Posts Tagged ‘telecom’
At 11:40 AM, a Verizon supervisor — the second tier guys who actually know what the f*** is going on — called me back and clarified the status of the phone repair–
1) The copper is dead between my house and the distribution point, there are no alternatives, Verizon is going to have to dig and put in new copper.
2) This process may take up to 7 days (worst case), since it is now a weekend, Miss Utility has to be called to mark the lines and then Verizon’s contractor has to come out to dig-dig-dig… *sigh*
3) “Bob” the supervisor noted that if the first-line person who had taken the call had scrolled down the record a bit more, she should have seen that A) Phone line was dead, Jim and B) There was another work order generated for replacing the copper from this morning’s tech assessment. So, she should have not told me that I had service restored and go through the rote ritual of “unplug the phones, wait 5 minutes, try again, that doesn’t work, call back.”
The supervisor — who I bet installed his share of network when he was younger — did not think kindly of the first line response person. Ya gotta love a guy who doesn’t sugar coat things
The moral of this story should NOT be “I hate Verizon.” I love the line guys and techs who don’t try to B.S. me, they just tell me what’s going on, like the guy yesterday up from Richmond working through the backlog of repairs. These are people who care about the customer and have pride in their work and they know that they can make a person’s day because they’ve dealt with some of the back office crap and it doesn’t make them any happier.
I really wish Ivan and the rest of the Verizon senior leadership would stop and take a moment to reassess and repair Verizon’s customer service organization on the landline side.
P.S. Shoutout to Andy Abramson — happy to make you smile!
My Verizon landline went dead on Monday. I filed a trouble ticket on Monday evening. At that time I was told that “the latest someone would be out to look at my line would be Monday, July 13, but if there’s someone free earlier, we’ll call you…”
Seven days for a tech to come out seems excessive by any stretch of the imagination. I suppose I could call the President of Verizon Virginia to complain — that’s the secret ninja trick that all Verizon employees know — but I don’t have his number in my cards.
Instead, this morning I went to the Virgina PUC and emailed in a complaint this morning. By the time I returned from the gym today, I received a response which read in part…
“As to the current service quality regulations, 95% or more of all telephone company outages should be cleared within 48 hours. The quoted ‘seven days’ interval is not acceptable to the Commission’s standards and should not be a company policy within Verizon.”
If you want to know one of the supporting reasons why Verizon continues to lose landlines, it boils down to one word: service.
My Verizon landline died sometime yesterday. I placed a service call last night and was told the latest someone would show up would be July 13 – seven days from the time I placed the call.
A test from the CO indicated that yes, indeedie, there was a problem, so a truck roll was scheduled. Iif a dispatcher could get someone out there earlier, Verizon might be able to get someone out there; could I please provide two (2) other phone numbers to reach someone at the household. So they have a “work” number (which, BTW, is a Cox phone line working fine) and a mobile number.
Other highlights of my call: “Did I check the dial tone access on the box outside?” No. When did checking dial tone on the box outside become standard operating procedure? “Work on the inside of the house is covered, you pay for maintenance…” Yes, we do, but this apparently doesn’t get a truck roll out to me any sooner despite paying the extra $3 and change.
All this gives me flashbacks to when I moved about 3 years ago and tried to get service to my new house. It was almost literally a move across the street — no change in CO, no restart in billing, should have been a piece of cake.
Instead, it was a NIGHTMARE.
One phone number was supposed to be transferred over the weekend, but the house owners left their service on. I called service, took time out of my day on a Friday, and was PROMISED that would be out that day. 10 AM rolled into noon, and I called Verizon again. “Someone will be out by 3 PM”… 3 PM rolled into 4, called again … “Someone will be out by 6 PM”… 6 PM came and went. “We can’t send someone out today, we’ll send someone out tomorrow.”
Saturday came and went, nobody showed up.
Monday rolls around, the dial tone from the previous owners ends and STILL no truck roll. I call again, am told that because the previous owners didn’t have service turned off, they have rescheduled the truck roll — because they just CAN’T turn up service without a truck roll once the line is turned off — for two weeks later, thank you very much.
Since I live in a cell phone “dead zone” and have a small child, I am not f***ing pleased. I ask for a supervisor and tell her I had a live phone line in the house until yesterday, could she PLEASE try to do something in the switch?
And… 5 minutes later late on Monday I have one of two phone lines turned on. Lot of apologies about how Verizon was switching to a new dispatch/service system…. and that’s it. No service credit, no paper…
Line number two came up after a truck roll about two weeks later.
A month or two after that, I called up Cox and moved line number two off Verizon. The cable company gave me a TWO HOUR window when the tech would be out and it took them less than an hour to:
1) Find the right cable
2) Install the equipment on the side of the house
3) Switch the phone number out of Verizon’s CO over to their CO.
It would have been MUCH LESS than an hour, but the installer was training a new guy, so he was taking his time showing the rookie how to do things right, including nicely cutting the cable guys. In addition, there was about 5-10 minutes on hold with the service center because it was lunch time.
Now, which would you prefer, a two hour service window, or a seven day service window? Cable may have gotten a bad rap for customer service in the past, but they’re kicking Verizon’s rear in my neighborhood today.
The bidding for the corpse and pieces of Nortel has gotten more interesting. The Ottawa Citizen reports “vulture fund” MatlinPatterson Global Advisors is making a play for Nortel. It couldn’t convince a U.S. bankruptcy court for an extension to the bidding process of Nortel wireless assets to Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), however.
MatlinPatterson wanted a 15 day extension to formalize a bid. Instead, the company must put together something by July 21 for an auction being held on July 24 with NSN currently the only bidder. NSN and Nortel were hoping to close a sale on July 29.
With about $400 million – about 10 percent of Nortel debt – in Nortel bonds, Matlin feels that Nortel is worth more than the quick bidders believe, with cash reserves of $2.7 billion (U.S.), and notes the company has made $220 million since filing Chapter 11 in January.
However, NSN won’t get a free ride. The bankruptcy court ruled that NSN has to top competing bids to win the wireless assets and has made changes to the bidding process to allow options such as the reorganization of Nortel and the sale of all assets.
Be interesting to see if NSN holds course and what kind of cards Matlin might put on the table by July 21.
Posted June 29, 2009on:
Over at TMCNet, Gary Kim has unearthed survey data generated by Alcatel-Lucent on global consumer telecommunications spending in these tight times. People are cutting, but they’re going to keep VoIP and multi-channel video services (i.e. TV) pretty much the same.
Getting chopped are pay-per-view movies downloaded from the Internet and mobile data service. Customers plan to reduce spending on network based services if the economy – i.e. their pocketbooks – doesn’t get better, moving from fee-based services to free alternatives. People will also shift from wireless voice to using email and text messaging to save pennies and dollars. Pre-paid voice and bundled service packs offering discounts get a thumbs up over post-paid plans.
Mixed results when the economy improves: 29 percent of consumers will increase their spending on network-based services while 13 percent will tighten their belts regardless.
Among the remaining titans of ICT (Information and Communication Technology), HP has taken advantage of the failings and chaos of other companies (i.e. Nortel) to expand its positions in the telecom and UC arenas. In the convergence between IT and telecommunications, HP may have the upper hand.
Under an agreement rolled out earlier this month, HP and Alcatel-Lucent have established a 10 year global alliance to help customers “leverage the convergence of telecommunication and IT,” meaning the companies will jointly market solutions and capabilities for service providers and enterprises.
Once a definitive agreement has been executed, the companies will jointly market solutions and capabilities that enable end-to-end transformation for service providers and enterprises. HP and Alcatel-Lucent will have a global program for migrating communications networks into converged, next-generation infrastructure, plus services for managing new and existing infrastructures.
In addition, HP and Alcatel-Lucent will work together to selling communications solutions to larger enterprises and the public sector, with options of either buying through HP resellers or purchasing managed solutions.
It should be no big surprise that HP teamed with Alcatel-Lucent for delivering integrated IT/telecom solutions for service providers and enterprises. Alcatel-Lucent had few options and with Sun being devoured by Oracle, HP was the last remaining independent with scalable server hardware Alcatel-Lucent brings its IP telephony, mobility, security, and contact center knowledge to the table and HP can leverage its resellers.
Could Alcatel-Lucent have worked with IBM? Not really, as there was too much overlap between the telecom solutions that IBM already has in its portfolio (and conveniently running on IBM hardware). IBM is also sticking its fingers into mobile communications to the tune of $100 million, research that Alcatel-Lucent isn’t likely to be comfy with along with all those mobile apps that IBM is starting to roll out.
HP also has another card up its sleeve: A four year unified communications deal with Microsoft. Announced last month at Interop, the two companies expect to invest up to $180 million in a combination of product development, professional services, and joint sales and marketing.
Enterprises looking to embrace UC can now turn to HP and Microsoft, with HP providing additional software for network monitoring, as well as a high-end telepresence solution. HP’s continued financial success and IT hardware may make the company a much more useful partner to Microsoft than Nortel ever ways; sure, you could run OCS on a Nortel server, but if you had to put HP and Nortel head-to-head in server hardware, HP wins hands down.
After two weeks of hype and rumors, Google Voice is starting to hand out phone numbers to its waiting list. Although, after yesterday’s “Today” show segment, the company might not have had a choice.
I guess I am suffering from Google-burnout, between the hype for Google Voice, how Google is supposed to respond to Bing, Chrome, Android, Google’s troubles with China on censorship, Google Wave, and Google Book Search…
In the “Today Show” segment, there was happy gushing from NBC News user Janet Shamlian, how it made her life easier and for her family to get in touch with her yadda-yadda. Little downside was given in the piece other than potential privacy concerns since The Google gets access to your recorded voice conversations, voicemail (probably a more valid point if they start datamining the contents, even in a generic fashion) and everything else that flows through GV, like call data. Heaven forbid that The Goog use that data to target ads!
We’ll see how long it takes for me to get a Google Voice number. I’m not really convinced it is going to do anything greater for me than my current phone service(s) of Cox (landline) and Sprint (mobile). Cox has added online Phone Tools, so I’ll get the visual voice mail component and call forwarding set on line. I don’t have a gazillion phone numbers to manage, so being able to simultaneous ring a bunch of devices Does Not Make Sense for me.
Finally, there’s the whole “hand Google my primary phone number when they finally get around to supporting it.” So, I give Google my house number, and I need a new number (no doubt provided out of the million number stash Google has allegedly built) for my landline and this makes sense because…?
If Google Voice such a big-deal/game changing service, it won’t take too terribly long for everyone else (translation: Any voice service provider with a softswitch and purchasing a service pack upgrade) to do the same thing After all, GrandCentral/Google Voice has had about two years of “betas,” so it has given those mean old phone companies and the vendors who support them plenty of time to figure out how to replicate the services on their own networks.
Deja cheap minutes! Comcast has jumped onto the how-low-can-you-go bandwagon, announcing a bundle of 300 anytime international minutes for a flat fee of $15 (well, $14.95 per month. This fits in with the preaching I did late yesterday about vanilla voice minutes and this morning’s manifesto about the third wave of voice communications being HD.
Comcast says the WorldWide plan for its digital voice service could save consumers 20 to 30 percent when compared to traditional phone service plans, and encompasses–
- 41 countries in Europe
- 26 countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America
- 20 countries in Asia and the Pacific
- 8 countries in the Middle East
- 5 countries in Africa
You can find a complete list of all the countries included over at www.comcast.com/internationalcalling
My quickie math works out to a price of 6.7 cents per minute; overages will be billed at “standard international rates,” whatever that translates to. Six hours of calling around the globe will be attractive to a lot of people, and a headache to some.
One of my buddies from way-back was bemoaning the fact his mother-in-law had discovered VoIP service, so she’d call at 2:30 AM (local Eastern Time), talk for an hour at a time. Last I heard, he was looking for was to selective degrade his broadband connection when she called to wrap up the conversation faster.
Or why you should care about wideband. Really.
Voice communications is entering into its third wave of evolution. A third wave move to HD Communications represents an opportunity for carriers to redefine themselves and reassert their superiority relative to the “me too” VoIP service providers that have driven cost down, but at the price of quality.
The First Wave: Phone 1.0
Defining the first wave of voice is easy: Phone 1.0, our good friend the PSTN/POTS. In the beginning, standards were set, copper was pulled, and many people got phone service. The quality of the voice call was defined between 30 KHz and 3000 KHz over a 56Kbps analog phone line and reliability was written into the DNA of generations of phone people as five nines.
It was easy to set (dictate) standards because universal voice service was driven by a government sanctioned monopoly. But that same monopoly stifled innovation and kept prices artificially high.
The Second Wave: Convenience and Cost
The second wave of voice communication delivered convenience and lowered cost – C&C, if you prefer. Monopolies were broken up, IP and VoIP battered their way into common wisdom and the concept of the Next Generation Network (NGN) was born.
Everyone gained convenience in the second wave, the biggest example being mobility delivered via cellular carriers. Web sites can now be voice enabled and the tools are available for various mashups between applications and voice.
Competition and VoIP also drove down costs. In less than a decade, VoIP moved from a novelty to the primary way to move around phone calls on long distance calls, pushing down costs to where carriers now charge fractions of pennies per minute for calls.
The two pillars of the second wave were driven from the “bottom up” by consumers and innovative companies working to outmaneuver the resource-rich but innovation slow incumbent carriers – and then by incumbent carriers who saw the advantages in leveraging technology to make their own operations more efficient.
However, convenience and cost didn’t come without a price. The sacred definitions of what a voice call over the PSTN should sound like from end-to-end got trashed – quality was lost. Cellular networks compressed voice calls in the name of spectral efficiency and then transcoded them over to the PSTN. VoIP provided the ability to cram more calls on leased lines, but compression, transcoding, and codecs all inflicted their own small insults.
In addition, the PSTN – good old Phone 1.0 – provided an out for anyone using VoIP. You don’t have to peer, you can route a call onto the PSTN for pennies a minute and if the call doesn’t sound good, you can always blame it on the legacy network.
The Third Wave of HD Communications: Raising and restoring quality
Emerging today around the world, HD communications is about raising the bar for quality, while restoring quality to voice communications. High-quality voice with the baseline G.722 wideband codec is about five times better than the stock PSTN call. Big business already recognizes that high-quality voice is a big winner today for conference calls and international calls Using HD, people understand what is being said better because there’s more audio information to use and less need to “process” to fill in the blanks with a foreign speaker or sorting out who is who on a conference call.
More importantly, HD is about restoring quality to end-to-end voice communications. If a service provider is delivering high quality voice, it has to make sure that every part of the call is the best from end-to-end; there’s a lot less slack for blaming it on the other guy. More importantly, you want “the other guy” to deliver his end of the call in HD so everyone gains the benefit, rather than descending to lowest common denominator.
The third wave will be more top-down than bottom up for two key factors. Organizations that recognize the value of high quality voice – C-level executives, enterprises – are willing to write the checks to pay for quality. Service providers recognize that those organizations expect a higher level of service and will pay for it – plus they want escape the downward spiral rat trap of cheap minutes.
While there are some “bottom-up” push from hosted VoIP business service providers looking to different themselves and conferencing services looking for an edge in the marketplace, the vast majority of providers who originally dove into VoIP from the “bottom” looking to snap business away from larger carriers figure they have enough to do with pennies per minute.
Ultimately, cellular carriers will move to high quality voice because people will want more out of their phones. Availability of broadband and smartphones means that there’s little excuse to not be able to implement HD voice.
How far are we from the third wave? The trinity of handsets, service providers and customers
For the third wave of HD communications to catch on, you need to have customers who want high quality voice, handsets that support (i.e. have baked in) HD voice, and service providers who can deliver the service from end-to-end.
In Europe, the trinity already exists, with France Telecom, BT, and other European carriers signing up customers. By the end of the year, those carriers will start exchanging HD voice calls with one another.
Within the U.S., there are a lot of islands of HD, little pockets of business hosted VoIP service providers that are not (so far) talking to each other. However, those islands will start to be pushed to talk to Europe and to each other.
Asia moves forward with HD as carriers in Australia, Korea, and Japan all moving to implement services for consumers and businesses.
Enterprises are going to continue to be the first HD adopters. Global Crossing is already doing one-off HD conferencing for its elite customers and is in the process of productizing HD conferencing. Optimum Lightpath, a division of Cablevision, has taken the lead among cable companies to provide hosted HD voice for its customer base.
Verizon Business may provide the most interesting sign post for HD. It believes that, among its customer base of large enterprises, the earlier adopters of HD will show up in 2010, with widespread demand occurring in 2011.
HD communication is happening, and it starting to move faster.