2/19/2011

When I am King: Phoney Business

When I am King...

Phones will be phones. Internets will be Internets.

A few months ago, after incessant marketing spam from AT&T, I ‘upgraded’ to UVerse. I had been a happy DSL customer for years. Without cable TV, or the desire to get it, didn’t see the reason to change my ISP service. I had a phone. I had the Internet. I was set.

Cold calls couldn’t dissuade me. Especially the one where the guy asked about my current TV plan:
“I don’t have TV.”
“Right, but how do you get TV now?”
“I don’t get TV.”
"But how do you get TV channels?"
"I don't."
[pause]
“Er, thank you sir. Good night.”

And they never called back. Obviously, a customer without TV coverage is not worth having. Maybe they detected my inherent inability to pick up on social trends, or my failure to see all of their UVerse ads on TV. Or maybe they figured a lack of cable implied a lack of income and I’d soon be living on the outside of my foreclosed house, anyway.

But I am, above all, a cheapwad. So when I finally saw an ad that convinced me I’d pay less for my phone+Internet through UVerse, I went for it. I had to wade through all of the online pages that tried to get me to buy TV coverage first, of course. It was like going to a department store for a pair of sneakers and having to wind through the aisles of jewelry and makeup and bedding along the way. “You don’t want th TV+Internet+phone package? Well, how the Internet+phone+TV package instead?”

Finally, I managed to get the service I want: UVerse for cheapwads. Phone + Internet. Period.

And it was cheaper, at least for now. And it basically works.

But today, I called home in the middle of the day. And I got the response, “The subscriber you are trying to reach is not currently in service.” Called again, same response. Which nearly rules out my wife having an affair, unless the guy is really good at sounding exactly the same every time he answers the phone.

Subscriber? You mean my house? I didn’t realize the house had subscribed to anything. I just thought it was a house. With a phone.

Then the reality of UVerse hit me: I now have a VOIP phone. That is, a phone on the network, instead of on a phone line.

This makes sense in general: phone traffic over the Internet. It enables all kinds of services that appeal to cheapwads like me. But somehow I find this particular use of it a tad ridiculous:
UVerse comes to my house through the phone line. It's basically DSL with branding. So I traded out my phone service so that they could put my phone on the Internet service that they provide through my phone line. And now my phone doesn’t work. The phone line still works fine. And if I still had regular phone service, the phone would be ringing. But since it’s connected through their hardware and software along the way, it’s masquerading as an out-of-area cell phone instead.

It really makes me want to try out their TV service for an extra $50/month.

When I am King, phone lines will be used to make phone calls. Phone lines can also be used for other purposes, like carrying network traffic and restraining children at the dinner table until their broccoli is finished. But if there’s a phone, by gum it’ll be plugged into the dang phone line.

And TV? I don’t care how you get that. I’ll still be too cheap to pay for it. I get my TV through the Internet.
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