A different telephone company repairman stopped by today, and he said he was shocked that the telephone line leading to our house is such a terrible mess of deteriorating insulation and exposed connections. But we already knew about that… and the static and crackling noises on the line… and the super-loud hum that is always in the background during a telephone conversation… and the problems these cause with our dial-up connection. Often there is so much noise on the line we can’t make a dial-up connection at all.
Orange day lily (Hemerocallis fulva)
We have lived with this situation for nearly six years now, and the telephone company repairmen themselves describe what they’re doing as “putting band-aid fixes on gaping wounds.” In March of this year after several days of rain things started getting even worse. We kept losing the dial tone and would have no telephone service at all for days at a time. Several more temporary repairs left us with a new problem… we had a dial tone again, but our maximum dial-up connection speed had decreased to only 26.4Kbps.
Since March we have done the best we could with the 26.4Kbps Internet connection speed. Then several weeks ago the connection speed suddenly dropped to 19.2Kbps, and then 12Kbps, and 4.8Kbps, and 2.4Kbps… depending on the amount of moisture in the air. This week for several days the speed has been 2.4Kbps, which means there is absolutely no hope of connecting to the Internet at all. Yesterday I tried to call in another complaint. The service representative said the quality of the line was so bad, I should switch to another phone line. I told her that was our problem… we did not have another phone line! She suggested I use our cell phone and seemed surprised when I told her that we have no cellular phone service in this area, which is why our landline phone is so important to us… even though all of this information is already documented in our by-now very thick file. Today’s repairman told us that there was a great deal of detectable “signal leakage” on our line. He also told us that all the repairmen for this area know about the many exposed connections that are causing our problem… especially one area not far from our house where the protective covering over one set of connections keeps popping open and has to be reseated. Apparently no permanent fix has ever been suggested or attempted.
Months ago the public utilities commission advised us to continue to call the telephone company each time the telephone line deteriorates to an unusable level, and we have continued to do that because supposedly this is the only way we will ever get real results. Each time we call with a legitimate complaint, the telephone company is required to do “something,” even though so far all the fixes have been temporary. They keep promising that they have plans to replace the entire line in the near future, and at one point about three months ago we were told that the new line was ready to go… and that all everyone was waiting for was to have the paperwork filed. Now they’re telling us that our problems will be solved with the expansion of their broadband service into our area, which they promise is only weeks or months away.
All these promises sound wonderful… but the reality of our situation is that we’re now having so many no-phone, no-Internet days, we’ve gotten to the point where we’re relieved when we get the 26.4Kbps dial-up speed back… and of course I mustn’t forget that reasonable dial tone!