You want broadband when?
By bnitz on Jul 19, 2005
7. My telco failed to share any sense of urgency about moving my DSL line.
I had three months free broadband with a local ISP. It worked well. We browsed, uploaded photos, tried ichat av and listened to Wisconsin Public Radio. I was even able to work from home without spending a substantial fraction of my earnings on dialup connect fees. All was well. Then we took advantage of a falling rental prices and moved to a much nicer house with a much nicer landlord. It was slightly less expensive and about 1 kilometer from the village. It isn't quite in the country, but the neighbors on either side still heat their homes with turf. The fact that a neighbor, no more than 15 meters away had broadband was a good sign, but just to be sure, we ran the provider's "check your line" test on the new home's telephone line. Everything tested fine, but then it rained. Well, maybe it wasn't rain but something was making the test fail whenever the company was almost ready to connect our service. (Space shuttle fuel gauge engineers must understand problems like this.) When the line test passed we were told the connection would take at least 10 days. And the test would fail. Rain? Rainless 10 day periods in Ireland are relatively rare. I'd have to check the almanac, but I think the last one may have been prior to the construction of the Newgrange in 3200 B.C. I really didn't want to wait that long for broadband.
The Irish broadband market isn't quite a monopoly but most of the providers rely on an infrastructure which hasn't quite figured out how to be privatised. Since they all use much of the same servers, switches, ports and other bits, I suspected it was more of a paperwork problem than a technical problem. This ISP provider relied on paper forms for almost every aspect of a broadband order. I thought it was strange that everything from turf to leprechauns could be ordered through the internet but not Internet Service. But hey, what do I know?
Six months later, after annoying my cubical mates and neighbors with loud and long broadband technical support conversations, still no broadband. We decided to try a different provider. After several weeks waiting to be hooked up we asked the second company whether the "port availability" issue had been resolved for our order. The reply was, "What order? We don't have any order under your name or telephone number."
We chose a third company and were connected in less than 10 days. I'm so thankful for competition! Our broadband works well so far, but touch wood because it hasn't rained much in recent weeks. In this country, it's only a matter of time...