My brother Johnny has been without reliable DSL service since Sunday — he’s had periods of 12 hours without any service at all, and it has been on and off at random intervals otherwise. His service provider is Telus in Vancouver; Telus technical support has told him it could be a couple of days before they solve the problem.
By way of trying to help Johnny self-diagnose, I came across this this page at Telcordia, which summarizes the technical challenges for telephone companies providing ADSL service. My favourite paragraph is:
It’s been much smarter, so far, to not even try to sign up any customer whose loop is the least bit questionable, even though you’ve already invested the cost of qualifying that loop. And if such a customer asks for ADSL, it’s smarter to just say “You can’t have it” and let the customer’s frustration end there. You’re in the very awkward and unwelcome position of having to try to discourage customers from buying a service they want and you want to sell them. You’re lopping off chunks of your customer base at both ends, maybe losing a quarter to half of your potential ADSL market before you’ve started.