Open letter to ATT U-verse tech support (or anyone alse who will listen):
Let me start by explaining how I came to choose U-verse. I was a customer of DirecTV for television services and Road Runner for internet services. When Comcast took over for Road Runner in the Houston area I immediately wanted to switch to another provider. Comcast had the worst customer service I had ever experienced. I was also a happy DirecTV customer but there were a few problems headed my way. I used (3) of the TiVo branded HD (DirecTivo) DVR’s and they currently only support 10 HD channels. DirecTV recently started broadcasting on a new satellite that uses different HD compression that isn’t compatible with the DirecTivo HD DVR’s I had. They offered an upgrade program to non Tivo branded DVR’s that were way out of my price range. $200 x 3 DVR’s is a little steep. I started looking for other alternatives and ATT looked like they could fix all my needs with their current U-verse offering. The price is right and IPTV is right up my alley since I am a network engineer for a top medical school. I am always on the “bleeding edge” of technology so I am willing to deal with growing pains as ATT tries to stretch into the television services market. I currently have cat5 cables deployed to all (3) locations. The cables have been tested with a Fluke DTX 1800 and have passed spec. Having said that, I have multiple issues with your services.
1) My TV and IP services go out every day, multiple times a day. When I say go out I mean from freezing screens to total service loss. Every time I call technical support (see issue number 2) I get a different response or no response at all. I have been told the there was a problem with the power supply in the DSLAM. I have been told it’s weather related. I have also been given no explanation at all because the technician thinks it will be over my head. I am waiting for someone to use the “sun spots” excuse because I know it’s coming.
2) The ATT 2020 number that is on front of the DVR is not very helpful. If you call it after hours or on weekends you have to know the secret codes to get to technical support. It will tell me my phone number and ask me if that is the phone number on my account. If I say “yes” (which it is) it will tell me all offices are closed and hang up on me. If I say “no” it will go through a couple of more prompts and still hang up on me. I have to say “don’t have a phone” to get to a point where I can ask for U-verse technical support. The reason you are not getting complaints on the menu is because no one can get through. Here is an example transcript of how ridiculous this is.
2a)Technical support training needs some help. Last night a level 1 tech asked me to unplug my Motorola boxes so he can send an “electrical signal down the wire” which I am assuming was a ping but what do I know. I asked him if I needed to unplug the cat5 or the power. He had no idea what a cat5 cable was. I explained to him what it was and he said “Oh you mean the ethernet (pronounced ‘e-ther-net not the correct way of ee-ther-net) cable”. I think your helpdesk needs more training of common network terms and definitions if you guys are going to be offering network services.
3)The DVR doesn’t work when the network is down. This is the most ridiculous rule I have ever seen. My service goes down all the time so recording the shows I want to watch is kind of hit and miss anyway. But when you add the fact that I can’t watch what I have already recorded when there is no service is even more ludicrous.
4)”You can only watch one HD channel at a time”. This is crazy. I know it’s a compression and bandwidth issue but you guys need to get this resolved asap.
5)Processing power of the DVR is minimal at best. If you are recording something in HD and 3 SD sources at the same time the response time is very, very slow. It is almost unusable.
Here are some things I am happy with and I feel ATT does well.
1)The install technician was awesome and very proficient. So was the repair crew that replaced my phone line at the install.
2)Video on demand is very cool (I just wish you guys offered movies in HD)
3)The SD picture on my older TV is outstanding. I have never seen better.
4)The internet sustained download and upload speeds are way above what I expected.
5)The features coming down the pipe like the “whole home DVR”, USB mass storage and access to pictures are exciting.
In summary I do like the technology but I feel someone needs to address my issues or I will no longer be an ATT customer. I have talked to other customers in my service area and they are experiencing the same problems………Resetting the modem does not fix this!