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When Telecom Mergers Hit Home 131

Posted by Zonk
from the there-are-people-working-there dept.
netbuzz writes "A telecom manager submitted an essay to Network World that paints a sadly humorous picture of what the mega-telecom mergers really mean on the ground." From the article: "Well, when I heard that these companies were about to combine forces, it made my blood run cold. How would they be able to take, in each case, two companies with already broken processes and mediocre customer support and successfully merge them? How could they continue to provide me with the support I need to keep my company's networks functioning as they need to in this age of the bandwidth junkie? The answer ... at this moment, is they can't!"
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When Telecom Mergers Hit Home

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  • The Article. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:28PM (#15122549)
    What telecom mergers really mean
    By Paul McNamara on Tue, 04/11/2006 - 9:08am
    AT&T | MCI | SBC | Verizon | Wide Area Networks

    As promised in this earlier post, we're all about sharing here at Buzzblog -- specifically, sharing the soapbox. This morning you get to hear from Janet Ley, a reader and telecom manager who has a tale to tell about the impact of mega-mergers. It's amusing, in a maddening sort of way:

    By Janet Ley

    Those of us who consider ourselves telecommunications "old timers" have seen a lot of change in this industry.

    In fact, I always say if you can't deal with change, you are in the wrong business. We've seen the RBOC's taken apart. And recently, with the merger of SBC and AT&T, as well as Verizon and MCI, we are now watching them come back together.

    Working with the telco's has always been a challenge. Another of my favorite sayings is "if the telco's did their jobs, my company wouldn't need half of the telecom staff it has." It keeps me in a job, so why am I complaining?

    Well, when I heard that these companies were about to combine forces, it made my blood run cold. How would they be able to take, in each case, two companies with already broken processes and mediocre customer support and successfully merge them? How could they continue to provide me with the support I need to keep my company's networks functioning as they need to in this age of the bandwidth junkie? The answer ... at this moment, is they can't!

    This is an example of an actual conversation between myself and my AT&T representatives (now my local representatives) in the last week:

    Me:
    "I placed an order for a new T1 with an extended D-Marc.
    The technician left and didn't extend the circuit.
    Can you please send him back to finish the work?"

    AT&T:
    "We don't do inside wiring."

    Me:
    "I'm not asking you to do inside wiring, I'm asking you to extend a D-Marc."

    AT&T:
    "That's inside wiring. We don't do that."

    Me:
    "I've been ordering circuits with extended D-Marcs for the last 20 years.
    How can you tell me you don't do that?"

    AT&T:
    "All we can do is place the order with the local provider and ask them for an extension.
    They don't have to do it, and we can't force them."

    Me:
    "I placed the order with you.
    You ARE my local provider now."

    AT&T:
    "But I can't order inside wiring for you."

    Me: "I'm not ordering inside wiring, I'm ordering an extension of a D-Marc, which you have been doing for us for years."

    AT&T:
    "We don't do that.
    Only the local provider can do that."

    Me:
    "YOU ARE MY LOCAL PROVIDER.
    You won't let me call my old account rep to place the order, so who do I talk to, to order an extended D-Marc?"

    AT&T:
    "I don't know.
    FCC regulations prohibit me from ordering inside wiring."

    Me:
  • Re:The Article. (Score:3, Informative)

    by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:36PM (#15122616) Homepage Journal
    This is terrible, but you have to blame your local village AND your state for the pro-union regulations they've created, requirements that can not and will not change as the market needs them to.

    In many states (my state is Illinois), there are so many pro-labor requirements that are managed by labor management, not by technicians, that I am surprised that most people still get ANY service.

    If you can't call a third party to provide you service, why is that? It is because third parties are criminals if they run their own circuits -- criminals!
  • by stecoop (759508) * on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:40PM (#15122648) Journal
    It sounds like you weren't around 20 years ago, you would know that AT&T of that time wanted to charge consumers when they hooked up a modem. It went to court and the ruling was the consumer had the right to either talk on the phone or send data over the phone. Shortly after that, AT&T was split up. The internet arrived because of competition not from a monolithic monopoly; however, all isn't that great. Back then my phone bill was ~$8 and right after the split it was ~$20. A ton of money was made during that time and the telcos had money to burn. It is pure speculation whether or not the internet would have evolved like it has today without breaking up AT&T.

    As for wireless, you do know that all wireless communications (except same tower talk) goes over the land lines. You can't get away from the Telco just because you think its wireless or it as IP traffic.
  • by homeysimpson (966291) on Thursday April 13, 2006 @01:41PM (#15122654)
    Picked up SBC as our DSL and phone provider at work about a year a half ago. One of my co-workers battled them about our long distance bill, while I battled them over the wrong DSL they gave us. Finally got the static ip's and the correct modem, things calm down. About six months ago, DSL up and dies, no reason, no explanation, just gone. Called SBC, guy from India wants me to unplug the cables, find dial tone, etc., no resolution, will get there within 48 hours. That was Thursday, Friday night at 4 SBC tech from 3 hours away finally shows up, turns out all the local people were in training. He spends two hours tracking the problem, only to determine it's outside our walls, no shit, I could have save 2 hours of this, no resolution. Monday, yes 4 days later we finally find out the crew working in the area, yea, they were putting an rt in and clipped us off, turns out we were at the far end of the loop and they extended us far past usable signal. They finally did something to get us a signal, not a good one, but a signal nonetheless, then had to wait 4 months to get speed back.

    End result was once the rt was finished, we went to a local mom and pop provider. My company lost many days worth of email and our web presence to this monstrosity. Mom and pop shop can at least save our email, SBC wont even touch that.

    Now SBC is part of AT&T, shudder, I've already had to call tech support, they still own the lines, and got shuffled between both companies. Literally, one said to call another, and vice versa. It's damn hard not to scream when they give me the number I just called.

    This monopoly crap, needs to go.

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