Yes! We are back! Back online!
When we woke up on Saturday morning, we suddenly discovered that our internet connection was broken. And while we always enjoy a holiday without internet or cell phone connection (back to the good old basics…books and talking to each other and that old-fashioned stuff!), it is always appaling to see how much we rely on internet in our daily life. Starting with the simple fact that we don’t have a landline, just cell phones, and these cell phones, guess what, can only be topped up online.
To be honest, our relationship with our internet company has been….mh…difficult. The company might not be aware of it, but we do have a love-hate relationship depending on whether we need them or not (we love them if everything is fine, but god forbid if there is a problem and we rely on their service…).
See, when we rented our first flat in Zurich, Karsten wanted to make sure to have internet access as soon as we moved in. I agreed because despite the fact that I am always behind when it comes to technology I do appreciate internet when moving to a new country. So he contacted the company and bought a glass fiber access about a month before we moved there.
We waited. And waited.
A month later, we moved in and the glass fiber cable still hadn’t arrived. When we contacted them, they told us that yes, they sold the glass fiber access, but actually they don’t have the right hardware for it yet (actually, they only told us that after the fourth or fifth time of calling). So they basically sold us something that they didn’t have.
At this point I should probably mention that their service hotline is not for free and considering the long waiting loop one call costed us around 30 CHF.
We tried to ensure that we didn’t have to pay the internet bills in consideration of the fact that we didn’t have internet.
Two weeks later, when another deadline of delivering the hardware had passed, they told us that they had in fact received some hardware in the meantime, but it turned out to be incompatible with their requirements, and thus needed to be replaced.
We waited. And waited.
One month later, the glass fiber finally arrived. And the internet? Still didn’t work.
We called the service hotline (30 CHF) and were told that we probably broke the cable. So we bought a new one (for 30 CHF). The internet still didn’t work.
We called the service hotline again (30…well, you know). They told us that the modem might be broken and we should send it in for them to check (10 CHF postage). Turned out the modem was just fine.
We called the service hotline again (…). The company decided to send a technician, but we were kindly told that, in case it turns out to be a problem caused by us, we are supposed to pay the technician (and let me tell you that technicians have a very good hourly wage in Switzerland!). Karsten told them that there are two ends of the cable which both look different, one fits in the socket in the wall, and one in the router, and that he is not entirely sure as to where he could have possibly gone wrong (he was getting annoyed at the times, with episodes of resignation and moments of bewildering amusement (those were admittedly scarce at the time)). He also asked whether that would mean that if it turned out to be the companys fault, we would be reimbursed for our costs, making their request reciprocal.. As you might guess, that was not the case!
Well, the technician found out that there was a problem outside of our building and that he couldn’t fix it. We waited one week for the problem to be solved. And? Did the internet finally work? Nope….
You might notice that this whole process slowly started to be absolutely absurd. Two years before, Karsten had spent a semester abroad in Tanzania. That was before Tanzania got the first submarine internet cable. Still, he had internet access within a week (yes, it broke down every two minutes and yes, there were ants living in his laptop but still…).
Well, at the beginning of June, about three months after we signed the internet contract, we got our first bill for our internet access. And no, the internet didn’t work!
Another week or two later, I called the service hotline (…) and a guy finally talked me through the configuration process. When I was one click away to finish it, I ran out of money on my cell phone (what shall I say…another 30 CHF). I finished the configuration and YES! FINALLY!! IT WORKED!!
Since we had already spent enough money on the service hotline I didn’t call back after I topped up my cell phone. After all, they had our phone number and our contact details so if they were interested in whether their customers are satisfied they could as well call us!
One week later, one week full of beautifully working internet access, our internet suddenly didn’t work again. We got a message from the company, informing us that they didn’t hear back from us whether it is working or not. So they changed the whole configuration again from DHCP to PPPoE, in order to be able to monitor us. What they didn’t send us were the details on what they did or how to proceed with the new configuration. And it was a Saturday, so we had to wait until Monday to call them. Again.
It only took us 3.5 months. It has been working ever since. Until last weekend. Of course, they still don’t have a service hotline for weekends. And the service hotline still isn’t free of charge. But we got away with less than 5 CHF for each call this time. And with only four days without internet. Let’s hope we’ll now have another long period full of love for our internet company!
you can top up your cell phone at any kiosk or sbb ticket machine, I think even at atm´s in Switzerland! You seriously didn´t know?
To be honest, no. At our old flat, the nearest kiosk was a twenty minute walk away. I have never notice an option at the sbb ticket machines. And I am not a big friend of doing anything else than getting cash at atms, so I never checked that out. But it’s good to know for the next time…
It is definitely possible 🙂 although the SBB likes to call it “other offers” which makes it hard to find and it’s notoriously unreliable (but at least it tells you so beforehand). But still… And as an additional benefit it also allows me to top up Sonya’s phone 😉
Actually…I don’t really blame myself for not knowing that “other options” on a ticket machine for train tickets includes topping up my cellphone 😉
This reminds me of our time without internet for a months because of the Swiss philosophy to never rush with work haha 🙂
Though the same situation could have happened in Germany too….actually I had a very similar situation with a German phone company. I guess it’s more a problem of big companies.