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January 2, 2007
Glen F. Post, III, CEO
100 CENTURYTEL DR
P O BOX 4065
MONROE LA 71203
Dear Mr. Post:
This is no way to run a telco.
The gory details are below, but here is a summary of my attempt to get rural DSL:
I never thought I would get broadband access out here on the eastern edge of Clatsop County, Oregon. But in early September 2006 I learned others were connected. Kudos for that. I went to the CenturyTel website and entered my phone number. "Sorry, service is not available in your area." I was incredulous as I knew my neighbor was eligible. I called and explained the situation to an agent. She was extremely helpful and diligent. She couldn't understand it either and put my order through on a provisional basis.
First breakdown. I was supposed to be notified within the week. Instead I found out it was declined only when I called the next week. I asked for an explanation. After a long, long time on hold, I was told "Frank" would call me back.
A week passed and finally I got a message on my answering machine, but it was cut off. Finding Frank again turned out to be an ordeal. The first few times I called, hold rolled over to the Internet help desk requiring me to call back in getting a new agent each time. Finally, a very patient agent, unable to find the right Frank, sent an email to the agent I had originally talked to asking her to send a message to Frank requesting he send me an email. It was a ploy on my part to get Frank's email address so I could establish some one-on-one dialog.
On 11/15/2006 I got a terse message from Frank Harpeneau. I immediately replied with a detailed analysis of my location vis-à-vis DSL (Enclosed). No reply. I sent a message on the 21st. No reply.
On 11/28/2006 in frustration I called in again. Still having no direct phone number, but a last name, I got lucky. The agent who transferred me up to level 3 got Frank Harpeneau on the line. Though he said he had received my emails, he didn't seem familiar with my arguments. Once explained he said he would forward my proposals to engineering. That same morning I got a confirming email from Frank, and later in the day a confirmation to proceed. I immediately replied with the specs for my account including my logon ID.
No reply. 11/29 no reply. 12/1 a confirmation and an install date of 12/6.
12/5 my modem arrives. 3 pounds by overnight DHL. DHL is not a good choice out here. The package came with “too far!” and explicit directions hand written on the carton.
12/6 no DSL. A call to the Internet desk elicits a laugh. My install date isn't until 1/2/2007. After checking, the agent tells me to call customer service in the morning to get more detail. A call in the morning reveals you've run out of ports. I had to call anyway, my ID and password were not printed on the label. It would have been good to get electronic confirmation by email, but I've had ongoing problems setting my notification email entered on your website. Indeed, after this if finally necessitated another call to customer service and having someone there do it.
12/7/2006 I get a form letter informing me that DSL is now available to me. Mysteriously it comes with a return envelope.
12/28/2006 I return home from holiday travel to find the tag saying DSL has been connected, but instead not only did I have no DSL, I had no dial tone.
12/29/2006 I am finally connected. The speed is near its theoretical maximum:
From Speakeasy (Seattle)
Download Speed: 1336 kbps
Upload Speed: 209 kbps
12/30/2006 I set up an email alias account, but I'm annoyed to find that I have to use my "root" account (mauerbach000). Further, my account id is revealed in the email header. For example:
Received: from mx6.centurytel.net (mx6.centurytel.net [188.8.131.52])
by mailmx2-gh.centurytel.net (8.13.6/8.13.6) with ESMTP id kBV4jdJg003802
for <firstname.lastname@example.org>; Sat, 30 Dec 2006 22:45:39 -0600
Received: from nocmailsvc004.allthesites.org (host214.cisp.com [184.108.40.206])
by mx6.centurytel.net (8.13.6/8.13.6) with ESMTP id kBV4jaxA015426
for <@centurytel.net>; Sat, 30 Dec 2006 22:45:37 -0600
1/2/2007 Hayes (sp?), another extremely professional phone agent changes my ID by cancelling my account and reestablishing a new one.
After nearly four months I am finally connected.