The hard lessons learned this week about switching telephone and Internet service

Thinking about switching your telephone and / or Internet service to get a better deal?  A little pre-planning can save you a lot of money and heartache.

Customer : Hello, computer support company?  

Tech Support : Yes, can I help you?

Customer : Yes, please help.  I just upgraded or changed my telephone and / or Internet service and now nothing works.  The tech that the phone / Internet company sent out broke it and now says that he’s not allowed to fix it.

Tech Support : Is the tech from the provider still there?

Customer : No, they’ve already left.  They said that their stuff was good and that it was our problem.

Ok, so here’s the deal.  You have a small business.  You have a few computers, maybe some network printers and maybe even a server or two.  You’re looking to get the best value for your hard earned dollar and get an advertisement from either your current Internet service provider or their competitor offering you a way to not only get more but spend less.  A seemingly easy decision to make, so you go for it.  They tell you that it’s an easy switch and you’re off to the races.

The big day arrives and you either get the ‘self install kit’ or the tech from the provider shows up to get you switched over.  He (or she) does his / her thing and then tests the Internet connectivity from his / her computer.  BAM, it works and it’s SCREAMING fast.  He / she confirms for you on theirs and then asks to test it on your network.  You happly agree and are soon shown that the Internet is working.  

The tech may or may not give you a packet of information, describing your new wiz bang service, have you sign some paperwork and then he / she is off to spread Internet goodness to someone else.  He or she may even give you their mobile number, in case you have any problems.  All seems just swell.

As a responsible business owner, you had all of your employees stay off of the network while the ‘upgrade’ was taking place to avoid any problems.  Now though the tech is gone and you’ve seen the new goodness for your self, so you tell everyone that they can go back to work.  That’s when the poo first makes contact with the oscillator.  Any number of possible combinations are possible, but here are a few:

  • Almost half of the office can access the Internet but not the server, the other almost half can access the server but not the Internet
  • A small contingent of computers can’t connect to anything 

Thankfully though, you’ve got that mobile number.  You call the tech, thinking that he / she will rush back out and fix this mess (that they clearly caused).  They answer and you explain the problem.  They remind you that they tested the Internet before they left and that you tested it as well, even signed some paperwork to confirm that everything was working.  When you press, they advise that they aren’t allowed to touch your network and you’ll need to contact your LAN vendor.  

This may seem a bit extreme and / or unreal but the reality is that we’ve seen it twice already this week.  In any given month, we may see it one or two times but this week it happened twice and the story is always the same (pretty much what was laid out earlier in this article).  The techs that the phone / Internet vendors are sending out are very good at deploying the service, but they are not qualified to or are not allowed to integrate the newly installed service into whatever is ‘on the ground’.  Techincally, the service is working (and the customer signed a document confirming so) but the network isn’t working and the customer is left in worse shape than they were when they started.  If you are considering making a change to your telephone and / or Internet service, contact your tech support company and give them a head’s up.  If you’ve got a good, long-term relationship with them, they can likely give you the information that you’ll need to give to the telephone / Internet service company tech to make the transition smoothe and painless.  They can also plan to be available, just in case something goes horribly wrong.