Alexandria Online

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Verizon Beyond Verizon

Verizon unplugged me from the internet. I am a paying, Verizon FIOS customer. But they came out and unplugged me from the box on the telephone pole and plugged in some neighbor of mine. When I complained, another technician came out and unplugged my neighbor and plugged me in. And today, yet another technician must have unplugged me again, because I have no FIOS internet connection - again.

The first 2 technicians who came said they would straighten it out. They gave me their business cards. When nothing happened I called the numbers. They never answered. Their voicemail boxes were full and could not accept my messages.

The 3rd guy actually fixed it but was quite honest that he had unplugged someone else to give me a spot on the pole. What did I expect would happen next? It did. And now I have had internet for a few days and now have none again. I am empty handed - again.

The 4th technician also left me his number. But this technician’s voicemail box was not full. And, happily, he left the phone number of his supervisor, whom I called - and got! The supervisor said there was probably a problem with the diagrams of the network in my neighborhood and that he would straighten it out. Now I wait.

I ran through the automated trouble shooter many times. I participated in online chat sessions with human support people. I managed to get through to live voice support on my cell phone. I posted my internet woes on twitter, instantly attracting support technicians who offered their deepest sympathy and support. But the twitter moths flitted away without effect.

This is what happens when you hack into a system. All of us are the hackers. We connect to the internet through the Bell Telephone network. It was meant to carry voice only. But we hacked it. Wooden telephone poles covered with vines, infested with squirrels. Cracked, underground conduits filled with water. Lines that continue to support pulse dialing by rotary phones.

You just want to throw your hands up.

And that’s the moment that disruptive innovation - the kind described by Clayton M. Christensen - begins. You turn on your phone’s personal hot spot, connect your Apple TV to it, and begin streaming the next episode of whatever you are watching without a hint of buffering or loss of fidelity. It may be the tip of the iceberg. Or it may be the moment before the iceberg flips. And who might be my cellular carrier? Verizon of course.