Apocryphal DSL

That’s waht Jim said ADSL stands for. My dictionary says:


  • Not Canonical. Hence: Of doubtful authority; equivocal; mythic; fictitious; spurious; false.

We’re talking about my broadband connection.

“Oh, what broadband?”, I hear you ask.

Me too.

Free.fr. It’s a fantastic deal: in the original spirit of Digital Subscriber Line, instead of running Internet services on the back of my phone line they disconnect me totally from France Telecom (Degroupage total), then TV, the Telephone and computers all plug into the Freebox: a special router that they send, included in the monthly charge of about 30 Euros. Oh, and did I mention that it’s up to 28MBPS download? Fab!

Fab if it works, that is.

I applied on-line in August when I moved to my new appartment. But the web-site told me I was deja inscrit. A fortnight should be enough to let the previous tenant terminate his account; I tried again: same. Jim kindly got involved and called their call centre for me once we found a number and a route through the menu system (they expect you to apply on-line). His body-language told the story:
“They say it will take six weeks, is that OK?”
I shrugged, did I have a choice? Normalment it takes two but since the previous tenant had also had Degroupage total they somehow can’t locate the wires that go to my house, or something.
No word from them for six weeks. I was kinda expecting a email from their automated system. It’s an odd company, there aren’t any employees, just a bunch of shell-scripts.

Then, suddenly, on 26 Sept, I got an email proudly announcing that my home had been connected to ADSL on Sept 5gth.
I shrugged again; can’t use it without the special router. Their email says they’ll be sending that off in a day or so. What were they doing for the last three weeks? One thing I’ll say about idleness: it’s best not to rush it.

The router arrives: The postman rings twice, with a weekend in the middle to delay things a bit more, and then decides I’m really not at home. I get to ‘track’ all this via the Colipost web site. Then, instead of leaving a note saying “We called; you weren’t in and, by the way, get your name changed on your building’s interphone”, they went back to the office and posted it to me which took another two days. Finally I collect the box and, quivering with excitement unpack not one but two “Freeboxes”: the router and a Set-top HDTV box for the TV that I haven’t got.
I shrugged a third time, after plugging it in; it didn’t work.

Jim came and had a fiddle with it. Two computer scientists can’t make it work. He called technical support — all these phone calls cost 30 Euro-cents per minute, including queueing, of course — from my mobile; no ‘phone at home because I’ve chosen Degroupage Total as my contract. They told us to turn it off and on a few times and then offered to send an engineer out. Jim’s body language wasn’t looking great.
“They say the earliest he can come is 13th November (pm!), is that OK?”
My shoulders were starting to ache from shrugging. They’ve started billing me for this!

The email from the technical appointment shell script said I would be charged sixty Euros for the visit if it turned out of be my stupidity that was stopping it from working (I’m ok with that, if I’m being that stupid I deserve to pay someone to point it out to me and, at least, that way my Intenet will be working) or if I’m not there when the come. The partner entry to this one tells how I missed my flight back on Monday 13th. I had to email Jim from the airport and ask him to call them and cancel the appointment because I don’t want to pay 60 Euros for NOT being told how stupid I am.

And now I’m sitting here at home writing this blog entry. Off line! Oddly, I plugged the apparatus in this morning and it showed signs of working for the first time ever. There are four steps it must go through to establish a working connection and this morning it reached step two and froze where it used to freeze on step one. I didn’t want this to be a rant; it has turned out to be a shaggy dog story with no punchline.

I’m not even feeling very frustrated. Compared wtih Kenyan fuckwittage, this is teriffic.

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