19 November, 2013

A recent debacle

I was happily playing a game, and I was also talking on IRC. My wife was also on a computer game. June the 29th, about 3:30pm. The day when a DSLAM cabinet down on a nearby main road stopped working. I wondered what had happened, put it down to a normal outage. I got in contact with the local ISP a couple of hours later, only to be told the sad tale of a little brave green cabinet that decided to jump in front of a car, with catastrophic results to the internals. The left hand side ended up totally dead, the right hand side barely had voice capability. Trying to get it repaired didn't get us very far.

In the area where we are, we had a little bit of a disaster. As a result, several houses have already been removed in our local area, and lots more houses are expected to come down. Needless to say, that means that Chorus (our phone line maintenance company) won't be replacing the cabinet that got damaged. However, their solution was to move customers over to the next nearest street cabinet. This should have happened to us, but our connection wasn't made to Chorus's specifications originally, so we got completely missed. I had a chat to our ISP over the course of a few days, and we ended up with our DSL coming from the exchange instead, nearly seven kilometres line distance. And the stupid thing? Our ISP couldn't do a single thing better for us. I don't know if any other ISP could have done any better either.

Anyhow, I stumbled onto a website for New Zealand geeks, where a lot of telecommunication industry representatives also gather—there are often people from the major ISPs too, and one of those representatives also includes Chorus. That's right, the guys who maintain our phonelines. Once I got in contact with him, I put my story to him and asked what could be done. A few days later, I was informed about the status of our connection, and was told that they would have to put a custom solution into place for us. A week later (about seven weeks after the initial problem) we were finally back onto the Internet at a decent speed.

I don't know whose the original problem was, nor how many other people would have faced the same issue as we did. What I do know is that this issue would not have got cured for Joe Average who'd been connected up the same way we had. I shouldn't have had to go to a website like geekzone, even though they're perfectly great. I should have been able to hammer on my ISP, and my ISP should have been able to talk to Chorus and punt us to the next nearest DSLAM box as part of our contract. I'm more surprised at Slingshot's inability to kick a dog and get things moving, frankly—I've had no issues with Slingshot until then, nor have I had any further issues.

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