Fairpoint, our local ISP and telco, fails again and again

I’ve written previously about the multi-leveled incompetence of FairPoint, our (only) local ISP and phone company.  I thought I’d follow up with further tales of woe.

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 This time they fumbled basic phone service, customer communication, and an internet upgrade, all in a few days.

Fairpoint_connectedFirst, FairPoint sent us a print flier (they don’t communicate with us electronically, which used to be hilarious, but is now simply and sadly normal) proclaiming that they would upgrade our broadband speed.  Despite having been burned many, many times, I couldn’t resist some interest, since our broadband speeds are horrendously (nigh-dialup) bad.

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 “Call now!” read the printed material, so I called.

They didn’t answer.  It was a weekend.  Ah well.  So much for “now”.  So I called first thing Monday morning.

An excited representative said they could boost our download speed to eight Mbps, which is a fourfold increase over our present sluggery.  Upload would race ahead to… one (1) Mbps, which certainly beats our current 0.6.  FairPoint would have to install a new modem, check some wires, and we’d be in business.

Excellent.  I made an appointment for the following Monday.  They would arrive sometime during the business day, so my wife and I reorganized the day to always be home then. A couple of days later the modem arrived in the mail.  Fine.

On Monday… nothing happened until 4 pm.  Then a FairPoint truck drove up and some dude worked on the telephone pole up on the road.  Said fellow then materialized on our front door.   I welcomed him, and showed the connection box on the side of our house.

His face fell.  “You have *two* connections?”

“Yes,” I explained.  We’ve had two FairPoint connections for almost five years, one residential, one for the business.

He backed away from the box.  “They didn’t tell me that.  I don’t have the right equipment.  I’ll go look for the stuff and call you.”  Then he drove away.

I sighed, utterly unsurprised that FairPoint failed to accurately prep its own workers about their own gear.

An hour later the technician called back.  No, there were no parts nearby.  He’d try to find some elsewhere in the state.  No ETA available.

Two days went by without a call or visit, so I called the company.  A flustered representative said the main depot lacked the proper equipment.  They didn’t know what they’d do next.  “What should I do?” I asked.

“You should wait,” came the reply.    And so we have done, for more than a week.

FairPoint hasn’t emitted a single noises in our direction since, not a call, visit, email, or mailing.

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 I’ve tweeted at the official account several times; there has been no response.  Our internet remains lame, and the new modem rests, untouched, in its shipping container on our kitchen table.

Have you ever experienced an outage_Fairpoint

I’m beyond irony with this outfit.

Meanwhile, they managed to flub what people used to call POTS: Plain Old Telephone Service.  Our business phone line – the one clients and perspectives ring – simply went dead.  We found out when our daughter pinged us through Gchat.  The other phone line worked, so I used that to call FairPoint’s repair crew.  They had no idea there was a problem, nor any idea what caused it, but they’d send a repairperson the next day.

The next day rolled around and there was no sign of a technician.  No call, no visit (are you sensing a pattern here?).  So at day’s end I called FairPoint.  A confused-sounding rep expressed surprise, since apparently a technician had done some repair work, and was supposed to notify us.  The line was back in order, and no, the rep couldn’t describe either what caused the problem, or how the tech had managed to fix it.  Perhaps they’re getting a head start in cutting back on offering phone service.

So, in short, our internet is still bad, and we have no idea if or when it’ll receive a marginal boost.  Our phone line can simply go out for no apparent reason.

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 FairPoint doesn’t understand the very basics of customer communication, so we, as customers, have to assist them.  As WCAX observes, “FairPoint has faced criticism in recent years from customers and state officials over service quality.”

They have a monopoly in our area, so we can’t turn to a competitor.  There’s no cell phone coverage within 30 minutes of our town, so that’s not an option.  We’re just stuck paying for this poor service… until we move.

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10 Responses to Fairpoint, our local ISP and telco, fails again and again

  1. Mark klitzke says:

    Yes, I feel your pain, but the REAL question (for too many in Western Mass.) is:
    Is Bad Internet better than No Internet?

  2. Zack Lukjan says:

    Pay for telco internet AND satellite?

    Sometimes rather have two bad choices than none, lol.

  3. Stace says:

    I’m glad for your warnings, thank you. I’m a Missourian transplanting to St. Albans in just a couple of weeks and the internet situation has me concerned. I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular (it’s MO, we’re nothing if not used to disappointment) but was hoping that broadband had made its way at least to Small Town, USA, if not Rural USA. When I first found Fairpoint in a search for ISP’s, their user agreement was a huge red flag but the customer reviews sealed their fate. We will not be using Fairpoint. UGH. Much as I detest the mere thought, it’s looking increasingly like Comcast is the best option. *winces* I have two teens and a tween, and we are a family of gamers. Any recommendations?

    • I’m sorry to hear this, Stace. It’s a real problem.
      What other ISPs are available in St. Albans? Is relying on cell phones an option?
      And have you asked the Reddit Vermont board?

      • Stace says:

        Agreed! Lack of competition is never a good thing. You’ve made an excellent case for that argument with your unfortunate Fairpoint experiences. Again, thanks for sharing. And thanks for the Reddit Vermont tip, I will do that. Just from what I have been able to learn online from 1200 miles away, there are a handful of ISP’s in St. Albans and most of them are dial-up/DSL situations. You probably know this, but: it’s difficult to upgrade communities from DSL to broadband because often an entirely new infrastructure is required. Then it needs to be maintained. It’s pricey work. But if a communications giant other than Comcast were looking for untapped markets, VT isn’t a bad place to start. In my limited experience, Vermonters are conscientious and in need of good, honest service. =)

      • DSL is what Vermonters long for, alas.
        I’d like to lobby the state for more work. That’s a serious struggle.

  4. Steven Kaye says:

    I don’t know how often it gets updated, but https://www.inmyarea.com/internet looks to be one source for researching ISPs. In our experience (Silicon Valley) Comcast mostly works, as long as you don’t have them for Internet AND for cable TV. We found the billing departments didn’t share information and it caused a lot of headaches, so we wound up dropping cable. It also doesn’t hurt that we have business Internet.

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