Oct 292011

Just a little aside with an interesting moral at the end. And by ‘little’, I mean’lomg and rambling’. Anyone who’s sat through my Etisalat rant of Summer ’10 knows what they’re in for. You’ve been warned ;)

So I arrived at the apartment last Thursday. One of the things I’d made sure of before leaving Dubai was that the apartment had Internet access. I had a weekend coming up very soon after I arrived, and I wanted to make sure that I could stay in touch with people, use google maps to find my way around, etc.

Of could, when I arrive, there was no Internet. The wireless worked just fine.. I could get my laptop and iPad on network, but couldn’t reach the web.

I called Rocky. It was his girlfriend’s place, and I figured there might be some trick to it, and I didn’t want to sta messing with their routers and so on. It didn’t help that there had what looked like three separate routers and modems sitting underthe TV!

He was as surprised as I was. A far as he knew, Internet should have been working. He offered to pass by later and take a look.

He came by around 9:30 and started fiddling. Cables were disconnected and reconnected. Routers were power cycled. Modems were cursed at. Eventually, it was decided that we had to all Comcast, our provider.

On Friday, while we are at work, Rocky called Comcast for the first time. After about 10 minutes of going through phone menus, they managed to speak to a human being who told them to try everything we’d already tried. They wouldn’t go any further until we’d tried that, so it had to wait till I got back home. Chances of having access before the weekend were dwindling fast.

As soon as I got home, I tried everything again, to no avail. Called Rocky, he called Comcast.

Comcast tried to avoid sending someone till Monday, but once they found out that we had a phone on the same line (also dead) they realized that, by law, they actually had to send someone within 24 hours. Rocky gave them my number, and told me they would be there between 9 and 12 on Saturday.

I was unreal early on Saturday, so I figured I would hang out at home and wait.

Around 9:30 I heard a loud screeching buzzer that I took to some sort of alarm. In case it was the doorbell, I looked out th window, and saw a van belonging to a company called Xfinity. So, not Comcast. Just in case, I looked downstairs, and I saw a neighbor talking to the guys from the van. So, nothing to do with me. Soon after, they left. I continued my vigil.

Around noon, Rocky called me to see if Comcast had shown up. I said no, so he called them again. They said that someone had shown up at 9:30 but no one was home. I told him about the Xfinity event, and he informed me that they’re the same company. He yelled at them for not trying either my number or his, and they didn’t have much to say about that. They said they would call me to arrange a new time.

At this point, I had arranged to meet people for a weekend outing, so out I went, expecting a call from Comcast.

I didn’t get any calls that afternoon, so the next day, I called Rocky again. He sounded completely shocked. Apparently, they were supposed to call me right after he talked to them… Not ‘some point in the future’. In fact, when he called them, now in a rage, they told him that someone had been down there a couple of hours after noon and, again, no one was home.


Rocky and Jen were planning to come to the apartment to pick something up. In the meanwhile, I went out to grab a couple of things from the store. On the way, I get a call from Comcast that went straight to my voicemail. A lady with an impossible to decipher accent (US but no idea where from) saying that my modem was back online and that could I check so she can cancel the technicians.

I basically turned around and went home, checked, and sure enough, Internet! I figured I shouldn’t touch anything.

An hour later, the Comcast tech show up (I had no idea they were coming on Sunday!). He took a look for a while, and told me that basically, the lines going into the apartment were all fucked up and needed changing. They were split between too many units, and had rusted, and so on. In the meanwhile, he could get it that internet stayed up, but I’d lose TV and phone. Then, he would come back n Tuesday morning to change all the cables. This was done.

The rest of it went as promised. They showed up on Tuesday and changed the cables from th outside, then came inside and helped set up the wifi and everything, which was out of their scope, so good on them. So finally, I have working Internet, phone and cable tv in the house.

In fact, the technicians were, in general excellent. Friendly, hard working, and they went above and beyond (except when they didn’t call when they would show up). It was the geniuses at phone support! The amount of time we spent on the phone with them in a period of three days was completely ridiculous.

So, the moral of the story I promised? It really doesn’t matter whe the fuck you are. Telecos are telecos. They all suck, and that’s just the way it is.