5 weeks. That’s how long it took for Bell to fix our internet.

Posted: June 16, 2010 in hardware, technology
Tags: , , , ,

What could you do in 5 weeks? I’ve watched some birds build a nest and have the babies hatch. Seen an entire building get torn down and recycled.  Started and completed approximately 10 design projects.  The list goes on and on.

My internet service provider on the other hand, well, they took their sweet time getting to the bottom of the issue causing the slow down of, or complete non-existence of, my internet connection. Without getting into a long drawn-out rehashing, lets just say the issue took way too much effort on my part dealing with poorly trained support techs that can do nothing but follow their “if>then” spreadsheets and not actually formulate a response without putting you on hold and “checking with their supervisor”.

Too many telephone calls and time gone by (about 2 weeks) and the issue was fixed, partially.  I say partially because the main problem got fixed – the lack of internet – but the newer issue, the slow speed took longer. Eventually my home internet was working fast again (another 3 weeks), but the office internet stopped working completely.  Bringing my modem from home gave us full speed connection again, so we knew it wasn’t an equipment problem on our end. After a few more phone calls, it was suggested the modem was the problem, so we got a new modem couriered to the office, which when it finally arrived (so much for the 9am day-starter we were promised) went through the set up and registration and was informed it was completed (as shown in adjacent screen capture), but in fact still didn’t work. So again, hook up the modem from home, call Bell and complain again, hours go by with me talking to everyone under the sun in various levels and again I am told, there is no problem on their end. Even after I suggest over and over it has to be a problem with the account or setup of the modem at their end.  I’m told to leave the modem connected and they will continue to look into it.  Gee thanks. So again, we wait, but this time using my home modem and leaving the new replacement modem plugged in “for testing”. It remained so overnight.

The phone call from Bell’s internet management department the next morning was a bit surprising. They actually called to let me know what the problem was (it had already been fixed by this time). And guess what, it wasn’t our end either (see my earlier related post). It is a problem with the way the service is being added onto the backbone at their end. The automated process is not quite fully automated as it makes you believe.  A tech has to finish the process. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so mad if they had actually looked into it when I told them the exact same thing the day before, but no, as has been the norm for them of late they are “certain its something at my end, but will look into it.  Just leave the modem connected so we can identify the problem.”

Argh.  It’s fixed as well as it’s gonna get, which bring me to the second part of my rant.

The government’s proclamation of highspeed for all (refer to http://pm.gc.ca/eng/media.asp?id=2702 and http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/719.nsf/eng/home for more info on this) , surely couldn’t have meant this crappy service.  There are a number of projects being reviewed and approved for funding, but all in northern areas or other provinces, so no help coming for those of us barely on the outskirts.

The trouble is, the TELCOs don’t want to spend THEIR money on fixing the infrastructure.  The infrastructure that forms the backbone of our Internet is the land-lines linking us all together and some of it is in terrible shape.  It’s all well and good for the government to say they are going to expand the coverage to ensure all areas have highspeed internet, but we also need to fix and upgrade what we already have. Aging copper phone lines, or worse yet, new copper lines being installed instead of fibre optic cables as is the case near my office, is limiting the capacity of the signal strength and restricting the services available to certain areas.  How is it that Canada is so behind in the grand scheme of providing highspeed internet?  Most of the major cities will offer up to maximum 10mb/s max download speeds thru cable or approx. 8 mb/s thru phone lines or 3 mb/s through wireless modems which is a far cry from the 20 mb/s or 50 mb/s being offered in other countries. Heck some places are getting 1 GB/s thanks to Google and other companies stepping up to test new technologies.

We are ranked #34 for download speed and #49 for upload speed according to the test results on the day I checked (http://www.speedtest.net/global.php#0) This is unacceptable.

How can we be considered to be serious about technology and its advancement when we are so far down the list? Not to single any one country out, but a tiny little country like Andorra with a population of approximately 84,000 people has us beat 3 fold!?!?.  Sheesh.  And don’t go trying to tell me it’s because of their location, close to other larger countries in Europe, because, hello, have you looked a little further south on a map lately – that great big chunk of land next to us is the USA.

We’ve got the government money allocated so lets use it wisely and do this right, not a bunch of band-aid solutions like the crappy one I am currently stuck with.  We need people and companies with a real interest in providing services that will still be adequate in the future not just a quick solution so politicians, Telcos and the CRTC can pat themselves on the back.


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