When She tried to watch a little television at the end of a long, stupid day at the office yesterday, DirecTV wasn't delivering. It may have been the service's fault. It may be an equipment failure at our end. We had strong satellite signal but no programming. Whatever else it was, it was the last straw. I was making no calls to DirecTV's crap customer support. After many futile attempts to diagnose and fix the problem myself, I called DirecTV and officially terminated our service. Then I went online and ordered installation of AT&T's U-verse television service with high-speed Internet access. It was supposed to be installed January 22. We'd been with DirecTV for a long time and, by and large, liked their service. It cost less than cable with more programming per dollar, was reliable, and had top-notch customer service. Over time we watched it slide downward by every measure until now we part company. Bye-bye DirecTV!
So next I called EarthLink and ordered our DSL service terminated and EarthLink service rolled back to dial-up so we'd have at least some connectivity between DSL disconnection and AT&T installation. I hated to do it –EarthLink has been great all this time– but the broadband bundled with U-verse will cost a fraction of EarthLink's and the savings will add up. The customer service person was easy to talk to, politely tried to keep me as a customer, and quickly complied with my requests. The EarthLink high-speed service cut took effect at midnight, last night: no high-speed access though the DSL modem was showing it had a signal (a "soft" disconnect). Gad! I'd forgotten how agonizing dial-up can be and it has gotten worse since most Web sites now assume you have broadband. Arrrrrgggggg!
In the mean time, AT&T is showing some flukes early on. Whilst online placing my order, the automated system told me it saw that we had DSL service and said it must be disconnected in order to have the U-verse service installed. I called AT&T and spoke with a live customer service person who said, no, that's not correct — the DSL can stay in place and even be operated at the same time as U-verse services. I received an email confirmation of my order this morning and thought everything was fine… we only had to suffer through one week of Internet and TV withdrawal. Of course tonight we receive a call (on voice mail) from AT&T saying our installation has been canceled because there is currently DSL* on our telephone line! The live customer service person's advice was incorrect. Thanks a lot AT&T. Time for a little more training of your customer service staff, don't you think?
Calling AT&T Technical Support got me connected with "Billing," of all departments, and the man there worked through our situation with me. Unfortunately we are at the mercy of the disconnect process and it will be seven to 10 days before we can place a new order. Ugh! At least I was given a direct-in phone number to call once we are sure of disconnection… maybe cutting some time off the process and definitely bypassing the phone answering system!
Late in the evening I noticed the DSL signal light was dark on the DSL modem. That tells me there is now a "hard disconnect" of our service. Now… how long will it take for word of that disconnection to reach AT&T?
* Covad is likely the company that owns the connection in the AT&T central office that needs to be cut at EarthLink's request. So we have no service, but the physical connection is still in place preventing the new service installation.