QWest DSL Sucks Even More

For the last 2 months, I’ve been trying to figure out why my QWest 640/512 DSL line has been performing at about 500/130. This has severely impeded my ability to serve BlogTV streaming video, aside from the general annoyance of having about 25% of my former upload speed.

The problems started when my old ISP went out of business and I suddenly had to switch to QWest.net. I told QWest to preserve my existing 640/512 account, and they said they would. But I immediately noticed a decrease in performance, and “opened a ticket” with tech support, which means they are supposed to investigate and call me back with results. They never did get back to me. I waited since December 10th, I’ve repeatedly tried to call their tech support line, but I’ve never been able to get through, I usually give up after 45 minutes.

I spent 4 hours on the phone with QWest today. I started, as usual, by spending 45 minutes on hold waiting for tech support to answer. I gave up and called the sales office, they told me my account was 640/256, which was not what I ordered. Then he made some weasely remarks about the 640/256 really being a 640/512-256 account, and that if I wasn’t getting 512 I should be talking to tech support (like I hadn’t already tried that). I told him I couldn’t get through, so he started a conference call, we both waited on hold for about 20 minutes and finally got through. But I warned Mr. Salesguy that the tech guys were going to blame sales, just like the sales guys pointed the finger at the techs. I call this a “mutual finger-pointing exercise,” everyone points the finger at everyone else. And that’s exactly what happened.

The tech guy immediately said that he’d been working tech at QWest for 6 years and they had never offered 640/512k accounts. I told him they surely did, because I had one. He got really huffy and told me they don’t offer them any more. I asked him, which was it, they don’t offer them NOW, or they NEVER did? I insisted that they DID sell 640/512, I had it up until 60 days ago and I’d like my account restored to its previous speed. He started yelling at me about what would happen if I went into a car dealership and wanted to buy a Studebaker? WTF? I was thinking of telling him about a friend of mine, he collects Studebakers, and how there is limited production of new Studebaker Avantis, but I decided against it because that would go nowhere with Mr. Angry Tech Guy. Instead, I demanded to talk to his supervisor.

So now I get ahold of a reasonable, knowledgable tech supervisor, I could immediately tell he’d been doing this for decades, a real old telco guy. At this point, I’d been on the phone for over 3 hours. As soon as I started explaining the situation, the battery in my phone died, we got disconnected. Arghh!

Fortunately the Supervisor called me back and I picked up on my other phone with a fresh battery. He explained that QWest used to offer 640/512 with CAP protocol, but now they switched to DMT protocols, which offered more reliability but only at 256 instead of 512. I told him I’d like to switch back to CAP but he said it couldn’t be done. QWest has a standing order to switch customers off CAP if they make the slightest change to their services, and that CAP is no longer available. I objected, I said that if my ISP hadn’t gone under, I’d still be using CAP and I’d still have 512 upstream, so I didn’t see any reason why I couldn’t be restored to the old protocol. He sympathized but said this was impossible. However, he did say there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Apparently QWest has been experimenting wth a new 1500/1000 DSL protocol, and are about to offer it at the same price as the old 640/256 line, if the phone line is of sufficient quality. There is no guarantee I’ll get full speed, there isn’t even a guarantee they’ll offer it in my neighborhood. So there is a possibility that sometime this month, I’ll get new higher speed services at the same old cost. But if not, I’ll have to pay twice as much for 640/640 SDSL. Gee, let me guess which of those two plans will happen.

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