Thank god I am not a consumer using broadband

While I enjoy talking to my mother, I think this week I have spoken to her more than when we lived together for 18 years. It all started when her home broadband decided to fall over on Tuesday afternoon and hasn’t come back to life since. From her perspective a son who lives, breathes, and talks nothing but internet should be capable of ending her suffering and restore the internet – but to be honest I have really struggled.

For the technical among you the router has sync with the exchange and many hours left between turning it off and on again (should clear stale sessions) but still no life. Talking your mother through the process of testing the line or logging into the router is no mean feat (“don’t you think ping is a silly word darling?”), especially when you are used to talking to technical people all day. But it did remind me what it is like to be a consumer and how helpless you feel at the other end of the phone trying to get help. When she did finally speak to her ISP, after holding for an hour, they were no help. Suffice to say it is a call centre on another continent refused to escalate the matter as she has not tried a different router, removed the face plate, changed the cables or the microfilter. I mean this is my mother they are talking to, not some techie glued to his computer all day.

From what I can make out it looks like the line has been transferred in the background from IPStream over to IPStream Connect, which is part of BT’s new 21CN platform. A number of other lines in the area, with the same carrier suffered the same fate but most have made it back online now. When I called them and threw around complicated words like DSLAM, LNS and DNS nothing progressed – it still hasn’t been logged with an engineer to investigate.

It looks like if I head up there on the weekend and can’t get it working I’ll have to organise for a migration code and port the line over to our network as I know the guys here will be able to make it work. I just don’t know how the general public copes but I assume that is why niche ISPs continue to do good business by offering a superior customer service to help their clients when it goes wrong.

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