More Island Tel Fun

Here’s a special “Guest Note” from one the readership, Craig Willson:

Monday evening September 16th

7:30 pm my dial-up lines goes funky with static and what sounds like wailing banshees in the background. My connection to ISN is dropped.

7:45 pm I check all lines and devices in house — all is in order and line is still not usable. Bless ISN for using USR modems because my USR can at least connect at 12000.

7:50 PM to speak with nice lady at customer service. I call on the bad line so that she will hear the problem. Yep, she gets it. (I have always encountered pleasant and helpful CSR’s)

7:51 PM (we are shouting at each other to speak over the static) — she says she will be right back as she will give me a time that the repair person will come.

7:53 PM She is back and says she can have someone here on THURSDAY! (not possible to give a time)

7:54 PM I explain the importance of having a reliable access for the internet access — and that THURSDAY is far to long.

7:54:30 PM She calmly explains that I am not deemed urgent as we can still hear each other. Yup, that is what she said. (Remember, we are shouting to speak over the static.)

7:55 PM Thank you I reply — gently hanging up the phone in wonder.

Now walking around the house staring at the ceiling wondering when someone will figure out a way to do something about these incompetent morons. Do they actually think that going from Monday to sometime Thursday is acceptable? Jeeze, this is 2002 I think. For what it is worth, the last time this happened the telcoheads were at my home 9 times before I called Fred Morash personally.

Craig is right: the front line people at Island Tel are good. Indeed the techs at Island Tel are good too: I’ve received some of the best customer service ever, period, from Island Tel installers. This leaves me thinking that the company is under-resourced and/or poorly managed.


Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on September 17, 2002 - 10:32 Permalink

Prediction — first comment from technician when / if they arrive — “do you have any non-Aliant equipment hooked up?”

Stay tuned..<tuesday morning=”” -=”” line=”” sounds=”” like=”” an=”” old=”” washing=”” machine=”” is=”” running=”” in=”” the=”” background=”“>

Brian Howatt's picture
Brian Howatt on September 17, 2002 - 12:30 Permalink

While Island Tel bashing is sometimes remarkably easy to do (and I’ve done my own fair share), perhaps a bit of the other side of the coin should be shown. Last week’s storm brought down two trees and some wires around our home (and office). The wires were still lying across the yard on Friday morning, so, observant person that I am, I decided to snip them since they were cable wires and we now have a dish. Bad move

Alan's picture
Alan on September 17, 2002 - 14:23 Permalink

You are urgent to us, Willson.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on September 17, 2002 - 23:53 Permalink

Update and response:

Brian makes a good point. If the nice lady had said, “the earliest we can get to you on is Thursday, as the unkind weather has put a lot of pressure on our resources and there are customers in dire need”, I would have had an entirely different response. Certainly there are more important issues than my internet access reliability. Instead, she told me that even though we had to shout to hear each other, I did have service and would have to wait until Thursday. UPDATE: 1045 AM today I spotted an Aliant bucket truck about two Km from the my residence. (Still had wailing banshee on line). 4:30 PM (first time back since this morning) the line has returned to its normal state of just adequate — allowing for a blazing connect speed of 26.4. Anyone who lives in he 672 exchange knows that this is the best we can expect to get.

Dr. Bob's picture
Dr. Bob on September 18, 2002 - 02:31 Permalink

Not sure what part of the 672 exchange you live in, but in two different spots around Stanhope/Covehead over the past year I consistently connected at a “reported” (and I stress reported) 41.2 (USR External 56K — lightning victim) and at this exact moment 45.2 (AOPEN FM56 — cheap replacement). You may have a hardware issue, though, as I said, the DUN reported connection speeds are notoriously unreliable, and can even be user specified, sometimes unwittingly, through alteration or corruption the modem .inf string(s). ISP tech support lines often get calls from people who claim they are or were connected at 115.2, sometimes sending screen shots as “proof”…regrettably 53.3 is the max by law for downstream conventional dial-up. What is really frustrating is that DSL highspeed is “available” in 672, but is “full”, and has been for almost two years with several on a waiting list as Aliant refuses to install more ports. Grrr.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on September 18, 2002 - 12:43 Permalink

I am astonished to hear of your connect speeds. I am personally familiar with 6 different USR modems in Brackley Beach, 1 USR modem in Harrington, 1 USR modem in Donaldson, 1 (unknown brand) in Stanhope. All report 26.4 as routine with the infrequent 28.8 when the gods smile. These connect speeds are identical with ISN, Sypmatico and ATT. With regard to DSL in 672, but no ports — Read the papers <g>..Aliant has DSL in areas serving 80% of the population of PEI! Of course, the media info is quite careful not to mention that while service is there — we can’t access it. Do you suppose that their recent media blitz has anything to do with the recently announced Industry Canada broadband initative for rural communities and the particular clause that prevents support for rural communities that have DSL or cable modem service?

Andrew's picture
Andrew on September 18, 2002 - 14:40 Permalink

I used to live in york and had really good connections. My dialup days I would some times pull 10 — 15 KBs. Then when I moved to highspeed I was getting 150KBs most of the time. Now I live in the city and get the normal rate of 100KBs download.

Andrew's picture
Andrew on September 18, 2002 - 14:46 Permalink

On the note of full telecom servers, write some letters to the editor about this. Write in the letter about how the service is available in your area, but full. Also to inform the un-aware mind of most islanders that it would take about 20 minutes for an Alaint tech to offer another 100 ports of service.

In Charlottetown when I first signed up for high speed it took about a week to get setup because the Spring Park Area server was full. They added more ports because it is in an urban area… Maybe this shows how they are focusing mainly on population, and don’t give a crap about the people living in rural P.E.I

Dr. Bob's picture
Dr. Bob on September 18, 2002 - 16:51 Permalink

Yes, the discrepancy in initial (the speeds fluctuate continuously after the intial report) connect speeds is odd. It may be related to distance from CO. It may also be related to an issue my Dad experienced. With top notch equipment he was connecting in the low 20’s, if at all. No obvious line noise. It turns out — at least according to this particular Alaint Repair Person — that in rural areas, beyond a certain distance from the CO, there is a necessity of “amplifiers” on the lines every 4 km or so…soooo if you happen to be 3.9 km from the last amplifier, your “gain” is commensurately weak. Dad went from 20’s to a consistent 45-46 once they solved the the “gain” issue, but of course not without a fight and several denials by Alaint that there were any line issues at play.

As for HighSpeed, the letter idea doesn’t sound too bad..what ever works. The situation is unacceptable as it stands, and certainly taints the Alaint statistics, proving Twain correct yet again.