Monday, January 25, 2010

Installment Four: Saga of the Search for Speedy Internet

 If you haven't already, go read Introduction, One, Two, and Three first. Really. It'll make your whole experience reading this so much better. Honest.

So systems at BCC (Big Communications Corporation) went down earlier in the day and my request couldn't be processed. I had to call back later. It's now later...

It's evening. Hubby has the hockey game on and I'm thinking, yawn, might as well make use of the time, so I call BCC. I go through the spiel, which I'm getting mighty damn good at by now, give my identifying info, and the guy asks am I sure I don't want the portable and I try not to yell:

IT WON'T WORK!!! Trust me!!!

So okay then, he explains the rural setup. I say, "Great--sign me up!" He takes my info, and mentions he can hear the hockey game in the background.

I tell him the score.

He says, "Oh, I want Pittsburg to win."

So does my hubby. It's a tie so I offer to keep him updated. He says he has to put me on hold to process my order.

I know the drill. LOUD classical music in one ear. LOUD NHL in the other. I hold my breath thinking that sure, there'll be some other server malfunction or something with all my luck.

Finally he comes back and says it's all set. He's explaining the next steps when whoever Pittsburg is playing scores to win with like 30 seconds left. Hubby curses LOUDLY. I tell the guy on the phone that on the slim chance he didn't catch that swearing in the background, Pittsburg just lost. He's bummed. Finishes the order and says have a nice day. I wish him the same.

 But I get a call the next day for my technician appointment, just like I was promised. Set one up. Okay, all's proceeding well.

Technician arrival day arrives. I get home after dropping kids off at school (daughter 2 had biking in gym class and needed her bike at school). I say good morning to technician guy who pretty much immediately says, "You're not going to like me much."

Crap. Not a good start.

He says he's not finding any signal. No signal at all. Nada. Squat. Zilch.

Hmmm, I think, maybe that would explain why the other damn modem wouldn't work? But I digress.

"So," he says, "have you ever thought about the mobile stick?"

I say I had but have never tried one. He says he has one on the computer in his truck and why don't we fire it up and test out the signal. Right-ee-o then. Let's do it.

So he turns on his machine and waits. And waits. "This isn't a good sign," he says. Some window comes up, he connects to the internet, and we wait. The page is loading...and loading.

Damn, this looks like dialup!

"Unfortunately," he says, "this isn't really worth it for you. It's fairly expensive and you're not getting much improvement. And it probably wouldn't even be as good inside."

I can't argue with that now, can I? Can I just cry instead?

But I'm reluctant to leave it on the total downer that obviously I am only good enough for dialup, or doomed to drop a serious chunk of change on a satellite system. So I ask him why then can the guy up the road have DSL and not me?

He says, "Well, this is hard to explain" but then goes into a really vivid and clear explanation of what a loaded line is and what a loader does so that even a techno pleeb like me gets it.

"But what if I happen to know, or have a pretty good idea, that I'm NOT on a loaded line even though BCC thinks I am?" I ask. I then explain that a couple years ago a dad of a friend of my daughter's checked out my phone and said it was not on a loaded line but that we were listed in the database as being on one. I did call customer service at that time and asked them to send someone out to check that officially, that I'd PAY them for the trip, but of course nothing ever happened. I just had no idea what to do from there.

"Well, let's test that out," he says. And he pulls out a meter and sticks it into my phone junction box and fiddles with it and finally reads the readout. "Humph, you're right," he says. "It's not loaded."

Woohoo! ... Now what?

He's thinking. He literally scratches his head. "This is going to require a lot of jumping through hoops," he says.

Why am I not surprised? But I'll do it! Anything! I practically plead.

He can't install that system, it has to be done by someone else and it all has to be approved and all, he says. He will phone his sales person and see what we come up as on The System. It'll take a few minutes.

So I go inside. Unload the dishwasher. He rings the doorbell.

He's found that we are listed as being on a loaded line on an unknown cable from their sales office. "Are you far from Smalltown?" he asks. "Is it like more than 8 km or anything?"

Uh, no. I am under 3km. Besides, I'm no farther away from it than the dudes up the road who DO have highspeed. All right, so I'm too wimpy to have actually verbalized that last sentence.

He says he'll put a call in to his supervisor about what to do now. He'll be back in a minute.

So I return to my stuff. He comes back. Wow.

What we have to do now is gather all the info, find out what cable I'm on, and if there are any neighbours who have DSL that would help, he tells me. Then that info will have to go "up the food chain," he says, "because they can't just give you DSL because Max says you can have it." He's Max, btw. He says the whole thing could take up to a month and is that okay? It's not going to be overnight.

"Max," I think, "I've been on dialup for 7 YEARS and if this doesn't work out, doing time on dialup is apparently all I've got to look forward to anyway, so SURE!" And actually, I do have my neighbours' with DSL phone numbers because I've looked into that before. I give him a few names plus numbers. He says that's a good start and he'll look into it.

Um, sorry for being skeptical, but I've been left hanging with the "I'll get back to you" line on this issue from all sorts of sources MORE TIMES THAN I CARE TO COUNT! I smile my hopefully most winningest smile and say, "Um, is it possible to get someone's number I could call if I haven't heard anything in a month?"

He thinks and then says okay. He gives me a number. Says please don't pass that on and give them time to look into it.

I swear I will. And I WILL!!! Wild dogs couldn't drag it outta me!!!

So he leaves. I have no better service. But I have Hope!

Then that afternoon I get a phone call. It's Max. He says he's found I'm on cable 400whateverpointwhatever and it is indeed the same one on which my neighbours have DSL.

Did he just say THE SAME ONE on which my NEIGHBOURS HAVE DSL!?!?! Holy! But I get ahold of myself. It means nada, squat, zilch for now.

He says all this information has been passed “up the food chain” and we'll wait to see what happens now.

Oh. My. God.

So I waited.

Would I ever be deemed worthy of attaining the tantalizing and heady online speeds that dangled just out of my reach? What was the judgment from the internet granting powers that be? That's best told in another installment.

And so I remained
ever still
a techno peasant.

[Go to Installment Five]

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