At least the new telephone company did exactly what they told us they would do. The regional manager I spoke to originally had said they were going to try to find the source of the problem while it was still happening, and during this most recent rainy period we have seen at least two telephone repair trucks driving past at various times during the day. No one actually came to our house or stopped at any of the telephone poles nearby, but at least we knew the repairmen were in the area. We had been told that this time they would “stay on it” until the problem was fixed, even if that meant completely replacing the thirty-plus year old telephone lines between our house and the switching station, which is about a mile and a half away. Given the end result, I think we can be pretty sure THAT did not happen… and also that the location of the problem area was already known.
Musk-mallow (Malva moschata)
No one has yet told us what the fix actually was, but the moisture problem does seem to be solved. Yesterday was very wet, with fairly heavy rain, and not only did we keep our telephone service… the dial tone is strong and clear and there is no deafening static or hum on the line.
That’s the good part. Unfortunately whatever was done to fix the moisture problem has also lowered our dial-up Internet connection speed. We’re chugging along now at a steady 26.4Kbps, and this isn’t even something we can complain about or expect help with.
According to the representative from the public utilities commission, telephone companies in this state are required to provide a “reasonable dial tone.” Anything below a reasonable dial tone is not allowed and must be fixed… anything beyond a reasonable dial tone is outside the realm of what is required. And as one of the telephone repairmen told me years ago, the telephone company will not guarantee any particular dial-up connection speed… and that “what you get is what the lines can handle.”
In the end it was a trade-off… much lower connection speed, but no longer partial or complete loss of telephone service every time it rains.
Did we win this one? I’m not sure.