‘We’re The Only Phone Company In Town… And We’ll Remind You Of That Fact Daily’

Four days from the initial outage, my landline is still iffy. As of this morning, I have a fairly consistent dial tone, but there’s still a crackling in the line. I suspect Ma Bell is going to deem this “fixed” and I’ll just have to live with it.

Oh, and perhaps because of their testing, every once in a while my DSL chokes for a few seconds. Great. Two problems for the price of one!

What was all that crap 40 years ago about how competition would improve phone service? It seems Aunt ATTie took care of that “competition” nonsense, wiped her hands and went on her merry way.

UPDATE about 11 AM: now the phone is completely dead. That’s actually good news; it probably means they’re still testing things. Or maybe they’re down at the junction box on the nearest major street, switching my phone to a good pair; that’s what the problem was a couple of years ago. I hope so: some days I feel like I need a new pair…

UPDATE about 4:30 PM: I spoke to an actual human being at AT&T, a tech, who discovered that the problem… same as a couple years ago… was due to water corroding a cable in a junction box on a nearby major street. Once they knew the problem, they had it fixed in under 15 minutes. Living in Houston has its aggravations, even aside from Rick Perry, and the propensity to flood is one of them.

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  • ellroon  On Tuesday September 27, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Gawd, I’ve been through that. We had a terrible line, crackling, dead times, weird connections. Attempts by the phone company to repair our line would kinda work. Buying new phones kinda worked. Finally, after YEARS of good / bad times, they replaced a ‘box’ on a main street nearby. Surprise! It’s been good since… (knocks on wood).

    • Steve  On Tuesday September 27, 2011 at 1:17 pm

      ellroon, when you think about it, those boxes on nearby main streets were probably installed several decades ago. From what little I understand, they have dozens or hundreds of pairs from the exchange available to be hooked to some number of pairs running to houses nearby. If one pair to the exchange goes bad (which happens pretty often in flood-prone areas like Houston), they can connect you through another pair, up to the point where they run out of good pairs.

      The phone? Oh… it’s back to square one. Pick it up; you’ll get no dial tone but a background hum and crackle. Of course it doesn’t work; do I need to say that? The repair is listed online as still being in the “testing” stage. Sigh!

    • Steve  On Tuesday September 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

      Well, they found and fixed the problem, and they broke my DSL for only about 15 minutes while they reconnected the phone line. The only problem now is that I realize how easily I can live without a phone of my own for four days… but the account also includes DSL and internet service, which I cannot do without.

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