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technical phone/dsl question
Old 02-28-2010, 10:37 PM   #1
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technical phone/dsl question

This isn't urgent, but it annoys me so I thought I'd see if anyone here has some insight into the problem.

Our local phone company, AT&T, says they can't provide DSL service at our address. I think they said they could provide phone service. The weird thing is, we live in a densely populated area, and other houses in our 4-block neighborhood get DSL service. This includes some houses at the bottom of our street (nearer the main cross street) and some at the top of our street, with our house in between. Houses behind us can get it as well. These are small houses, close together. In addition, there's a switching station 3 blocks away (or at least DH says it's a switch).

When I call AT&T, I of course only get salespeople who seem to be working from the same database that's on the website, and they can't tell me anything about why I can't get service. The closest I've come to a real answer is one guy who said, "You know, I usually tell people that we just can't give you service yet. But in your case, in the area you live in, I have no idea. There must be something cost-prohibitive about providing service there, is the only thing I can think of."

So - any ideas? We first came upon this problem about 5 years ago, and I was really astonished to find recently that it's still an issue.
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Old 02-28-2010, 10:41 PM   #2
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Is it possible for you to get something like DSL Extreme? I don't know if that is local.
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Old 03-01-2010, 12:41 AM   #3
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I'll just say that DSL sucks bigtime, and I am busy begging the
cable company to service my house so that I can get cable internet.
It's SUPPOSED to be far superior ...
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:44 AM   #4
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DS worked for the local phone company, a few years ago, while they were installing DSL services. At that time, whether you got DSL or not, was measured in meters of wire between your house & the nearest router piece of DSL equipment (then less than 500, or some such number). Distances may have changed but the principle remains.

Edit to add the "or some such number part".
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Old 03-01-2010, 04:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by mountaintosea View Post
Is it possible for you to get something like DSL Extreme? I don't know if that is local.
If Verizon/AT&T has turned me down for DSL, will DSLX be able to provide it? DSL Extreme FAQ - dslreports.com
Quote:
If Verizon/AT&T has turned me down for DSL, will DSLX be able to provide it? (#11649)


Most likely, no.

You are probably too far from the CO/RT. DSLX provides service over Verizon/AT&T lines and the same distance restrictions apply.
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:25 AM   #6
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I had a problem for years getting DSL, because the switch was about 3 miles away from me. Because of the way they did the runs, I was over the 18000 foot distance, but people on nearby streets got DSL. I finally got a name and number of someone in engineering and explained the situation, and she found that by eliminating some bridge taps she was able to get me under the distance. I don't know if that's your problem, but it did take getting beyond the sales layer.
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Old 03-01-2010, 06:41 AM   #7
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Sounds like a problem I had with cable when it first came in the neighborhood. Every time I called they said it wasn't available to me yet. I was talking to a neighbor across the alley and he told me he had cable and pointed to the feed coming in from MY telephone pole on my side of the alley. I explained the situation to the company and they still insisted no deal for me. I tried several different times and got bizzaro world explanations like they must be running the cable through the sewer pipes out front, the computer says it isn't there, etc. I finally irritated one guy so much that he said he would have them roll a truck just to prove to me that I was a jerk. SO I got cable and my adjacent neighbors got interested. Then they were treated to the same run around. At one point my neighbor two doors down and I had cable but they refused to believe the house between us could get it. Try telling them you are surrounded by DSL subscribers and maybe their computer has the wrong data. Ask them to come out and test your line to confirm whether you get a sufficient signal strength.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:06 AM   #8
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When we first moved to WV Comcast cable Internet was available and it was great - when it worked. At the time I was still teaching online and the reliability was so awful that after a year I gave up and went back to dial-up. When one is teaching it simply won't do to simply drop out of sight for three days at a time with no explanation.

When Verizon offered DSL I jumped on that and we've been very happy with it since. It's faster than the network at work. I think it's been unavailable for about a total of one day or so in the last three or four years, and that because somebody drove through a telephone pole.

But others have been happy with Comcast cable and equally dissatisfied with Verizon DSL. Like so many other things, it seems to be just a crap shoot whether you get good service in a given area.
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Old 03-01-2010, 07:11 AM   #9
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I've also had good luck with DSL and it is considerably cheaper that the Comcast Cable that it replaced. Persist.
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Old 03-01-2010, 09:59 AM   #10
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Before I got DSL service here an employer had added three analog POTS lines to my house. The phone company did this using a RayChem Miniplex multiplexer to multiplex 4 analog POTS services over a single copper pair. I think I got that right. Fast forward -- change employers and terminate their three analog lines, but the phone company left the multiplexer in place; the value of it must have been less than the cost to uninstall it.

DSL becomes available and everybody around me (literally) qualifies for DSL service but my house does not. Seems like each rep I talked to gave me a different reason that they could not provide the service to me -- some of those stories were real doozies. Then I thought -- the multiplexer is doing it. Asked the phone company to uninstall the multiplexer and they refused, even after I offered to pay them to uninstall it but they would not.

POTS service is regulated by the PUC and DSL service is not. At the time, Verizon DSL seemed to operate like a different company from Verizon the phone company. Seemed like the phone company Verizon was not going to lift a finger to enable the DSL Verizon to make a sale.

Thought through it a little. ISDN service IS regulated by the PUC, and I knew that an ISDN installation would require the multiplexer to be removed.

Ordered ISDN service.
Tech shows up on ISDN install day -- tells me this install will be in two phases. Phase 1 is to deinstall the multiplexer and my service will be disconnected during this phase. Phase 2 is to install the ISDN service.
I tell him my preference would be to have DSL instead of ISDN but my line does not qualify for DSL <wink>. He tells me the line will qualify for DSL after phase 1 is complete <wink>.
Tech starts his thing. Knocks on the door around noon and tells me phase 1 is complete and he is going to lunch. I cancel the ISDN install and order DSL.

So it is possible there is a technical reason you don't qualify. It could also be a capacity thing on the phone company's side.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:17 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post
I'll just say that DSL sucks bigtime, and I am busy begging the cable company to service my house so that I can get cable internet.
It's SUPPOSED to be far superior ...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Walt34 View Post
When we first moved to WV Comcast cable Internet was available and it was great - when it worked.
When Verizon offered DSL I jumped on that and we've been very happy with it since. It's faster than the network at work. I think it's been unavailable for about a total of one day or so in the last three or four years, and that because somebody drove through a telephone pole.
But others have been happy with Comcast cable and equally dissatisfied with Verizon DSL. Like so many other things, it seems to be just a crap shoot whether you get good service in a given area.
Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I've also had good luck with DSL and it is considerably cheaper that the Comcast Cable that it replaced. Persist.
Our local cable company runs the utility underground in boxes with "waterproof" connectors. After the fourth or fifth flooding incident, when customer service persisted in treating me like an idiot, I switched to DSL and never looked back.

So yeah, going from cable to DSL may be a crapshoot. You might want to pay both for a month of overlap while you see how reliable they are.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:24 AM   #12
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...So it is possible there is a technical reason you don't qualify. It could also be a capacity thing on the phone company's side.
The capacity issue could be the answer. Maybe their DSL multiplexer(s) is full and they don't see enough demand to invest in another one. I think something similar is going on at my weekend house. The central office box is pretty close but they still won't qualify me. I was told by someone knowledgeable (here, maybe?) that the companies won't bother putting a multiplexer in unless they expect to get a threshold number of subscribers.
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Old 03-01-2010, 11:51 AM   #13
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Wow, these are some great stories! I'm glad to know we're not the only ones getting such a seemingly odd response from providers. And it's nice to know there there could be one or more legitimate explanations, aside from just lack of helpfulness from the salespeople.

We do have cable now, and it's only $2 more per month than the DSL would be. We had DSL at a temporary rental around the corner this summer and they are both good here, I can't tell any difference and never had service interruptions either way. Mainly I was annoyed because we signed up with AT&T at our temporary place and paid the $70 one-time install charge, which felt like wasted money when they couldn't transfer the service to this house 3 months later.

I may or may not pursue it. The cable is working fine and more than likely our next step will be to eventually go with a wireless card. So it's not like I really need their service, more just nice to have the option since it doesn't seem like it should be that hard.

Edit to add:
Looked at AT&T site one more time and put in the address for my next-door neighbor. Sure enough, they can get service. Me? No. Something is definitely wrong here, because it's a duplex. One building, with the phone boxes mounted on our shared wall. Ok, I think I'm going to have to call again.
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Old 03-01-2010, 01:12 PM   #14
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DSLReports.com can help. It has search functions to help you measure exactly how far you are from the nearest telephone CO which determines if DSL is available for your address. It can also provide info and links to other DSL providers, has very useful FAQs and excellent forums. DSL Cable VOIP Security Satellite Fiber News Tips Reviews Community Tools - dslreports.com
Keep in mind that if your address qualifies you can obtain service from other service providers as well as your telco.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:03 AM   #15
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Lot of good information/advice already given but if you haven't tried to escalate to a supervisor or someone in the engineering department for better information, it's worth a try. You never know, your first agent might be having a good day and actually try to help but that's doubtful. Keep some good records on your contacts.

If that doesn't work, you might want to file a complaint with the state or public utility commission about your efforts to get service and information. That might not be a switch or at least a location with DSL equipment close by and there may be issues as others have suggested with capacity but odd that if DSL is all around you, you're being told you can't get it? Provide the facts and what you've done already to try to get information and see where it leads.

Most telco's don't like to hear from the PUC and it's not always a fast process but might at least help you get an accurate and complete answer given you're not getting anywhere with other methods. Good luck.
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