I have this new Verizon FIOS service at home. (I replaced our old proprietary — and incredibly costly — Internet filtering with free service from OpenDNS.) After it was installed — well, after it was re-installed, the first installation having been done wrong — I have really enjoyed having that sort of broadband speed at home.
We’re not media downloading people, we Colemans, so it’s not that. It’s just the browsing experience, and, for me, I can really experience true virtual commuting; using LogMeIn I can work at my office desktop from home with almost no perceptible lag. I also really appreciate being able to upload big files fast, something I sometimes have to do when filing legal papers online by a deadline that is all of a sudden bearing down fast. Not only this, but the pricing is great; with all that bandwidth I was able to completely drop my extra landline, which despite the best efforts at phone service discounting was so laden with taxes (“fees”) that it was an utterly unjustifiable luxury just for dedicated faxes to home.
These guys are constantly, constantly pushing you to their incredibly powerful-looking customer-interfacing website for customer service. Seeing as how you have to fence on the phone with a talking computer anyway, you give it a try. And look at all the buttons to click! It’s true one-stop shopping! Here’s the warning sign: It only “really” works with Microsoft Internet Explorer. Short of requiring you to get access to it via AOL, that’s about as grim a warning sign as you can get.
And so it goes.
Nothing — nothing — works on the Verizon site. And when I say nothing, I mean of course pretty much nothing, or a majority of things you want to do once you get there. THIS is not available “at this time.” THAT is not available “at this time.” THE OTHER just hangs up. Please come back later. Please try again another time. Please call customer service. Only not now, ok? And so on. And so on. And so on.
I knew this already. I knew it years ago. I just kept hoping against hope that this offspring of the great Bell trust had really begun to understand how to serve customers, and that one of the main things you do to serve them is not make promises you can’t keep — including promises of things websites can do but which they really can’t. And that one of the corollaries of that is not to push your customers to that resource when it is not even remotely up to the job.
Verizon is fast, all right. But it seems that once a monopoly, always a monopoly.
Verizon is still just the phone company.