Mind Your Business: I Hate AT&T
Let me step back for a moment and set the stage for you. Our office phones have been POTS (poor old telephone system, which uses the old copper wires) since we started the businesses. We’ve never had any down time in over 20 years, even through multiple hurricanes. We use AT&T for our local connection since it’s the only option but we don’t use AT&T for long distance. We use an independent, Pioneer, which is a fraction of the cost.
We also had high-speed internet and cable with Brighthouse (Cablevision). Our cable system is 22 years old in this area of town, which is ancient in technology terms. They have upgraded our subdivision, but there are other parts of their system leading to us, which haven’t been upgraded. You’ve heard the term, ‘only as good as the worst part of your system’, is a great example of ‘worst.'
We have to have a reliable internet signal, as we send large amounts of files over the web in each of our businesses. Since we deal with art and video, we’re sending gigs of info multiple times a day.
But, our cable modem would go down 4-5 times a day. I’m lucky I have any hair left it was so hair-ripping-out frustrating.
The reason I tell you this is to explain the frustration that lead to the painful decision to switch over to (ugh) AT&T’s U-verse cable, modem and phone system (the only other option in our area). It uses newer technology and bundling phone, cable and internet would save us $150 per month. We checked in with our neighbors who already made the switch and they all said the modem was rock solid. With a deep sigh and a lot of trepidation, we decided to make the change.
We ordered the new system and set the time for AT&T to come out and install their service. The sales call was easy, lots of promises made… and then the technician showed up and it was downhill from there.
The first thing the technician said as he hooked up each of our TVs with DVRs was that 720P was a higher quality signal than 1080i, and AT&T only streamed 720P anyway. I knew we were in trouble right away and reported him to their main office for being an idiot, especially when I researched and found out that AT&T does indeed stream 1080i in our area.
The modem worked as promised and we haven’t had to reboot it in months. That works. That’s the only thing that worked.
The DVRs didn’t talk to each other and two of the five had to be replaced the first week and one of those replacements had to be replaced a week later. Expensive 3D movies were broadcast in 2D and other issues popped up. None of that mattered next to the major problem we faced.
The phones. I’ll just touch on the highlights of the hell we suffered in dealing with moving our phones to their U-verse system. It took six weeks to get their phone guys to come to our offices to install the VOiP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone lines into the already functioning U-verse set up. Not a big deal, as our phones still worked up to that point.
First the tech couldn’t hook up the phones because our numbers hadn’t been ‘ported’ over yet. Our basic system is with AT&T anyway. How difficult should this be? The left hand just has to tell the right what to do. The next tech didn’t have the materials to run the new lines. Then something else happened with other techs. It was all so ridiculous that I don’t remember everything that happened, but I do remember the phone lights on the main U-verse box didn’t register a signal. What I do remember is the day they ‘ported’ (evidently a term AT&T uses to mean ‘fucked’) our phone number to their digital system. That’s the day our main business phone lines stopped working. Nothing at all. Nada. Zip.