The Black Hole at the Center of the Uverse
I theorize that a similar black hole can be found at the center of AT&T's Uverse, specifically their dispatch. I will detail the evidence here. You decide if my theory is valid.
On or about, October 28th or 29th, I telephoned AT&T and ordered their Uverse service, including DSL, 200 channels and two set top boxes. I was told then that the earliest install date available was Saturday November 22nd. Yes, almost a month later. I agreed, thinking that the delay was a result of manpower being diverted to repair Ike damage. I was to discover later that in fact, this is typical.
On November 22nd, I was to have a installation window between 8 and 10 am. at 8:15 I get a call from "Jerry" the Premesis Technician ("premtech") that he would be there shortly. At about 8:30 I recieve another call from him stating that he is being delayed at the office but would be there soon. At about 8:45 I get another call stating that he is being dispatched to an urgent (but minor) repair for a very unhappy customer before he gets to me but that he would be there before 10:30 at the latest. At 9:45 Jerry arrives. He is a personable young man who quickly starts planning how and where he will install the equipment. About 10 minutes later, after he has worked out where he plans on installing everything and how he plans on utilizing the existing wiring, he leaves to go two streets over where the local node cabinet is located to "move a couple jumpers" and put the Uverse signal onto my line. In the process he disconnects my DSL service unknownst to me at the time. Jerry returns about 15-20 minutes later and begins by connecting his portable network analyzer to the line coming down from the pole to verify that he has network connectivity before he begins wiring up the equipent. He discovers that there is no signal. None.
At this time I discover that Jerry has not been trained, and is therefore not allowed to, climb the pole in order to trace where the signal is being lost. He must instead call and open an I&R (Installation and Repair I must assume) order ticket to have someone who IS trained to come out and diagnose and repair the problem. Further, I&R will not say how long it will take to dispatch anyone, So Jerry, being an ambitious young man concludes that it is pointless for him to stay there and wait on I&R because he could be sitting there two hours or more doing nothing useful waiting for I&R. Of course he COULD have gone ahead and done his wiring while he was waiting but that I suppose would have been asking too much of the young man. At any rate, he did not wait, he instead left, saying that he would be re-dispatched when I&R had completed their repairs. It was by this time about 10:45 or so.
Around 11:45, when I had not seen hide nor hair of an I&R technician, neither at my house nor at the local node, nor anywhere in between, I decided to call AT&T to find out what was what with the order. The first number I called was high speed internet tech support, thinking that they would be the ones handling repairs and installations. I was mistaken. Apparently they handle DSL, not Uverse. But they WERE kind enough to give me the number to Uverse's dispatch. I called Uverse Dispatch and after navigating their screening system I was placed in the hold queue awaiting a human operator. After sitting on hold for the beter part of half an hour, I was finally connected with a human who assured me that the ticket was in the queue but that no technician had yet been dispatched but that he was sure that it would be dispatched that day. And if the I&R ticket were closed that day that they could dispatch another premtech first thing Sunday. They also made a point of stating that I would be unlikely to see the I&R tech and that I was therefore probably not going to know if they had completed the job or not until I got a call to reschedule the premisis technician.
At 3:30pm Saturday, when I had not heard from anyone, I called dispatch back to check status on the order and after waiting another 20 minutes on hold was told that the order had still not been dispatched. So I informed them that I had an appointment and I had to leave but that I was putting my dogs inside, leaving the gate unlocked, and that I was leaving my cell phone number as well as my wife's cell number with them so that the technician could contact me if needed. Nobody called during the 2-3 hours we were gone. When I got home I attempted to check the order status again but was unable because the office had closed.
Sunday morning around 9:00am, I contacted Uverse Dispatch and was told that the order still had not been assigned to a technician.
Sunday at around 12:15, I tried to call dispatch again and sat in the hold queue for half an hour before I gave up. But Jerry the technician had told me that he was working Sunday, and that he didn't even come in until 11:00. So I knew the technicians were working Sunday. Sunday evening around 5:30, I finally spoke to someone who seemed to be able to find his ass with either hand. He recheduled the I&R technician for Monday between 12 and 4, and then scheduled a premesis technician for between 4 and 6. I got a confirming email that a premesis tech was scheduled between 4 and 9 pm (they apparently assume the install with take 3 hours.). I left work at lunch, skipping out on the Thanksgiving lunch put on by my coworkers, ran home and put the dogs in. Then left at 3:45 and raced home to meet the premesis technician. And waited... and waited.... and waited.... at 5:50 I called and was told that the technician was running a little behind but that he would be there and that a supervisor would be calling me back shortly to verify that someone showed up. That call never happened. At 7:05 I called and was told that no, no technician was coming that apparently I&R had not closed the ticket and that they didn't know why anyone would have told me otherwise. A supervisor named Mike was very apologetic, and he promised to call me back first thing in the morning with an update since dispatch closed at 7:00pm.
This morning around 9:00am, Nov. 25th, when I did not recieve a call from Mike (as I suspected would be the case), I called to check on what happened. I was transferred from the order center to dispatch where "Laquisha" answered and informed me that a technician had been dispatched at 6:15 this morning and that they would be at my house between 8 and 10 am this morning. I told them that they would find nobody home because nobody had bothered to contact me and let me know they were coming. Additionally I told "Laquisha" that this was unacceptable and that I wanted to speak with her supervisor. Instead of her supervisor however, I was sent back to the beginning of the telephone queue where I had to start all over again. I finally spoke with a person who did seem to give a crap but was unable to connect me with dispatch because they apparently no longer accept calls from customers (funny how that happened after I read "Laquisha" the riot act), but he did confirm that a technician is scheduled for today between 4 and 6 (which means I have to take off work AGAIN to meet them) and they gave me some additional discounts to make up for all the crap I've had to put up with. We'll see if they bother to show up this afternoon. I'll update when I find out.
Therefore I posit that Uverse's dispach system, being impossible to obtain any information from, and impossible to get any work out of is in fact a black hole. It sucks in orders and spits out nothing, not even light.
Update 1: Mike just called (apparently he works in a later time zone and just got in to work) and says that dispatch is telling him that I&R has NOT completed their work and that they are sending someone this morning. and that the crew has been paged to be told to call me on my cell if they need access or to tell me that the work is completed. "Rico", the supervisor I spoke with last who assured me that they were coming today between 4 and 6 was supposed to have sent me a confirming email, that has not yet occurred.
Update 2: apparently I&R DID do their thing. "Ron" arrived this afternoon at about 4:15 and started work, and had another crew member come to help him shortly thereafter. They completed their work by about 7:30. Now there are just some issues of how to connect the DVD and VCR in the bedroom and getting my notebook connected but we are making progress....