Back when I studied at the university, I worked extra at an internet support company. The job was mot fantastic, but I got some experience and extra money for beer. We did internet support on dial-up and DSL for a phone operator and ISP, support for a few municipality/city nets and served as the first point of contact for a company that used to own us (we branched out to do more than just support us, they sold us to focus on their core business, but we still did first point of contact for them).
The company delivered high-speed internet connections for companies, municipalities and homeowners’ and tenants’ unions – there were no direct private customers, they only delivered to organizations, companies and associations. A large part of of their network was radio LAN. This was around 2000, before a lot of fiber had been laid down to build an extensive fiber net over the country – connecting customers to radio LAN to the few large-capacity fiber lines in existence was a good business back then.
Around 2002, we get informed that this company, due to the IT crash close to bankruptcy, are being bought out by a LARGE power company that wishes to acquire the fiber net they have laid out and branch out in their own ISP business. Everyone is happy – we because we can have continued business, they because they won’t have to go bankrupt and the large power company because they get a good net and customer base really cheap.
So, the company starts to do a lot of clean-up in their system before the merger. They build a lot of their net and customer base in during the happy times of the IT bubble 1998-2001, and it was known that technicians had arranged connections for friends and relatives and made many undocumented solutions. So we were warned that they were closing a lot of connections that had no contract to it and were not paid for, and were asked to document everything in case it looked like someone had been disconnected by mistake, send a case to the technicians and let them handle it from there.
So, one day I get a call on that line.
ME: “[company] support.”
HIM: “Hi. I have an internet connection from you guys, and it has stopped working.”
ME: “Ok, what is the name of the company?”
HIM: “No, it is not a company.”
ME: “Oh, is it a tenants’ or homeowners’ union?”
HIM: “Nope, just me.”
ME: “There must be some kind of misunderstanding. We don’t sell individual connections.”
HIM: “You did to me.”
ME: “The info I have is that we never did.”
HIM: “Look, I live in an old water tower. It is the highest building in the city. You guys came here 1998, and told me if you could put up an antenna on my roof, I got free internet from you. It has worked fine for 4 years, now it doesn’t.”
ME: “Ok, I’ll put a case to the technicians and have them look into it. I’ll get back to you.”
HIM: “Fine. Thanks.”
So, I make a case and send it to the technicians, who, perhaps understandably, close the case, saying he is not a customer, they do not provide individual connections, and he is not getting his internet back.
So, I call him back to tell him this.
ME: “Hello again, it is ##### from [company], I promised to call back.”
HIM: “Oh yeah, what did they say?”
ME: “Unfortunately, they claim you are not a customer and you do not have any contract from us. They have closed the case.”
HIM: “What? Get back to them and tell them that if they don’t restore my connection, I am going up there and I’ll take the antenna down!”
ME: “I don’t think that will help, but I will do so.”
So I re-open the case, submit the new information and get it back almost immediately, closed, with a belittling comment about not believing people that are not customers and not re-opening such cases again. At that time I was busy, so I did not have time to call the customer back with this and by lunchtime, I had almost forgotten it all.
Until the manager comes running.
MAN: “Get back on the phones! The [company] line is going mad!”
ME: “What? What happened?”
MAN: “They lost [large geographical region with about 20% of the customers]. It is completely black!”
ME: “I think I know why.”
Yes, it turned out in the end, that the technicians had made the guy a deal in 1998, but never put it to paper. They had given him a 100/100Mbit connection with 1:1 contention which he used for e-mail and checking some forums and read newspapers online.
They made him a special deal and connected him to a 10/10Mbit 1:32 (I think it was) line, and he connected the antenna again.
Oh, sometimes I wish I had his power when the internet is down.
-Also, if anyone agrees to do anything for you, GET IT IN WRITING. – Rob
Picture Source: [grotos (CC)]