Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Ghost of Service

A few weeks ago we upgraded our DSL connection from 256 kbps to 1.5 mbps. Or at least we thought we did. Call it the placebo effect--at first I thought it was indeed faster, though I was a little disappointed, expecting it to be markedly faster. Over time, though, I'd come to the conclusion that it there really was no difference from before. Yet both my ISP and the phone company were charging me to price for the faster service.

Last night I had some time to sit on tech support lines. I called the ISP first--not because I suspect the problem was on their end. Quite the opposite, really. I have high confidence in my ISP. I don't think they've ever told me wrong. In fact I was counting on them to tell me correctly so I'd know what was going on. They ran a few quick tests and decided it was the phone company that was the problem.

So I called the phone company. Sure enough, they'd updated my billing, but had not actually adjusted my connection speed. They did so while I was on the phone. Yay! Hooray! I can watch YouTube videos without interruption!

The motto of our phone company is "The Spirit of Service". If by "spirit" they mean "something insubstantial, even mythological" then I suppose they're correct.

My ISP, on the other hand, rocks. When I called in to find out what was wrong with my connection previously (my modem kept freezing up) they not only diagnosed the problem correctly and helped me resolve it (bad modem from aforementioned phone company-who denied having a problem), they actually refused to sell me a new modem. They'd tested their latest batch from the manufacturer and found them to have unexpected problems. They advised me to call back in a few days when they hoped to have a new, good batch.

In short, they refused to sell me something that would not ultimately satisfy me. They apologized for being unable to meet my needs immediately, but I was far from upset. I was all the more determined to buy from them, because I knew I could count on whatever I did buy to work.

And then they proceeded to inform me that I could upgrade my connection speed by six times for less money than I was currently paying. They were restructuring their rates, and if I was willing to move up to the next level it would save me money (and cost me more from the phone company, but it's nearly a wash). Gee, let me think about this a moment....

I don't think I've ever had a company voluntarily offer to charge me less for more. They could have left me on my old service paying the higher prices for years before I might have noticed. They didn't.

I can't recommend Fiberpipe Internet enough. I don't have to call them very often, and when I do I can honestly say I come away "delighted" by their service.

Some other company needs to undertake a Qwest to improve their service, but I'm not naming names.

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