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Here is a follow up to my post of August 5th.

David Huges writes: Thought you might want to know a little of the outcome with the Qwest DSL service stuff.

It took 4 1/2 weeks to get it working. Working = marginally. Very marginally.

When I first called Qwest and talked to sales, plus going online and checking to see if my tele qualified, all the advertising, reports and words said 1.5Mps was available. The outcome is I am running at 640/256, with errors. My connection is mediocre, choppy, and I just learned today that the techs have told the MOC (Dsl tech support for Qwest) that my number was qualified for 256K/256K. Of course, that is called bait and switch. Why wasn’t I told that from the start?

It took 6 tech visits before all the problems which turned out to be outside the house, before I was able to get a connection that stayed up. They replaced everything, all the way down to downtown, stating there was a bad DSL port, downtown. Which is where I connect. Not to the “RT” which is a local router at 111 South 25th Street. I can understand the technology as to why I cannot connect to 25th street. It is how the circuits run. That I understand. But it took 4 1/2 weeks and a LOT of people, and more calls than I can state, to sleuth out that answer. It has ended up that I had to make 3 calls, get three scheduled visits to come to the house, to actually get one real visit. I would be scheduled for a tech visit, would be given a 4 hour window of time, and would sit here and wait, and wait, only at the end of the window call to find out the ticket was never issued to the local techs. This happen 2 out of three times, and this happened 3 times total. Meaning out of 9 scheduled or promised visits (directly by a tech) to the home, I got three actual calls. That meant for 6 four hour blocks I stayed here with no result.

I was given three separate “manager’s” direct lines to call if I did not get proper service. When I didn’t, I called them. I never received a return call, tho this is what I was told to do to get some action. Not one. Gee, what a surprise.

When first entered into this agreement, I was as clear as I could be about the billing expectations. Because of my bundled package, my bill was to go up $17, plus a $5 rental fee for the modem. I chose to rent before purchasing because I wanted to make sure in this old neighborhood, that it would actually work. I got the bill. It is $50 *above* what I was told this would cost for 3 months. It has no reflection on what I was told. That on top of the 1.5Mps that I was told at the beginning, am now told today, that my line is qualified for 256K. Up and down.

On top of all that… as I run the line, it is only marginally better than the wireless connection for downloads, and it is poorer for upload speeds. I am crawling to upload photos to a server at this moment. It is not even close to 256K up. I will run some DSL Reports to get a true speed test which I know will under report the true connection, but this whole thing, from bait and switch to the keystone cops of tech support to now a billing screw up, this whole thing is been worse than dismal. It has cost me inordinate amounts of time to get things just to this level. My time is valuable. I do not want to upset myself to actually calculate how much time I have spent stationary, waiting for service, waiting for promised return calls, waiting on the phone to followup when things did not happen, and waiting just to get running service at any speed… this latter would be 4 1/2 weeks of waiting.

What did work was gaining some advocacy from a couple of DSL techs, one local and one in Utah, who went the extra. But that they had to do this in the first place is less than mediocre. They did it because of who they are, not because Qwest gave them the tools to be successful. These are people I would hire because they are smart, capable, and work outside the system to get things done. Because inside they system, they are not given the tools to be successful. In all of the projects and teams I have led, I NEVER would let things like this occur beyond a first time.

There are many nuances in this whole thing not reported here. Many. Most poor to disgraceful. But after all this, I am on the cusp of throwing this crap back at them and going with wireless satellite or some other service. The 1/2 million mile latency issues going to a satellite I will experience would probably work better than what I am seeing on this circuit now. And it is not just me. I have been on some DSL connections that are closer to the Central Office as they call it, one that couldn’t be more than 2000 feet, where their routers are, that present in similar fashion. Meaning marginal service. Like a gas engine, you can feel when a circuit is not firing on all cylinders. That it took 4 1/2 weeks to just get this far is I would suggest, Qwest service at its most mediocre.

Cook’s Edge: Ah but David you see this is the new economic age of protect the share holder and the executives stock options and Damn the rest of us. If I remember Notebart’s quarterly presentation to Qwest Shareholders that I placed here in another post recently - all’s well - ARPU is up - the stock is up - why it ’s doubled in price folks in the last few years. And those bundled deals are being lapped up by docile customers who suipposedly like what they are offered.

Those of us with home based business be damned - we are the cannon fodder for the shareholders and the company that once provided a public service, and 20 years ago cared about its customers, but is there now as a money making machine for over paid excutives and stockholders. I wonder if there are any politicians in Colorado who are willing to look at their PUC? Does it care? Or is it too toothless?

Your situation is a shinning example of why Colorado Springs, which runs its own city utilitity, needs to get its act together and build its own open access network. Is there anyone in that town of 400,000 people with sufficient clue? Use the local net to organize.

Have a street parade in Old Colorado City. Have a mock trial of Notebart. Hang him in effigy. Put up a forum and collect Qwest horror stories. Ask why anyone should set up business in El Paso County in the midst of such incompetance? Have people come to the old court house in the little park. Take the 25 best horror stories and ask the folk who suffered through them to dress in 19th century costume and recite them in front of a certain man i have known for 25 years who sometimes bears the handle of the “cursor cowboy.” Have them recite the stories in front of the judge. And have a jury of citizens who will listen and write a charter of rebellion demanding that the City of Colorado Springs declare its independence of Qwest. Throw the bums out. The Springs shall over comne and rise again. Street theater in the stlye of the old west. Invite the press and the bloggers. Start a movement… ask the blogosphere to find a way of carrying what you guys start into other towns throughout Qwest territory and guerrila like help spread the rebellion to ATT, SBC, and Verizon land.

Old Colorado City led a rebellion that emabarrassed the hell out of Denver and the local politicians if I remember correctly in 1976. Do it again. The stakes are much higher now.

Please post this locally and see if the idea gains traction.

Are the locals now juat docile sheep? Or are they going to demand that the local paper and media refuse to accept false advertising from Qwest? (If I heard you correctly in a phone call just now you found out today that the local phones are not provisioned for anything better than 256 kbs when qwest was avertising 1.5 meg.)

Time for Revolutionary Committes of Correspondence!

2 Responses to “Qwest Incompetence: Time for Some Street Theater?”

  1. on 17 Aug 2006 at 1:49 pm Gordon Cook

    COOK Edge:

    David Hughes sent me these additional remarks.

    “It took less than 5 minutes on delivery of the modem (which arrived 5 business days later than the ETA I was given when ordering the service) before the wheels started to come off the experience. The welcome or cover letter referenced a username and password access, but nowhere in any of the scant documentation was there any authentication information. I’m a smart guy, and still knew that 20 minutes into opening the box and gearing towards the setup that I would need to call tech support. My first question was “Where is this authentication information I need to provision this modem?” Answer I received was my first clue that this was going to be a bumpy ride. Something along the lines of “oh, yes, some of those don’t come with that information.” “Oh really? So my only recourse is to call you guys to get this thing set up?” Silence. The intro letter led me straight into a black hole that had me on the tele with support a few minutes into what I would anticipate to be a self installation routine. It wasn’t until several days later I learned that the supplied CD apparently had the authentication information on it. No where did it say that in letter which led me instead towards thinking I needed this username and password that was supposedly supplied in text somewhere. The short of it was, while I have built some major networks and data centers, I came to a grinding halt due to some crummy information out of the gate. Thus began a 4 1/2 week misadventure with Qwest.”

  2. on 17 Aug 2006 at 6:35 pm David Hughes

    ‘Tis all true. And this is not the 1/2 of it. I give high marks for a couple of Qwest people who really dug down and tried to work the problem(s) from their end. But it was obvious that they were swimming uphill against policies and practices that prevented them from being effective. We shouldn’t have to find heroes amongst what I would deem plain ‘ol regular service, but that is what it surfaced.

    The show is not over. Am about to get tangled up with Qwest billing, to discover why my bill has no relationship to what I was told when I first acquired this service.

    And lest anyone think… no, I do not enjoy this. Am not pronoe to histronics. I only choose to rail at windmills when they are either too obvious, or highly entertaining to me. During this whole process, instead of flying off the handle at the first problem, I’ve been even tempered, follow the next logical step of which there have been way too many, and into the process it has become standard to when talking to the next person in line… you can hear them gasp or faint when they look at the trouble tickets in their system. Letting the next person in line to talk to read the history is enough to get their attention and usually, sympathy.

    Will report the next round with billing. I want to reverse bill Qwest for all this time time I have spent unraveling THEIR policy and procedures problems.


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