Bitt (wfaulk) wrote,

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BellSouth sucks

Yesterday my DSL service went out. As is usually the case, my wife called me at work to complain about it, as she's turned into an Internet junkie over the last few years. She noted that there were mysterious BellSouth workers outside doing whatever mysterious things they do. All the while, they tell my wife that nothing they're doing can affect my service. Uh-huh. I called my ISP and asked them to look into it. They did as much as they could, but apparently the have little access to Worldcom's DSLAMs (or whatever they are), so couldn't help me out a lot initially. They forwarded it along to the next level techs who were supposed to call when I got home. An hour or so after BellSouth left, the DSL service came back up. (I figure it probably took that long for the “modem” to sync back up without being power-cycled.)

As I left for work this morning, I noticed that there was another BellSouth truck, this time at the neighbors'. I said to myself, “Uh-oh”, but what could I do? So I went on to work, where I found my DSL line went down a few hours later. I called BellSouth again. (I'd called them the day before, as well, to no avail.) They were not much help. In fact, they were unable to tell what those techs were doing, or even that they were or had been there at all. I called my ISP to see if they could lean on BellSouth. Then my wife called. This time, it turns out that the POTS line is down. And the techs continue to claim that it's not their fault. In fact, when she explains that they've obviously done something, they note that they're not “repair”. Nice. So I call back BellSouth to complain about all that.

When I get home, I find the POTS completely dead. There's no power on the line at all, based on the fact that toggling the hook produces no click at all on the line. So it's beyond just “no dial tone”. I wander over to the neighbors' back yard to see if there's anything obvious wrong. I found this clusterfuck. I call back BellSouth, by this point quite irate, complaining not only about having no phone service (I'm using company cell phone time now), but about the immense rat's nest they've left. Despite my protestations, the woman assures me that they can get there no sooner than tomorrow.

So I go back inside, weak from hunger and anger, and take a shower. (Being outside for more than five minutes in North Carolina in July necessitates a shower.) After having some tasty soup for dinner (the easiest thing I can think to fix), I get the bright idea that I should check as much stuff as possible, so I go out and check the demarc. It's one of the newer kind that has a customer accessible section and a telco-only section protected by a security screw. The customer section has a test jack. The idea is that the house's phone line is connected via the jack, so you can disconnect the plug in the jack, which disables all the lines in the house and plug in a phone in its stead for testing. So I did this just to make sure, and it worked. Hmmm. But the lines in the house weren't working at all. And there had been nothing done to them. (Fortunately, during this time, a thunderstorm decided to roll in and I got wetter than when I took my shower.) I also decided to check to see if I got any mail. There was a note scribbled on the back of a business card in fourth-grade print that the phone problems had been taken care of. It had obviously been there for a while, but I hadn't noticed it before.

Hours after I discovered the card and the fact that the line worked at the demarc, it dawned on me that I'd checked the wrong demarc. I'd checked the one that had been installed for an ISDN circuit and abandoned at least five years before. The repair technician had decided to rewire the circuit to the wrong place. Hurriedly, I found that old surface-mount jack that had been installed for it, which was conveniently on the floorboards underneath the outlet plate where the ADSL was plugged in and moved the plug over. Bingo! All's good.

Of course, now I've only got one live jack. And they're going to come back “tomorrow” and fix it. I'm not sure what's going to happen. They seldom ask what's wrong, so they may figure a way to break it even further. Hopefully they'll do the absurd and ask me. I have no idea where the demarc is for the original wiring. It's old enough that there might not be an official one. But I guess I'll find out tomorrow, possibly by fire.
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