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AT&T U-verse Installation Experience

I received many mailings from AT&T that their U-verse product was in my area. After some time, I attempted to sign-up for U-verse online, and their ssytem that my location was eligible, but the webpage said it would replace my ADSL, rather than augment it. I had read things online that U-verse installation might not go well, and I did not want to be left in limbo, so I declined to proceed.

I continued to receive mailings from AT&T about U-verse, and decided to speak to AT&T on the phone on Wednesday July 23rd. On the phone I was told that I could not install U-verse on a separate wire pair to the house, but I was told that my downtime would be about 30 minutes. They also assured me that I would be able to switch back to ADSL within 30 days if I was not satisfied. They wanted to switch my POTS line to VOIP but I declined, since I wanted at least a working phone line if things didn’t turn out well. Based on those statements, I decided to proceed. They scheduled me for the next day, Thursday July 24th, from 9-11am.

Sometime after 11am on the 24th, an installer showed up and we looked at inside wiring options. He informed me that my inside wiring had too many bridge taps and we settled on installation of a new CAT5 from the MPOE to a new location. Once that was done, he attempted to get a U-verse signal from their fiber termination box at Elena Rd and La Barranca Rd (1.8 miles away by road). He indicated that the signal and error rates looked good at the MPOE, which seemed to surprise him because he said the distance to the fiber box on Elena was about 4800 feet, substantially more than 2100 foot specification for U-verse. This immediately made me wonder why AT&T had insisted that I was eligible for U-verse and that the installation would be quick. Despite the test results, and the new CAT5 line from the MPOE to the modem in the house, the modem refused to establish a connection. A fault in the box at the MPOE was found and fixed, but still the modem would not sync. A new modem was tried, but it too failed. At this point, it was past 5pm, and the installer decided that a bonded pair to the house would be needed to make U-verse work. He suggested that a bonded pair might be possible by Saturday and the U-verse installation might proceed the next week. He got the POTS line working again at this point. He said he and his partner would put everything back in place for my ADSL at the Elena Rd location and then the two of them left. Before they left, one of the technicians told me he would call me shortly to check. When the ADSL failed to come back, and I had not received the promised call back, I called 611 repair service about the ADSL line. I was told that the line had been scheduled for disconnection. The person I spoke to said they would attempt to cancel the disconnection. It was clear that the ADSL and U-verse divisions do not communicate well, as this person seemed to have problems with visibility to the U-verse records.

Despite my phone call, by Friday morning (7/25) the ADSL modem was still flashing red and I remained without Internet connectivity. I called 611 again to get the status, but I was told that a technician had been assigned and was working on it and so they would do nothing further over the phone. Sometime after 9am, a new technician did show up at my door. He had no record of the situation, so I had to explain everything that had happened. After an hour or so, he determined that the reason that the ADSL did not work was that the previous installer had left a filter on the ADSL line that prevented the signal from reaching the modem. He told me I was physically over 6000 feet from the fiber box. He worked on getting two clean pairs from the fiber box to my MPOE. However, by the time he had to leave, the central office had not turned on the second bonded pair.

On Saturday 7/26, an ADSL technician called about my 611 call. I informed them that the U-verse technician had fixed my ADSL the day before.

On Tuesday 7/29, another U-verse technician came to my house. He determined that the second pair was still inactive. He wanted me to go ahead and register on the single line, but I declined, because a previous technician had said registering would deactivate my ADSL line, and did not want to depend on U-verse working well beyond its distance specification. After about four hours he did get the second pair active, but the modem could not get the lines to bond. He left after five hours suggesting that a splice technician would have to work on the line, and suggested that would likely happen on Wednesday the 30th.

On Thursday the 31st, I have heard nothing further from AT&T. That evening my ADSL service was disconnected without warning.

On Friday August 1st, I still had not been contacted by AT&T about the installation status. I called 611 and was transferred to the ADSL department to inquire why my ADSL had been disconnected even though I had not been informed what was going on and before I had registered for U-verse. After 30 minutes on hold, I decided to check the U-verse modem in the other room. It appeared to be connected, and so I went through the registration process, while waiting for AT&T to answer my phone call. After 49 minutes on hold I hung up. I was not able to get an explanation from them for what had happened.

On Saturday August 2nd I received a bill for U-verse for service starting July 24th, despite the fact that I had not registered until August 2nd.

At present, the bonded pair U-verse install is working well. I am satisfied with the service at this time, but I am quite dissatisfied with the installation experience.

My complaint about AT&T is as follows:

  • AT&T refused to install U-verse without first disconnecting the ADSL. If they had allowed me to install U-verse before disconnecting ADSL, I would have not seen two long service interruptions. Since my POTS service is on one pair, and another two pairs are used for bonded U-verse service, it seems there was no physical restriction for this policy.
  • For the first service interruption, I was without ADSL service for 23 hours. AT&T should not have left until ADSL service was restored. By entering a disconnection order for the ADSL service, leaving a filter in place on the line, and leaving early they extended my ADSL interruption by 16 hours.
  • AT&T scheduled an installation that required a bonded pair without first putting such in place. This caused the installation to fail. I had been repeatedly assured that my location was eligible but AT&T did not check the distance prior to sending technicians.
  • AT&T did not inform me that they had made U-verse operational and disconnected my ADSL service before I noticed this and registered for U-verse. This caused me another long outage.
  • AT&T billed me for U-verse starting on the date they first attempted installation, rather than on the date I completed U-verse registration.