Thursday, June 15, 2006

Please excuse me while I talk shop for a little bit.

I support my family by designing telephone facilities for a DLEC, dominant local exchange carrier, in this case BellSouth. I really get annoyed at all the advertisements for high speed internet connections. My biggest pet peeve is when the marketeers deliberately distort the facts for folks who don’t understand all the tech speak. Comcast claims that their cable modem product is “more than 20 times fast than Bellsouth DSL”. That number sounds impressive if you don’t read the fine print. The fast talking disclaimer at the end of the ad then says, “Speed comparisons made using Comcast 6meg service v. BellSouth 256k DSL lite.” What?! Comcast is comparing the fasting thing they could possibly provide to the second slowest service we even sell. Isn’t that like Yamaha comparing their fastest drag bike to a Honda lawn mower? To be fair Bellsouth has countered with a similar ad comparing our 6meg service to Comcast’s 256k service.

I just think all this talk about speed is just because customers don’t understand the issue and the marketeers just want to capitalize on the fact that people think bigger numbers are better. If we compare one company’s 6meg product to another’s 6meg product we’d soon realize that they are pretty close to equal. Why not compare other things like reliability, customer service, and tech support? This is an area that I think our company could really dominate over the cable company, who is notoriuos for bad customer service. Whatever we do it just bothers me when we don’t compare apple to apples and oranges to oranges.

On a slightly different note I am even more annoyed at the ads that Netzero and AOL are running for their high-speed data products. Netzero and AOL don’t have any high-speed data products. They just buy other companies products, usually BellSouth’s and resell them. This is a serious problem for us because folks will buy a DSL from AOL and then they are confused when a BellSouth truck shows up to install it. Our techs end up giving every customer a doorstep Telephony 101 class before they will allow them to do any work. There are some cases when folks actually switch from BellSouth to AOL because they think the connection will be better when in actuality nothing at all is changing in their circuit except where it is routed once in gets to our office. I think it would be better customer service for both companies if the ad had a disclaimer that simply said, “High-Speed connection provided by dominant local exchange carrier.”

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