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DSL Upgrade Dilemma

I was one of the first in my area to get a DSL connection, nearly 8 years ago. Verizon supplied me with a decent package: a symmetric 384Kbps up and down. This was great at the time, but definitely not the best that I can get.

Earlier this week my ISP (blarg.net) informed me that I could get a better price on my connection by simply asking them to switch my account over to Verizon wholesale pricing. I did so, and also planned to start talking to Verizon about a faster connection.

I called Verizon today and spent 15 minutes on hold. After they answered, the operator spent nearly 15 minutes trying to find my account record. She tried both of my phone numbers, my address, my name, my wife’s name, and several variations and combinations. According to her and to the system that she consulted, I don’t exist. Too bad that I do actually send them money every month. I’ll have to get more information and try again next week.

Ok, so I get home from work and find an email from Blarg. They cannot switch me to the cheaper pricing model because Verizon has boosted pricing on the 384/384 lines by $10/month to discourage people from using them. So far so bad, right? Keep reading, it gets better!

Blarg did a quick line check and they can supply me with a 1.5Mbs/384Kbs line for less than i am paying now. As they said, “So if you don’t mind very much can we quadruple your download speed and charge you less to do it?” Sure, but its not quite that simple.

Turns out that I am connected through a Frame Relay line that has been obsolete for over 4 years. Verizon may have to switch me over to an ATM line. To make the switch they need 3 days to remove the existing circuit and 5 more to get the new one hooked up and enabled. Could I surive for 8 days without internet? Could my family? I don’t think so. If we can’t do homework, pay bills, or shop, then life as we know it would more or less cease to exist.

I may have an out, though. I have two phone lines, and I assume that I could get the new ATM-powered DSL on one of them while leaving the old Frame Relay connection in place on the other line. I’ll get this underway next week and report back once I know more.