I see the fiber hanging on my pole that my phone comes off of, so I figure I can order it. My brother, 3 poles closer to town, just got his, so we know it is live. I can’t order it. It’s “not yet available in my area”. Oh, I get it. My house number is 2 poles down the road, and the fiber stops before that.
So I call a human and explain that. They have to send an engineer out to confirm, because they cannot override the computer, which insists that fiber is not on my street.
Engineer comes. Knocks on the door. Where does your phone come in? From the pole the fiber is hanging on. Oh, ok. You should be able to order tomorrow after I send in this paperwork.
Next day I try to order on line. No go. Call. Yes, we can order for you now. We have to send an engineer out to survey your site. Huh?
Next day, a different engineer is back. Where does your phone service come in. Off the pole the fiber is hanging on. Hm. We’ll have to order a trenching unit. I think we could run it down the street to where your drive comes in, and then up along the… (describes about a 400 yard route). Uh, I have a conduit buried that goes down the hill to the pole with the fiber. That’s how my phone line comes in. It’s about 50 yards. Well, we’ll have to send out our burial contractor to see if they can work with that.
Next day, 3 guys show up in a pickup with a shovel, a bucket, and a roll of twine. The fat one and the tall one stand around while the young kid runs up and down the bank. I show them the pull tape that I have left in the conduit, on the assumption that I might someday have some other service. This is great they say. (Their plan was to disconnect my phone, pull their twine back with my phone line, then pull the phone line back with another piece of twine…) They finally get their twine in the conduit. They don’t handle fiber. The VZ guys will do that.
Next day, a VZ guy shows up, with the custom VZ fiber-pulling pull tape. They attach this to the twine and pull that through the conduit. It’s marked off so they know what length of fiber to pull (they try not to cut it in the field, every truck is stocked with rolls in 25’ increments, the reason for the big box in the basement is mostly so they have a place to wind the slack). He pulls his tape through and tells me the install team will be there next week. It is, after all, now Friday.
Monday, a new VZ guy shows up. Realizes it will be much too strenuous to climb up and down my hill, and doesn’t trust me to pull one end of the tape, so he phones for backup. They start to pull, get about 3 feet, and are stuck. Much hemming and hawing. Cursing the damn trenching contractor who should have checked this out. I finally grab my shovel, go to the bottom of the hill and start digging. It’s pretty simple: the fiber has this huge connector dingus that can’t make it around the 90-degree at the base of the pole. I dig all that up, and with a little elbow grease, we get it through the elbow and up the hill it goes. (Oh, not without a lot of discussion that if they could just rip out the Comcast wire, they’re sure the fiber will fit much better. And me saying nothing doing, I gotta keep you guys honest.)
They are in the house by about 12. One guy starts installing the ONT, battery, etc. The other guy wants to know where my TV’s are, and is about to start replacing all the coax in the house “to make sure I get a good signal”, when his buddy suggests that maybe they can just try it and see how it works.
After a lot of bullshit with the network guy plugging his secure USB dongle into his craptop and logging in and out of some diagnostic program, he finally gets the thing enabled. I have no idea what IP they think they are protecting with all the hoops this guy had to jump through. It was unbelievable.
Of course they want me to plug in my PC to see if the network is working. He has a custom program he can install that I can use… Finds out I have a Mac, is crestfallen. I tell him I don’t want any wireless security. I open my laptop. It finds the basestation, connects, and I pick up my mail. Guess it works.
By 4 pm, the same installer guy is now playing “stereo salesman”, showing me the 400 buttons on my new remote and all the things I can do with it. My eyes are glazing over. I tell him all we watch is NESN, and if he can show us what channel that is, I promise never to change it. Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t have to pay for the 873 other channels that I will never watch?
5 truck-rolls, 2 engineers, a 3-person outside contractor team, and 2-person installation team — it’ll be a cold day before VZW makes back their customer acquisition on me.
Oh, one other hint. One day my POTS goes out. I call on my cell and tell them. They can’t see my ONT from their end. They have me push the reset button. Still no good. They will have to roll a truck. It will be 3 days.
On a whim, I figure I will just power-cycle it. Which is not as simple as it should be. There is no on-off. You have to pull the plug, then open the battery compartment and unplug the battery. I put it back together. It boots. My POTS is back. I wonder whether I should call them and tell them…
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