Everything about Frontier's acquisition of Verizon



  • Everything. Just everything.

    Background: Verizon is one of those asshole telecom companies that never offered unbundled DSL (sometimes called "naked DSL" or "dryloop DSL", basically DSL with no local phone service.) Up until a few years ago, if you called and asked about it, they would blatantly lie to you and tell you it wasn't possible, trying to play it as if the equipment in this state was different than in other states where they do offer the service. Everybody knows it's a lie, because DSL is activated and de-activated separately from local phone service-- a friend of mine who was moving deactivated his phone, and his DSL kept working for days afterward. If they can do it by accident, they can certainly do it on purpose. (Of course the real reason they didn't provide it is that they weren't legally obligated to in my state.)

    So, anyway, Verizon decided that dealing with my calls was too much of an effort, so they sold all of their properties in my area to a company I'd never heard of before called Frontier Communications. Wow. And I thought Verizon was incompetent.

    Of course, they decided to do this just before FIOS was scheduled to be rolled-out at my house, and cancelled all FIOS roll-outs in the process... so I'm stuck on this DSL for God-knows how long. (Probably until I either move, or die.) By the way, this was all prompted by a Slashdot headline reporting that Verizon was offering 150 Mbps service to people who aren't me.

    Since it's a new company, I decided to check to see if Frontier could sell unbundled DSL on their website. Wow was that a retardedly-stupid experience. First of all, their website is nothing but a hastily (and poorly) re-skinned Verizon site. The page title still reads "Verizon", the nav links still say "Back to My Verizon", etc. Hell even a lot of the images are stored on www22.verizon.com... they didn't even bother copying all the creatives to their site!

    But that's just visual. The bigger problem is that it doesn't work. At all. It says I'm signed-up for the 1 Mbps plan (I'm on the 3 Mbps plan), the phone line section has a link for removing local phone service, but it doesn't actually do anything-- in fact any changes you make on the phone section disappear when you get back to the overview.

    So I tried their chat service:

    Thank you for contacting us. We are routing you to a chat representative.
    You are now chatting with Miguel .
    Miguel : Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. How can I help you place your order?
    Blakeyrat: Everything about your website is broken and wrong. It's reporting I'm on the wrong plan, it won't let me remove local phone and keep DSL (or even tell me if it's possible!) and half of it says Verizon the other half said Frontier.
    Miguel : I would be glad to assist you today.
    Blakeyrat: Can you tell me if you offer unbundled DSL in Washington State?
    Miguel : At this time to remove the home phone, you will need to call customer care at 877 462 8188 online you can not remove the service.
    Blakeyrat: What does that mean? I have to pay for the phone, but it won't work?
    Miguel : To remove it from your package you have to call customer care. Online you can only add services.
    Blakeyrat: Your website has a little help box on the right if you click the "can I remove a service" button, and it says the opposite.
    Blakeyrat: Can I remove a service? Yes. You may remove a calling feature or channel selections. Other service changes may require you to call to prevent your bundle price from increasing, interrupting service and prevent termination fees.
    Blakeyrat: But I'll give that 800 number a call. Thanks for your help.
    Miguel : Thank you for choosing Frontier. Have a great day!
    Your chat session has been terminated by the chat representative.

    I'd call the number, but I have contractors at my house running loud tools. Is broadband this bad everywhere else in the country? Is FIOS just an elaborate fiction to get us all thinking, "well, my Internet sucks ass, but some people have it good!" I don't know.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Everything. Just everything.

    Background: Verizon is one of those asshole telecom companies that never offered unbundled DSL (sometimes called "naked DSL" or "dryloop DSL", basically DSL with no local phone service.) Up until a few years ago, if you called and asked about it, they would blatantly lie to you and tell you it wasn't possible, trying to play it as if the equipment in this state was different than in other states where they do offer the service. Everybody knows it's a lie, because DSL is activated and de-activated separately from local phone service-- a friend of mine who was moving deactivated his phone, and his DSL kept working for days afterward. If they can do it by accident, they can certainly do it on purpose. (Of course the real reason they didn't provide it is that they weren't legally obligated to in my State.)

    So, anyway, Verizon decided that dealing with my calls was too much of an effort, so they sold all of their properties in my area to a company I'd never heard of before called Frontier Communications. Wow. And I thought Verizon was incompetent.

    Of course, they decided to do this just before FIOS was scheduled to be rolled-out at my house, and cancelled all FIOS roll-outs in the process... so I'm stuck on this DSL for God-knows how long. (Probably until I either move, or die.) By the way, this was all prompted by a Slashdot headline reporting that Verizon was offering 150 Mbps service to people who aren't me.

    Since it's a new company, I decided to check to see if Frontier could sell unbundled DSL on their website. Wow was that a retardedly-stupid experience. First of all, their website is nothing but a hastily (and poorly) re-skinned Verizon site. The page title still reads "Verizon", the nav links still say "Back to My Verizon", etc. Hell even a lot of the images are stored on www22.verizon.com... they didn't even bother copying all the creatives to their site!

    But that's just visual. The bigger problem is that it doesn't work. At all. It says I'm signed-up for the 1 Mbps plan (I'm on the 3 Mbps plan), the phone line section has a link for removing local phone service, but it doesn't actually do anything-- in fact any changes you make on the phone section disappear when you get back to the overview.

    So I tried their chat service:

    Thank you for contacting us. We are routing you to a chat representative.
    You are now chatting with Miguel .
    Miguel : Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service. How can I help you place your order?
    Blakeyrat: Everything about your website is broken and wrong. It's reporting I'm on the wrong plan, it won't let me remove local phone and keep DSL (or even tell me if it's possible!) and half of it says Verizon the other half said Frontier.
    Miguel : I would be glad to assist you today.
    Blakeyrat: Can you tell me if you offer unbundled DSL in Washington State?
    Miguel : At this time to remove the home phone, you will need to call customer care at 877 462 8188 online you can not remove the service.
    Blakeyrat: What does that mean? I have to pay for the phone, but it won't work?
    Miguel : To remove it from your package you have to call customer care. Online you can only add services.
    Blakeyrat: Your website has a little help box on the right if you click the "can I remove a service" button, and it says the opposite.
    Blakeyrat: Can I remove a service? Yes. You may remove a calling feature or channel selections. Other service changes may require you to call to prevent your bundle price from increasing, interrupting service and prevent termination fees.
    Blakeyrat: But I'll give that 800 number a call. Thanks for your help.
    Miguel : Thank you for choosing Frontier. Have a great day!
    Your chat session has been terminated by the chat representative.

    I'd call the number, but I have contractors at my house running loud tools. Is broadband this bad everywhere else in the country? Is FIOS just an elaborate fiction to get us all thinking, "well, my Internet sucks ass, but some people have it good!" I don't know.

    Have you tried cable?

    I thought it was bad on Comcast (when I was in Florida, I'm on Charter in Wisconsin now), but that's ten times worse then my worst experience.

    Course, in the middle there I was in Seattle on an internship and got really spoiled.  Had 100 Mbps down and 50 up for $60 a month.



  • @DescentJS said:

    Have you tried cable?

    I thought it was bad on Comcast (when I was in Florida, I'm on Charter in Wisconsin now), but that's ten times worse then my worst experience.

    Course, in the middle there I was in Seattle on an internship and got really spoiled.  Had 100 Mbps down and 50 up for $60 a month.

    Yeah, I tried cable for awhile. And I was happy with it, until Comcast lost about 3 payments in a row and sent a collections agency after me-- for a bill I paid, and could prove I paid. Fuck Comcast, they're not getting a fucking cent from me again as long as I live.

    Verizon is incompetent, but at least their billing department is on-the-ball... hell, they even called me up once and said, "hey we changed our pricing structure, we can give you faster service for $5 less a month," which I was pretty impressed with. (Most companies would have waited for me to figure it out on my own and switch.)

    But how is it possible that an ISP, a *large* ISP with millions of customers, can't make a working website? Even before Frontier, I'd classify Verizon's website as "barely works."



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Verizon is incompetent, but at least their billing department is on-the-ball... hell, they even called me up once and said, "hey we changed our pricing structure, we can give you faster service for $5 less a month," which I was pretty impressed with. (Most companies would have waited for me to figure it out on my own and switch.)
    You're lucky you've had such a good experience with them.  I've got Verizon DSL with my housemates, no phone or TV service.  We know this, Verizon knows this, but they kept sending bills for phone service anyway!  We called them several times, and finally got through to them, but god how hard is it to charge for specific services?  Also, their DSL sucks, but that may just be because I live in Corruptsylvania where the bastard telcom can do whatever they want without fear of competition. (Unless you count competition with other equally bastardly telcoms, i.e., Comcast.)  Also I think they think I live in the woods.  Central PA, go figure.



  • I know/knew the developers of this site. Verizon doesn't do the site. If it's any consolation, the developers know it's a big WTF, but in their defense, it seems as if the company wants it that way. The marketing department owns that web site... so it's not surprising that it's worthless for just about anything other than finding out what cool flashy new shit you can buy.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    I'd call the number, but I have contractors at my house running loud tools. Is broadband this bad everywhere else in the country? Is FIOS just an elaborate fiction to get us all thinking, "well, my Internet sucks ass, but some people have it good!" I don't know.

     

    Broadband quality really seems to be random. I'd say broadband is generally bad, with some exceptions.

    DSL in my town is really really good, through CenturyLink. My house has 10 Mbps download, 768k upload (which is the best residential broadband in our area) and we're only two blocks from their office so it generally runs faster. Tech support is amazing, though it's slightly worse since CenturyTel bought Embarq, but still miles above every other ISP tech support I've dealt with.

    The local cable ISP (SuddenLink), on the other hand, is generally awful. Most people get 1 Mb or less, even if they pay for the 5 Mb package, it randomly disconnects or gets triple-digit ping (bad for a college town since so many people play xbox live), customer service treats you like you're retarded and refuses to deviate from the script ("Please clear your cache and cookies." "The problem is on my Xbox, it says no internet connection. I don't have a PC." "That's okay. Just find the blue E icon on your desktop, right-click, and--" "It's an Xbox!!! Internet explorer isn't on here!" "Please calm down, sir. Now if you'll find the blue E icon" etc), and it takes them 4 - 6 weeks to send out a tech if you have line issues. Many of my friends who had SuddenLink have switched to CenturyLink even though it's more expensive. 

    The absolute worst ISP I've had to deal with is Qwest. They need to die a slow, painful death. Bonus points if it involves lots of tiny vicious flesh-eating insects. But only after we figure out how to resurrect people so we can bring them back and kill them again. Horrible reliability and customer service. They outright lie to you. They'll tell you they don't block VPN, but anybody we talked to who's actually tried to use IPSEC over Qwest couldn't get it working. And they don't care if you need VPN for work, it has to be something wrong on the PC (even though it works fine when "borrowing" a neighbor's wireless that uses a rival ISP) because they don't block it, even though they actually do. We couldn't stay in any Xbox Live games because of high ping rates when
    we had the 1 Mb package, though download rates were usually fine. They
    told us we needed to upgrade to 3 Mb because 1 isn't fast enough for
    gaming. Never mind the fact that we've had 5 people playing Halo 3
    online in a house miles out in the country running on a 256k DSL
    connection with no problems. And when you complain that your average download speed on your 3 Mbps line is only 35 kbps, they take two and a half weeks before sending out a line technician who will tell you to your face that there's absolutely nothing wrong with the line and it must be your hardware, even if you run several different speed test utilities right in front of him on multiple PCs through multiple routers. Oh, and then there was the nearly two-month period where they decided to filter just about every Microsoft-owned domain! I won't even go into how hard it is to do simple tasks was when nothing could connect to Microsoft's services.

    /rant-hijack



  • @mott555 said:

    Oh, and then there was the nearly two-month period where they decided to filter just about every Microsoft-owned domain! I won't even go into how hard it is to do simple tasks was when nothing could connect to Microsoft's services.

    Filter? Meaning... block? Like they were blocking Microsoft's windows update servers?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @mott555 said:
    Oh, and then there was the nearly two-month period where they decided to filter just about every Microsoft-owned domain! I won't even go into how hard it is to do simple tasks was when nothing could connect to Microsoft's services.

    Filter? Meaning... block? Like they were blocking Microsoft's windows update servers?

     

    Yeah, blocking. Windows Updates, Microsoft download pages, MSN, Windows Messenger, Xbox Live. I can't even imagine what kind of WTF-ery had to happen behind the scenes for this to happen. Any site or service not affiliated with Microsoft worked just fine though.



  • @mott555 said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @mott555 said:
    Oh, and then there was the nearly two-month period where they decided to filter just about every Microsoft-owned domain! I won't even go into how hard it is to do simple tasks was when nothing could connect to Microsoft's services.

    Filter? Meaning... block? Like they were blocking Microsoft's windows update servers?

     

    Yeah, blocking. Windows Updates, Microsoft download pages, MSN, Windows Messenger, Xbox Live. I can't even imagine what kind of WTF-ery had to happen behind the scenes for this to happen. Any site or service not affiliated with Microsoft worked just fine though.

    Hah. If you're an ISP, blocking Windows Update is not in your best interest... imagine what would have happened if a worm started during that period of time!



  • Verizon advertised the crap out of FiOS here in Kent, WA. Never mind that I don't think it's offered [i]anywhere[/i] in Kent, and as you said they cancelled all their pending FiOS rollouts around here...

    Too bad, because I for one would jump ship from Comcast to FiOS in a hearbeat if I could.



  • @Heron said:

    Verizon advertised the crap out of FiOS here in Kent, WA. Never mind that I don't think it's offered anywhere in Kent, and as you said they cancelled all their pending FiOS rollouts around here...

    Too bad, because I for one would jump ship from Comcast to FiOS in a hearbeat if I could.

    Do you know anybody with FIOS? Have you seen it in person? I'm maybe a little paranoid, but christ... I swear it's fictional.



  • @mott555 said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @mott555 said:
    Oh, and then there was the nearly two-month period where they decided to filter just about every Microsoft-owned domain! I won't even go into how hard it is to do simple tasks was when nothing could connect to Microsoft's services.

    Filter? Meaning... block? Like they were blocking Microsoft's windows update servers?

     

    Yeah, blocking. Windows Updates, Microsoft download pages, MSN, Windows Messenger, Xbox Live. I can't even imagine what kind of WTF-ery had to happen behind the scenes for this to happen. Any site or service not affiliated with Microsoft worked just fine though.

    I remember that time frame you're referring to (also having Centurytel in the same rough area). I swapped every NIC in my home firewall, and eventually built a replacement just to make sure it wasn't on my end. In addition to Microsoft sites, I recall trying to download VirtualBox in that time frame and it would just die part way through. If I recall they were having some backbone issues in Chicago (Not that that excuses it).

    What's been getting me as of late is this:

    That is the 4th hop out from my computer. The first hop being my firewall. Lightcore seems to be Centurytel's backbone. For added fun, this is what I assume to be the DSLAM

    I assume they do maintenance early in the morning, or have some sort of cron job that runs, hence the spikes on both graphs at the same time. What on earth is going on with their backbone is beyond me.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Do you know anybody with FIOS? Have you seen it in person? I'm maybe a little paranoid, but christ... I swear it's fictional.

    You know... I don't actually know any WA residents who have FiOS. Maybe it [i]is[/i] fictional.

    I know a Washington DC resident who has it (or at least, that's what his hostname indicates in IRC)... but that doesn't help us here.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    [quote user="Heron"]Verizon advertised the crap out of FiOS here in Kent, WA. Never mind that I don't think it's offered anywhere in Kent, and as you said they cancelled all their pending FiOS rollouts around here...

    Too bad, because I for one would jump ship from Comcast to FiOS in a hearbeat if I could.

    Do you know anybody with FIOS? Have you seen it in person? I'm maybe a little paranoid, but christ... I swear it's fictional.[/quote]

    I know someone in CA who has FIOS.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    @Heron said:
    Verizon advertised the crap out of FiOS here in Kent, WA. Never mind that I don't think it's offered anywhere in Kent, and as you said they cancelled all their pending FiOS rollouts around here... Too bad, because I for one would jump ship from Comcast to FiOS in a hearbeat if I could.
    Do you know anybody with FIOS? Have you seen it in person? I'm maybe a little paranoid, but christ... I swear it's fictional.

    A guy I work with had FIOS.  He dropped it because he thought it wasn't worth the money.  However, all of us that would gladly pay for it can't get it.

    @blakeyrat said:

    Everything. Just everything.

    Background: Verizon is one of those asshole telecom companies that never offered unbundled DSL (sometimes called "naked DSL" or "dryloop DSL", basically DSL with no local phone service.) Up until a few years ago, if you called and asked about it, they would blatantly lie to you and tell you it wasn't possible, trying to play it as if the equipment in this state was different than in other states where they do offer the service. Everybody knows it's a lie, because DSL is activated and de-activated separately from local phone service-- a friend of mine who was moving deactivated his phone, and his DSL kept working for days afterward. If they can do it by accident, they can certainly do it on purpose. (Of course the real reason they didn't provide it is that they weren't legally obligated to in my state.)

    So, anyway, Verizon decided that dealing with my calls was too much of an effort, so they sold all of their properties in my area to a company I'd never heard of before called Frontier Communications. Wow. And I thought Verizon was incompetent.

    Frontier gets its name from Frontier Telephone, formerly Rochester Telephone, based 30 miles from my house.  They specialize in rural service, so they're used to customers that have no other choices.  Strangely, I pass by a Frontier CO on my 20 mile trip to work, but I haven't heard of anyone using them for the past ten years.  Frontier used to be known for operating one of the only parts of the telephone network that was never part of AT&T, and had a reputation for bringing tech to market quickly.  Recently they've become like the Packard Bell of the 1990s, an old respected name being thrown on shoddy products and services.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Jaime said:

    Recently they've become like the Packard Bell of the 1990s, an old respected name being thrown on shoddy products and services.
    So wait. When was Packard Bell respected?



  • @Weng said:

    @Jaime said:

    Recently they've become like the Packard Bell of the 1990s, an old respected name being thrown on shoddy products and services.
    So wait. When was Packard Bell respected?

    In the 1940s.



  • @Jaime said:

    @Weng said:

    @Jaime said:

    Recently they've become like the Packard Bell of the 1990s, an old respected name being thrown on shoddy products and services.
    So wait. When was Packard Bell respected?

    In the 1940s.



  • Golligan

    Radio



  • My dead uncle used to have a Packard Bell Stereo from the 70's, I believe. Probably older. It was still quality stuff, unlike the other stuff Packard Bell is known for in more recent times, the thingys that made them turn into Packard Hell.

    TRWTF is that according to predictions back in the 80's, everyone should have fiber to the premises by now. Instead of that, we have telco's trying to shoot down net neutrality so they can legally make your 10Mbps link run at dialup speeds whenever they want to. Meh.



  • @bardofspoons42 said:

    What's been getting me as of late is this:


    Nice graph. What tool did you use to measure that and plot it?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Do you know anybody with FIOS? Have you seen it in person? I'm maybe a little paranoid, but christ... I swear it's fictional.

    Verizon have working FiOS in NY state—I know a couple of people there on it. One gets 20 Mbps up/down for a bargain price (can't find where she stated it now), but Verizon block at least port 80, so she can't move her web server over from Canada. What is the sense in 20 Mbit upstream if you can't put a personal Web server on it? Legally I mean; obviously it has plenty of illegitimate advantages.

    Some of the broadband speeds you folk are getting are disturbing, but maybe it's on account of how far you all are from the exchanges. I'm always thankful that Virgin Media (and ntl:home when I signed up) have been pretty good to me. Cable, around 6 Mbps in a village (out of a maximum 10). Sheer luck though! Even their support has been decent, on the rare occasions it's been needed. (Not that most, if any sites want to give me a whole 750 kB/sec ... maybe Virgin have adjusted the connection to only respond fast to speedtest.net ;-) This is a bit of a duff area for ADSL though, and when I switched to cable broadband, ADSL wasn't even available here.



  • I'm on 3Mb because I can't be arsed to upgrade my subscription.

    And then they roll out an infrastructure upgrade, and we all get another Mb for zip. I've basically been paying the same amount of money for ever-increasing speed.



  • @dhromed said:

    I'm on 3Mb because I can't be arsed to upgrade my subscription.

    And then they roll out an infrastructure upgrade, and we all get another Mb for zip. I've basically been paying the same amount of money for ever-increasing speed.

    Same here -- I'm only paying for 10 Mbit; I could upgrade to 30 I think, but realistically I don't think the signal is strong enough to warrant it.



  • I have two locations serviced (and you know what I mean by serviced) by Frontier T-1 lines. One of them had serious problems - it dropped offline several times a day for several minutes at a time. Frontier insisted it wasn't at their end. I replaced the firewall, the router, everything. Same problem. Finally, deciding to not be the TRWTF myself, I walked in to the phone close to see what would be involved in rerunning the cat5 from there to the room the router was in. What I find is that when the previous owner of the store switched from DLS to T-1, the phone company's box ended up a coupld of feet further away from the point of entry in the wall, and the cable was too short. So they spliced it. With wire nuts. On cat5.



  • @mott555 said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    @mott555 said:
    Oh, and then there was the nearly two-month period where they decided to filter just about every Microsoft-owned domain! I won't even go into how hard it is to do simple tasks was when nothing could connect to Microsoft's services.
    Filter? Meaning... block? Like they were blocking Microsoft's windows update servers?
     

    Yeah, blocking. Windows Updates, Microsoft download pages, MSN, Windows Messenger, Xbox Live. I can't even imagine what kind of WTF-ery had to happen behind the scenes for this to happen. Any site or service not affiliated with Microsoft worked just fine though.

    DNS poisoned?


  • @Heron said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Do you know anybody with FIOS? Have you seen it in person? I'm maybe a little paranoid, but christ... I swear it's fictional.

    You know... I don't actually know any WA residents who have FiOS. Maybe it is fictional.

    I know a Washington DC resident who has it (or at least, that's what his hostname indicates in IRC)... but that doesn't help us here.

     

    I'm in Redmond and have had FIOS for the last couple years.  No complaints once it was set up.

    -cw 


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