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US West/Qwest Merger Gets Federal Thumbs-Up 54

cnoe writes On Monday, federal regulators said Qwest Communications International Inc. and U S West Inc. have complied with the necessary conditions to complete their proposed $36 billion merger. Kind of interesting considering the recent Slashdot piece Qwest Achieves 100-Mile IP Round-Trip At 40Gb/sec. Here's a short press release with the basics from Excite. I hope Qwest gets to take the reins after this merger, US West has been the pinnacle of all evil for way too long..."
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US West/Qwest Merger Gets Federal Thumbs-Up

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  • I did a little searching (ok, very little) about the merger, and found this interesting article [yahoo.com] from Yahoo.

    Apparently AT&T agreed to drop it's opposition to the merger between US West and Quest in exchange for the two companies dropping their request to AT&T's cable systems.
  • I don't live in the northwest, but I'm involved in the ISP business, and I've heard nothing good about USWest. Qwest, on the other hand, has been pretty good when it comes to bandwidth for ISPs. Hopefully Qwest will force a clue down USWest's throat, instead of absorbing USWest's poison, which is what happened to AT&T when they swallowed TCI.

    On other other hand, not everyone at Qwest is a rocket scientist. Starting about a month ago [google.com], and still on several pages [qwest.net], is Qwest's "new" phone number: 1-800-RIDE-QWEST. Look really closely at that phone number, then ask yourself: Do you want those people making decisions that affect your dialtone?

    P.S.: No, most phones don't.

  • I just hope that QWest makes US West a BETTER place with this merger because right now US West has some serious problems:

    I have used US West DSL for a year now and while it usually has worked great, the times when it hasn't has been a nightmare. I would call their "tech support" (if you can call it that) only to be connected with a bottom-level tech who insisted that I undertake beginner trouble-shooting measures to try to solve my problem. After the tech had asked me to check to make sure everything was plugged in, he would then proceed to tell me that he could issue a "trouble ticket" to his higher ups, but judging from the lack of any apparent problem with my line, he doubted that the higher-ups would bother looking into my case.
    I responded with something like, "Well, so you're telling me that there is no way to detect the 40% packet loss on my line, and thus no way to get anyone to fix it?"
    "Well, sir, like I said I can issue a trouble ticket but I don't think they will accept it."
    "Well there has to be some procedure for taking care of this. Just because your diagnostics tools apparently can't detect severe packet loss doesn't mean there isn't a problem."
    "Well, sir, like I said I can issue a trouble ticket but I don't think they will accept it."
    He was like a monotonous robot. I was so mad. Naturally he also pointed fingers at my non-USwest ISP. A few days later I got a phone call from another office populated with techs who had clues. I told them of my horrible experience with the first line of US West DSL defense and the tech I talked to agreed that they sucked bad. They also acknowledged that my packet loss was indeed a USWest problem.
    All we can hope for is that QWest will somehow make things better because it is a nightmare to ponder things getting worse than they are now.
  • It took the idiots 3.5 weeks to move my phone line when I moved. In all this time they left it connected at the old location, where, if someone had moved in, it could have been abused. Then they automatically terminated my long-distance agreement with MCI and my phone bills for the next several months had so many errors in them it's not even funny

    The Washington Utilities and Transport Commision stepped in, though, and made them give me $450 in credit. It's been over 6 months since I moved now and I haven't had to pay a single cent in phone charges yet. *smirk*

  • I'll just note that we [mcleodusa.com] came out in opposition to this merger months ago [mcleodusa.com]. But does the FCC listen to us? After all, we only have 800,000 lines...

    Anyway, that wasn't the first thing we had to say about U S WEST. Here's a sampling:

    Note that I don't speak for McLeodUSA [mcleodusa.com]. They don't pay me enough for that job.

    Now, as to my personal experiences with U S WORST: The first time I tried to get a line from them, it took over two months! They claimed for most of that time that my address didn't exist. Even though I was very obviously living there and there was a network interface right in back. They missed the first install date, and after insisting on the phone with them for weeks that my address really did exist, they finally dispatched a truck and I got a phone line.

    Of course, the line quality was for shit. I had to call for repair not a day afterward because of noise and static on the line. Turns out the installer had just strung the line out across the ground down to the street, and well, you can imagine what happened.

    These days I am completely free of U S WORST (even though I live smack in the middle of their territory!) and loving it. My present employer [mcleodusa.com], from whom I also get phone, cable TV and cable Internet service, installed everything on time. Everything works exactly like it's supposed to. And anytime I have a problem, I know exactly who to call and what their phone number is. And NEVER have to wait on hold, or deal with pressing 1 for aggravation or 2 for frustration. (That's right, we have no voice menu system! And never will, either!)

    And no, they don't pay me to speak for them. My opinions are my own. (Though most everyone else in this company can't stand U S WORST either.)
    ---

  • Very interesting, thanks.

    Qwest had to have been desperate to merge with US West, though. I agree with whoever posted "Now we can get told 'No xDSL for you!' up to 40 times faster." =P

    - chris
    - chris@unbeliever.netspam
    - i hate capitals
    - aim:arikel6000 / yahoo:blackrose91

  • Interesting, didn't see anything regarding the merger on the home page, could you post a direct link? :) (I'm lazy, and at work, and uswest is a competitor/partner) :)
    Still, Qwest must have gotten desperate. There are better LEC's they could have dealt with/bought out (Covad comes to mind).

    - chris
    - chris@unbeliever.netspam
    - i hate capitals
    - aim:arikel6000 / yahoo:blackrose91

  • Dude, that is commendable. They should give awards out for doing stuff like that. And no, I'm not being sarcastic.

    I've found telcos in general are EXTREMELY arrogant towards customers since well, who else is going to give you your phone service? =) Deregulation of the local phone telcos can't come soon enough if you ask me.

    I was living in a basement apartment in Toronto about two years back and called up Bell Canada to get a phone line installed. I waited about two weeks for the appointment and even skipped out of work early to make sure I was there for their 12-4 pm time slot. They never showed.

    I called them the next day (from another line, obviously) and was told that yes, my line had, in fact, been installed. This was news to me since there was no jack in the basement at all and there was only one twisted pair leading to an older-style closed demarcation box (which, having been there before, I assumed was for the upper apartment - it was).

    Also during this phone call, they informed that they hadn't sent any techs, because they determined that the address already had two lines - they simply activated the second line (the second line was also multiplexed - as the guy in the previous post mentioned). Nice of them to inform me of this - after I had already missed a half day of work.

    So now, my upstairs neighbours have two phone lines and Bell is telling me that it's my responsibility to re-wire the house in order to suit my needs. I informed them that it's their own policy to install an open demarcation point (with an RJ-11 jack) on ALL installations. They said that any further visits would be billed at an hourly rate of $100/hr. I informed them that under no circumstances was I going to pay for them to do work they should have done on their first visit.

    They still billed me. I had to call them again and explain for the nth time to some cheerful call centre rep why I was not going to pay $100 for a 5 minute job that they didn't do right the first time.

    Finally, after two months of haggling, I had a usable phone jack (luckily the demarcation box was in my bedroom) and only the standard $50 deposit paid.

    They can be bastards because no one in the whole chain is accountable. The call centre rep can't be blamed - all they do is open a ticket. The techs can't be blamed - they only followed standard procedure. Who wrote the procedure? You don't know. The billing centre is also blameless because it's all automated anyways. So you've got a half dozen people who you've (not) dealt with and not one of them is to blame.

    I guess you can write a letter to the Ombudsman. Whoop dee doo. =)

    --

  • I had two lines installed in my house-one voice, one data. Turned out i could get 50k connections on the voice, but if I used the data, I could get around 2k. Literally. Called them up, they said it wasn't their fault, and I should have them switch the numbers of the lines for 250 bucks. Bunch of bastards.

    Colin Winters
  • I'm rather curious as to what you mean by 'sold out'. Could you elaborate this please?
  • This misses the point.

    Networks on the internet have nothing to do with hardware. really. it's all about peering. the network that our service was switched to doesn't have NAP peering, doesn't have good european peering, doesn't have squat. it's not a real network on a par with UUnet. It's more of a verio sort of a network (not really what we signed up for).
  • Like everything in life, you just have to know who to talk to. After 2 years of trying to get DSL for my home, I got the number (in a round about kinda way) of the local field engineer. Then suddenly 2 months ago lines started going in al over town. When you get to a customer service rep. ask to talk to someone who can "speed up" the process. You usually get the national rep, who will then get you the number for your city person.

    then piss and moan like the best of them and you will get results eventually.

  • My two fun experiences (both in the span of 3 months) with US Worst have been:

    1)Getting a phone hookup upon moving in. Rather than do something totally off the wall like give me an unassigned number, they gave me my next-door neighbor's. Only took a week for the two of us, working the problem from both sides to get it cleared up.

    2)Asking for their Terms of Service for their DSL. And being told that I wasn't allowed to have them.
  • The "About USWest" link says "USWest is now Qwest" and points to the Qwest page. The Qwest page reads like a lame corporate brochure for shareholders. No useful information at all. Not too impressive for an internet company.

    I've used PacBell, SouthWestern Bell, and now USWest, and by far, USWest is the USWorst. Everyone at my office has a story to tell about attempting for months to get either ISDN or DSL installed. The installers set date after date, and never show up. Billing screws up over and over, and orders disconnections. Most everyone has at least one experience of having their fast line abruptly disconnected for weeks, for no obvious reason. (Happened to me five times in three years.) Others never get any service.

  • I heard that one of the conditions of the merger is Qwest cannot sell long distance services to the 14 USWest states until they have adequately opened their networks to competing local phone service providers. This seems to me to be a pretty strong condition, and one that should result in an increase of service quality if competition is truly intorduced.
  • They didn't restrict their screwing to the small-meduim sized business customer. I used to work for a government agency in Oregon, and they regularly gave us the shaft. It got so bad, that they could be disqualified from competitive bidding as non-compliant without hardly any due-diligence research on our part at all. Well, I'm at another gov agency in another US Worst state, and we've placed more than two hundred orders with them in the last two months and they've totally screwed up about thirty percent of those on the first attempt. We had a small department relocate to a new facility six months ago and I'm still trying to sort out the mess that US West has made of the telephones. Will this merger be an improvement? No. Not only no, but hell no. They've spent decades hiring shiftless morons who can't be fired, and it'll take decades to turn that around.
  • not only this entire area... but hundreds of miles around. All southern oregon from the coast to the eastern border.... for hours. Sorry all circuits are busy!
  • The USW morons had their NIU (Network Interface Unit) set for AMI/SF when the rest of the circuit was B8ZS/ESF.

    I was curious to find out what these terms meant, so I hopped over to Google:

  • I can't STAND USWest! Here's MY sob story, if anyone's interested:

    Last year I ordered a second phone line, and the line was installed (3 weeks later), but I wasn't told that my single copper-pair phone line had been digitally multiplexed into two phone lines with a Raychem [raychem.com] multiplexor (commonly known to USWest staff as a "UCD" whatever THAT means). The result was line noise (and a lot of it) on both lines making it impossible to connect to an ISP at more than 26.4 kbps, which completely invalidaded my recent 56k modem purchase. It took countless calls to their incompetant technical "support" employees, and literally hours of waiting on the phone, before finding out my line had been multiplexed. When I asked for a second copper pair, I was denied.

    Several months later, DSL ("Megabit") service was being offered in my area. Of course I jump on the opportunity to increase my connection speed. Again, I had to deal with the incredibly idiotic and unknowledgeable USWest staff. When I requested DSL service, they ran a "line check." They told me I wasn't close enough to a central office. (I live 6 blocks away from the "central office".) Later I found out they only gave me this excuse because their software gave them a message: "distance not calculated". Guess what dissabled them from calculating my distance from the central office? Our old freind Mr. Multiplexor. More weeks pass and I eventually request the removal of the UCD, and am told "We're sorry, we can't do that." Head management at this ConglomiCorp doesn't want to pay the few extra dollars remove a plastic box. Probably because dual-phone line subscribers pay more per-month than DSL customers..? Who knows?

    Sigh...

    Does anyone else dislike USWest as much as I do?

  • by Christopher Cashell ( 2517 ) on Saturday July 01, 2000 @03:41PM (#963488) Homepage Journal

    Well, I'm going to guess that quite a lot of people care. US West is the primary local phone carrier (basically, the phone monopoly) for 14 states in the Central and Northwestern United States. They also provide Internet access through their USWest.net service, and recently started offering DSL.

    If you're lucky enough to live in one of them, they also have a wholly owned subsidiary known as US West TeleChoice which offers cable television and cable modems (TeleChoice Online).

    While they do have many problems, I personally don't think of them as quite the worst phone company around. There are many who are in fact much worse (BellSouth comes to mind).

    Either way, this is a *very* big thing, because US West and Qwest aren't just merging. US West is being bought by Qwest. This will have a major impact on a whole lot of people, both for their local phone service, and more.

    I will admit that I'm slightly biased here, as I do cable modem installations for US West TeleChoice Online. However, I'm also very excited here. You see, TeleChoice has been rejoicing over this buy-out for a while now. Qwest is not a phone company, their an Internet service oriented company. Therefore, this buying of US West is primarily to give them access to US West's phone subscriber base to start a major roll out of High Speed Internet Access.

    That's right, Qwest is most likely going to be pumping out some major advances in high speed access. I expect we'll be seeing VDSL as soon as it is technically feasible (as in Very Soon (tm)).

    I saw a few posts, along with the mention at the top where the story is posted, about who will be in control of the new company. Well, ease your fears, the control goes to Qwest. Again, this merger is Qwest buying US West, so they will be primarily in control. In fact, if you go to US West's homepage (www.uswest.com [uswest.com]) you'll see that it's no longer US West's homepage. Instead, you are now looking at Qwest's homepage!

  • Of course, regional monopolies can only go so far; we don't want to get the only doughnut shop in some small town in trouble.

    Remember, monopolies like this are weak, because I could rent out the vacant shop across the street and start my own operation with little capital.

    Concentrated power in the Telco/Internet sectors are much scarier, because it takes a hell of alot of resources to compete in selling service to the backbones when Sprint/Worldcom/ATT have a stranglehold. This is also why the ATT monopoly had to be broken.

    What happened afterwards was the "baby bells" had regional monopolies. Southwestern Bell, now SBC grew under this protection to become a behemoth, and now enjoys a spot on the DJIA. Only recently have the local lines been opened up to competition.

    This brings up an interesting point: who should really control these lines? It only seems fair that the telco should have full control over local lines, since they put them there, but there comes the fact that the consumer is utterly vulnerable should the telco turn Evil.

    Anyway, I think we would all be alot better off if, in the near future, we get a communications services market where the buyer can choose from ten or fifteen top-tier companies for backbone services. If this precipitates, then not only would competition keep prices down, but it would make sure you aren't forced into an abusive EULA situation.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I work at uswest, and this is not a merger.

    We are not allowed to wear anything with the uswest logo on it anymore, if we do we get sent home!

    They are going to have Qwest people at the front door to welcome us to the new company.

    They have had a city permit to remove all the uswest signs from the buildings downtown within 24hours of the "merger".

    They have tried to screw the employees by pushing this merger through as fast as possible so they don't have to pay dividends.

    They have already laid people off, I guess there are to many people on the job.....

    Don't be fooled, this is not a merger, its a takeover.....
  • That second page is pretty screwed up (broken <IMG> tags and formatting); there's a PDF [usda.gov] available too.
  • Hah, time for me to go into irrelevant diatribe mode :-)

    My personal experience with US West was at an airport -- I think it was Phoenix, AZ, but I'm not sure. I asked the airline staff how to get directory assistance. They immediately went on to explain to me how the f****** airport authority was driving them mad, because the f******* telco that operated the phones didn't get phonebooks from US West, so the f****** airport authority really should get off their butts and switch back to US West for the payphones. Somehow, this story struck a note with me :-)

    Anyway, for the promised diatribe: Probably too far if you have something along the line of 42 AWG cable Actually, the best leased line I ever had was an even heavier gauge than that. It's the cable the railroad company runs along the tracks to actuate the railroad points. Their tech support was fabulous: "Oh, you're running PTT approved modems? Just massacre them and set them to -14 dB. Our lines will handle it with grace" -- and they did. Oh well, this was in the days 19200 bps was fast.

    Oh, but I could (and did) get an unloaded "alarm" circuit from them between the same two locations and pound 384kbps of SDSL through it. Snicker. This was a service our PTT offered as well, but only if you spoke the magic words. The magic words were "termination revenue". Ahhh, those were the days.

  • I live in Medford Oregon( I'm a statistical anomaly, I'm not a hillbilly =P ). US West STILL continues to shrug off the people that want DSL here(yeah, both of us). This probably won't do any good for us. Luckily, I'm moving to Seattle, probably this month. 768k SDSL, here I come!

    BTW, a few days ago there was a fire at the Central Office here. That's right, a fire at the CENTRAL OFFICE. Almost completely knocked out phone service to the entire area, as this is the ONLY CO in many miles. Reportedly it took out the main power supply, lots of lines, and a few routers. NOT good for their rep.
  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Saturday July 01, 2000 @03:55PM (#963494)
    When I moved out of my parents' house and into my own apartment, it took more than three weeks for USWEST to get around to putting my first phone line in.

    It took them more than three months to put my second line in, for data.

    Further, they have one of the worst statistical reputations for customer service in the entire industry. So much so that the public utilities commission in Oregon decided to fine them as long as they continued to fail miserably at achieving customers service levels and installation/repair levels. The PUC has threatened USWEST so many times, that it's become a routine front-page story and often is the topic of radio talk-shows local to the area.

    I am absolutely amazed that the PUC wasn't able to step in and step this merger. When a company performs as poorly as USWEST and treats the government and the citizens with such careless disregard, how can they be rewarded with an affirmitive merger? This is rediculous.
    ---
    seumas.com

  • the word here in the Denver area is that the top people in US West will stay at the top after the merge.

    Fortunately that's not the case. While it was officially billed as a merger of equals, the reality is that Qwest took over USW. That's fine by me; the service couldn't get any worse.

    Check out this article [rockymountainnews.com] in the Rocky Mountain News. (Near the end it talks about it being a takeover.)

    I can say that US West is by far the worst major telco out there.

    Amen to that! Given that Denver is USW's headquarters, I'm continuously amazed at how bad the high-speed internet infrastructure is here. And don't even get me started on all the problems I've had with my home phone service.........
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Judging by the rest of the comments here so far, I doubt anyone's gonna feel sorry for you. :)
  • Yes. I definately hate them as much as you do:

    Registrant:
    iMach, Ltd. (USWESTSUCKS-DOM)
    P.O. Box 5749
    Helena, MT 59601
    US

    Domain Name: USWESTSUCKS.COM

    Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact, Billing Contact:
    Christian, Forrest W (FWC)
    forrestc@IMACH.COM The Innovation Machine
    P.O. Box 5749
    Helena, MT 59604-5749
    406-442-6648

    Record last updated on 31-Dec-1997.
    Record expires on 01-Jan-2001.
    Record created on 31-Dec-1997.
    Database last updated on 30-Jun-2000 23:32:34 EDT.

    And it looks like I've hated them since at least december of 1997. Don't remember why I registered it but I remember I was pissed.

    USWorst is the WORST local carrier. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I've heard anything good about Qwest. Most likely, they will take the worst from both companies.

    I could tell you horror stories after horror stories. Current story is that USWest is having a major marketing promotion in the local area for DSL service which they are currently out of capacity for AND don't expect to have fixed until October or November.

    Typical USWorst.

  • The number of people at Mineral boggles the mind!
    The number people in my building never gets above 30 at one time, so I dont think my situation will really apply. Also, I am a grade-5 :)

    As far as the lawsuit goes, im sure the motivation behind the cutbacks wasnt to destroy themselves and provide bad service. I somehow doubt that USW is in a plot to make themselves the worst company they can. If you have more information on that lawsuit i would love to see it.
  • I work for Qwest. Qwest is completely in control of the company (US West's head honcho Sol Trujilo has even stepped down from the position that he was going to have after the merger). The merger has been completed and the company is named Qwest
  • One very important thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet: as a result of the purchase of USW, Qwest is spinning off their entire Internet services division covering the 14-state US West region. I know because we were a Qwest subscriber and last week they unceremoniously moved us from Qwest's AS number to the old Colorado Supernet AS number (Qwest bought colorado supernet about 3 years ago).

    This is bad for a bunch of us for a bunch of reasons. It means that Qwest's main IP network (everything outside of the 14-state territory) will be decent and only slightly diminished. The IP network that gets spun off, however, sucks. It is a rinky little regional network (and certainly not the network we signed up for).

    Just as a side note: they are also spinning off their voice long distance business. I got a letter a few weeks ago from a no-name called 'Touch America' or something like that telling me that they were my new LD provider. Needless to say, I switched to someone who would give me something free to switch.

    Has anyone else experienced problems with these spinn-offs yet? Are there other services spinning off that I haven't mentioned here?
  • You're gonna love Joe Nacchio, who is a fast-talking dealmaker who is even more greedy than Trujillo.

    I work right across the street from the US West -- er Qwest -- Small Business Center here in downtown Portland, which services the entire territory (it used to be Pacific Northwest Bell headquarters back in the days of old).

    I am a customer and DSL user, and the acquisition by Qwest is of grave concern because US West did an excellent job blocking implementation of the parts of the 1996 Telecom Act that it didn't like. My favorite indication of that was the photo of the empty colo cage in Seattle that Data Communications published at some point in 1998.

    The consolidation in telecom is being driven by absolutely ruthless operators like Nacchio who make Bill Gates look like a kid at a lemonade stand as far as how they do business. Nacchio rolled Trujillo, a noted shark in the executive suites who was loathed by the line-level reps, service people and engineers. What direction can Qwest service possibly take but downward as it extends its empire and increasingly escapes the clutches of state and federal regulation?

    Sorry, I'm very bitter about this. We will live to regret the day that the Telecom Act passed, and it won't be long.

    -------

  • For those who live in Oregon:

    USWest has been under mandate for the state of Oregon to provide 'excellent' customer service or get fined for each complaint.

    So, if you're having problems that can be validated, and live in oregon, CALL THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION.

    The night I got my DSL, someone in Milwaukie (not OR, Wisconsin) ended up calling me at 3am his time, he was paged and woken up, all because he didn't flip a switch at his local office.

    I am not shitting you. This coming from the same guy who waited for nearly 4 months to get a non-commerical phone line put in my apt while I caught a guy working on the box installing a line for someone else.

    So, reap it while it's good. Seriously. and use the line 'I'm not getting off this phone until it works' - it works everytime. :)

    -Erik-
  • Having lived in a US West area for a long time, I can safely say that Bellsouth is the lesser evil. Around here, US West is pretty good at providing phone service, but they suck at providing anything internet. I hear in some small towns they've saturated the bandwidth and can't sell any more T1s. And as for things like DSL and Cable modems.... don't make me laugh. By they time they're here, they'll be as outdated as a 14.4 modem.
  • " Megabit service at USWest is something like 256kbps. Maybe they mean over the lifetime of the service you will send/receive megabits.
  • What are you talking about??? I work for Qwest.. and I visit the US West CO nearly everyday. Get along great with them guys. They werent told not to wear US West logos anymore. Eventually it will all switch to Qwest Logos. But that only makes sense, its going to be called Qwest. And as far as layoffs. They havent and cant lay anyone off in craft, you must work in sales. And if you are talking about removing the signs at the US West Tower in Denver within the first 24 hours.. that is right they did that.. part of that big PR thing.
  • Qwest is grooming all their long distance and internet traffic to a whole seperate network comprised of mainly Ciena Equipement that was sold to Montana based Touch America. I imagine once its all done Qwest will turn around and buy it all back. And the network that your service was switched to isnt as rinky dink as you think. Its Ciena CoreStream and sentry 4000 transport equipment. It still rides on the same network route as the Qwest network.. just differnt fibers.
  • Why is it every time a company does bad work the management blames the frontline troops of slacking off or a bad additude. I've been with US West for a couple of years. I am a CDT who installs and repairs digital circuits. In Oregon no less. I've personal seen the situation improve drastically. Our frontline techs bust thier butts to install and maintain the circuits in plant that has been deteriorating for years because of management decisions since the break up. I cant believe the gall of people to blame us when we work miracles everyday. That being said, in any business there are people who dont do thier job and we're no different. The situation has improved with new plant bening placed for the last two or three years. Management cannot take credit for the improvement without also giving credit to the techs who have given all they have to make this possible. What I hate is when one side tries to take all the credit while handing out all the blame. Its a two way street. son, santas dead a cdt in portland

  • There are plenty of us who care. You've just don't deal with us because we do our jobs right the first time.

    The squeaky wheel theory.

    And for your info the great majority of the "Bell Heads" I know are by far the most knowledgeable and efficient workers the company has. Please dont fall into the trap of sterotypes.

    lifes too short.
  • by the unbeliever ( 201915 ) <chris+slashdot.atlgeek@com> on Saturday July 01, 2000 @03:04PM (#963509) Homepage
    Well, coming from the broadband support industry, I have to say... This is bad, mmmm'kay? US West is by far the worst of the ILECs that I've ever dealt with. Even Bell Atlantic has better customer service and support than these folks, and that's saying *a lot*. US West tends to fsck everyone that deals with them over, especially end users and residential customers. I used to like Qwest, but they've sold out.

    - chris
    - chris@unbeliever.netspam
    - i hate capitals
    - aim:arikel6000 / yahoo:blackrose91

  • I know most of my peers call US West US WORST, what's Qwest's rep?
  • by Shoeboy ( 16224 ) on Saturday July 01, 2000 @02:51PM (#963511) Homepage
    We can now get "we're sorry, dsl won't be in your area for X months" messages at a rate of 40Gb/s.
    Qwest's broadband technology should let them enter a whole new world of high speed customer disservice. Imagine being told "I'm sorry I can't help you." in seconds rather than having to wait on hold for hours.

    Myself and most people I know have had some delightful experiences with USWEST -can you tell?

    --Shoeboy
  • This kind of merger is interesting. By joining forces, these two companies will break down some of the barriers that might prevent advances in communications from reaching the consumer. That is, by removing competition, they can bring us better services. However, that's a gigantic catch-22 because by removing competition, they are also making the exploitation of consumers much easier. It's mergers like this that leave me wondering whether or not this is actually a good thing.
  • If I remember correctly, the word here in the Denver area is that the top people in US West will stay at the top after the merge. Oh well. Having lived many places, I can say that US West is by far the worst major telco out there.


    "I shoulda never sent a penguin out to do a daemon's work."
  • Sure, its real easy to remember and preach about all of the bad things that U S WEST has done because its the bad things that stick out in your head. What about all of the thousands of days that you picked up your phone and you had dial-tone or recieved yet another email at your uswest.net email account?

    Granted, there are some times that USW had really fscked up but everybody has to fsck every once and a while (at least once every 20 mounts :) And the times when they are really needed, like during all of the fires that have been raging lately or during some of those wonderful midwestern storms, you always seem to have DT or inet access.

    And its not uper management or even management that screws things up or gives a directive to screw the customer. Its all of those old bell heads that are used to telling people "ill get to you when i feel like it, and if i dont youre out of luck". Management of any level wants the business to succeed, that is why they are there and the only way to get business to succeed is to make the customer happy. And guess what, its easy to make the customer happy if they arent already pissed off. So dont start off your call to USW/Q with "You MFers F'ed up my dsl connection again. you had better F'in fix it or ill go to X provider" Of course they arent going to be "happy" to help you cause you just came off looking like an Ahole.

    I say again, U S WEST has screwed up their fair share of times. Even though I work for USW i still have problems getting things done or circuits ordered for my division. They ARE trying to change things and this deal may be just the thing to help out. With Qwests HUGE backbone and U S WESTs local networks and (v)dsl things could be really sweet.
  • the public utilities commission in Oregon decided to fine them as long as they continued to fail miserably at achieving customers service levels and installation/repair levels.

    IIRC, all the PUC's in USW's 14 state region have fined them at some point over the past few years.

    I am absolutely amazed that the PUC wasn't able to step in and step this merger.

    Almost all 14 states put conditions on the merger, where Qwest/USW had to agree to increase service levels and spend a minimum amount on infrastructure. Of course what's going to happen if they don't do it? You think the merger is going to fail 2-3 years down the road because they didn't do what they agreed to do? Yeah, right. I just hope those "conditions" had some teeth to them........
  • Nope, actually Qwest is going to be in control of the company after the merger.

    In fact, the new company will be taking on the Qwest name.

    (My mother works for US West, my father used to, and I work for one of their subsidiaries, US West TeleChoice.)
  • Yes, USWEST is the US Worst. I am forced to deal with them for my phone service here in New Mexico. Doom on me. Their customer service is a nightmare.

    I called them to inquire about a DSL line when their webpage had said that it was available in my area. The operator claimed that New Mexico hadn't met some kind of FCC regulations so USWest wasn't going to be offering DSL in NM in the near future.

    Two weeks later I hear the local ISP is rolling out DSL. Of course when I check back, my phone lines don't qualify. If I could choose my phone company, I would NOT be using USWest.

  • It's hard to remain the "pinnacle of all evil" when they are too lazy to as much as return phone calls.

    Four years ago, US West was bad enough customer service wise. It took me four days, several tens of hours of troubleshooting with the remote end (an independant telco - "Oh, the other end is an independant! I'm sure the trouble is in their part of the circuit."), and a mountain of data to finally convince those gomers that the problem was indeed "theirs".

    Not to mention that they had no interest in cooperating with the independant to find the trouble. "It's not OUR problem!"

    The USW morons had their NIU (Network Interface Unit) set for AMI/SF when the rest of the circuit was B8ZS/ESF.

    But they insisted that their T's were crossed and I's dotted on their side. Neat as a pin. Uh huh. Whatever.

    Nowadays, I can't even get a circuit ordered and fully installed! Three weeks after placing the order, and getting a circuit number I may add, "Oh, engineering came back and said that the 56k circuit you requested was too far from the central office."

    Gee, thanks for not a) letting me know right away their was a problem, and b) telling me an outright lie. Too far? Seven blocks? Too far? Probably too far if you have something along the line of 42 AWG cable, or outside plant that was 1006 years old, soaking wet, laying in the bottom of a sewer. For any even marginally modern exchange, that should have been about the easiest circuit there was. But, not for USW I guess.

    Oh, but I could (and did) get an unloaded "alarm" circuit from them between the same two locations and pound 384kbps of SDSL through it.

    No, they've gotten far too lazy to maintain "pinnacle of all evil" status. I think GTE has that title now.

    Goodbye and good riddance to bad luck! Maybe Qwest will have the nads to have a management slaughter as soon as they "get the keys".

    Pags
  • ...owns about a 30% share of Qwest. One evil (US West) for another (Bellsouth)?
  • Actually, you're not quite correct. Qwest hasn't sold out, they've bought out. They are the ones in control of the new Qwest-US West corporation.

    Check out US West's Home Page [uswest.com] and you'll see it very prominently shown that they are now Qwest.

  • Hrm, very interesting. When I posted that, www.uswest.com was actually being redirected to www.qwest.com, which has full information on the merger. It seems that it is back to pointing to US West's old homepage again.

    However, and interesting thing to check out is the 'About... [uswest.com]' link on US West's home page.

    It clearly says that US West is now Qwest.
  • I write USWorst on my checks to the phone company....

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