Merry Christmas from FairPoint? Updated with Doggerel

Update #2 December 27, Downed Wire Day 33 (no doggerel this time): The day after Christmas (Friday 26th), a  guy temping for FairPoint showed up, a day late and a truck short. His truck had broken down, he said, and he was driving his girlfriend’s Blazer. Girlfriend was doing the ride-along. All he had for equipment was a ladder, and no back-up, to haul up 200-plus feet of phone line to a height that would allow unimpeded access for delivery trucks and emergency vehicles. When I got home from errand-running, the line was up, sort of, lower than normal, at its lowest point about as high as my DIY pole. He left the ladder, so we assumed he would be coming back with help.

WRONG! I just saw the taillights heading down the driveway, and the ladder is gone, so I guess he’s done as much as he’s going to do. That line will be down in the first ice-storm, and then we’ll get to do it all again. {Heavy sigh}

Well, here’s the newest update on the FairPoint phone line draped across the driveway saga, now 31 32 days old.

Got a phone call this morning (December 24) from “private name, private number” who turned out to be “Byron,” from FairPoint, speaking with a slight southern accent. He was checking in to see whether the problem still exists, and whether it would be okay for a couple of technicians to drop by tomorrow – yep, on Christmas – “to take a look at it.”

Of course I said okay. And I note that no repair promise was made. And I thought, “Gee, FairPoint must be paying something like triple overtime to get these folks to work on Christmas.”

I was getting ready to go picket with the unions, and maybe I’ll still do that, to show solidarity from someone who has been waiting over a month for a repair and who puts the responsibility where it truly belongs: on the incompetent, intransigent management.

Merry-Happy-Whatever-You-Celebrate, friends. Please keep a kind thought for the unions – Communications Workers of America (Local 1400), and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Local 2326) – who are struggling for their jobs and dignity and fighting a widespread public perception that they are to blame for the backlog of no-service, no-repair complaints.

Update: Here’s the promised doggerel with today’s (non-) events:

A FairPoint Christmas

‘Twas the day before Christmas, and when the phone rang

A guy named “Byron” from the FairPoint gang

Said they’d be working tomorrow, would it be okay

For a crew to come here by truck or by sleigh

To look at the line over the driveway hung low

With a word of apology for being so slow.

Of course, said I. It’s been four weeks,

A little more, even, and my tone was bleak.

I slept that night with extra hope for the morrow,

Tempered with a sense of cynical sorrow.

Two weeks in I had built us a quick-fix pole –

To make space for our cars was the immediate goal.

And it worked well enough for us to go under

It stood through two storms to my great wonder.

But now FairPoint would fix it, or so Byron said.

I spent a nice Christmas, hope mingled with dread.

I checked all day, I could see it from here,

That fragile pole still keeping the driveway clear

Enough for Wayne who delivered our wood.

And when Ross plowed the driveway that pole still stood.

Good thing, too, since as darkness fell

There was no news from FairPoint, nothing to tell.

No guys with a truck, no temps who’d been hired

To come to the sticks to fix our phone wire.

I felt bad for the union folks out on their strike

Who’d be back at work, except for the spite

Of managers and owners who refused to agree

To concessions workers made with deliberate speed.

Those workers had a Christmas but only just thanks

To people who donated toys to their ranks

So the kids would manage a bit of good cheer

In what has been a very lean year.

Six p.m. has gone by, and there’s no sign of a truck,

Just one more instance where the customer’s stuck

With lousy service and promises broken

Regardless of the rosy words that were spoken.

If I had a choice, I’d cancel my service.

But with no cell near, I’d be rather nervous.

And without a connection for web and WiFi

How would I then political trickery decry?

I’m with the unions, FairPoint should settle,

The workers have shown such strength and such mettle.

The issues are serious, customers leaving in droves,

What more do you need to drive the point home?

And so I exclaim as I peer through the night

Support the workers, my friends, the unions are right!

16 thoughts on “Merry Christmas from FairPoint? Updated with Doggerel

  1. and fighting a widespread public perception that they are to blame for the backlog of no-service, no-repair complaints.

    it’s the corporate blockheads who have created this mess.

    I’m keeping a good thought that you will FINALLY get that phone line fixed for Christmas.

    I got a call from Blue Cross this morning to say that VT Health Connect has finally put through the corrections to my account needed to pay for my health care bills from last JANUARY!  I am told that they will finally be paid…in January.

    By contrast, barely a month after my smooth online enrollment in Medicare, my medicare card came in the mail without a hitch, leaving me wondering why they don’t just put the whole country on Medicare!

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Nanuq!

  2. My guess is that it will make the rounds of Vermont very quickly,

    and duly chastened, Fairpoint will at least fix your problem.

    I don’t hold my breath for them to cut the union members a break, though.

  3. Bound to be a telephonic classic.

    I found this a couple days ago:

    DPS is not able to measure the number of FairPoint customers without service, beyond the barometer provided by complaints. It’s also unclear to what extent FairPoint is monitoring its outages.

    http://vtdigger.org/2014/12/22

    Such are the burdens of regulation.

  4. So when do we finally admit that land line communications service in Vermont is not a profitable model?

    It should be an infrastructure issue, like state highways. Imagine Vermont with cheap, high speed fiber everywhere. Yes, it would cost money, not make money, at least on the surface. But damn, think of the businesses that would want to locate here. Not just in western Chittenden County, but anywhere in the state.

    “Vermont scenery, Vermont community, South Korean download speeds.”

  5. beyond the “outrage” category. WTF??? State says they will investigate but do not plan to impose fines, just want to fix the problem???  What a joke!!! This is what we have laws & lawyers for to scare the bejezus out of them by going for the jugular & bankrupting the mf’king bastards.

    Is there no agreement to actually render the services paid for which are paid for??? Any dire consequences, or consequences what-so-frikkin-ever???

    This is no way to run a railroad. So, Fairpoint execs & state lawmakers as well as agencies asleep at the f’king switch??? Again???

    Is there no way in statute to rid ourselves of these completely incompetent morons???

    Fortunately I live in town plus also use reliable affordable Vonage. But once lived in a godforsaken rural outlying area on the back side of a mountain in the middle of no-f’king-anywhere at least 4 miles from nearest town in any direction & remember lots of power & phone problems but nothing like this evvv-er!

    There needs to be some type of statutory clawback built into all services at the very least. What’s up w/our fearless leaders??? I’m beginning to think the heroin prob has wafted upward as they all display the symptoms of those around me who are clearly on the glass pipe or booting it.

    I will say personally have had so many problems w/Comcast I wait until I get a shutoff notice to pay as I’m tired of the sometimes really crappy & extremely uneven responses.

    I switched to VTel TV/internet/phone (but kept Vonage) The second day we had no TV. It was just before a holiday weekend. Friendly cs folks said I’d have to wait until Tues — Mon was a holiday. Then got a call it would be Wed at earliest.    

    Spent entire weekend clothed in wires unhooking VTel & rehooking Comcast. On Mon I called to request the magic wand of booting our service.

    VTel asked why I left. Said if you’re going to give the union boys & girls the weekend off — great! But someone’s got to do the work. If there is a massive blackout & resultant backlog you need to have contractors on hand. If I pay for something 24/7 I expect it to be available 24/7 & should never have to wait more than a day for any fix under any circumstance short of a typhoon, nuclear disaster, alien invasion or air raid. If longer, I expect a credit or better yet a free service for a couple of months.

    The market needs to be opened to more competition.

    So they can suck it up & wait for our hard-earned steady payment.  

  6. Update #2 December 27, Downed Wire Day 33 (no doggerel this time): The day after Christmas (Friday 26th), a  guy temping for FairPoint showed up, a day late and a truck short. His truck had broken down, he said, and he was driving his girlfriend’s Blazer. Girlfriend was doing the ride-along. All he had for equipment was a ladder, and no back-up, to haul up 200-plus feet of phone line to a height that would allow unimpeded access for delivery trucks and emergency vehicles. When I got home from errand-running, the line was up, sort of, lower than normal, at its lowest point about as high as my DIY pole. He left the ladder, so we assumed he would be coming back with help.

    WRONG! I just saw the taillights heading down the driveway, and the ladder is gone, so I guess he’s done as much as he’s going to do. That line will be down in the first ice-storm, and then we’ll get to do it all again. {Heavy sigh}

    This news is beyond the or any pale. VT has its rural areas but it’s not Siberia during the soviet era or … never mind. This is like service one would expect on Mt Everest like in in Nepal.

    And there are sadly others like yourself.

    Where’s the presser & announcement of dire consequences if nothing suitable can be offered??? An army of REAL contractors from other states (with vehicles that run, not down-and-outers who are obviously not real contractors if there is no backup equipment), descending upon VT and billed to Fairpoint w/future f’kups also fixed & paid for using the VT fully legal rental model of repair-and-deduct.

    I and ‘other’ were a self employed contractors for many years (he still is). We ran, insured & maintained four vehicles (two each, one 4 x 4 & another for the rest of the time,  we were not rich & made very little). We used our revenue to ensure customers received services paid for often driving on nearly impassable roads w/snow coming down 3″ an hour w/fog so thick ya couldn’t see hood ornament if there was one. As income declined we ran one each plus a well maintained third.

    If necessary, we rented vehicles or equipment necessary to do our jobs & ate the loss. The only thing that ever stopped us were impassable roads though ‘other’ often chainsawed our way through. I recently went on one of his runs during the 18″ in Windham Cty received & nearly lost my mind from sheer terror.  

    What a bunch of candyasses!!! And I’m a mere woman!

  7. See, this is why we need to get rid of unions, so clueless idiots with no equipment and little training can do nothing and all it done.

    And with Democrats like ours who see their job as pandering to corporations in their quest to screw the customers and stop paying their workers, who needs Republicans?

    Our Democrats refuse to tax the rich, no matter how much money they steal from their employees, and they refuse to regulate industry, no matter how much money they take from their customers.

    C’mon, Democrats! Be Democrats and not Republicans!

  8. “His truck had broken down, he said, and he was driving his girlfriend’s Blazer. Girlfriend was doing the ride-along. All he had for equipment was a ladder, and no back-up, to haul up 200-plus feet of phone line”

    Thank god FairPoint is killing their middle-class union jobs!  The last thing we consumers want are respectable, local people in well equipped vehicles that are highly trained and know what they are doing!  We want random out-of-staters driving their GF’s blazer with no equipment getting paid shit-wages!

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