Last Friday at 11:00am our Verizon DSL connection suddenly VANISHED. The first think I did was run down to the security desk and then to the bldg maintenance to ask if any phone technicians had been in the building. They all said “Oh yeah, they just left 20 minutes ago!” I waited until Saturday morning to call Verizon support because I knew it would take AN ENTIRE HOUR, and I have to use my T-Mobile Blackberry, and nights and weekends are free unlimited. SO, I had to spend 20 minutes navigating all their voice menus and answering their computer voice questions to prove I was not some dummy who did not know how to re-seat cables or reboot the computer or power the router off and back on. After that I was on hold for 20 minutes listening to recorded messages about how I can access tech support ON LINE (oh great, except I have no internet connection!) Then I spent 20 minutes talking with a very nice and knowledgeable representative who had a charming distinguished accent very similar to Daljit Dhaliwal. I said a few words to her in Hindi and Punjabi, and she laughed and admitted she is in South India, but for security reasons she could not be specific as to Kerola, Mangalore, Kanada, Tamil Nadu, etc. (which I completely understand). She could tell me that her name is Divya. I really do love everything about India as those who know me well understand. She did tests on her end and determined that I did need a repair tech and that the problem would be ESCALATED, which I appreciate. She advised me to LEAVE THE ROUTER ON, because in theory they can repair it remotely.
Today, the repair man went with me to the basement control panel of our 27 story building, which is an entire room with an entire wall covered with circuits. He had a device that look like a magic wand and hummed and beeped, and he swiped it over the entire wall testing for connections or lack thereof. Then in our apartment he checked the phone jack. Then he asked WHERE the phone closet it. I did not even know there is such a thing, but my wife knew it from a previous repair incident. So we had to empty half the closet of clothes so he could get at it. He seemed puzzled and frustrated. He left our apartment and said he might be visiting several buildings. Then he came back and got our BEAUTIFUL DSL light to turn solid on the router (when it is blinking it means there is no DSL signal).
I carefuly questioned him and he admitted that whoever was in those circuit rooms Friday and left everything a mess and had interrupted our connection. I had to kind of worm the information out of him. He in no way tried to sell us on FIOS, but I was cordial but aggressive in my questions. I said, “As you can see we are an elderly couple with not a lot of money and we depend upon Internet. I do not mind if I go through this once a year with DSL, but if this happens every other month then my life will become shear hell. So please explain to me if I am well advised to switch to FIOS”
Only then did he confide to me the information that I really needed to know. IF I stick with DSL, it runs on copper, and it is at the mercy of each and every clown brained technician that monkeys around the building with wiring.” FIOS on the other hand is Fiber Optic cable and the cables are separate from all the other wiring. He explained what the FIOS installation would be like. Our whole building is switching to FIOS. The rep in India mentioned to me that we QUALIFY for an upgrade. At that point, I was suspicious that the DSL stopped working as kind of a trick to FORCE us to switch to FIOS, but now I know this is not the case. The DSL is vulnerable to things in the streets, especially to moisture. In NYC one often sees huge Nitrogen tanks on the sidewalk with hoses running into the pavement, and ice on top of the nitrogen tank. These are used to DRY out moisture from the DSL lines. Fiber Optic is not affected by such problems. He did warn us that if electricity went out, there would be a backup battery that would last for an hour or so but then we would be down. I explained that I can live with a few hours down here and there, but I cannot live with monkey brained techs crossing wires in the basement and stay home entire days to let the technician in. I was under the impression that one MUST take a package of phone cable tv and FIOS internet. THat is not the case. We have never paid for cable. We get a few local stations for free and that is all we need. We got RID of our land line 2 years ago and get by with my t-mobile blackberry and my wifes least expensive Verizon cell plan. To make things more complex, our building did away witht he old door buzzers 2 years ago, and replaced it with something that comes through the land line phone. That signal would disrupt the DSL line. So we live without a door bell for 2 years now.