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More DSL Woes

Jan 18, 20062 mins
AT&TData Center

Just in case you wondered if I’d died or otherwise gone absent without leave, I haven’t. What happened was my DSL was cut off by those wonderful chaps at AT&T (“powered by SBC”) for NO *&^T%*& REASON …

At least, no reason anyone can explain. See next week’s Gearhead for the start of the gory details. For the moment, I’m blogging via an 802.11b point-to-point link from my house to the house of the Commander and his lady wife some 500 feet away and piggy-backing on their cable connection. More on this lash-up will be forthcoming in future Gearhead columns. What is fascinating is that even though the executives at AT&T (“powered by SBC”) know and admit that there’s a major screw-up with my account and claim that my situation is an anomaly apparently no one there has the power to simply pick up the phone and say “Hey Bob, through the switch on rack 12 and make sure that cranky Brit is back up and running.” So, what does it mean when an organization’s bureaucracy is so deep and labyrinthine that no one can buck the system? It makes you wonder whether if they had a major outage everyone would go into limbo for weeks while they handled all the reconnections via their mysterious internal processes. Allow me to recycle an old saying: If houses were built the way AT&T’s DSL customer management system is built, the first termite to come along could destroy civilization as we know it.


Mark Gibbs is an author, journalist, and man of mystery. His writing for Network World is widely considered to be vastly underpaid. For more than 30 years, Gibbs has consulted, lectured, and authored numerous articles and books about networking, information technology, and the social and political issues surrounding them. His complete bio can be found at

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