More Internet Woes, but Less

If you’ve followed my sketchy history of home Internet, then this will amuse you.

I’m helping a friend remodel his mother’s cabin, which sits at about 8,500 feet near Dixie National Forest in Utah. It has DSL. Not a fan of DSL, as you know, but it’s 8,500 feet and it’s Internet. So whatev. And until recently, it got a solid 5 down and 1 up. Not bad for a cabin, right? And not metered, like satellite.

It died. It died a lot. 

So I called the telco. Basically prepared for war, tossing out all the acronyms – NID, DSLAM, SNR, you name it. And I do know what all those mean. So they sent a tech.

Tech shows up. Younger kid. Super-skinny, God bless him, maybe 75 pounds sopping wet. 20″ waist maybe. Now, we’re terminated about 50 yards down a 60 degree mountainside, and this poor kid keeps hoofing it up and down to try different pairs. He eventually gets it kinda-working, says he’ll be back tomorrow (his meter’s battery died, so he couldn’t test it anymore), we gave him a bag of chips (he’d skipped lunch and was looking lightheaded), and were about to send him on his way when…

He comments, “yeah, you’ve got a whole unused 6-pair in there, and it’s like new. But it seems to have been cut or something, I don’t know, I can’t get dial tone on it. And the old 4-pair drop you’ve been on might just be corroded. It’s not testing well, there were a lot of errors.”

Well, familiar with that situation from Vegas, I ask, “…and? If the drop is bad?”

He shrugged. “We replace it.”

I kind of rebooted. From my dealings with CenturyLink in Vegas, I didn’t know, “fix our own broken shit” was an option for telcos these days. So, assuming this all plays out, good on you, South Central Communications. Good on you.

Side notes:

  • Our electrical service and telco service are in the same trench. It appears that whenever the power company digs, they call the telco to come drop wires in the trench at the same time. Unprecedented cooperation. Must be because it’s so hard to get a cocktail in Utah.
  • The DSL tech also handles dial-tone. Makes sense; smaller area, less need for specialized techs. But he – and his meter – can also run tests on the copper itself. That’s unheard of for a telco, where the linemen are usually a separate freakin’ union. This kid could declare the copper bad and summon in the trenching team, without having to kick it back and forth until I call a supervisor. Ahem.

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