in the ground back in the woods.

Terence had the good grace to tell me that it was not an unreasonable idea to reconnect us to a different VAT, there were complications about the signal direction (I still don’t get that, but whatever) but that the people in the office just wouldn’t do it. Still, I was hauled out of bed at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and all I had to show for it is this paragraph on my blog.

On the Phone, Live-Blogging

We here we are again, making a call and trying to see what’s up.

11:30 First I thought I’d check my ticket status online. Silly me. I have no ticket status.

11:31 Next, I’ll look for a phone number on the web site.

11:36 Curious. The phone company doesn’t appear to have a listed phone number.

Here’s how the call went:

11:37 I’ll call 1-800-VERIZON

11:38 Phone Tree

11:38 One moment please…

11:39 To make other changes. “I’ll transfer you to someone who can help you…”

11:40 Got a person at a call center. Had to repeat the phone number.

11:42 Explained the situation to the call center. Mentioned switching to Optimum Online because Verizon seems to have no interest in restoring service. Reiterated this point, but it doesn’t seem to ring any bells. So to speak.

11:42 On hold waiting for the repair department.

11:44 Got a new person. A new form of torment, she’s too quiet to put on speakerphone.

11:45 Repeat my phone number a third time. Tell the story, she offers to send a tech. I let her know we’ve had four tech visits already, we need a construction crew.

11:48 She’s looking into it, these repair records aren’t in her system.

11:47 She’s checking with the construction ticket department

11:48 The dreaded on-hold music. It breaks every 30 seconds or so and I think someone is about to pick up.

11:55 A few more moments. Thank you for being patient.

12:02 The music has stopped. Silence on the line.

12:03 The music has restarted. Longing for silence. But at least I’m back on speakerphone.

12:05 She couldn’t get anyone in construction, but offered that since a tech was out yesterday maybe they’d be there tomorrow because it takes two days for a construction ticket. I mentioned that there have been construction tickets pending for nearly three weeks and it hasn’t happened yet.

12:07 Back on hold while she circles back to construction

12:12 Still here, still holding. Loud click, the music has stopped.

12:12 She’s back.

12:13 There’s a limited number of crews. Any sense of how long it will take? Nobody knows. She gets a fast busy signal when she tries to call the internal number for that department. Speculation is that there are too many people trying to call.

12:14 She’s getting me a direct line so I can check the ticket number later.

12:17 Got my new ticket number and a hopefully more direct number to call later.

So that’s 40 minutes spent in the morning.

Time for lunch, and an update coming soon in-between my afternoon meetings.

In the meantime, here’s a photo of F. with Lucy the Elephant. We were delighted to learn that Lucy survived the devastation that the hurricane brought, even though she’s just off the beach south of Atlantic City.

Update 3:45

3:45 Looks like the “new” phone number the earlier rep. gave me is the same line as 1-800-VERIZON. The phone tree seems to be identical. So, they pile on BS.

3:46 “I see that we recently fixed a problem. We’re sorry you’re having another problem so soon.” I nearly fall out of my chair.

3:47 “The test hasn’t come back, it looks like a FIOS agent will have to look at it.” Gee, really? One hold, the music is different this time.

3:48 Thank you for your patience. I have a meeting in 12 minutes, patience is a little scarce. “You will hear music until your call is answered.” And in my head for days afterwards.

3:55 My meeting is in five minutes. They keep reminding me about a recent video upgrade. For us, a video upgrade would be having any video at all.

3:59 Have to hang up and go to my meeting. Another waste of time, courtesy of Verizon.

Evening Update

6:51 pm My cell rings at home, and it’s Verizon. They understand we’re still having a problem, and he offers to send a tech out right away.

No no no I say, we’ve had four techs already and they are unanimous in their opinion that the pole out back is cracked and possibly lethal to climb. OK — he’s going to get a construction crew over first thing in the morning, and a technician after that. Good things may be happening, watch for further updates. The hold music from this afternoon has mercifully faded from memory.

Tuesday, the start of week four of no service

8:40 amAs of when I left the house for work, the promised construction crew hadn’t arrived yet.

10:26 pm Need I tell you they did no show up?

Tom McGee has been building web sites since 1995, and blogging here since 2006. Currently a senior developer at Seton Hall University, he's also a freelance web programmer and musician. Contact him if you have the need for a blog, web site, redesign or custom programming!

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