Good Old Qwest

Some time ago, I wrote about the nightly problems we’ve been having with our DSL service at home, which is, sadly, powered by Qwest. Every evening, speeds drop to… slower than dial-up, usually… and latency becomes a huge issue… and then things return to normal around 11pm or midnight, if we’re lucky.

Because we’re not end-user customers of Qwest – we use a local ISP, instead – getting this fixed has been an absolute nightmare, thanks to Qwest. How much of a nightmare? Let’s see…

Last week, I again contacted our ISP, and explained the problems we’re having. They’d talked to Qwest, who denied there were any problems with our line, and said our ISP would have to contact Qwest while we were experiencing problems in order to troubleshoot the issue. That’s great, except that it doesn’t reliably start slowing down until six or seven in the evening, and support is 9-5, Monday through Saturday.

Monday was a holiday here in the States, and what do you know, we started having internet problems around 3pm. So I called our ISP, and they made me jump through the usual hoops – have you rebooted your modem, blah blah blah. Eventually they decided that it was time to contact Qwest… again.

So we had a conference call, with a Qwest representative, a tech-support person from the ISP, and myself. Qwest performs some diagnostics, and says that the noise level on our line is bad – worse than the minimum normally required for DSL service, in fact. So they schedule a service call for this morning.

Eventually, this morning, a technician from Qwest arrives, and begins performing tests. Noise? What noise? We have the lowest noise he’s seen in a week – 20db, or something like that. The wiring seems to be fine.

What’s the problem we’re experiencing, exactly?

Oh. Appalling transfer speeds, but only during peak hours? That’s not a line issue.

So he makes some calls. Line’s fine. Trunk’s fine. Router’s fine. Switch is fine. Distribution thingy is fine. Various other things are all fine. Oh, hang on…

Yeah, the DSLAM we were on is oversold. Like, dramatically. Yay, we found your problem.

Some conversations ensue, and we’re given a choice: Qwest can switch our 1.5Mbps ADSL service to another DSLAM that’s running at 70% capacity right now, but we’ll probably have the same congestion issues again in a couple months, as that line gets (over-)filled. Or, we can switch over to the sexy new VDSL technology, only available in a few select cities, which will offer 40Mbps speeds.

What would we like to do?

Oh, um, if we go with the VDSL, we have to drop our local ISP, buy a new modem, and the price will go from 35 to 109 USD/month, with a two-year contract.

We’ll stick with ADSL, thanks ever so much, even if it means having to suffer through this nightmare in a couple months’ time.

Gotta love Qwest, don’t you?

As we were waiting for the line to get switched over, I asked the technician, surely if you can see that a DSLAM is oversold and experiencing congestion when you look, remotely, can’t you, I don’t know, monitor proactively for this kind of thing? Sure, he said, but they’ll only do something about it when a customer complains.

So much for that whole “spirit of service” their commercials always talk about, eh?

Published in: General | on February 17th, 2010| No Comments »

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