Getting familiar with retro emulator Batocera as I start screwing around with that stuff again and switch to it as my new platform of choice.
I’m keeping this page here for entertaining folks. It’s been years since all of this, but people still find this write-up to be quite entertaining. For the record, I’m currently back with Comcast, having been on a Comcast Business Services line for a number of years, then transitioning to a consumer gigabit connection with the unlimited data option.
This is my long rant/narrative about the single dumbest experience I’ve ever had with a company. Now, to be clear, I think there is no industry with companies more fundamentally screwed up than the communications industry. In the past, I considered there to be no mega-corporations more screwed up than AT&T. They were my single least favorite company on the face of the Earth. But this isn’t about AT&T. Since September 2007, when my cable internet line was installed, I’ve been a perfectly happy customer of Comcast. There were a couple of hiccups in the use of existing cable wiring coming into the house, but I got lucky and got a very competent tech who made two trips out and got the issues resolved, and it’s been a solid, extremely fast connection ever since. I also had a minor little billing issue a couple of weeks after the service first went live. Both problems were resolved quickly and competently. I was beginning to think that either the stories of Comcast’s monumental stupidity were overblown, or I was just getting extremely lucky. Well, it turns out it’s the latter.
I’m a heavy bandwidth user when it comes to internet usage. I do tons of multimedia stuff on the web, among other high bandwidth stuff (online backup, etc, etc). I got a voice mail at some point in mid-summer, 2008. When I called back to see what they were calling me about (figuring it was another billing glitch or something), their “”Comcast Security Department”” caught me off guard by notifying me that my 400+ gigs of monthly data usage is not acceptable, and that if it continues they’ll be forced to discontinue my service. Unable to switch gears and react properly, I ended up ending that first call fairly quickly. After a half-hour of adjustment to being given the notice, I called the number back again and got into quite the conversation with the support person, who wouldn’t hand me off to a superior, stating that I’d get the same answer from anyone. I talked with this person, who admittedly probably hates this crap as much as the users that the company he works for screws over do, for a good 20-30 minutes trying to derive ANY discernible logic to their definitions of ANYTHING.
OK, so I’m using “too much” bandwidth. How much isn’t too much, then? “Well, it’s no specific number.” Well then, how the heck am I supposed to know when I am and am not doing something wrong? I’d like to see how you people discipline a 2-year-old. I mean, this is “unlimited” internet service. “It’s unlimited ACCESS internet – meaning you can be on the internet at any time to any location.” Now if this phrasing isn’t shifty bait-and-switch marketing, or just plain downright lying to users, I don’t know what is. “Sir, your usage is in the top 1% of our users.” OK, do I get a trophy? I mean, somebody will always be in the top 1% of your users, you know. That is until you only have very few customers left. “Well sir, your usage is hundreds of times above our average users.” Yeah, and…? Are averages only supposed to have a small marginal variation? “The usage policy states that you aren’t allowed to use the service in a way that impairs other area users.” OK, so I can’t use my connection at all, then. I mean, any browsing uses resources that others could be using. After going round and round in numerous arguments, it became abundantly clear that Comcast doesn’t have ANYTHING regarding these policies that even remotely resembles an actual policy.
There’s no specific measure of what is “too much.” Not even the largest of ballpark figures. Seriously, I couldn’t get him to commit to ANYTHING I should or shouldn’t do specifically. Just that I was clearly violating their customer policies, and it must stop. I upgraded my connection the same day I learned of yet a better package earlier in 2008 (I use their fastest 16mb package, and get a solid 20mb speed from it 95% of the time). I’d happily have sprung for a new DOCSIS 3 connection for even more monthly money for better speeds like they were testing at 50mb in test markets at the time of this writing. But no, they’d rather I not be their customer. Not just that, but as I pointed out to him, the majority of the people this practice alienates aren’t particularly warez kiddies, but are true power users like myself. And us true power users get asked for tech recommendations from many, many people on a daily basis. If asked before this first call, I’d happily have endorsed Comcast’s services, based on personal experience. After, I will tell anyone who asks me to run as far and as fast away from Comcast to any other service as possible. After repeatedly trying to get the rep to set any specific policy for me to not break or some bandwidth cap to keep things under, I couldn’t get anything even remotely resembling a straight answer. If any other industry tried this crap, they’d be laughed at. Yeah, that cellular service you have with us? Well, you’re using it too much. What’s too much? We can’t tell you. You’re just using it more than other people. How do I know how much other people use it?
To make matters worse, Comcast’s grand answer to this is to not just lose their customers, but to forcefully get rid of them. Hello? How about throttling us during peak hours where we are affecting other users too much? How should I know what capacity you clowns have on your backbones? Most of my traffic is off hours, during the wee hours of the night. And even worse, they have NO way for a user to even see what his usage is, in any way, shape or form. Am I supposed to go out and buy a device to put inline and measure data usage? It’d be pointless anyway since I’ve got no idea what level I’m trying to keep it under. Put simply, my chat with the rep was so intentionally vague and stupid (on their part), it was equally laughable and monumentally frustrating. I’ve never had a conversation as stupidly argued as that one. Never ever. And I’ve had some doozies with AT&T in the past. I doubt even AT&T could come up with something as staggeringly stupid as this ephemeral definition of bandwidth usage, and their strong-arm enforcement of something that has no actual guidelines. Yes, Comcast outstupidified AT&T, and that takes incompetency on a monumental level. You can’t just wake up one morning and suddenly come up with something so stupid even AT&T wouldn’t have thought of it. This level of stupidity can only come from an extraordinary amount of effort. There’s gotta be some class action lawsuit brewing for this. If not, there darn well should be. After that conversation, I did some preliminary hunting around for alternative connections, including a Comcast Business Internet line. When I talked to them, it was later in the day and the national rep couldn’t give me good enough specifics and suggested I call back another day and talk to the local sales reps. I had dragged my feet in doing that, which is unfortunate in retrospect because things became much worse…
I also did some hunting around online to find out that many people had similar situations with Comcast. And the one consistent thing about all the stories is that there was nothing consistent about what they had done wrong. People had been terminated for transfer rates of anywhere as low as under 100 gigabytes per month to multiple terabytes per month.
7/28/08: Not feeling too well, so I’m at the house today. I was having some internal network issues, so I did some scrounging around and found a cat5 cable going through the laundry room that was frayed and flaking out. I got that fixed late in the morning, and was online for an hour or so when the cable modem went out. In the near-year that I’ve had the cable service from Comcast, I’ve only had a couple of brief disruptions. It’s been a very reliable line to date. The line indicator wasn’t lighting, so I figured it was a line problem. After 30 minutes or so of the same, I called their support number to check, and the automated system told me that my area was experiencing technical difficulties and that they were working on it. So, I left it at that. Another 30 minutes or so later, the line light on the modem lit back up and looked like it normally does. I still wasn’t getting any connectivity from it, though. I figured they were still messing with things. I left it like that for a couple more hours, then finally decided to call the support number back again. The automated message was gone now, and it transferred me to a customer support rep (CSR). As soon as she got my info, she told me I need to speak to a different department and transferred me. Sadly, I was connected to my good buddies in the “Comcast Security Department.” Oh great, I thought to myself. Then a CSR picks up and gets my info, and informs me that my account has been terminated due to overuse. I again spend 20-30 minutes trying to ferret out any real information from this rep, only to get nothing but nebulous, non-specific policies repeated back to me. I’m more annoyed this time around, obviously. They could have at least given me a specific date they were going to terminate my service, to give me time to get something else installed. Not only that, but he informs me that I will be banned from getting other Comcast services at this address for 12 months, including TV, voice, and what-not. I tell him that I had been considering switching to a business services line with Comcast since they first called with the warning and that I hadn’t lined up a switch over as yet. He tells me that I will be unable to do that now that my address has been banned. Now I’m really annoyed. This conversation goes on and on and on. I ask if I can be turned back on for a week or so, so I can get something else installed. Of course, that doesn’t fly. It’s clear that the one and only answer they will give is that there is absolutely nothing that can be done after having been terminated. Like the first conversation, the most common phrase I hear is “I’m sorry that you feel that way, sir” (or some variation). After arguing the same facts as the first warning call, such as the fact that they provide no way for me to even see how much bandwidth I’ve used in a month, never mind the fact that there is no level of any kind that is considered good or bad where I’d even know what I’d be shooting for, I finally got him to tell me what I’d used this last month to finally trigger the cut-off. Apparently I was still in the 400+ gig range (I forget the exact numbers), but was actually down like 30 gigs from the previous warning month. So, apparently, my usage hadn’t gone down “enough.” Not that he had any idea whatsoever what “enough” would have been, anyway. After the call, I kept thinking to myself that I sure wish I had recorded these calls because nobody will ever believe just HOW stupid they truly have been.
So, I start calling around for alternative options. AT&T has yet to roll out its U-Verse services in my area, so that idea is out. Basically, I’m stuck going back to DSL. And if I’m going to do that, I’m going to go back to my previous DSL provider, SpeakEasy. They are considerably more expensive than getting a DSL package from AT&T, but I know they are a competent company (the one and only communications company I have ever had nothing but good experiences with). So, I call AT&T first for curiosity sake. They will only offer me a 3mb DSL line due to my distance from the central office. I note what they’re offering, then hang up and call SpeakEasy. As usual, my call to SpeakEasy was as pleasant and simple as always. I get an install lined up for a 6mb DSL line. I’d had the same package previously, but had line noise problems that caused my connection to reset semi-regularly for 30 seconds or so. I had eventually stepped it back to a 3mb connection shortly before I switched to my Comcast cable connection last year. At any rate, the SpeakEasy rep tells me that I have 3 days to cancel the order process. And if I go past that, I’ve still got the first month as a trial and can terminate before that’s up without early termination fees and such. So, that install order is now rolling.
7/29/08: I figured I’d give the local Comcast Business Services reps a call today and see what they say about all this. I’ve dealt with them for work locations, and they always seemed to operate completely independent of the Comcast consumer side of things. So, I get quickly transferred to my local sales rep (who turns out to be really local, just a half-dozen miles away). I explain my situation to him, including all the stuff that the “security department” had told me, and that I’d even be unable to get a business line from them. This is the first this sales rep has ever heard of any such thing. He pulls up my account info and sees the notes on it. He says that the consumer folks shouldn’t be able to get in the way of the business services side of things. He then checks with his manager, who tells him that, no, they couldn’t stop the business services department from having me as a customer. I then learn that they can provide me with the same package I had for the same price, just that I’d be locked into it for 2 years. Great, I tell him. Give me a contract. All the better. So, he e-mails me a PDF of the contract, which I sign, scan and e-mail right back to him. All things are sailing along smoothly. He tells me I should get a call from the installation folks within a day or two to schedule the install. I decide I’ll keep the SpeakEasy install in motion at least until I hear from the install folks and make sure they are OK with things. After all, I’ve got the 3 days to cancel that SpeakEasy install.
7/31/08: I get a call from the install department at Comcast to schedule my install. We get it set up for Saturday, 8/2, from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.
After getting that install call, I finally decide that things must be rolling along OK. Since it’s the third day since I placed the DSL order, I contact my SpeakEasy rep to cancel the install order.
8/2/08 – 3:00 (or so): Installer arrives. Does some fixing up of the grounding on the cabling in the back yard. Then comes in and installs the SMC modem/router. Goes to check service and I’m getting stopped by the consumer activation screen, which he says I shouldn’t be seeing at all. He calls in to see why the service isn’t activated already, as it should be on the business line modems. I’d already explained to him a brief history of the situation to date. The installer is a nice guy that I had no trouble from in any way (repeating my typical good luck with Comcast techs that show up to the house – an experience that I know is not shared with many other Comcast customers). His dispatcher gives him an 866 phone number that I need to call. Since there’s nothing more he can do, having set everything up physically, we agree that he might as well take off while I call this number back (a number that seems sadly familiar to me).
4:00 (or so): Call the number, which as I feared was the “Comcast Security Department” (I can’t help putting quotes around that every time). Spent 15 minutes on hold then had a brief conversation with the CSR that answers. This is the worst conversation to date with Comcast. While I sat on hold, I was remembering how I’d told many people that I’d wished I had recorded the first two calls to this department. I screwed around trying to figure out any recording option on my phone while I was on hold, but couldn’t record more than 10-20 seconds (intended for voice notes, I guess). So, I run upstairs to grab my trusty Cowon D2 audio player, which I knew did condenser mic recordings, but I’d never used it for such to date. So as I fumbled my way into getting it recording, I got it going maybe 5-10 seconds after the CSR answered the line. Sadly, I missed getting the dude’s name and didn’t remember it cause I was too distracted getting the recording going. So, there I sit with the cell on speakerphone sitting on the desk next to the audio recorder. The call starts off with me briefly breaking down my situation. He begins by saying that he would need to pull up my information, but then the conversation gets going and he never asks me for my phone number or any other piece of info. It gets more and more heated as he continues to tell me that no, business services can’t install service to me, despite what business services were telling me otherwise. I ask to speak to a supervisor again, which as usual the CSR’s refuse to do. This guy didn’t even give me the polite “I’m sorry that you feel that way, sir” – which is the mantra that the previous 2 CSR’s I’d talked to in the department couldn’t seem to stop saying. Now, I’m one of the most laid back folks you’re ever likely to meet. This phone call got me to a raised level of voice that I have almost never gotten to before. Once the conversation got a bit heated, the CSR informs me that I flat out refused to give him my information. I tell him I didn’t do any such thing. He continues on and again accuses me of refusing to give him my information, to which I strongly tell him that I had never refused to do any such thing. Not only that, I tell him that I’m recording this call and I could play it back to him to prove it. Within seconds, he hung up on me. I was dumbstruck, and actually quite amused by that. This situation has gone beyond the frustrating and annoying to simple amusement of disbelief. If you wanna check out this recording, here it is. (NOTE FROM THE FUTURE: I’ll add the recording back at some point…)
So, I leave a voice mail with my Comcast business rep. He’s not around on a Saturday, of course. I also call my SpeakEasy rep back and leave him a message saying I need to get the order rolling again. He’s not around on a Saturday either. Either way, having canceled the order then started it back up again will cost me at least another half week of downtime.
8/4/08 – 9:30 am: Got a call back from my SpeakEasy rep about getting the order rolling on the DSL line again. Have I mentioned how responsive SpeakEasy always is, and how simple it is to deal with them for anything?
8/4/08 – Afternoon: I hadn’t gotten a call back from the Comcast rep yet, so I call him and explain all the fun from Saturday. He says he’ll check on what’s going on.
8/5/08 – Afternoon: Haven’t heard anything back from Comcast as yet. Left a voice mail for the rep.
8/6/08 – 11:30 am: Still hadn’t heard back from the Comcast sales rep, and have gotten voice mail on the couple call attempts in the last day or two. So, I sent an e-mail to see what was what.
1:00 pm: Now things get a bit strange. I get a random call from a Comcast tech to confirm a dispatch to check for trouble, which is the first I’ve heard of any such dispatch. I told him that I’m all hooked up, but was just needing service activation, which was the problem, and that a dispatched tech would likely have nothing to do when he got to my house.
8/8/08 – morning: Left another message for Comcast business sales rep. Haven’t heard from him since Monday.
Early afternoon: Got a call back from the sales rep. He had been told it had been taken care of and was surprised it still wasn’t working. So he said he’d go fire off another request to the support folks to find out why.
Mid-afternoon: not too long after the sales rep had called, a local support rep called (from a local area code), named Jesse. I explained what was going on, multiple times, and he seemed convinced he needed to dispatch another tech to my house. I tried to convince him that sending somebody to the house again was kinda pointless, but he really wanted to send somebody out. So we got that scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, 8/13. He said he’d try to get it pushed up sooner. I’m curious to find out what a dispatched tech will be able to accomplish on equipment that is fully setup.
8/11/08: At some point, while I was away from the house, AT&T stopped by to loop up my DSL circuit. I didn’t need to be at the house since they just need access to the box on the back of the house. I’m now scheduled for a Covad tech to stop by on 8/19 to activate my SpeakEasy DSL service.
8/13/08 – 8:00 am: The Comcast dude who was scheduled to come out from 8:30 to 10:30 showed up early, just as I was waking up. After I explained the situation to him, he told me he’d never heard of such a thing before. He then tried a modem that wasn’t specifically assigned to anyone, which did the same thing, so it’s definitely tied to the line. He called the business activation folks, who gave him the security department’s phone number and said I’d have to call them. I told the tech I was never calling that phone number again, as long as I live. He was another nice, helpful and friendly tech. I must state again that I’ve had nothing but good experiences with the techs that Comcast has sent out since I became one of their customers. Anyway, the tech called his supervisor (who had also never heard of my situation), and the supervisor said he knew one engineer he could call to see if there was anything that could be done. He tried calling him, but got voice mail and left my details. Said I’d get a call back about that. I failed to remember to get the contact info for the tech or his supervisor so I could follow up, dang it (a side effect of it being so early in the morning).
8/18/08 – afternoon: I left a voice mail with the business services sales rep, explaining that things were still a no-go. I also never heard back from the tech or his boss (or whatever dude he left a message with).
8/19/08 – 1:00: Covad shows up at the end of their time estimate window (of course) to activate the SpeakEasy DSL service. After a bit of looking, he figures out that AT&T did not loop up the physical circuit correctly. Since I already had all the internal wiring from the previous years with SpeakEasy and had already hooked up the modem and everything (they ship it out days after the order is placed so it’s there when the techs stop by), he’d done all that he could. He said they should be able to get AT&T to come back within 24 hours to finish things correctly. So he and I left the house at that point. I gave SpeakEasy a call a couple of hours later just to make sure the ball was rolling along as it should have AT&T back out again. And as always, it was an absolute pleasure dealing with the SpeakEasy folks, who did in fact already have the ball rolling with getting AT&T back out to do things right. While Comcast may have taken the title of the most hated company away from AT&T for me, AT&T has made it clear that they still deserve to be a close second. When the Covad dude told me AT&T hadn’t done things right, I kinda just shrugged out of reflex and said that I should have just assumed that AT&T would screw up their one and an only tiny little piece of this process somehow.
8/20/08 – morning: AT&T tech shows up JUST as I’m on my way out the door. I hung around while he did his thing, just to see what the results would be. After messing around for more than an hour (including at least one trip down the block, to the wiring box I’m assuming), he finally got it lit up and left. Hurray! After three weeks and two days, I’m FINALLY back on the net. Initial tests of the line show it pulling at least a good 6mb speed pretty solid. I’ll have to see over the next few days if it suffers the high line noise modem reset problems that I used to have. Regardless, it’s so nice to finally be connected to the outside world again. What did I do with myself before the net, anyway? For me, it goes farther back than most people. I’d been a CompuServe user since my early elementary years back in the early ’80s. A decade later, I was a BBS user, as well as the earlier internet services like e-mail, FTP, gopher, archie, veronica, etc. Anyway, as for this story, it still lacks any final resolution from Comcast, who I’m still waiting to hear back from (heck, I’ve still got their SMC modem/router hardware)…
Afternoon: I left another voice mail for my local Comcast business sales rep. At this point, I just want an end to the story. I’ve all but given up on Comcast. It’s fascinating that nobody (and I mean NOBODY) at Comcast that I’ve talked to, from sales reps to tech dispatchers, to on-site technicians, to the on-site technician’s supervisor, have ever heard about any of this over usage termination/probation stuff. Cause the “Security Department” seems so sure that everybody in the company should know better than to be telling me the things they keep telling me, over and over and over again.
8/28/08 – afternoon: Got hold of the business services sales rep. He’s chased it all the way up the chain of command, and the situation is officially hopeless. So, that brings this story to a close. In related news, I just read an article today stating that Comcast is actually going to be going with a 250gb bandwidth cap on October 1st. From what I’ve read from other sources, the business services lines won’t be subjected to this cap. This is a bad move on Comcast’s part, IMO. And I’m not just speaking from my own usage and experience. There are many bad ramifications for this. A great many. For one thing, the new HD streaming services will no longer be an option for Comcast residential users – not if they use it a decent amount. That blocks alternative programming options and is a mega-greedy move on the part of Comcast, which will lock people into their cable services. Online backup systems will take a hit as a result, as well. I will never get a broadband line with such a cap on it. No way, no how. Having such a cap makes any service completely inferior to their non-capped alternatives instantly, and the salespeople could argue it with me until they were blue in the face. Comcast should be doing connection throttling, without any caps. It looked like that was what they were going to do, but it looks like they are making the boneheaded choice and putting in the caps after all. Then again, after this insane experience of mine with them, why should I be at all surprised that they made the boneheaded choice?
Late afternoon: OK, so the story isn’t over. While talking to somebody about this story finally having an ending, I said that it sure would have been nice if one of the other options like AT&T’s U-Verse service would have been available for me to jump to when Comcast did this to me. Just for grins, as I was saying that, I went ahead and did an availability check on the U-Verse site and couldn’t believe my eyes. It showed as available. I had checked on this mere weeks ago when all this started and it wasn’t available at that time. So, the timing of all this sucks to a very specific degree. Still, I’m happy to have the alternative, and I’m still within my 25 day trial time window with my SpeakEasy DSL service to disconnect without any term implications (actually, I’m only 8 days into that 25-day window). So, I did a chat with an online sales rep for U-Verse when the chat request popped up, just to confirm availability. And just to be safe, I also confirmed with the rep that there was no goofy bandwidth cap or such, and was told that there wasn’t. So, I customized a U-Verse package and went to go through the order process. After assembling the package I wanted, I was stopped by a message stating that there was a conflict with existing internet service at the location, and was given a phone number to call (at least they give you the ability to save your online order to continue again later). So, I called the number. After 4 different department transfers, I finally got somebody who said that because it’s a third-party provider (SpeakEasy) on the line, that I’d have to disconnect service from them before the service install order can be placed for the U-Verse stuff. So much for having connectivity during the transition. So, I just called SpeakEasy and canceled my service. How sad is it that even canceling service with SpeakEasy is easy and pleasant? Now, I’m at the mercy of AT&T being right about my ability to get the new U-Verse services. SpeakEasy told me that it’ll take up to 24 hours for Covad (the company who handles the physical line installs for SpeakEasy) to finish the actual disconnection. At that point, I should be able to place the U-Verse order, assuming their online order system picks up on the disconnection in a timely fashion. I hope it does because you get better promotional offers doing the order online vs calling in. So, now I go into a waiting game. The online sales rep told me that the U-Verse order will typically take a week to install and activate, which isn’t too bad. So, I may end up offline at the house for yet another week (as will this blog). Gotta love this insane situation made all the more insane by the timing of it all.
Later afternoon: Only 45 minutes or so after canceling the DSL order with SpeakEasy, the service light on the DSL modem went out. The line light is still lit, so that means that the physical loop is still live, just that the service is now dead (which is true – I am now connectionless at the house again).
8/29/08 – Afternoon: I tried the online order again for U-Verse and got past where I was before, but got stopped at a later screen and was given a different phone number to call. In this case, I ended up connected directly to the U-Verse ordering department, and a nice rep named Maria helped me out. I explained the situation and she got the order information from me (what packages I wanted, service location, etc, etc, etc). Maria was very helpful and knew what she was doing. She ultimately figured out that the line conflict was indeed still the problem, and that it typically took a few days for that to clear and their system to let the order go through. She said she would get the order put through as soon as it cleared and call me back when it was ready. Sadly, the days counted were only business days, and I did the dumb thing of starting this right before the Labor Day weekend, adding needless days without connection. Ah well. She said that each morning, they checked the pending order list and that as soon as the line cleared she’d get the order rolling.
9/3/08 – Morning: Sure enough, I got my call from Maria at AT&T, who again was very helpful and informed (it gives me the willies when AT&T reps know what they are doing). She had put the order through and was calling to setup the installation appointment. We settled on the first available one, which was the next Monday afternoon (9/8) from 12-2.
9/5/08 – Evening: I decided to hunt around for the local VRAD box to see how good my distance would be. For the service, you want to be somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 feet away. The way AT&T’s U-Verse service works is that the system uses a fiber optic drop to that local VRAD box then takes it from there to the house via a traditional copper VDSL loop (unlike Verizon’s FiOS service, which in most cases takes it all the way to the house via fiber). It didn’t take me long to find the VRAD box since it was all of 250 feet from the back of my house (as the crow flies).
9/8/08 – 2:00: After getting a call from the installer around 1:45 saying he was running a bit late, he said he’d likely show up right around 2:00. Sure enough, he pulled up at almost 2:00 on the nose. The installer was a nice enough fellow. He methodically started wiring up stuff and checking the connectivity. After messing around for a while with the d-mark box on the back of the house, he informed me that there were problems with the line coming to the house. He said he’d need to set up a dispatch for a line technician to come out to the house to fix it, and that he should respond within two hours of the dispatch request. This was at about 3:00. So the installer continued on setting up things inside the house for the router/gateway and the DVR box for the TV programming. After an hour he had that stuff set up and the wiring in place, etc. He went out to his truck for a bit then came back in around 4:30 and informed me that there was bad news. It had been raining pretty solid most of the day, but at that point, it was raining particularly heavily, with some mild lightning. He said that the line technicians had been called off on account of weather for the rest of the day and that the earliest appointment to get another U-Verse installer out was the next Monday afternoon from 12-2. For lack of any faster options, we left it at that.
9/9/08 – Morning: The line tech showed up bright and early first thing to get the line all happy. After messing around for more than an hour, he told me that things were now happy, and he’d contacted the installer from the previous day to also let him know it was done. I tried calling in to see if I could get the follow-up appointment bumped up at all, but alas it wasn’t to be. Oh well, guess I’ll have to wait for Monday’s planned install.
9/15/08 – 12:30: Got a call from the installer (the same one, actually) checking to make sure that things were still good to go and that I was at the house, and said he’d be there in 10-15 minutes. Sure enough, 10 minutes later he rolled up. After messing around with the d-mark box on the back of the house, patching things up and testing things, he said things looked good. So we came inside and got the last bits of things hooked up and ready. We then went through the activation process, and I ran into an error during the account setup stuff. He called it in and I ended up having to go through the account activation with the service dude on the phone. No biggie, as that was smooth and painless, and he got it going no problem. Seconds after he got the activation process and account setup stuff taken care of, I was browsing the web. So then we tried out the DVR box and made sure that it got its configuration and was working happy, which it was. We did some speed tests on the line, and it was working pretty much at the advertised 10mb down and 1.5mb up and has been for the couple hours since. His equipment showed my connection as approximately 500 feet (which makes sense, as the wiring doesn’t go straight from the house to the box), which he confirmed should result in fantastic speed and reliability. So, it looks like there is now a final end to the story. I’ve had the connection going pretty solid for the few hours since it was activated, and at the time of this final writing, I’m very happy with the service. I’ve played with the DVR for an hour or so, and am pretty impressed with it.”