A recent post by my online friend Charlie over at Hotly Spiced reminds me of the aggravating process of getting services set up in our new home last month.
My husband and I both work out of the home so it is imperative we have high speed internet, work and private phone numbers and separate work spaces.
We accomplished the last requirement by re-purposing the third bedroom into my husband’s man-cave and work office. This worked well since we only need two working bedrooms and the third bedroom would have sat empty and naked. No one likes empty and naked.
We had signed up for Direct-TV (a satellite television provider) and they offered a discount on Internet service if you went with their recommended Internet Provider, CenturyLink. We have always had success with referrals before so we did not suspect just what we were in for.
Once we got the internet up we eagerly hooked our phone up to our already existing Vonage account. Vonage is a home phone that exists by linking to your active internet line. We used this successfully in our old home with internet that was active through our cable provider.
My husband leads several conference calls each month with multiple participants. Using a cell phone just did not cut it. Reception in a home can be spotty and sounds a bit fuzzy at times. A normal house phone with speaker phone ability was required.
On his very first conference call in the new house, my husband (who leads these calls mind you) was dropped from the call twice while using the Vonage account. Not a professional way to lead. He got back on the line apologetically and led the call from his cell phone with less than stellar reception.
Two days into our new internet, we realized that we were both having the same issues. One of us would try to go to a simple news website and be told it was not accessible. I was often timed out of website pages I tried to access. Trying to watch a video was impossible – again the website was timing out or doing that skip and play dance that makes you want to give up.
On day three we called CenturyLink (our internet provider). My husband was walked through changing the channels on the receiver and modem. Apparently our neighbors were using the same channels. This didn’t make sense, but temporarily corrected the problems.
On day four my husband called again when we realized some of the laptops could not get on the internet anymore. I have a work laptop set up to access files on the work server. I also have a personal laptop, but am unable to access work files from that for security purposes. For some reason I could not get the work laptop to work. We were told we were using too many laptops. Hmm.
On day five we were told our laptops were all outdated even though we had never had a single problem in our old home. The technician actually said the issue was our outdated equipment.
On day eight we were told to change the modem channels again. This is the call when CenturyLink admitted they have had problems with this modem equipment in the past. When my husband requested new equipment he was told that would be at a cost.
On day nine we were told to reset the modem and to unhook the Vonage phone as that was causing the issues. We unhooked the Vonage phone that we were still paying for.
On day ten we were told to change the channels on the modem again.
Within minutes of each call, the service technician had flipped some switch somewhere and our internet worked fine by the end of the call. We did not suspect anything. Maybe we were too trusting.
All of this time, I would try to get up hours before my husband to get my work laptop up and running so I could finish my paying work before he had to get on the internet and might possibly bump me off.
By the end of the second week, the terms we used to describe our internet “provider” were not fit for a men or women’s locker room. They were far more disgusting and rude. When we passed their unsuspecting maintenance vans around the neighborhood they got dirty looks from me. I perfected the dirty look at about the age of seven.
By the end of the third week, I had stopped trying to post blogs on a regular basis and simply made jewelry. When all else fails, do what relaxes you I guess. My IT Administrator at work had given us a list of qualified IT providers with high speed internet. When he had heard of the list of excuses he was “offended” on my behalf.
At the start of the fourth week, my husband called and talked to the fifth supervisor and was told we simply had not purchased enough bandwidth. The basic sites we frequented and the basic functions of videos and surfing simply required more bandwidth. Our Vonage had overloaded the system by requiring more bandwidth than they even provided.
It took us less than a minute to decide to quit CenturyLink.
That same day we received a marketing advertisement from BrightHouse. We called them up and they had a service technician out to our house within two hours.
We canceled our account with CenturyLink the very next call. That was the easiest of our 30+ calls with the company. The department that handled canceling accounts was labeled the Retention Department. The representative took one look at our list of service calls and asked when we wanted it canceled. Apparently that number of calls placed us in the un-savable category.
We never did get a discount for going with the recommended Internet provider but we also were able to avoid a cancellation fee. We consider ourselves lucky to be rid of that provider.
We have not had to call the new Internet company since we called for the setup. My husband and I are able to surf at will. We can have all three laptops pinging away while he is on a conference call on the Vonage phone we hooked back up.
Blogging without internet was impossible. Thank goodness I have a tenacious husband!