Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Saga of the Search for Speedy Internet: Installment One

I've already set up the background to my endless quest for better-than-dialup in my introduction to this sorry saga. And note that while I could have gone the satellite route, that was definitely an absolute last and worst case scenario. I was holding out for better.

It all began in mid April 2009. I decided that part of my problem was that I was an Unknown to Big Communications Corporation (BCC) responsible for doling out internet services. I'd been getting my dialup from an independent company and perhaps it was time I showed myself up on BCC's radar. So I decided to do just that. I drove 20 minutes to the BCC store to sign up for their damned dialup.

After waiting for my turn, I explained I wanted to sign up for their dialup service. Guy asks me if I wouldn't rather have something else. I couldn't help thinking, well Duh, but you won't let me. I express my doubts about my eligibility, but he takes my phone number and punches it in and says, "Well, um, yeah, that's right. Dialup."

No, really? Forgive my brain for dripping with sarcasm. Anyway, the guy then tells me they don't do that (sign you up for dialup) anymore at the store. He hands me a business card with a phone number scrawled on the back and says call this number.

So I drive home.

I call. And I get connected overseas. I listen really hard to the spiel about levels of dialup service and pick one. The guy is very nice and trying hard to be helpful. But then the guy asks me don't I want faster service than that?

Hell yeah, but you people keep telling me I can't have anything else!!!

Guy says, "No, you can have [redacted name of portable wireless service that may or may not start with 'W']."

So I ask if he's sure about that. He says, "Well, you get cell service right? You use a cell phone?"

Yes, we do.

He says, "Then sure you can have it, no problem." He goes through the spiel on those service and price levels and I waffle a bit, think, then say well okay then, send it on over. What the crap am I waffling for??? (Did I mention I hate making snap decisions?)

So it arrives. I am too busy to deal with it that day. The next day I pull the big ugly modem out of the box and plug it in according to the directions in the lovely setup booklet. I carefully align the modem with the logo side facing in and the back towards a window.  I plug it in to the electric outlet and I hold my breath and wait. No signal. Endless blinking of the green lights as they track back and forth looking for a signal. Book says to try another room in the house.

So I do.
All of them!!! Except the damn bathrooms.
Nothing. Big plastic piece o' poo!!!

I get on the phone to find out how to return the damn thing and get my 99 bucks back. The lady says she'll look me up to find my closest tower.

I'm like, why? But what the hell, I wait. I wait more. She puts me on hold. Some really LOUD classical music tries to calm me down or something. She comes back and says the tower is towards the northeast corner of my house.

Like I know where that is??!!

Okay, so I figure it out after a moment. I go up and try, with her on the line. I had already tried this room but I'll try the other window, which involves moving furniture to find an electrical outlet. Did I mention hubby is out? Anyway, I plug it in. We wait. I watch the lights track back and forth endlessly once again.

So then she says, "Well, you could try rural internet instead if you want."

HUNH??? Why do I get all these options all of a sudden???

But I ask, "What is that?" Apparently it's a modem they stick on the outside of your house and a cable goes inside to your computer and the technician doesn't leave until it's working or you don't have to pay for it. That's a few more coins a month, of course. Figures. But she says no problem, I can get it, cause I'm 5km from the tower and you have to be within 15km.

So I waffle, I think, and did I mention I hate being pressured for a snap decision--any decision? So I asked her to tell me about the service and she goes away to process something like the credit for my current piece o' poo and I listen to some really LOUD classical music. All of a sudden she comes back and says while she's looking into my account she realizes that my modem won't work because it hasn't been activated, and do I want her to activate it.

Did I mention I hate making decisions under pressure? So I ask her which service is better, rural or the portable thing I have that might yet possibly maybe but no guarantee work if it's activated. She says the rural is better because it's faster. But seems to me I recall choosing the slower of the two portable options I could have chosen and now I'm so damn confused I can't think straight.

Oh, and the girls are now having a fight about the chess game they are attempting to play incorrectly.

And I'm just behaving like an airhead. So she offers to call me tomorrow and see what I want. Thank god.

So I remained a techno peasant.

[Go to Installment Two]

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