XMission's Company Journal

An XMission Customer Speaks On Qwest

Please note: As of January 1, 2017, XMission no longer sells DSL services.

In response to prior XMission blog entry I wrote on Qwest’s tactics to eliminate 3rd party ISPs, along with a City Weekly article on the same topic, XMission customer Pete Doenges felt compelled to write the following. He sent it to me for accuracy checking and I asked him if it would be OK if I reposted it here.

I echo Kaylynn’s experience (from the City Weekly article: Qwest Accused of Lying to Customers, Wholesale partners say company has ‘Qwestionable’ motives). My wife and I had XMission as an outstanding ISP from their early days with phone dialup modem forward to DSL more recently. When Qwest ran DSL into our area, we paid for the DSL service, stayed with XMission as ISP and e-mail provider, and enjoyed great speeds in the 1.5 Mbps realm. During this time, we’ve had terrible intermittent noise on our voice phone line, and Qwest still cannot reliably eliminate it.

Qwest ran fiber optics into our area eventually with speeds at 7 Mbps and up. Within the last year, an upgrade of a Qwest DSL modem resulted in dysfunction of our network tie. A Qwest repairman visited our home, then went out to a nearby phone pole to work on Qwest equipment, and eventually fixed the immediate problem. He said he moved wires that were incorrectly placed. From then on, our DSL-based speed slowed to something barely useable. It looked like Qwest demoted our connection speed because we were with XMission as ISP.

I called XMission and they said the speed problem was with Qwest. I called the Utah PSC and got an expert on the line who explained the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He confirmed Qwest being able to choke out other ISPs on substandard speed-limited connections, while Qwest offers much higher speeds than our earlier DSL if Qwest is ISP. We sadly switched, after calling XMission and commiserating with them about this monopolistic practice. The PSC acknowledged this seems anti-competitive, but it’s the law. Who made such a law for Utah!?

When we’ve dealt with XMission as ISP over the years, we get really sharp people with great attitudes who help, set things right quickly, and freely share their own problems and solutions with us in an honest open manner. We don’t talk to a tech support group half a world away working from a rigid company “play book” unresponsive to our problem. We bemoan this loss. In the meantime, we have more speed, yet the phone service remains poor. At times I can barely get through a call with Qwest tech support or friends due to line noise. We hear folklore about lines getting wet with crosstalk, but a phone company is supposed to know how to fix such things.

When I could not make an AT&T 3G MicroCell work in my home, lengthy and multiple calls with AT&T, Qwest and Actiontec (who makes a DSL modem for Qwest) failed to resolve the problem. These companies in my case had no clue how to make apparently ubiquitous consumer devices work together. I was repeatedly sent to another company to solve the problem, and they had different stories about how to coordinate a cure among them. I put a non-Qwest router into my home network and everything now works. The router portion of the DSL modem by Qwest and Actiontec simply failed to work with AT&T’s device. The expensive Qwest DSL modem/router I convinced myself to purchase now does nothing but DSL, I’ve got slower speeds than I paid for with Qwest, and I had to bear the expense of another router to make AT&T 3G MicroCell work. Consumer – BEWARE!

It appears that the 800-lb gorilla wins, while decent companies like XMission are edged out. Qwest could have done a deal with XMission about sharing its fiber-optics resources with XMission for a fee, giving the consumer choice again while allowing Qwest to make money with its infrastructure. It seems that the FCC and Washington must be utterly asleep at the switch. Monopoly without apology abounds. Big corporate lobbies must be alive and well. The killer mentality – of bigger and central and consolidated are better – will doom us. Some day the big telecoms that don’t know how to work with each other will bring the system to its knees, by the sheer weight of system complexity that nobody fully understands.



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22 thoughts on “An XMission Customer Speaks On Qwest

  • Nikita says:

    You oversimplify your perception of a Qwest Monopoly. You make assumptions you have absolutely no proof with which to back your allegations.

    I’d like to know how Comcast has been to work with as a wholesale provider of their network. Has Xmission tried to use their network to provide their customers with cable broadband?

    I’m guessing no, because Comcast does not play on a level playing field. I’m guessing they have no regulatory demand that they share their network, so they don’t.

    There is no “monopoly” of broadband in Utah. There is

    1. Utopia (challenged by lack of financial backing, not very well organized, and left extremely lacking in the marketing skills department);
    2. Comcast, who doesn’t have to play by the same rules,
    3. ACN (who also piggybacks off Qwest, Utopia, and satellite networks),
    4. several wireless providers who use a radio signal with a transmitting antenna and a receiving antenna for customers,
    5. Satellite like Hughes net and
    6. Wildblue
    7. Qwest.

    You either are ignorant or are too personally upset with Qwest to speak rationally. I’m not saying there is room for improvement with Qwest, but again, you totally oversimplify a multi-faceted problem with a myopic single-faceted argument/rant.

    Talk to me about a holistic problem with a holistic response and I’ll be more inclined to listen.

  • Perry L. Porter says:

    Hey Nikita, who died and made you an apologist for Qwest?

    This is my experience with this monopoly over the last 11 years, particularly the last 6 weeks.

    Wow Qwest sent me an email reminder about my appointment to get my DSL internet connection working???

    That is great! Qwest rocks!

    The technician suggested I buy a new modem and that it was the same modem that I currently own, but not bought from Qwest, (except that his “works”).

    My DLS connection has been down for 2 days, it had been going down about every other day for about a month and a half.

    The last tech here said it was an internal wiring problem, so I have been connecting the modem/router directly to the outside box for about 3 weeks. When it goes down, I simply go to the box unplug the phone line, and plug it back in. 90% of the time that fixes the problem. When it doesn’t I repeat the step or wait an hour and repeat the step, not touching anything except the phone line!

    Well last night I looked into buying a new Actiontec GT724WGR at Best Buy, but they were out of the Qwest modems (Actiontec PK5000) which I think are the same as far as I have been able to research.

    According to the router status at 4:30 this morning, the modem magically trained once again. It has been up for 8 hours. I had moved the modem back to the computer room and was using the inside my house wiring that was supposedly the problem in the first place.

    One tech says it is my modem and I need to buy a “Qwest” modem. Another tech says it is my in-house wiring, but connecting directly to the box, I still have a problem about every other day and for 2 days it would not connect at all.

    I have had the same DSL service and several modems over the last 11 years. The connection has been almost flawless the entire time. When I have had problems is when I dropped my land line in the past I had the same problem for weeks until someone back East fixed something with equipment on the Qwest end. A few years later I added the land line back and my DSL service was out for a week, they finally fixed it and it worked flawlessly until about 6 weeks ago, when I dropped my land line again, (that I was not using much) to save $15.00 a month. Since then my service has been up and down and up and down.

    When I dropped the land line, the tech on the phone assured me that they could do this transition without any problems this time. I asked him 3 times if some high end tech could do something so it would not happen again. He assured me it was a simple and flawless process. I told him what had happened in the past and he didn’t seem to care. (Monopoly)

    Well guess what, Qwest was wrong again. If I pay another $15.00 for the privilege of telemarketing reps to call me at 8am Saturday morning, would my “broken” modem work flawlessly for another 7 years?

    Is it really my modem that is flaky? Is it possible that a coincidence that twice, spanning a 3 year period, that my modem only acts flaky when I am not paying for a land line that I don’t use?

    Interesting that superstition about my flaky modem seems to line Qwest’s pockets whenever there is an issue with the service.

    When I am paying for a land line that I don’t use, my modem works flawlessly, when I am not paying for a land line, the problem is with my house wiring or that I am not using a Qwest purchsed modem. Such logic probably flies better if I were calling from a trailer park.

    I upgraded the firmware on the GT724WGR, just in case that might help the training issue.

    BTW I had been on the National Do Not Call List for over a decade and only got calls from the 3 big exceptions, Charities, Political campaigns and of course the phone company hummmmmmm. Well when I reconnected my land line, I started getting calls from other telephone solicitors and I asked them where they got my number and informed them that I was on the National Do Not Call List and they said they had got my number from Qwest. When I called Qwest, and asked them why they had sold my number to telephone solicitors without my permission, they said they had not (technically) sold my number, but they had given it way. Thanks Qwest for disturbing my Saturday morning sleep, so that your business partners, the telemarketing industry has someone to call.


  • Peter says:

    Unfortunately, such is the way of all large enterprises when they are able to control the industry. Ars Technica has an interesting comparison of the internet monopoly to Thomas Edison trying to control the movie industry a 100 years ago. It all sounds so familiar, down to the lack of quality, innovation, or just plain getting what you want instead of what is being shuved down you throat. You may wan to check it out and see what you think:

  • randyd says:

    I hate it when people come around here and apologize for QWest. No one needs to justify why they don’t want QWest service, it speaks for itself. Good grief this is 2010 and I’d like to take advantage of Xmission digital voice and all its extra features, as QWest is stuck in the 1960s.
    They constantly lie to customers whenever there is a problem, blame my Xmission ISP, “just upgrade to”, blah blah. THIS IS THE PROBLEM.
    I deal with QWest by telling them “Fix my Xmission DSL the way it was 2 days ago or I’m going to switch to comcast voice or wireless”. This last time they rolled a truck to my house in 1 hour and it was fixed before he arrived. Guess the problem wasn’t my ISP after all… liars!

  • Peter says:

    There are posters like this all over the net. They pretend to be individuals stating their own
    opinions but in reality they are just payed shills of the compnay they defend. The common
    term applied to them is “Astroturfer” — a reference to the false grassroots movement they are
    paid to start. It’s best just to ignore them like we do trolls. We can see right through these
    posts and like QWest service, it speaks for itself.

  • John Boyack says:

    If this is a matter of Utah law, is there an XMission PAC working to change the law? I’d like more information about that. Qwest continues to amaze me, as much if not more than Comcast, with their efforts to sandbag myself as an XMission ISP consumer. The funny thing is, XMission only gets $12/month from me, and Qwest pulls in just over 3x that amount — and, for what?

  • Lisa says:

    I switched to Xmission several years ago when disappeared into the night. I have loved them ever since. I didn’t understand that I could go through xmission to get my dsl when I finally made the change a few years ago.

    I Qwest got me set up and running. The first time I needed to email a Microsoft Access file back and forth to someone we were in trouble. MSN is Microsoft, Access is Microsoft, and there is no way to get the file e-mailed without compressing the file so that the file extension is changed. This was totally unacceptable to me. Called Xmission and got my e-mail address back.

    Xmission is awesome, thanks for everything!!!!

  • Pete Ashdown says:

    John, it is more a matter of regulation. Right now, DSL and data services on Qwest are unregulated. There is talk inside the FCC about stretching telephony regulation over to data services, so a company like Qwest or Comcast can only seek full forbearance from regulation if sufficient competition is demonstrated.

  • Jon says:

    My experience is very similar to the writer’s (An Xmission customer speaks on Qwest). My DSL speed started getting worse and worse until sometimes it was no better than dial-up. Of course, Qwest’s first response was that it was Xmission’s problem. It wasn’t. When I provided evidence they sent out a service guy. He rerouted a bunch of stuff and then admitted that it will not get better because Qwest purposely doesn’t insulate it’s copper from it’s fiber optic to hurt Xmission and push costumers to switch to Qwest fiber optic. He said it would only get worse as fiber optic use increases. After he “fixed” the lines it actually got worse. He also tried to tell me I could get a discount on a switch to Qwest and on the modem by mentioning his name and a code when I signed up. Apparently he also profits by screwing me over and making my service worse. I will NOT switch to Qwest fiber optic and reward them for this behavior. If they can’t make my DSL with Xmission work I will switch over to a wireless antenna system like Digis or something else. I’m sorry Nikita. If what Qwest is doing is not illegal it is highly unethical and dishonest.

  • Chris C says:

    I had roughly the same experience as Pete Doenges with Qwest. This past summer the SNR for my DSL was far worse than the already poor SNR my lines normally receive. The minimum is suppose to be 6dB for 1.5Mbps; I was getting less than 3.5dB. I was surprised I could even stay trained on the line intermittently.

    After ensuring that the problem was definitely related to Qwest’s lines, I called up Qwest about the problem. To their credit they sent out a tech to check the lines at the local distribution point and determined that the new fiber optics deployment is causing crosstalk on regular copper DSL lines. The tech noted that I was on XMission and mentioned that they could switch me off to Qwest’s service and put me on fiber optics so this problem would go away. It wasn’t an attempted sale, but just the fact of the lines. I declined, as I host my web services from a server on this line connected to Xmission, and prefer on-site control of my hardware.

    The tech did manage to switch some lines and fix my SNR problems (~12dB now, finally), but I’m still stuck with 2002’s 1.5Mbps. It’s feeling quite slow these days. Past attempts to upgrade to 3Mbps caused severe line problems and I’ve never tried it again. I’m still not keen on switching ISPs as I wish to remain hosting this server on this line, and have always had a good experience with Xmission. It’s just a shame that Qwest is forcing out 3rd party ISPs. I really would like to have fiber optics with Xmission, and/or not have to pay for multiple services on top of the DSL + Xmission combination just to get better bandwidth.

  • Paul P says:

    I only wish Xmission could run more stuff in my life. The federal government, for example.

    When I moved to Murray, UT from Oregon in 2008, I just transferred my Comcast tri-play service, which proved horrendously unreliable here. On top of it, Comcast’s billing department apparently appropriated my wife’s Social Security Number for an account under a similar name, which trashed our credit rating when the other person turned out to be a deadbeat.

    So I decided to unbundle – converted to free, over-the-air digital broadcast TV when the converter boxes became available; Xmission via Utopia for internet, and a Qwest POTS landline.

    The TV has been great. Xmission has been even better, and the speeds over Utopia rock. Qwest couldn’t even make a POTS line work right. I record telephone interviews for work, and there was a loud hum on the line. A tech responded promptly, and said he could hear the hum, but told me, “there’s nothing we can do – it meets spec.” Not mine!

    I now use an Ooma phone, because Xmission didn’t have digital voice ready when I needed it, and it works well except for a distracting amount of delay. I just wish I could still buy a good old, analog, copper-pair POTS from a phone company that could make it work. Apparently, that’s too much to ask in 2010.

    Ah, progress.

  • Scott says:

    When I first got internet connectivity, “Electric Lightwave” was supposed to be the up-and-coming ISP. After a few years and multiple buy-outs they were rubbish. I had a 2 month period without a connection while argument went back and forth between Qwest and EL, each claiming there was absolutely NO chance my problem was on their end, even in a 3-way phone conversation. When Qwest’s proof began mounting, EL began making excuses so I switched over to XMission.

    XMission is the absolute best. People I chat with online are amazed when I tell them what I get for the money and the service is excellent.

    On the other hand, I’m aching to get away from Qwest. Revising a famous Churchil quote slightly, it fits Qwest well: “Qwest can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they’ve tried everything else.” Over the years I’ve had to contact Qwest 6 times regarding DSL upgrades, replacing hardware, etc., in EVERY case, they’ve completely botched my order – once telling me some blatant lies to cover their tuckus – leaving me without a connection for short periods of time, or with a connection but no usable hardware.

    I’d hate to move away from XMission, but I may have to soon, as neither Qwest fiber optics nor UTOPIA is available here and I can’t afford to keep paying what I do for the lousy speed I get.

  • Kent says:

    Qwest SUCKS and I have been with them for 30+ years here and 18 years before that. If someone can show me how to get away from them I am all ears. Them keep ratching my bill up and government says I have no cost of living increases.Qwest has jacked me up a couple of times in the last year.

  • Ruby says:

    If anyone could provide a list of options that would allow me to save a bit of money and still keep Xmission as my ISP, I would welcome it.

    I’ve been with Xmission for … 15 years I think. Qwest provides my erratic, slow and labor intensive DSL. It took over 10 hours one day/night to download a 1 hour tv episode (first and last time I tried that). As with several other posters, I frequently lose my connection and it’s been attributed to both my box and my inside wiring. Recently, they suggested that if I tried their new deal (which would require me to use Qwest for my ISP), it would fix all of my problems. After reading the responses here, I’m very glad that I passed it up and maintained at my current erratic, slow and labor intensive connections.

  • Jef Harvey says:

    I also as a Qwest independant contractor have seen their darker side. Several years ago I brought their largest customer to date (West Teleservices) to them in Denver where we all met and agreed to do a very large contract for telecom services. After doing 99% of the work the Qwest wholesale team stole the account and I was paid nothing. West then began doing their customer services. It looks like West is doing a similar/crappy job for them.

    Stories of this sort of dishonest company policy abound in the reseller/rebiller/Agent world which is why they have such a shoddy reputation. Believe me, the FTC and the FCC are making certain this never changes. They are just as guilty.

  • Paul says:

    One thing I have not seem mentioned so far is UTOPIA. If you live in a city that is in the UTOPIA network, drop Qwest and run away as fast as you can.

    I have been with multiple ISPs for both personal and business–including Qwest two times, and XMission four times (different companies). Qwest is a horrible business/internet partner. XMission has always been super to work with. Years ago, in Utah County, we had a problem that the XMission staff had trouble fixing. Pete came down himself to address it. Stately simply, XMission is the best ISP around–hands down.

  • Arvi says:

    I have tried three times, because of financial need, to use as my ISP. Each time, the sales reps lied blatantly to me about offshore vs. onshore support (which means jobs in or out of the U.S.,) about the level and availability of technical support, wait times, modem specs, etc. EACH time, I ended up having to do one or more clean-format OSRI’s because qwest techs so totally messed up my system. One tech did not even know what Outlook 07 was, nor did she have the faintest clue how to properly configure a household network, etc. etc. Communication services are integral to our lives and must be overseen by the Public Service Commission or run as a public utility, such as the water and electricity–not by a monopoly–which is precisely what qwest has, since Utopia and others are at a huge economic disadvantage because of the infrastructure they require in order to compete. Comcast is no better. At the very least, they ought not be allowed to lobby against the competition and charge more for mere access to their line than for them to be the ISP. Qwest strategically moves other players out of the game and then shows no moral or even business-like responsibility.
    There’s a reason we have “BUY LOCAL” bumper stickers. Local is friendlier, more-accountable, and puts money back into the economic system that employs our families and provides our lifestyle. HANG ON XMISSION!

  • Arvi says:

    Ruby, Qwest provides my DSL, but xmission is my ISP. I have no problem downloading or streaming. Be sure to check your internet options, your firewalls, etc. to make sure all the settings are correct. You should be fine! OH!! Be sure, as well, that NOTHING–like a Quicken update, or a microsoft update, etc. ) is trying to run or waiting to run while you’re streaming. Good luck!

  • Lewis says:

    I have had similar experience with Qwest, most all of it poor. I have had them blame my ISP for problems, that were not due to my ISP (xmission) but due to Qwest. I had to fight them to send a tech out, the first one blamed the problem on, get this, that they had added a service down the line, and it was damaging my signal? They have also had to come out and move my DSL from one set of lines on one street, to another set of lines on another service. The clincher came when I got their “bundled core connect” product, and they informed me that I couldn’t use my ISP, xmission. After that, I gave up on them as my DSL provider, and switched to comcast, and with them, even though I can use them as my ISP, I am still opting to keep xmission as my ISP. I still use Qwest for my business line phone number, due to listings in the white pages and such, but if there was any way to get out of them totally, I probably would. I have heard bad things about the ethics of comcast, like they hired people to flood a public hearing, etc. but for now, it’s the fastest I can get and not deal with the likes of Qwest. I wish South Salt Lake would be the “city on the move” and get in UTOPIA!

  • David says:

    Ahhh, the memories . . . (“the first shall be last, and the last shall be first”)

    Most of us do not fully appreciate how much a fast and reliable Internet service can affect (or adversely affect) our “WHOLE OUTLOOK ABOUT LIFE”, until that chapter of your life is finally BEHIND YOU, once and for all. It is very similar to fighting for your life while fighting cancer. I know, as I had to go through that experience myself a couple of years ago too. And then later, after being in and out of the hospital for over 6 months undergoing multiple batteries of agonizing chemotherapy treatments, I could finally exclaim out loud, “I am cancer free”, — and it was only then that I was finally able to count my blessings and get on with my life and really LIVE. Until you have to go through such an experience yourself to fully appreciate that feeling, there is no other feeling quite like it, . . . unless you happen to be fighting something similar in your life too. (ie: Qwest)

    Many years ago when Xmission was still green behind the ears, I signed up with them for dialup internet service. Then a few years later, when everyone started switching over to DSL, I couldn’t get it, as it was not supported in my neighborhood at the time. (in E. Midvale), — according to Qwest. Back then, Comcast started offering high speed Internet service too, but I did not want any part of it because of some previous frustrations I had with them over lack of quality cable TV service that I experienced with them which was never resolved to my satisfaction, and which motivated me to drop cable and switch to satellite TV instead. So for me, switching to cable for Internet service was not a viable option either. So after waiting a couple more years, I finally gave up waiting for DSL service and signed up with what was known then as “EarthLink Wireless”. They installed a dish on my roof and pointed it to the west mountain range, and I finally got “high-speed” Internet service. It was more expensive than DSL, and it was intermittent and slow at times, but it was still better than dialup.

    Long story short, — years later, Qwest finally brings DSL service into my neighborhood, and I switch Internet service and signed up with Qwest DSL, while still using another 3rd party ISP. Later, after many years of frustration fighting them for more stable or faster service, they said they could not give me faster service unless I switched ISPs and used them as my ISP instead. (which was the exact same rhetoric that Xmission users are complaining about on this forum too). So I finally gave in and dropped my ISP and went over to the dark side (I went with Qwest 100% — all the way).

    Later, as I became more frustrated on several fronts; such as speed inconsistencies, it would be slow for weeks until I complained several times, then they would do something and it and it would be OK for a few days, then it would go slow again. This scenario repeated itself over and over, — repeat, upgrade, repeat, upgrade again, then complain some more, then I would upgrade and pay more again. Finally, I decided I had had it. I decided to learn more about UTOPIA, (someone left a door hanger information packet on my front door the previous year, while construction crews were burying fiber optic cable in our neighborhood streets.) So I found the UTOPIA literature and started reading more about it.

    After over 15 years of utter frustration and agony, I was finally able to DUMP Qwest totally, 100%; I cancelled the DSL service AND the telephone service too. When I signed up with Xmission (I should of never left them in the first place, — my bad), they arranged to have UTOPIA installers come to my home and they installed fiber optic telephone service and super-high speed Internet service (50Mb/50Mb).
    After going through HELL for over 15 years (I felt I was LAST IN LINE to finally get DSL, then later, I was in one of the first neighborhoods to finally get the kind of service I always dreamed about but could never quite reach for or ever touch it, – almost like one of those crazy dreams).

    TODAY, I can honestly say that I am living my dream, because now my dream is a reality. “I am Cancer Free”—once again! — (Or in other words, I am finally freed from having to fight with Qwest anymore). And though I did not become rich, or win the lottery, it sure feels like I did, — because that’s how great it feels to have that painful, frustrating feeling (like getting cancer) and feeling like you are not able to do anything about it. But now I am free, and it feels absolutely fantastic!

    Now, as I listen to my friends, relatives or associates complain and whine about their crappy DSL or Cable service, I get to smugly grin as I listen to them extol their agonizing stories over and over (while I am counting my blessings and loving life).

    I haven’t blinked or turned to look back since dropping Qwest. (and I am writing this over one year after I dropped Qwest, and I am still getting promotional offers in the mail from Qwest begging me to come back to them. (If I could cancel getting snail mail from them too, I would.)

    I have never been as happy as I am now about the RELIABLE, DEPENDABLE and super FAST Internet service I am getting now, — through Xmission. And now they are offering a full lineup of HDTV programming for my area too (similar to Cable TV, but better and more reliable). And because I rarely have problems any more, I rarely get to interface with Xmission Tech Support very much. But when I do, they have always been patient and courteous as they address any concerns or questions I have. I couldn’t be happier.

    My recommendation to anyone reading this: If UTOPIA fiber optic service is available in your neighborhood; — don’t think about it any longer, JUST DO IT! — MAKE THE SWITCH — and end your agony once and for all, DROP QWEST all the way, and sign up with UTOPIA, for both telephone and high-speed Internet service (and TV too) and then you can finally “LIVE LIFE” free of anguish and have peace once again. I promise that if you do, you will never regret you did. And NO, — nobody paid me to say these things. After reading these stories on this page, it brought back a flood of emotion that I had almost forgotten about, so I felt I should at least try to share my own story with you and let you know that there can be “light at the end of the tunnel”. This is my honest to goodness real life experience. For those of you who don’t have access to UTOPIA, I will at least offer a prayer on your behalf that maybe someday you will be able to find peace in your life too, as I finally was able to find in mine, — with UTOPIA.

    In conclusion, it seems that life can be full of ironies: If I recall correctly, years ago, my neighborhood was in one of the last neighborhoods in Salt Lake Valley to finally get DSL Internet service, and then later, we were one of the first neighborhoods to get UTOPIA fiber optic cable installed in our neighborhood streets. Now perhaps my comment in the opening sentence that I made at the beginning of this posting makes a little more sense now. Please scroll to the top and read the first sentence again.

    Or in my case, was it the other way around? Anyway, — I think you get my point.

    Loving Life — (finally),

  • Ian L says:

    …and now that Qwest is being absorbed into CenturyLink, don’t expect the anticompetitive, anti-wholesale-ISP model to improve. CenturyLink likes to think of themselves as a rural telephone company, which means that, if I recall correctly, some rules about line-sharing just don’t apply to them. I wouldn’t be surprised if they raised rates on third party ISP service to double what they charge, retail, for their own connections, in addition to ATM aggregation fees etc. that wholesalers must pay to use the Qw…er…CenLink network.

    It’s horrid, really.

    Here’s hoping ISPs like XMission continue to survive and thrive. The problem is, they’ll have to adapt to an increasingly hostile environment in order to do so. Wouldn’t be surprised if XMission had to become a CLEC and start installing its own DSLAMs just to keep access to Qwest lines…and even that may not help since the FTTN remotes will be between the CO and the customer. That’s partially why is starting to run fiber rather than colo’d ADSL2+…50% of their cusotmers are behind RT brick walls and/or too far from proper COs…

  • Aaron M says:

    Ahh Qwest, so happy to be free of Qwest. But I thought I would share my story with Qwest. A long time ago I used Qwest for isdn service. They couldnt make it work right. A single connection would work but they could never get a bonded connection to work, which is what ISDN is all about. Eventually I switched to Xmission after trying a couple other failed ISPs and everything worked for a while.

    Fast forward a few years to when I started a business. We initially went with a company I think was named NextLink, they were a 3rd party phone company who sold services on Qwest phone lines. When we started, I asked to have my existing phone number attached to my ISDN transferred to the NextLink lines as that phone number was already listed in the phone book. This happened, however my ISDN service was irreparably damaged and never worked after that. However, I no longer was receiving a bill and so assumed that this failed migration resulted in a full transfer of the account to NextLink. After a while the business didnt work out, we were young and inexperienced and moved on. We shutdown the NextLink service and thought that wast that.

    A few years later I received a phone call from someone at Qwest asking about this line that they had no where to bill it too, I think NextLink went out of business. I told them I thought I knew what it was after they told me the number, and as I was in need of ISDN service again, informed them I was aware of it but thought that it had been cancelled long ago, but that if they could fix it I would love to have the service back, and was intending to use Xmission as my ISP. Well after much struggle I was informed that they could fix it but it would require switching my ISP, which I reluctantly agreed too. Then the bill arrived.

    The bill was a bill for years of unused service, nearly $1000. I called to talk to them about it and explain the situation and they were utterly helpless. I told them that if they had billed me in a timely manner I would have cancelled the line then, or at least asked them to repair it so I could use it instead of the dialup I used during that period. I spent 100s of hours over months trying to work through this problem with them. You see, I was an individual at this point, however because of the previous situation with NextLink, my account was flagged as though I was NextLink. Nobody could help me. Finally I found one intelligent person at Qwest who worked through it with me and was prepared to fix everything. Unfortunately, she need to research a little more information, and I never heard from her again. When I asked for her by name I was told she no longer worked at Qwest, I guess thats what they do with the people that can think.

    You see all this time Qwest refused to bring DSL to my neighborhood, because they could make more money off of ISDN and extra phone lines, and nobody had any other option. You see qwest had not planned on the explosive growth in my area and so had not laid sufficient copper for the homes in the area. Luckily the advent of Fiber allowed them to make a mini telco in our neighborhood that connected to the central office over fiber. However, Qwest refused to locate a DSLAM for DSL service in that mini telco. Eventually Comcast brought cable service to my neighborhood, and now that there was competition, qwest installed a DSLAM.

    So I switched to Comcast and shutdown my Qwest services but continued to pay off the remaining balance with what I could. My account at this point was still flagged as a third party and so did not get forwarded to collections. So I made a consistent payment every month on the account through my bill pay service and didnt pay much attention to the envelopes that came each month as I had the service disconnected completely and was not using it. Until 18 months later I openned one of those bills expecting that my service would be close to paid off to find that the balance had grown.

    It was the oddest bill however, the bill was for IP Addresses only. I had static IPs when I was with Qwest so I kind of understood, but there was no bill for a line, or ISP service, just the IPs over an extended period. The thing is you could never use just IP Addresses in this way to my knowledge, and you could never call up and order just IP Addresses from Qwest if you wanted to for the same reason. You would have to be using them as an ISP in order to use their IP Addresses. Again after extensive time on the phone they found that there was an order to reactivate the addresses 3 months after I canceled service. And the only possible way that such an order could have been created was if I called, though they had no record of me calling, their system just never makes mistakes, as we all know.

    Finally, I found someone at Qwest who said he was going to resolve this problem once and for all. Which he did though not quite to my satisfaction. He canceled all the services which I was happy about, however he finally re-flagged my account to a consumer account which certainly made it easier to talk to people, however the nearly immediate result was that the account was sent to a third party collection agency. This agency was very aggressive and uninterested in how the account could be years past due and so in order to avoid court, I paid off the balance and have never spoken to Qwest again.

    So while Qwest may not be a monopoly at this point, depending on how you look at it, their time as a monopoly, which they most assuredly were as are most public utilities, taught them to behave like a monopoly, and they have been fighting to regain their monopolistic presence ever since the lost it. If your city is not a Utopia city, it is likely because of the influence of Qwest over your city council. They are the reason you have only one choice for fiber. Qwest may not be a monopoly but they will treat you like they are every chance they get.