Our local telephone provider is Embarq. This used to be Sprint, but I believe with all the mergers and acquisitions going around, they had to jetison some divisions. I don’t know which highly paid branding consultant came up with the new name of Embarq, but it is strangely appropriate. As in “Let’s all embarq on this slow boat to china!”

A little bit of history: When we moved here 4 years ago, we needed to get high-speed internet, as I was doing some work from home. We ended up with the sprint ADSL service for $50 per month. 4 years ago, $50/month for a 512Kbps download pipe was not bad. This even included an earthlink account to cover travels around the country.

Fast forward to the present: Walking in front of the local Embarq store, what do we see but a promotion for “high-speed internet from $25/month”. This piqued my curiosity. It turns out that the current pricing is $35/month for a 1.5M pipe. It would be nice of them to inform current customers of this…

Their web site informs me that this service is available for my phone number. Since I’m a people person, I decide to call someone real to see if I can change my service. The young lady who answered the phone was nice, and after mentioning I’m an existing customer, and I would like to upgrade my service and lower my cost, she puts me on hold for a few minutes. When she comes back, here is what she says: “I spoke with my supervisor, and you indeed had the 512K service, but because of your location, the fiber optic does not support the 1.5M rate, and we can only offer the service to location that support that speed.” There are so many holes in that compound sentence that I don’t know where to begin.

  • The fiber optic does not support the rate

I realize she is not a technical person, but trust me, the fiber optic sure as heck supports that rate! The copper connection to the DSLAM might not, but that is something else!

  • We can only offer the service to locations that support the speed

The fine print clearly says no service rates are guaranteed. Heck, just lower my monthly cost and don’t change anything else and I’ll be happy!

  • You are saying you will turn away customers

If you can’t support that rate at my location and I’m a potential customer, are you going to say “Sorry, we can’t offer you the service.” and steer me to the competition? I think not!

  • Your web site will let me order the service!
  • Your web site says I can get the 1.5M rate

In the end, all I could say was “You realize how ridiculous the situation is. I pay more for less speed.”

I decided to order the service via the web site. Less work for her, and as it turns out, less work for me. We’ll see if something comes of it.