: views from the Hill

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

ATTBI support chat - the continuing story

This transition to ATTBI from @Home has been very frustrating. Endless hours waiting for "live chat" support and then phone support. Unhelpful responses from e-mail support. ("Please use our HELP pages on site. We're swamped with HELP requests and won't be getting back to you for days.")

"Ya know?" I wanted to say -- but couldn't because they weren't reading their e-mail anyway -- "I don't ask for support until/unless I can't solve a problem myself."

The chat/phone support folks put me through endless re-checking of settings for TCP/IP. Each new contact seemed to be clueless re what had gone before. "Let's check your TCP/IP settings." "I've done that ten times, but okay, one more won't kill me." Of course, after each check, I had to reboot, which meant I lost my chat connection and had to go to the end of the queue, which was ~ 1300 long last week.


power cycle your modem ("... for the fifth time ..." I'd say.)

Every once in a while I would plaintively and helpfully tell yet another support staffer that the symptoms ("DHCP client unable to obtain IP address." "Cannot renew IP address. DHCP server unavailable.") seemed to indicate that ATTBI wasn't recognizing that my modem was authorized to grab an IP address with the DHCP client.

Ho. Hum. Let's try this other thing.

"I can ping your modem."

"So could the last two people who tried. The modem is there. ATTBI thinks that it isn't allowed to get an IP address."

Then there was the support staffer who asked why I wanted an IP address.

"Hold on. Let me try something else."

[click] [dial tone]

The guy with the truck arrived about 10:15A and worked some magic with my account number, my modem and a CD. He said the system wasn't recognizing my modem as an ATTBI modem and thought it was still an @Home modem.

Well, land sakes. Who woulda thunk.

He says that it's the most common problem he's been fixing since the changeover. Explain to me, then, why the support crew didn't make the connection when I explicitly asked them if that might be the problem?

He also said they were using @Home IP addresses on the fourth and swapped to ATTBI IP addresses on the fifth and, just as I'd thought, that's why my system worked Tuesday but not Wednesday.

And chat/phone support couldn't give me that explanation, why?

Nice guy. He said they weren't getting a Christmas party this year and only got Monday and Tuesday off next week. He said, "At least no one's yelled at me yet this week."

Now all I have to do is go through the 774 pieces of mail that arrived in the two weeks since I lost my ATTBI connection, delete all the duplicates (because of the belt&suspenders -- MindSpring/ATTBI -- forwarding I have set up) and carry on my merry way.