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Today is Wednesday, January 19, 2022. The time is 12:09 PM.
Psion Psays

DSL Strikes Back -- Return of Psidonia

Technology causes nearly as many problems as it solves, and sometimes you have to wonder if all the gizmos are worth it. Without DSL, for example, you wouldn't have to worry about the possibility of your ISP not paying its bills and having its service -- and your high-speed connection -- severed.

Despite rumors about this site having fallen due to a successful attack by that rogue and malcontent, El Aparador, the simple truth of the matter is far less colorful. My ISP left the DSL business and forced my DSL provider and I to seek other solutions in mid-April. In the process, a smooth transition turned a bit bumpy when my first choice for a new ISP decided to wait a few weeks before processing my application. By the time they had gotten around to that, Covad, my DSL provider, concluded that I wasn't doing anything about the switchover, and signed me up with instead. Fortunately, offered a better deal and claimed they'd move more quickly on processing my account. Which sounded real good because on May 7th, my DSL connection went down and I was stuck with old-fashioned dial-up again.

So I told my slothful, more expensive, chosen ISP to reconsider its business model and cozied up with

And waited.

Curious about what was taking so long, I tried calling tech support at several times. Each call had one of two results: either I was told no one was available to take my call, or I'd be put on hold by the voicemail system and assured that the expected hold time was only a few minutes. After about twenty or twenty-five minutes, someone or something got tired of my patient waiting and disconnected my call.

So on May 17th, I called the main number, "Hi! I'm having a little trouble with my DSL connection, and..."

"I'm sorry, sir," the fellow on the other end of the line would say (his name was Brian), "You need to call the tech support number at..."

And then I interrupted and said, "Yep, I know that tune. 888-301-2516. But there doesn't seem to be anyone there. I just wait on hold with no one to speak to except an automated timer that periodically tells me that my 'expected hold time is three minutes', followed thirty seconds later by another that says my 'expected hold time is seven minutes', and then five minutes, and then eleven minutes, and then... Brian, do you see the pattern of numbers here?"

"No sir, but..."

"That's because there is no pattern, son. That voice on your hold system is connected to a random number generator, isn't it?"

"No sir, but..."

"And has anyone told you that that music you play for your victims on hold (a simple piano melody) repeats itself every forty-five seconds or so and starts to sound a bit like a six-year-old practicing chopsticks after twenty minutes?"

"No sir, but..."

"And that after putting up with chopsticks and random number announcements for about twenty-five minutes, your tech support number hangs up on me and any time I call after that I'm told no one is available to service my call?"

"Sir, maybe if I take all your information, I could get someone to call you back and take care of you."

"That sounds like a great idea!" And I gave him my information. My circuit ID, my name, two telephone numbers, two email addresses, and my old static IP (

I waited through the weekend. I checked my email -- using dialup -- daily. No one contacted me.

On Monday, May 21st, I decided to lay siege with email. I sent the tech support address a polite note with all my pertinent data and asked them to please look into why I didn't have a working DSL service. On Tuesday, I sent a more strongly worded email to every account I could find, detailing my troubles and my repeated efforts at contacting them. On Thursday afternoon, I decided to try calling tech support again and this time reached a fellow named Eddie who told me I had to contact someone in billing since it looked like I was scheduled for disconnection. "Eddie," I asked, "don't ya think it's a little odd to be disconnecting someone who isn't connected?"

Anyway, I called billing. I spoke with a young lady there and explained my difficulties to her. She pulled up my account and said, "Ah, I see what has happened here, we haven't heard from you and we have you scheduled to be disconnected tomorrow."

"You haven't heard from me?"

"No sir! We sent out emails and phone calls to each of our new customers, and you never responded."

"Miss, I have received neither a phone call nor email from" I didn't. Honest!

"Oh, I'm sure you did! I spent weeks making those calls myself."

"You missed me."

"I couldn't have."

"I never heard from you."

"I called or emailed everyone on our list."

"What email address did you use for me?"

Pause. "Um...I don't have a list right here."

"I didn't think so. Look, I have been trying to reach you. I have peppered your offices with emails and voicemails and no one has ever replied. I have been going out of my way, waving my credit card and offering money for your services. I don't want my service disconnected tomorrow. I want it connected tonight."

"Um...okay, I'll need your credit card info..." And she assured me that old TCP/IP settings should work and that DSL should be up within a few minutes of processing my credit card.


Except it still didn't come up. I called tech support about a half hour later (I think my phone call on the 17th may have alerted them to a problem with the tech support voicemail system -- it has worked fine every time I've called this week) and told the fellow that I still couldn't get on line. He suggested that I should just wait it out overnight to let the disconnect/reconnect order process and I should be back up. Tired of the whole affair, I agreed and went off to do other things...but not before telling my server to try to ping theirs every second.

This morning, I still had no DSL. My box reported 63,691 unsuccessful ping attempts (heh heh). I called tech support again, and told another young man my problem and he said, "Hold on a minute..." and he put the phone down -- not on hold, mind you, down. And after about five minutes (blissful, chopsticks-free minutes), he came back and said, "Okay, you're up."

"Nope. No lights. And I can't ping."

"Huh? Oh. Turn off your router and switch it back on."

I did as he instructed and watched for about forty-five seconds as my DSL modem cycled through its diagnostics. All lights lit green. I pinged the DNS server. That worked! I was back in business at last! I danced, I sang, I proposed to the tech support guy on the other end of the phone, and after he hung up on me, I sat down to surf the Web.

Psion on 2001-05-25 20:25:12


Welcome back El Presidente!

Now where are our @#*&^ Quatloos?

Ichiban on 2001-05-28 21:21:12


So this is where you've been hiding...

I had bookmarked and was wondering what had happened to the site. I just happened by while at work and noticed the new address. More DSL problems, El Presidente?

Ichiban on 2001-06-18 23:26:23

Is there anything in the above that is wrong? Do some of the statements make your blood boil? Do you want to give someone a piece of your mind? After all, you know more about these issues than almost anyone, and people should be listening to you!

Alas, you have yet to take the time to log in or register yourself.

Go on, join up! Become a citizen of Psidonia and let these nimrods know what's really going on!

(If you're having trouble figuring it out, there are log in and registration controls over there on the left side of the, your other left. That's it, click the pretty buttons...)