Disclaimer: This is a rant. What you read is true. The saga has not ended. Today marks my 1-week anniversary of being disconnected.
First, some background information. Last May I joined the Houston Area League of PC users, HAL-PC. It's a large (10,000 dialup users, 1000 DSL subscribers) volunteer-run organization that runs a solid ISP. Joining HAL meant leaving Southwestern Bell's ISP. SWBell's service was incredibly shitty. They deny they have problems, they hide behind untrained phone-answering lusers, and they slam users with extra charges any chance they get. There is a class action lawsuit pending againt SWBell's parent monopoly, SBC communications.
So anyway, I had escaped from the hell of SBC and Bell for 7 happy months and all was well. My DSL line ran down the street to SBC's DSLAM, and then over an ATM network to HAL.
Last week SBC did something (they won't admit what it was) that brought down DSLAMs all across town. 12 hours later they claimed it was fixed, but I was still disconnected. The line could sync, but there was no DHCP server on the other end. I alternatively sat on hold and explained the problem to untrained fools for 4 hours. Then I contacted some folks at my ISP to warn them of the trouble.
I then called an unlisted number at SBC-ASI and pretended to be a technician, expaining the outage to a friendly person who identified himself as Jason. We determined that when the DSLAM went down, it had lost all its routing information. He said he'd restore the right ATM route (circuit ID and VPIVCI) and I'd be back in business right away.
I returned home that afternoon to find that my router had grabbed an IP address for the first time in 3 days. "Woohoo, time to catch up on my news", I thought, as I fired up slrn. *blarg* "Waitaminute--I can't connect to my newswerver! WTF?! This IP they gave me isn't even part of my ISP's address space! Jeezus H, I can't even read my email."
Jason had restored my old ATM route to Southwestern Bell.
Several horror scenarios immediatley came to mind:
- WTF happened to my route to HAL-PC, my regular ISP? Is SBC/Bell trying to bully independent ISPs out of the market by switching independent customers to Bell...against their will?
- What if SWBell tries to bill me for "reconnection of service" or some such bullshit?
Last Friday I called the same unlisted number at SBC-ASI and explained the bad ATM route, and that they needed to route my line to hal-pc.org, not swbell.net. The droid on the phone said it was my ISP's problem and that HAL would have to get SBC to make the change.
Me: "Excuse me ma'am, I am HAL. The correct circuit ID is x.xx and the VPIVCI should be _______"
Them: "*IDIOT MODE ON*We have no record of your phone line ever being connected to hal-pc.org. Our records show your connection is functioning properly and connected to Southwestern Bell."
Me: "No, I quit SWBell last May. Please fix my route."
Them: "You'll have to get your new ISP... um, HAL you said? You have to get them to ask us to make the changes."
Me: "I just did ask you to make the changes."
That totally sucked. I called up my ISP's official DSL guy and explained the situation. He made some calls and figured out that SBC/SWBell must have lost their records of my switch from SWBell to HAL last May. SWBell was going through some kind of internal reorganization at the time.
HAL-PC's DSL guy then reproduced his own copies of my change from SWBell to HAL and forwarded all those emails to SWBell and SBC (including Bell's fuckups getting my line hooked up that time, too). He sent all that info to SBC last friday.
It is now Tuesday (1 week since the outage began) and I still don't have the right route.