Having a blog allows me to kvetch, even about small things… like what happened this morning.
My experience was shared by many. Consider this a class action kvetch. I represent the thousands, possibly millions, affected by today’s nationwide outage on AT&T U-verse.
My local TV stations remained. Everything else disappeared. I didn’t know that at the time.
The tuner was set to 1202, CNN. Black. I tuned up a few. I tuned down a few. Nothing. The channel number and program synopsis was still there. No program.
Downstairs, Helaine was watching GMA on 1007, KABC. She was problem free.
Both our cable boxes were acting the same way, but because I didn’t tune a few hundred channels down I didn’t know it! Just enough knowledge to be dangerous.
I rebooted the cable box. The box must be the problem, right?
I did this three times. No change.
There was nothing on AT&T’s site, nor on their social media accounts. Later, I realize this was because they were maintaining ‘radio silence.’ They were getting tons of complaints and not responding.
All signs I could grasp pointed to a problem in my house. But I was being gnawed at. My logical computer mind was bothered by the way the signal died. It didn’t fit. The problem didn’t correlate with the box’s internal hardware.
I rebooted the hub. AT&T sends channels to my individual cable boxes via IP. It’s just data. I have one TV with a WiFi box and three connected via Ethernet. And, of course, there are computers and phones and printers and tablets and who-knows-what connected too!
Rebooting the hub meant stopping Internet and TV throughout the house. Didn’t help.
I tried calling the AT&T phone line. Fast busy. A fast busy indicates the circuit, rather than an individual line, is busy. Probably call volume.
That was actually reassuring! Maybe I wasn’t alone?
I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. Cable has gone down before. I started doing deeper searches.
No news organization had picked up on it. I did a Twitter search for people tweeting to Uverse. Bingo. My story, a thousand times.
I tipped off @LanceUlanoff at Mashable
When reached for comment, an AT&T spokesperson explained the outage, “Due to a power-related issue triggered by a third-party at our video hub, U-verse customers may be experiencing a loss of national channels. Technicians are working to resolve the issue and we expect to have service fully restored by early afternoon. We apologize for this inconvenience.”
By keeping off social media and failing to post something on the company’s website, AT&T hoped to keep this quiet. They mostly did.
However, they shifted a real burden to their customers. My troubleshooting time might not be individually valuable, but multiply it by all the people who did just what I did and we’re talking big numbers.
I understand there will be glitches. I still consider the service reliable. The bone I pick has to do with 21st Century communications.
AT&T valued their own concerns over mine.
If you’re wondering why customers sometimes dislike companies, here you go.