Friday, December 5, 2008

I Wanna Be Grounded

I mentioned before that I was scheduled to have AT&T U-Verse installed today (Thursday). Despite prospects of 18MB/sec internet download speeds dancing in my head, I still managed to fall asleep last night.

The installer called around 12:15 and let me know he was on his way. Less than 30 minutes later the doorbell rang and the adventure began. After explaining what he was going to do, he left to go to the phone box down the street to do whatever he needed to do.

After mulling over all the drilling and wiring he'd have to do in order to hook up the television, when he returned I told him that I really only wanted the internet but the sales rep told me I had to get the television hookup as well in order to get free installation plus $150 cash back. I said we hardly watch television and I was planning on canceling it after 30 days.

The installer told me a lot of people have the same situation, their sales rep having told them the tv part was mandatory. He said he could just do the internet and leave the box with me, unhooked, and I could return it after canceling the tv portion. I said fine, I don't care about the cash back or whatever, I just want the speedy internet!

While he was testing the wiring, I told him that I read in the brochure that a grounded outlet was required. Our house was originally built in the 40's and then a major add-on that doubled its size was done in the 90's. The original front part of the house did not have grounded outlets but the rear addition did. Unfortunately, all the computer hookups and the existing cable were in the front part.

He said the equipment is very fussy and they weren't supposed to install it without a proper grounded outlet because it could cause the box to work only intermittently or not at all. The guy didn't want to take a chance with this and said he couldn't do the installation.

Aw, shucks.

So far I have never had a problem with any of the computer equipment even though it's been plugged into a non-grounded outlet that has a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). But I don't want to take a chance. Being the internet junkie that I am, plus depending on that connection to work from home, the current connection with Charter cable is more than adequate. Still, I am mourning the loss of a more than 3x increase in speed!

At 2:21 pm the phone rang. I picked it up and a recorded message told me that I was scheduled for an AT&T U-Verse installation today between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm. How nice of them to send me a timely reminder, lol.

Anyway.. after the installer left I called Charter to explore my options and wound up getting a 10MB/sec promo internet package for $39.99 after I asked them why they were so expensive compared to AT&T. I wanted the 16MB promo but they said it isn't available in my area. Yet. At least I doubled my internet speed today without adding new equipment or drilling any holes or having to worry about canceling in 30 days, and they did it with the flip of a switch. So the day wasn't a total loss!

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