Going to the dark side

In two days, I’ll be going to the Dark Side.

Right now, we have AT&T Uverse, and we’ve had them for probably 7 or 8 years, ever since they came into our neighborhood and talked us into changing from Direct TV satellite to their cable system. Even with Direct TV, however, we still had to have a phone line and our internet through AT&T because satellite is only a one-way communications system.

“OK, but why did you get Direct TV in the first place? Was that our only option?” I heard someone ask and I’m glad you did, otherwise I would have been stuck for a segue into my main point.

We could have chosen Time-Warner Cable (duh duh duh duuuuh!) when we first moved in, but I have been anti-TWC since they first wired Milwaukee back in the 1980s. Why? Because when Milwaukee chose to go with TWC for the city’s cable system, TWC made them sign a contract that TWC would always only be the cable provider for the city, that no one else could string cable upon the telephone poles. In other words, the city signed a No-Compete Clause with TWC.

I know, by rights I should really be mad at the Mayor at the time and the city alderman for signing such a stupid contract, and to be honest, I was, but they’ve all been voted out by now. So, I only had one participant in that debacle to hate: TWC.

So I went with Direct TV, then chose to go with AT&T Uverse. To be truthful, AT&T Uverse at the time, was much better priced than the competition.

And once we were strung up, Uverse was actually a pretty darned good service. For about two years. Then the problems started. The freezing of the screen. The pixelating of the picture.

So we called their service and they came out promptly. They changed a few archaic parts out of the box outside the box and we were good to go.

For about a year. Then the problems returned. They came back and ran fiber optics from the pole to our house and we were again good to go.

For about a year. Then we’d start losing the signal altogether. Right when Columbo was announcing who the killer was the TV signal would disappear, the internet connection would disappear, and my patience would disappear.

So they came out and replaced the home portal. Again, that solved the problem.

For about a year. (Seeing a pattern here?) Once again the entire signal would just vanish. We’d have nothing, nada. Our TV and internet went kaput. And they came out and ran their diagnostics and couldn’t find any problem. They came short of accusing me of imagining the whole thing. One of them came in from outside and said, “One of your neighbors has a big antenna. Is he a ham radio operator?”

How would I know? All I know is the guy is a hoarder and his garage is filled wall-to-wall, floor-to ceiling with crap.

So he said, “We think that’s your problem. He probably broadcasts and that interferes with your signal.”

Is there anything we can do about it?

“Well, if we could determine that was the cause, we’d have to replace your wiring with super-special, industrial purpose, insulated cable.”

Why don’t you do that now?

“We have to be sure. That stuff isn’t cheap.” Meaning AT&T didn’t want to pay the expense if these two bozos were just blowing theories out of their ass. “So if you could keep a log of when it happens, that’ll give us ammo to hit the purchasing department with.”

Well, lo and behold, the problem subsided after they left, so I never really got around to creating a log, however, that didn’t last very long, because …

Six months later the problems came back. They came out, couldn’t find a problem using their computer diagnostics, and left.

And now, the problems are back again. And I’m tired of calling for service. I’m tired of idiots coming out and either saying I’m crazy, there’s no problem, or troubleshooting the problem by Easter Egging it. I’ve had it. I’ve reached the last straw and I’ve just been mentally keeping a running tab of how many television show endings I’ve missed because our service was disrupted.

So, yes, I’m going to the dark side on Friday. I’ll have twice the internet speed. I’ll be able to record six programs at once instead of just four. We’ll get HD TV at no additional cost. Plus, I’ll have that really cool feature where when you turn on the TV and are in the middle of a program, you can start it from the beginning. That seems like a god-send.

Friday can’t get here fast enough. Oh, yes, and I know. It’s Friday the 13th. You know what that means? Bad luck for AT&T Uverse.

(And if you’re adding up all my time references to see if they total seven or eight years, they probably don’t.)



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