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March 25, 2001

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High Speed Internet Access...a year later...

March 25, 2001

Is this too good to be true, or what?  First, the Paperless One decides to take a gamble on Rogers being the first company to make a high-speed move in my 'hood, then he receives a personally addressed mailing informing him of DSL's availability at the Paperless abode.

Too good to be true, scoffed the Paperless One.  Being a non-believer, he called up Bell Sympatico (remember the column last year?)and asked if they were spamming my mailbox with lies.  Apparently not, they said.  Of course, this conflicted with the "switched lines" tale they spooned me last year, but I was hearing what I wanted to, so I told them to send me out a kit to try this DSL experience one more time.

"Are you sure that this mailing was really addressed to me?"

"Our records show that everything should be compatible"...

The DSL package showed up on March the 20th, earlier than they told me it would.  Like a kid on Xmas day, I ripped open the box and with breakneck speed (almost like I'd done it before), I had filters (aka signal condoms) on all of my phones and an Ethernet card in my computer.  Right around then, I finally had time to sit down and read the instruction manual, just in time to wonder when that orange blinking DSL light was going to register that it was in sync.  This didn't happen.  

The Paperless One attempted to play with it for a couple hours prior to phoning Technical Support.  Here's how call #1 went:

"Are you sure that I can really get DSL?  My light is still flashing..."

"Our records show that your activation in your area is to be performed tomorrow by a line technician."

Sure enough, a line technician showed up the following morning, yelling at me to hang up my dialup Internet connection so that he can work on my line.  He did his thing, then brought his testing tools into my house to see if his work was successful.  He checked the phone line at the "demarcation point", and announced that it was a "perfect line".  As for the line in my computer room, it was "crap", and would need to be re-wired or re-jacked, which he was more than willing to do...for a fee.

"No thanks, I'll do it myself."

After the line tech left, I uprooted my computer and took it downstairs to the "perfect line", to avoid the possibility that my phone wires were crap, and called up the support line again.

"Still no DSL light.  What's going on?"

"Maybe they are doing work at the 'central office'.  You'll just have to wait, because they technically have until midnight tonight to get your connection set up.  I don't think they work until midnight, but there isn't anything I can do until tomorrow."

I waited out the night, and it just so happened that I was working the night shift, and got on the phone bright and early the next morning, after the DSL still refused to sync.

"Me again.  What's going on, guys?"

" Our records show that your setup is actually not until tomorrow.  Wait a minute!  I JUST got a message from the line tech at the 'central office' - they may not be done until tomorrow morning.   Call us tomorrow if it still doesn't work."

This was about to be the fifth day of phone tag with Sympatico's technical support staff.  If they weren't all so full of shit, I would probably became close, personal friends with one or two of the familiar voices by now!

After waiting another day, I got on the phone again and called up my new friends.

"What's going on?  You've run out of days to string me along."

"I JUST activated your account.  You can connect at ANY TIME NOW."

Still no light.  This meant yet another call, which would eventually be the last.  Good thing, as I was THIS CLOSE to accusing them of perpetuating a giant April Fool's Day joke two weeks in advance.  There was no such thing as DSL - it was all a hoax!!!

Just kidding.  It worked...about a half hour after I got off the phone with the last tech support rep who claimed that my problems may be the result of my Vista 350 phone.

"So what am I supposed to do?  Chuck my new phone out in order to get DSL?"

"We're working on it.  You might want to unplug your cordless as well."

I didn't do either, but 30 minutes later, and as a result of nothing on my end, my DSL light came into sync, and booted me up into the world of broadband with no problem at all.

Onto Napster went the Paperless One, just in time for its demise.  Away went the downloads - a whole album of MP3s (not Metallica ones, of course) in a whopping 12 minutes.  The jaw dropped open, the Paperless One envisioned his new world of video-streaming opportunities, and for the first time in years, he felt pretty damned state-of-the-art.

However, I still can't help but feeling like I've been in a coma for 4 years, as my Internet access that I've been toiling around since 1994 over a phone line, has finally caught up with the rest of the world.

As for the service, I'm ranting and raving about it.  However, their Technical Support needs just a little bit of work.

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