Once you’ve built up a life and culture around the internet it’s about as hard to cut off as water or electricity. The internet is a tool, entertainment, and a career.
After years of looking for another house that would better suit the family needs, one has finally appeared. It hits all the tick marks. The only thing left to do was check out what kind of internet service was available.
Right out of the gate Comcast begged off. The street sits too far out of their existing network. The only other choice in Maryland after that was Verizon (Satellite and mobile just aren’t a reasonable solution given their high latency).
I started phoning Verizon Monday morning. Their customer service ‘voice activation menus’ (press 1 for this, say “no’ to that) was a wreck. I spent over two hours just trying to get through to someone. The nice lady who finally answered the phone confirmed that residential DSL was unavailable but I could get business DSL. Twice the speed at only a little more cost.
Awesome, I was in heaven.
For the hell of it during a lunch break I went to check for availability through verizon.com. No dice. The response was no service available except phone. I started getting nervous.
During the commute home on Monday their customer service menuing system was in such a wreck I couldn’t get a hold of anyone. At this point I had burned another 180 cellphone minutes – almost half my plan at this point – and only three days into the month.
Tuesday brought the same. Their customer service menuing system was still a wreck and continued to hang up on me half way through the menu selections. When I would make it through, I’d magically get teleported from their Business customer service to Residential. They’d transfer me back to Business and I’d eventually get kicked from the network. 120 cell phone minutes later I was left with two more answers. One rep said neither Residential nor Business DSL was available. A third rep said only Business DSL was available but I would have to use a static IP (WTF?!).
My bullshit quota was reached. It was time to turn up the social pressure. To Twitter I went with my complaints, along with the scores of others that were venting about Verizon’s lack of customer service and inability to actually talk to a rep on the phone. A few hashtags and pithy comments later and I had customer service responding directly to me. Amazing what you can do through the internet. What a fantastic medium and communication device.
The end result was that Verizon does not service the location.
Therein lays the real story in all of this. I now have no broadband choices. For all the bluster and hype of the right-wing spin machine and the blow-hard ISP giants, broadband access in this country is piss poor.
It’s slow, coverage is spotty, and access is expensive. And because of that I’ll have to keep looking for another residence that hits all the tick marks. It only took five years of continuous searching to find this last one…
So, remember the next time some windbag spouts off about how net neutrality is a danger, that we have a multitude of choice and the free market is handling it fine, tell them to fuck off.