Switching ISPs (or Why I Hate Bell and Rogers)

This is not my first run-in with them, nor my worst. But it simply adds to my irritation and general resignation about the state of telecommunications in Canada as a whole.
One day a little before Christmas, we stepped into a retail store to see what they had. I was interested in seeing the new Galaxy Nexus google phone, and they had it at the Source. The sales gentlemen was very obliging and courteous, and somehow the discussion went around to Bell Fibe. We aske, and he answered. The entire package with TV, basic Internet and Home phone would be $65 / month, and the PVR would belong to us. This would save us scads of money, give us our own PVR, and get us out of the clutches of Rogers. Then he said we would get a $200 store credit if we signed up then. We jumped, and picked up a nice Samsung 40″ TV using our credit + about $300.
Our installation date was set for Jan 8, a Sunday – since we could not cancel our Rogers any sooner.
Of course, canceling Rogers involved the usual song and dance, where they suddenly decided they could give us HD for free, and write off the PVR. Frankly I found the whole thing rather insulting, plus I had already accepted the Bell ofer, though, and installed the TV, so there was no going back.
Did I mention that I had already had a run-in with Bell? Come Jan 8th, I got up and went around the house, clearing access to the phone jacks in the various rooms, and to the incoming stuff in the basement. I even moved my car into visitor parking to free up the spot in my driveway. I waited until noon, and called their customer service to see if I was really getting an installation. They told me I was scheduled, so not to worry. At 2:30, a guy called, asked me about my setup wrt: TVs and Internet, and said they were on their way. They would be there in an hour or so. At 4:00 pm, the guy called back to tell me that the local connection did not have enough connections available. There was insufficient capacity for my house. I should call the business office after 1:00 pm the next day. I was disappointed, but not surprised.
That morning, my 2 year old daughter was disappointed to discover that her morning TV was cancelled. I was concerned because my Internet was also cancelled.
Next day, I did not wait until 1:00 pm. I called at 9:00. I used the number on the web site specifically for Bell Fibe. The first time I got through, waited about 5 minutes, and spoke with a rep, who listened to me and gave me a different number to call. I called that number, waited another 5 minutes and spoke to someone who tried to transfer me to the installation department. I was transfered and someone hung up on me immediately. I tried again, and spoke to Tawnia(?), who transfered me to Tania, who kept on the call, and spoke on my behalf to the various people she felt would help. In the end, it looked like the installation tech. was right, and I would have to wait for the capacity to be upgraded, and they would call back to set an installation date. I pressed them for some resolution, and told them how unhappy I was to have no internet. They did not offer a solution. I said that I may have to use my mobile for data until they hook me up. They offered to transfer me to mobile, which they did, but mobile said that the data was not their problem – that I should ask fibe to give me a credit to cover the data costs.
So I called back again, and got a rep quite quickly. I explained the situation, and he transfered me to the home phone loyalty department. They could not even pull up my account, and told me I needed to be with a Fibe package department. She transfered me to Fibe billing, who actually seemed to be the right people. Dave checked out my situation without any further ado, he sheduled Saturday morning for a re-attempt. To address the lack of internet, he gave me a $50 credit to be applied to the first bill – which should cover the data costs on my mobile plan when I use it to tether at home.
Meanwhile, we have no Internet or TV or home phone. It is 9th January. I will follow up with progress as it happens.

Life as it is

Lots of things are new around here. My server (on who’s hard drive this text resides) is kind of new – a hard drive replacement was a good excuse to do a clean OS install. She (gemini) is now running on Mint 11 – an upgrade from the Ubuntu on top of earlier Debian with multiple custom bits she was running. We have a new TV, courtesy in part to a Bell-fibe sign up bonus of $200. The big disappointment is that they did not come today to install as promised. I got some excuse about local capacity, but I think they overbook for efficiencies sake – just like doctors and airlines. The two worst service experiences I have had in my life are Bell and Rogers, the two telecommunications giants in our area. By now, I am simply resigned to putting up with long telephone conversations getting them to actually do the things they promised.

We are a little way into this new tack. We are officially a one child family, having given up on the effort to have a second child. We are also setting our selves to rights financially and emotionally. I have finished my debt consolidation, Stephanie is part way through her student loan, and she is beginning a serious weight loss campaign.  I am working on my discipline – scheduling, calendaring, finishing things I start, that sort of thing.

Maddy is happy as ever, although it makes me both happy and sad to see her create her little role-playing games by herself. She sits in the car with her feet up on the back of my seat, and they talk to each other – her feet that is. Each one has a role, usually mummy and baby. Very cute. I am sad because of the brothers she might have had.

We are planning menus for a week at a time now. Time is precious, and without planning, we often end up eating out – or I end up spending all my free time after work cooking. We have a slow cooker, and Steph has both planned and shopped for the groceries. If this goes well, I shall be spending less time in the kitchen, we shall eat better, we shall both lose some weight, and we will save some money. I can’t imagine a more satisfactory combination.

We did find time to watch “Once upon a time” and “Downton Abbey“. American and British TV at their best.

I do feel that I am not getting some necessary chores done however. The taxes still loom, and the old van is still occupying the garage. I need to find a mechanic who is willing to take it on here at our home. I also need to spend a few hours each week on the taxes. I will schedule that into our calendar.

The Spellstorm thing seems to be coming along. We have a few volunteers willing to take on the necessary roles. We could certainly use more, but it is a start, albeit a late one.

Landmark Project

I am in the final part of the Landmark Education Curriculum – the Self Expression and Leadership course. It has been a long and sometimes hard, but always interesting journey.

In this part of the course, I have been invited to take on a community project. My project “We are Responsible” is ambitious. I intend to cause the creation of a Treatment Centre for Alcoholism and Addiction in a First Nations Community in Northern Ontario.

Maureen Bryne, an addictions counsellor and TV Interventionist from the reality show “Intervention Canada” has just come on board as our newest committee member. This is tremendously exciting, and I am looking forward to really getting things moving with her help and contacts.