Monday, April 6, 2009

AT&T Phone and DSL Extended Outage

I cannot overstate how disgusted I am with my AT&T service. I am supposed to have both telephone and DSL (Internet) service from AT&T. I pay them way more than I should (and apparently way more than they deserve) for this service, and I regularly have problems, especially with the DSL. Today I am simply fed up.

On Friday April 3 my AT&T DSL Internet service went out. Thanks to the regular monitoring I have in place for the connection I was able to see that the service stopped working at 2:33 in the afternoon. It came back briefly (for 4 minutes) but at 2:47 it stopped working again. I called the repair number and received a recording that there was an outage in my area and that I could expect it to be repaired by (and this is an actual quote) "two four p.m.". I have no idea what time "two four" is but it doesn't equate to anything sensible. Nearly 6 hours later, at 8:32 PM, service was finally restored. I figured that was the end of it. Boy was I wrong.

The next day, Saturday the 4th, it stopped again at 11:32. This time, however, the dial tone on my phone line went away too. I gave it an hour then called it in. This time I went right to the residential service repair line and talked to a person. She insisted on doing some troubleshooting by unplugging phones and such. Nothing could restore the dialtone. So she put in a trouble ticket and said "a repair technician will call you". I remained without a dialtone (and DSL service) for the remainder of Saturday and all day Sunday. During that time I took a phone out to the demarc (the grey box on the side of my house) and plugged it directly in to the AT&T line, bypassing all my house wiring and other phones. It was still dead, confirming that the problem does not lay within my house.

During this outage anyone who called our home number was immediately placed in voicemail. I was able to pick up voicemail messages by calling in to the service remotely. Good thing, too, as we received several important phone calls during the outage.

By Monday morning I was fuming and called the repair number back. This time I started with the automated system (which is really terrible) and was told that "someone has already reported a problem with that line" (yes that was me) "and a repair technician will be out to fix the problem on Thursday April 9 between 3 and 7 pm." At this point I started saying "agent", which is the automated system's code word for "connect me to someone with a brain". I had to say the word several times before the automated system understood it, and finally connected me with a warm body. She told me the same thing: that a technician was scheduled for Thursday to check my house wiring. I was very insistent that they better send someone out today. She said "I'm not sure I can do that" and I responded "it needs to be today." She finally said she would put it in as a priority ticket, that "hopefully" someone will be out today, and that someone would call me back within the next 90 minutes to let me know the schedule.

About 15 minutes later I received a call from an automated system telling me my appointment was Monday (today) between 8 am and 7 pm. It's good to know they can be so specific about their schedule! 5 minutes after that phone call I called Comcast. I've had bad experiences with "cable modem" service in the past that rival what I'm going through now. But at this point I'm willing to pay for both services just so I have some redundancy.

This journal entry was posted via a public wifi because it's the only way I can actually get Internet connectivity. I will definitely be demanding a refund for service time lost, even if it is only a few dollars.

Update: as of 3 pm Monday (exactly) service was restored. I should also mention that everyone I talked to at AT&T was helpful, apologetic, and pleasant. Unfortunately, no one has been able to make these problems go away permanently.

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