I don’t usually work at a coffee shop, but here I am, at Panera’s dealing with their bad (also CenturyLink) internet service, because my internet service is down at home. Yes we are going into DAY NUMBER 4 of the great CenturyLink Internet Service Outage of Parker, Colorado. This started inauspiciously, perhaps coincidentally, during a mild thunderstorm on Friday before the Memorial Day Weekend. Internet could not be reached, internet light on router out, though DSL was on. After the obligatory multiple router reboots, no change. Call to CenturyLink. Outage in our area, should be fixed in 12 to 24 hours. About 30 people affected. This being the start of Memorial Day Weekend, I was not optimistic.
As the weekend has dragged on, my worst fears have been confirmed. That is why I am sitting here, nursing a cup of coffee at Panera’s, writing this. After multiple calls to CenturyLink, the story has not changed, other than the expected duration of outage, from 12-24 hours, to 24-48 hours, and, most recent estimate, from 48-72 hours. When I accused the customer service person that their technicians were goofing off over the holiday, I was answered with an agrieved “Our technicians work 24/7” and “the technician is there now trying to fix it.” Sure.
A little background may be in order. I live within 20 miles of Denver, supposedly a telecommunications hub. I can walk to the top of the hill in my neighborhood and see the buildings of downtown Denver. Despite this, the only option for internet service in my neighborhood is CenturyLink, via the phone lines. And, up until a year or so ago, the only speed we could get was 1.5 Mbps. After writing to the FCC and complaining multiple times, our service has been upgraded to a whopping 3 Mbps. This is in the era of Gigabit internet service. As you may know, the federal government granted billions of dollars of incentives to the ISPs in order to improve the internet backbone with a goal of providing broadband service to “rural” America. Broadband internet is now defined as a minimum of 25 Mbps. 3 Mbps doesn’t cut it. Sadly, the US is way behind the rest of the world in this regard. It is clear that the ISPs took the federal money and used it to pad their executive salaries. No wonder the most hated company in the US is an ISP, though I bet with the next go-around the airlines will give them a run for their money.
Given the context of baseline sucky internet service and no alternative ISP in our neighborhood, I have very little patience with a 3 day and counting outage. CenturyLink, Shame! (Ding).