Of course initially you think you’re on your own and that it is your own fault when your service provider claims that: “it is probably your equipment that is at fault and it will cost you £100 if the engineer [which they have finally agreed to send out], finds that this is the case.” At least I think that is what they say but it is hard to get past the accent sometimes.
It was almost a relief to find out from chatting with the mums in the playground that, actually, it isn’t just our problem but one the whole village is experiencing.
Mind you a visit from the engineer hasn’t proven to be a good thing either because you either get:
- the ‘Line Engineer’ who can only test the performance of the line, correct any immediate faults with the line BUT can’t test the Broadband connection or fix problems at the exchange because they are separate branches of the same company; or
- the ‘Broadband Engineer’ who can test the line and the broadband performance and can correct any faults found BUT can not fix any problems at the exchange because that is a separate branch of the same company.
Of course stress levels then rise when, whichever engineer it is that they have sent this time, tells you that there is a known problem at the exchange which is affecting the entire village periodically but because they don’t work for that particular branch there is absolutely nothing that they can do, other than file a report – again!
There then follows another call to the call center, explaining all that the engineer has said and could some one please go fix whatever is broken at the exchange. A switch is then flicked, or whatever it is that they now need to do in this hi-tech world of ours and, hey presto! A few hours later the problem is solved and we can happily surf the web for another 2 – 3 months until whatever it is that has been ‘fixed’ breaks again and we’re back to square one.
Mud can’t handle the call center of our ‘service provider’ (and I use that term very, very loosely today) because the call center operatives tend to talk to you as if you were still in kindergarten, have zero brain cells and little or no knowledge of how the complicated world of cyber space works. None of which are applicable to Mud and only the latter of which can be applied to myself. So it is to me that the job of contacting the call center falls, whenever we have an issue with the phones. Mind you, to be fair, when at home Mud is working and, as such, can’t really spend half an hour or more on the phone trying to sort the problem out which is another reason why it falls to me.
Of course, I have the added obstacle of being a mere female which, it would appear, puts me at the bottom of the heap when it comes to intelligence and understanding and, therefore, top of the pile for the patronising monotones usually reserved for those believed to be of diminished mental capacity. My first couple of times talking to these people, had me working hard to keep a civil tone to my voice, as I found their whole attitude demeaning and quite insulting.
These days I find myself pre-empting their ‘Is Mr Mud available to talk about this problem?”
“No! He isn’t which is why I’m dealing with it!”
Now, 18 months down the line, I don’t even give them chance to start working through their diagnostic script. I’ve dealt with this problem enough times now to know what exactly needs to be done and a visit from any type of engineer is not the way forward. So this morning, after taking the Mudlets to school and before my first hot cup of coffee of the day (the first one always goes cold), I dug out the last bill, braced myself and trawled my way through the interminable, multiple choice section of the switchboard before finally reaching a human being.
“Good morning, how may I help you?” asked a not too accented voice.
“We have a problem with our Broadband connection, again!” Nice and polite.
“Can I talk to the …..” he started to say.
“No! You can’t! He isn’t here but I am and I am his wife! I will be dealing with this problem because I have been dealing with the problem every two to three months for the last 18 months!
I will NOT be connecting the computer to the router via a cable!
I will NOT be allowing you remote access to our PC!
We do NOT require an engineer!
We do NOT have any other wifi devices using the router!
I HAVE done a speed test and the resulting 0.35 mbps for both download and upload speeds is completely unacceptable.
This is NOT a problem unique to our house it is village wide.
The problem is at the exchange!
It is always at the exchange!
It is a known problem amongst your engineers who can’t actually repair it because it is at the exchange! What I need is someone to fix the problem at the exchange!”
All of which was said calmly but firmly, with a silent but underlined subtext of “I may be female but I am not an idiot so don’t treat me like one.”
“Okay,” said the bemused voice on the other end of the phone,”I am required to do the line test but then I will be able to fix the problem for you. I need to check the last 14 days speeds. Is this okay?”
“I can see that you have been not using the internet yesterday!” he eventually said.
Really? Um, so the days work Mud did from his home office yesterday and our combined use of the home PC last night were obviously figments of our imagination. I pointed this out to him and he went away for a few more minutes to check things out. A few minutes later the problem had been identified as a line profiling issue at the exchange (See! I do know what I’m talking about after all) and he had reset the line profile and it should be up to optimum speed within 4-12 hours! Excellent!
Jobs a good ‘un. Providing, that is that the speed does come back up and only until the next time the exchange breaks and then I’ll have to do the whole thing again but this time I’ll make sure I have my hot cup of coffee first.