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DSL Installation Fail 371

An anonymous reader writes "Here's an example of fine Qwest workmanship. In our business park, they just installed a DSL connection for our neighbors, for which we share an exterior utility space. They left: a DSL modem stuffed in a cardboard box, wrapped in a Wal-Mart bag, sitting outside in what will be below-zero (F) temps, on top of a bank of ten natural gas meters in some of the driest air of the year. They also left it plugged into an exposed exterior power outlet above a snowbank, with network cables running around the building, through snowbanks, coupled and protected by zip-lock baggies, and into our neighbors office. Not to mention the hack-job of patching the phone cable directly into the demarcation box. And if you're wondering — I was told upon calling them that this is not their problem, and I need to contact my primary phone service provider."


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DSL Installation Fail

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:41PM (#34934128)

    Looks like Qwest thought they had this job *sunglasses* in the bag.


  • by Tmack ( 593755 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:42PM (#34934132) Homepage Journal
    Im sure they will remove the suspicious package right away...
    • This is a bad idea (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tanman ( 90298 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:06PM (#34934388)

      If you were dealing with some local company or something, this might be ok to give them one more chance to 'make it right.' However, you are dealing with a big corp. The best thing to do, to avoid unforeseen consequences, is to call the fire marshal and inquire as to who is actually responsible if there is a situation like yours (the installer or the building owner). If it is the installer, then you immediately report the situation and get an official record of it on a government piece of paper. You then take that report and fax it to them while on the phone with their secretary and tell them they need to fix it, as the fire department has documented the faulty job and you aren't sure if they are being investigated . . .but you have confirmed with the fire marshal that they would be the ones found liable in case fault is found in the installation job.

      • by SHaFT7 ( 612918 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:21PM (#34934526) Homepage
        I am a local company, and if one of my guys did a 1/4 of a job as bad as this, I'd fire him so fast his head would spin, then I'd give the customer all kinds of free stuff and hope to god that 1.) they don't flame me to everyone they know and 2.) that I don't suck it up in the next hiring process :)
      • No, you're not usually dealing with a big company. You're probably dealing with a small sub-contractor who gets paid to do the install. Once he knows the service is up he has no responsibility for it. It may come
        back to bite him only if the customer tracks him down. I had this happen with a Large Satellite TV company recently. I switched from the "other" Large Satellite TV company and in three months I've had 4 service calls, the most recent being today. Why? The original installation. To install th

      • by julesh ( 229690 )

        The best thing to do, to avoid unforeseen consequences, is to call the fire marshal and inquire as to who is actually responsible if there is a situation like yours (the installer or the building owner).

        Neither, I suspect. The most likely candidate would be the tenant. If they have permission from the owner to perform the installation work, that permission is likely to specify that they are responsible for ensuring all safety rules are followed. If they don't have permission, then while technically it would be the owner's responsibility, the owner could then sue them for performing unauthorized modifications to his property and reclaim any damages that were in consequence of that.

        IANAL, nor am I an expe

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I take it this wasn't in Boston, or they'd have shut the entire city down, given that it has wires coming out of it. If there was a Mooninite on it, they'd probably hunker down for an invasion....

  • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <DStaal@usa.net> on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:42PM (#34934142)

    Seriously. Call the Fire Marshal, tell them this is what Qwest did as electrical/phone work, and ask if it meets safety standards. Try to control your laughter as you ask.

    • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:33PM (#34934604) Homepage
      Call the gas company. We frown on people putting shit on our gas meters. Believe me, that stuff will be gone in no time.

      I've seen worse, though. I found a lightning rod grounded to a metal gas service. Thankfully we found it and had it removed before lightning hit it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ACMA would fine the installer $10k on the spot for that in Australia. Sadly there are far to many people who do dodgy installs like this all over the world. :

      Wonder how long it will take someone to 'recycle' the spare copper in the wires.

      • My neighbour had their phone line coming out of the pit, over about a metre of council land, up a retaining wall, across the front garden and snaked into their house. I don't know if it was Telstra or Dodgy Bros, but it was like that for over a year. Of course, if they had DSL the modem would be inside the house, not outside! I wonder what would have happened if a mower had've gone over it?

  • Right On... (Score:5, Funny)

    by VTI9600 ( 1143169 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:45PM (#34934168)

    I often call to complain that my neighbor's DSL isn't set up correctly...oh, wait.

    • Oh, I see you didn't look at the pictures [google.com]. They strung UTP cable right across the snow-covered grass and entryway of the guy who's complaining! You can't even swing the door open without a likely network outage!
  • Calls to have their DSL installed in the middle of a snowy winter?

    ASSHOLES CUSTOMERS, that's who. /blame game.

    • by Meshach ( 578918 )

      :But then what kind of asshole calls to have their DSL installed in the middle of a snowy winter?

      WTF? Would you rather have no internet until the spring thaw? If you offer a service that is "24 hour" then you have to support it in all kinds of weather. That is not being an asshole but being a customer.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      YEAH!!1! Those fuckers probably want a phone line, cable TV, gas, electricity and mail service too! Why do people move in the winter? Shit, they're lucky to get DSL in the first place! Why can't people just stay where they are for the rest of their lives? This is just ridiculous. If the Tea Party were in power, this would be done RIGHT the first time!

    • Do you want installers to be unemployed 1/4 of the year?

    • Seems like qwest technicians are too busy browsing slashdot to do their job right. There is absolutely no excuse for this, no matter how "assholish" the customer. Just looks bad on you the technician anyways.

    • by tyrione ( 134248 )

      Calls to have their DSL installed in the middle of a snowy winter?

      ASSHOLES CUSTOMERS, that's who. /blame game.

      Sorry, but Construction is done year round. The fact they didn't run any PVC between the boxes and then brought out an entire set of enclosures to keep the weather from creating further damage, fire risk, etc., not to mention running a separate power conduit to expand the capacity is completely unprofessional. Furthermore, if the Building Management works with Qwest I'm sure they can provide a point of access to their wiring plan and there should be no wiring exposed. It's clear the Gas company had a tigh

  • by MoldySpore ( 1280634 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:47PM (#34934180)
    ...they forgot the duct tape! How do they expect it to stay up on those gas containers in strong winter winds?!
    • Duct tape actually doesn't work in those temps. I grew up in Minnesota and had the glove compartment on my car duct taped shut. When it got that cold the sticky wasn't sticky anymore.
    • Don't worry, they're coming back tomorrow with some power tools to screw the box thingy into those funny looking pipes it's sitting on...

  • For comcast that a ok job but for dsl / phone they can do much better.

  • Looks more like the business owners son's job then a paid for Professional Qwest installation. I am curious to see what comes of this, and if a Qwest employee was actually involved in the installation/setup--i doubt it...unless like the poster above me says: $55hole customers-- can definately lead to some shoddy jobs becuase they had to have service yesterday and their losing tens of thousands of dollars a day. Sure you feel bad because you can't help them out but my favorite quote for this situation is::
    • Yeah, but this was "Lack of planning on your part, does constitute a destructive job on my part."
  • by echucker ( 570962 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:52PM (#34934228) Homepage
    When the picasa album has a real name on it?
    • Krell Institute. Hmm

      Institute for the promotion of computational science, 1609 Golden Aspen Drive, Suite 101. Ames, IA 50010

      Sort of sounds like a place that a /. reader might work at.

      Let's hope there isn't a rash of pizza deliveries.

  • Secure (Score:4, Funny)

    by TornCityVenz ( 1123185 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:56PM (#34934278) Homepage Journal

    Well at least if you lock yourself out of the office you have open ports at the gas meter to hook up to.

  • Joke? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by superdave80 ( 1226592 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @07:58PM (#34934308)
    I doubt this is real. The installation dude is smart enough to wire this into the junction box and wire a network cable a couple hundred feet long with a splice of some type. Yet he thinks that this modem will survive in the snow, with only a bag and box to protect it. And thinks that his network cable running the length of the building and across at least one walkway won't be tripped on/broken. And the business owner, when presented with a network cable popping in through his front door, said "Looks good. I don't even mind that I have to still run some type of cable to our router, which is NOT right next to our front door!" Oh, and this is from an anonymous reader.

    Sorry, I call bullshit.

    • I agree. The whole thing is so "over the top:, clearly not real. At least, not from Qwest.
      • I had standing orders that no qwest people were allowed into our denver branch without somebody calling me. and they were NEVER allowed to touch anything without somebody watching them. every time they came into the building we'd lose something, most of the time it was our internet due to their horrendous wiring.

      • I'm sorry, but I believe it (except the connection on the ground). Looking at the photos I think I might be in the same Business park as the poster.

        I had to fight with Qwest to get DSL because they said it was a fiber only market.....except there is no fiber anywhere in that part of town. After the order went through, it took them 10 days to get a tech to come out an install it. The tech terminated the pair at the DMARC then didn't tag it. I had to have another tech come out and tag it. Then to make th

    • Re:Joke? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:07PM (#34934858)

      This looks like an install done by someone who knows enough about the basics of installing DSL, but just wanted to get the fuck out of there. I completely believe this because I've seen similar installs.

      I once went to someone's house late at night for a trouble call (I'm a cable technician). All of the cable lines at this house were ran on the outside, just laying on the ground, not even close to the house. Even their splitters were just laying in the dirt. Water had gotten into everything and killed their connection.

      We later looked into this contractor's other jobs and found similar results, so we back-billed him for all the installations. Turns out this guy was just trying to do as many installs as possible, because he was getting paid by the install. Happens more than you'd think. I'd say this DSL installer spent a grand total of 20 minutes installing this, whereas a quality install could take half the day. Multiply that by $50 an install...

    • Could be he possesses skills, but is deficient in the 'giving a shit' category. In other words, could be he took the quickest route that got boobies flowing through the intertubes.

      I could also see the owner hacking it together and totally blaming it on somebody else.

  • Not Suprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NevermindPhreak ( 568683 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:00PM (#34934334)

    Note: I'm a low-voltage tech.

    This kind of stuff doesn't suprise me. It's the nature of the industry. People don't want to pay $200 for a decent quality install, so a lot of the independent guys try to lowball where they can. Contractor companies will hire anyone to do the work, and they'll be lucky if they get a half a week of training. Most ISP's contract out their installs to these companies. (Mine is the exception to that fortunately.) This installer was probably never trained on this stuff, and his employer probably expected him to do it anyways or they wont use him anymore.

    Quest probably leases the lines and contracts the installations through AT&T, who then contracts the installs through someone else. (Can't confirm this though.) That's why Quest told the customer to call their "primary phone service provider", although I think Quest should have done this work for them.

  • by BrianRoach ( 614397 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:03PM (#34934352)

    This is pretty much what you expect with QWest.

    In fact ... they must have gotten the good installer given the plastic bag.

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:08PM (#34934400)
    I once hired a "network technician" to install Ethernet (coax... it was a long time ago) in a doctors office. He said he was "experienced". I got a complaint from the office after he left. They had an empty office between the router and a workstation. This fool punched a hole in the middle of the wall on each side of the room and ran the wire at about neck height across the middle of the room.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:08PM (#34934410)

    Put on gloves and unplug one of the cables. Wait for them to send some one out to "repair it". Call the police and report that a suspicious person is attaching a package with wires to the gas lines.

  • http://forum.mikrotik.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=31711 [mikrotik.com]

    Most of these are remote hotspots to bounce a wireless signal accross Europe, but even in the middle of nowhere there should be standards.

  • by Rob the Bold ( 788862 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:14PM (#34934466)

    You're trying to help them out and they tell you to call someone else. I guess you did your job.

    I saw a fire hydrant spewing water once, called the fire department, they said, "call the water department." I said, "OK." Hung up and didn't think about it again. Until now, I guess.

  • When I had Qwest DSL, the tech who came out when my service failed happened to mention that my house was several hundred feet beyond the DSL spec from their office. He determined that the problem was in their office, but being a weekend he had no way to get into the office to fix it. But that didn't stop Qwest service from closing my trouble ticket, so I had to spend another hour going through their phone tree to get another tech to come out and go through the process again. And then when I terminated my
    • My friend tryed to get ISDN from Quest back when it was still US Worst. They came out to hook it up couple times, utterly failed to get it working at all, but that didn't stop them from billing her for ISDN service for a couple months! She gave up and gave me her ISDN modem. I still have it.
  • by FauxReal ( 653820 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:29PM (#34934582) Homepage

    Just call Qwest and let them know you just saw some kids or crackhead steal it.

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:39PM (#34934644)
    I work for a telco... your regular local phone techs would never do this. They have procedures they follow and getting some weird-ass setup to work is not their problem. They make sure service gets to the Demarc and then they leave. What happens however is a salesman sells the customer something that's nearly impossible. Or they sell them a package they think will work without ever visiting the site. Inevitably what happens is the tech shows up, drops service off at the demarc, which happens to be some closet or outdoor space in a huge complex... the customer is literally half a mile a way and would have to pay to have cable run through the whole building. But the sales guy wants his commission. So what does he do? He shows up in person and does something like what we see here. I've actually seen worse. Then the customer calls in to complain but according to the techs records he dropped off normal service at a normal demarc. There's no record of this mess... There's arguing back and forth... but in reality the sales guys just got to prevent the customer from canceling within 30 days and the commission is his. Qwest has no idea what any of that extra cable is, and as far as anyone in their facilities division are concerned they probably think the customer ran it themselves.
  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @08:40PM (#34934652) Journal

    Thanks for documenting this. I had a similar experience with cable a few years ago and I regret I didn't document it at the time. In my case we were renting a house next to a vacant lot, and on the other side of the lot was the curbside cable box that the installer had decided to use.

    They ran the cable straight across the vacant lot in the grass and into one of our ventilation conduits to get under the house. Then, one day the cable stopped working. I could see that they were starting to develop the lot next door and a tractor had run across the cable laying on the ground. I called the provider, they came out and strung another cable across the lot, on the ground.

    This was a regular occurrence in the weeks ahead. Once or twice a week I'd call that the cable was broken again, and someone would come out and patch it and drop it back in the dirt.

    Then one day it stopped working again and I called again and then watched what the guy would do when he came out. They had poured concrete next door, and the cable now went from the box down into a fresh sidewalk never to emerge on the other side.

    He scratched his head on that one, and just when I thought he was going to stretch a replacement cable across the new driveway, he instead went to the other side of my house, connected a new cable to the cable box over there, stretched it across part of my neighbor's lawn, diagonally across my lawn, and back through a different vent to the underside of the house, where he patched it in.

    I called and told the cable company about this, that I had to disconnect the cable in order for either me or my neighbor to mow the lawn, but they said there was "nothing they could do". They said it often, and eventually, when I got on their nerves, they said it at high volume.

    So we canceled the cable. I disconnected it on my side and wrapped the excess around the box. To this day I regret not documenting the experience through photos.

    Later we had DSL and then fiber optic service, which were quite satisfactory. I never got an indoor DSL box installed outdoors, but they did run the line along the ground on the side of the house before punching into the bedroom I was using as an office. I didn't notice it at the time, but did notice that the network failed about a month after the air conditioner was installed. The installers had poured a slab of concrete on the side of the house for the air conditioning unit and -- you guessed it -- the cable was now part of the slab. I'm surprised it worked for as long as it did.

    When we had fiber installed, I had them run it to the corner of the house closest to the curbside box (which fortunately was on my property) made sure they TRENCHED it this time, had them mount the fiber modem and router on the inside wall of the garage, and then did the rest of the network myself. So far flawless.

    What I learned from this is to be sure to meet the installer outside, be sure he's called the utilities and knows where to dig, be sure he intends to trench the cables he needs to run to the house, and make sure he intends to run all other cables either along the walls well above ground level, through the basement, or through the attic.

    And if they don't do these things, call the salescreature back and cancel the service. You can do that within 30 days, even if you signed a multi-year contract. By telling them you're going to cancel up front and why, you are then in a position to negotiate from strength. But if they don't fix it in a week or so, cancel in earnest and look for another provider.

    Under no circumstances should an installer be allowed to work unsupervised.

    • They ran the cable straight across the vacant lot in the grass and into one of our ventilation conduits to get under the house. Then, one day the cable stopped working. I could see that they were starting to develop the lot next door and a tractor had run across the cable laying on the ground. I called the provider, they came out and strung another cable across the lot, on the ground.

      Interesting story, I have been battling something similar with Comcast. My neighbor had trouble with his cable and they ins

  • Looks like something you would see on the repair blog "thereifixedit.com:

    Improvised heatsink [wordpress.com]

  • by SnowDog74 ( 745848 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:08PM (#34934880)

    I worked at Qwest for ten years and because they contract independent techs in a lot of the CLEC regions (where they're not the incumbent carrier), and based on my own experience years ago fielding provisioning/repair calls, what you describe does not particularly surprise me.

    I'm checking with my former manager in the IPNOC to see who you might escalate this issue to directly. I'll get back to you if they can give me someone.

  • NOT QWEST AFTER ALL (Score:5, Informative)

    by bablakely ( 1432959 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:11PM (#34934904)
    Turns out this was not Qwest after all, but another ISP in our area. My apologies to Qwest for the error.
    • by LodCrappo ( 705968 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:37PM (#34935046) Homepage

      Here's an example of fine Slashdot submissionship. In the idle section, they just submitted a picture for our readers. They left an anonymous submission that links to a picasa album displaying their own name , blamed the entirely wrong people, failed to identify the correct people despite apparently knowing who they are, and generally wasted everyone's time with a crap story. And if you're wondering — ah fuck it, thats as far as I can go with this.

    • by arth1 ( 260657 )

      After slandering Quest on the front page of one of the largest tech blogs in the world, I think you might want to contact slashdot to get a correction up in the summary as soon as possible, not just a small notice far down on the blog page.
      Just my 2c...

      • Bablakely looks to be more like a puppet account. Furthermore, its not slander (or in this case libel) if you genuinely believe something to be true. It must be proven you are out to cause harm to the reputation of the entity and generally also fabricate a story.
        • by arth1 ( 260657 )

          (Yes, it's likely seen as libel and not slander, despite the informal tone of blogs)

          No, genuinely believing something to be true doesn't necessarily protect you from a defamation lawsuit, if I understand this right. If the accuser can show that you didn't make adequate research before publishing, you can still lose.
          And in this case, the person claims to be an information security expert, and the bar for "adequate research" is likely higher as a result.

          Then again, IANAL, but my recommendation to Mr. Blakely

  • Qwest (Score:5, Informative)

    by TalkToUs at Qwest ( 1979774 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:30PM (#34935014)
    Hello, this is Steve at Qwest. I am a manger in the social media group. We have tried contacting the poster trying to find an adress associated with this to no avail. When we go back to the posted links, the pics have been removed. If anyone knows where this is located, please let us know at talktous@qwest.com, Steve in the subject line, much appreciated! Regards Steve Q-TalkToUs www.socialmedia.qwest.com
  • by gratuitous_arp ( 1650741 ) on Wednesday January 19, 2011 @09:47PM (#34935136)

    If you check the website linked to in the article, they're now hosting an image that says: "Turns out this wasn't Qwest after all, but another (to remain nameless) ISP in our area. My apologies to Qwest for the mistake." Oops.

I've got a bad feeling about this.