Thursday, June 4, 2015
A Frontier Too Far
Knowing I was going to be out of Florida for a while, Frontier was contacted to insure internet access in Northlandia. Scanning their ads online my minions noticed that it could be had for as cheap as $19.99 or two other plans for $39.99 and upwards to $49.99. A call to them and we got a humorless fellow named Jerry who categorically said no such plan was possible for my location and that the cheapest option was for $60.00, without tax. Thanks, no deal and hang up. Call back after 10 minutes and we got Meg, who said, we could, in fact, get hooked up for $34.00. OK, great. Social Security numbers exchanged, deal consummated, and Meg said a hook-up packet would arrive on May 13th. When I arrived just follow the instructions and you would, in fact, be hooked tot he world.
Arrival and no such packet was here. Somewhere along the way, the order had been cancelled. Okay, let's do it again. Social Security numbers exchanged, deal consummated and watch for a Frontier technician to arrive on specific date some 6 days away. That's OK because I can always go to McDonald's for a few days to adjust my fantasy teams and check my email. Inconvenient but doable.
The 6th day arrives and they gave me a window of between 8 am and noon for the tech to arrive. Nothing at 9. No big deal, they are surely busy people. No one by 10, they need a mid-morning break, I'm sure. As you have surmised no one by noon either and a call to Frontier and am told that the order was cancelled. Apparently there is just so much bandwidth available for the this Burg and that I was the newest person here and there wasn't enough of whatever to take care of me, but I could go on a waiting list and if someone left town, I could be hooked up. No thanks.
I had chosen Frontier because they required no contract, while it seemed everyone else needed a 2-year commitment. Since I didn't know how long this experiment would last I was unwilling to go that long if I didn't have to. The other option was Mediacom. A call to their disinterested phone person and I found out that I could get the medium package, less taxes and other costs, and with no contract. Rent their modem and/or router and additional charges will be incurred. Man, what's this going to end up costing? Each year they jack up prices and if you go over a certain amount they tack on additional charges but since it seemed better than thrice-daily visits to McDonalds, it seemed like a worthwhile expense.
Six days later (yesterday), the Mediacom truck shows up and out comes a kid who looked like he was 15. A half hour later he leaves with a nice fat check for installation charges. Since I had gone out to buy an expensive router, to save me on those monthly charges, he said he couldn't install that, but that it couldn't be too tough, right? Yes it could.
Cable here, a line over there, and voile! Nothing. My desktop couldn't seem to find a connection. And my iPad couldn't either. A call to Mrs. Wombie to find out if there were any techies in town and she referred me to the present Water Superintendent. A call and he agreed to stop by after work.
After work Mr. M stopped by and looked the situation over. Moved a couple lines around and voile!, nothing. He recommended a call to Mediacom. I said thanks and appreciated his stopping by.
Back to the computer and I looked at the mess, wondering why I had thought Bedlam was so bad. I moved a line and checked the iPad and guess what? Yeah, it was hooked up. The desktop is still inoperative, but I am getting juice from somewhere. So here I am at the kitchen table probably using waaaaay too much juice and writing this post. But I don't care, because I have checked my fantasy teams, done my banking, checked my mail and know there have been events making news in the world.
There really is no coherent way to describe dealing with companies in America. Soviet-style bureaucracy comes to mind. Eroding customer service, too. Monopolies as well. I could go on and make a case about why certain aspects of this country are falling prey to mediocrity, that we have lost some of our greatness, but I am afraid of losing too much bandwidth, or megacycles or whatever, so I will leave it to you to ponder.
Last time I was at McDonalds, before I had said anything the congenial lady behind the counter who apparently takes care of her regulars said, "Medium coffee, two creams?" I said yes. I was officially a regular. But not anymore. I'm connected.