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April 16, 2001: False starts

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I got DSL a while ago, back when it first came out in my area. This was prior to all the known problems - months of wait to get it installed; poor connections; etc. Two weeks and I had a nice young technician at my door who turned my phone outlet into a double jack, handed me a network card and supervised as I installed it into my own computer, and did a few quick configuration steps on my computer to make it play nicely with the DSL modem. Half an hour he was there, and when he left, I was connected - blissfully happy with my speedy new connection and unwilling to ever go back to dial-up again.

Everything went along swimmingly since then and probably would have continued just as smoothly, except I made a big mistake. I decided to move.

You wouldn't think this would be such a big deal. You'd think (poor naive soul), that it'd be a simple matter to transfer the DSL from one phone number to the next. In fact, the newer DSL is even nicer than the old. Instead of splitting one phone jack, they told us, the whole house would now be wired. We could pick up our computer and move it around and we'd be connected everywhere. All they had to do was turn it on and we'd be set, right?

Except that back when I got DSL, they were still giving away static IP addresses. And because we set up our own little local area network with our very own router and firewall, we sort of needed to *keep* that static IP address. In fact, when I went through the rather lengthy hassle of setting up the new phone lines and the DSL transfer, I insisted that we get to keep it, and I actually got, in writing, their agreement to do so. A grandfathered clause, as it were. Not a problem, they said. Piece of cake, they said. I should have known better though. Getting transferred in circles simply trying to get them to figure out that I wanted to transfer my DSL (with or without a static IP address) was painful enough. I should have realized what was to come.

I won't bore you with all the nitpicky details of what I had to go through to actually get them to do what they agreed to. Let's just boil it down to this. Three days. A total of about eight hours on the phone. Circular transfers between DSL and regular phone service; between DSL ordering and DSL support; between lots of people who didn't know what to do with me and kept foisting me off on yet another person who didn't know what to do with me. It all finally culminated in three (yes, three) technicians showing up at my house this afternoon to do the highly complicated (yeah, right) task of replacing my external DSL modem so that I *finally* got connected.

It also ended in me figuring out that apparently, in order to get *anything* accomplished with Pacbell and their DSL partners, being nice doesn't work. Biting the head off of the next tech support person one is transferred to on the phone (after going around in circles for the better part of an hour) makes them actually listen to you. It also, I think, makes them put little notes on your account that you don't like to be put on hold (heh heh) and tend to be a bit volatile, but at least it worked.

I finally did discover that the source of all my happy DSL-connection nightmare fun was, quite simply, the transfer of the static IP. You see, they just don't *do* this anymore, so no one knew quite how to handle my request. I guess they figured that if they shuffled me around long enough I would just go away, or give up and take the dynamic IP set-up.

Ha. They guessed wrong.

An email showed up in my inbox this evening from Pacbell. They noted I'd recently used their tech support service and they hope I'd be willing to offer some feedback on the service I received.

I'm letting this one sit for a while. I'm not so sure they really want my feedback right now. I have a sneaky feeling they wouldn't know what hit them.

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