“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities.” –Abraham Lincoln
The story of the power generation turbine consultant
Who is Hilton Head Island’s Jory Wolf?
The best document for a community like Hilton Head Island to become ‘World Class’ telecommunications for residents, businesses, organizations, and visitors
“The Next Generation Connectivity Handbook: a Guide for Community Leaders Seeking Affordable Abundant Bandwidth [v2] is a comprehensive guide for communities who want better broadband for their residents, businesses, and community institutions
“The University Community Next Generation Innovation Project, or Gig.U, is a broad-based group of over 30 leading research universities from across the United States. Drawing on America’s rich history of community-led innovation in research and entrepreneurship, Gig.U seeks to accelerate the deployment of ultra high-speed networks to leading U.S. universities and their surrounding communities.
“MuniNetworks.org, provide[s] resources for those joining the movement to build broadband networks that are directly accountable to the communities they serve. Case studies, fact sheets, and video are some of the media we offer to help leaders make decisions about community owned networks. We strive to offer resources for informed decisions because we know each community is unique. Telecommunications infrastructure is essential to the health and vitality of a community. Networks must be accountable first to the needs of the community, not the short-term interests of shareholders.
Determine who both understands the telecom problem space and the Town’s objectives, and can generate tactical and operational plans to make it happen (that is HHI’s Jory Wolf)
Start the verbal promotion of being a ‘world class’ telecommunications community […or as I like to call it “a connected island”]
A world-leading broadband network is necessary for a community to thrive in the future
The broadband status quo is unacceptable
Our community needs to have the kind of broadband that other communities have (Handbook p. 35)
So, where are Santa Monica’s telecom services?
Free public beach WiFi is multi-megabit
Residential services is 10 gigabit
Commercial services is 100 gigabit
…and they are not stopping and waiting for HHI to catch up. And with a staff of 52 they have graduated from just telecommunications infrastructure to information services
How far behind are we? …Well, they started in 1996 [please note on page “63” Santa Monica initiates their telecommunications plan with a map of the city facilities], so HHI is 20 years behind Santa Monica (but it won’t take us 20 years to catch up… *if* we have an effective plan).
If we want partners, who are the candidates, and how can they be motivated?
HHI needs to put the stakes into the ground and find out each of the partner candidates would get us from here to there: RFI or RFP
Prioritize Information Technology infrastructure in the Town bureaucracy and staff it with personnel who really understand the future and can effect the changes necessary to make a ‘world class’ infrastructure happen
This Telecommunications infrastructure is but one facet/dimension of a full “Digital Plan” which would address the digital future of the Town of Hilton Head Island, much larger and broader scope than just the Telecommunications infrastructure… Where do we want to be in the digital future that is upon us today and whose leaders are speeding away, increasing their lead every day?
…in three years, 2020-2021 we should be where Santa Monica is *today*… and in ten years, we should be at 10x those numbers.
Technology Infrastructure is a *journey* not a *destination*…
It will *never* be ‘done’
The public perception of ‘how we are doing’ will be based on
How advanced our internet services are compared to other experiences (not to beachfront comparables)
How good our plan to improve IT Infrastructure (and services) are…
How well we are able to execute our plan for improved services
…not on the hollow promises and media hype of the incumbent ISPs
I have two wired internet options
The phone company who is advertising “dig the gig” while I can get max 30Mb/s until they overbuild this high-density commercial/residential neighborhood with fiber…
The cable company who had promised 300Mb/s for last fall, until it was purchased, and now the only option is 60Mb/s [MAXX is off the table]… the irony is they could give me 600Mb/s and more (DOCSIS 3.0) *tomorrow* with their infrastructure [why they don’t, I do not have a clue]
Where is wireless WiFi?
So, if you really want to know how much this proposal/report was worth… $150,500(y-1976)/20
Finally, a Telecommunications Plan should be an integral part of a Digital Plan, which should be part of a Smart Cities initiative. The digital world has passed us by, and is moving away at light speed… As an elite community, we have no chance of being competitive without effective planning and powerful execution.
Issue: DSL starting and stopping (mostly stopping) on a very regular basis (repeatable and capturable with Task Manager and tracert)
Evidence: started with browser and email “timeouts” (taking too much time to send/receive to completion), videos of any resolution stopping for 15-25 seconds then starting for 5-10 seconds then stopping again, Task Manager showing 5-10 seconds of full bandwidth data followed by 15-25 seconds of absolute 0 bits transmission repeated forever
What I know: I work with computer systems and do frequent diagnostics of system related problems… I do know quite a bit about DSL, but not nearly enough to do a complete diagnosis but here is what I do know (much of this was after the initial contact while I was collecting data)
Problem is captured visually with Task Manager and tracert and ping tests
Problem is repeatable across multiple DSL modems, computers, internal networks
Problem is not intermittent, it is persistent
Problem does not happen at neighbor’s AT&T phone line (with my equipment) about 1 mile away (same complex so I would assume same end office)… so it is *not* my equipment problem
Pattern is regular between on and off, and there is virtually no ‘in between’ (which, in my opinion rules out any line issues which are more chaotic and sporadic)
Pattern shows distinct points of network failure and distinct points of re-connection (suggesting that some device inside AT&T is having problems keeping a connection with my modems for whatever reason which is the *real* issue that I want to remedy)
Testing before and during communication with AT&T
Two DSL modems had the same issues with very similar patterns on my phone line: Motorola 2210 (backup), Netgear combination modem and wireless router (primary)
Three computers and a smartphone running three different Windows and Android operating systems: Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Android 2.3.3
Both wired (100Mb) and Wireless (WiFi G and N)
Went to my neighbor’s (about 1 mile away who is arguable on the same end office) and tested my Vista notebook on his network… it worked fine, replaced his DSL modem with my Motorola 2210… my computer worked fine… so the issue was not this computer and this modem
Collected 20+ window screen shots of: Task Manager networking tab (throughput over time) showing the pattern with different combinations of modems, computers and network media; Tracert to different outside IP addresses that showed one AT&T router that consistently timed out; Ping tests to gateway and other routers showing some packet loss
Standard progression without knowing the expertise of the customer
Chat w/ Shane on AT&T website: basic test and escalation
Phone call to discuss network issues escalated to manager Brittany
Phone call Brittany to advise me of scheduling of tech #1
Phone call Brittany to me to check to see if tech had arrived
Tech #1 visit to premises
Phone call from Brittany on results and schedule tech #2
Phone call from Brittany on progress
Tech #2 on premises: Jorge focused on the line quality (an issue but not the pattern problem)
Phone call to check on progress, found that the case had been closed even after telling Jorge that the pattern still existed and he stated that he would report it to the office. Ted was fixated on my modem being the problem (irrespective of the fact that I had two very different modems and both reproduced virtually the same pattern), and Dave (the manager who had been a network tech) did not want to see what images I had to show.
Phone call from Dave reporting the scheduling of tech#3
Tech #3 on premises Ray
No AT&T person ever qualified me nor asked me if what evidence I had until Ray (who fixed the problem) looked at my data, watched me reproduce the phenomenon, did a ping test, called his office and reconfigured an AT&T router in their network (something that I suggested with *every* AT&T person that I spoke with).
I estimate that the time involved was: AT&T- 470 minutes (almost 8 hours of actual conversation/time on site… not including any admin or other resources); Customer- probably 16 hours of initial diagnostics, interface with AT&T service, hold, reconnections, data collection, reconfigurations, testing
at $100/hour for all the AT&T support, that is $783… divided by the $20/mo I spend for AT&T’s Elite DSL service, AT&T will recuperate the cost of this one issue in 40 years (that is 2052), not to mention *my* time and effort
Suggestions for AT&T:
Qualify your customer: Neophyte (probably 97% of all customers), Know it all (probably 2%), Helpful (1%) —give us a code where we can bypass all the bozo (‘is modem plugged in? is the computer turned on? we are very sorry for your inconvenience.’)… those that really test and can accurately describe and provide evidence of the phenomenon when asked, those that have technical background and can begin the diagnosis and compartmentalization process.
Look and listen to what we have to offer… nobody ever asked (until the very last person) what evidence I had, could I repeat the issue
Use remote access software to view issue from the customer’s perspective (if the network is functioning). Even I use LogMeIn for work on my parents’ computers
Provide contact information to customer: I never had any way of re-contacting people like Dave with images and data to put in the file (an email would have been very helpful) [calling AT&T always results in 15-30 minutes before actually talking to a person who can do anything… and they are never the same person, so it takes time just to have them read through the file and time to brief them on the important parts that are not in the file].
Assign one person to champion the customer’s issue through to *resolution*. Most that I spoke with were good, but there was very little continuity and Ted even said ‘we will have to start from scratch’… that’s when I asked to speak to his supervisor.
Have an internal escalation procedure to get to a real diagnostician earlier in the process if the customer can be helpful [it would save you and me a lot of time]
Check back after initial resolution to see if the problem is really *fixed*
Thank helpful customers and even reward helpful customers for their valuable contribution… without any thanks or rewards, customers become irritated… make them part of the “team” … Customers can be a much greater asset if they are not blogging about the non-performing side of AT&T
Capture information and reward the AT&T employees who actually *fix* the problem with some way of weighting the fixes for their difficulty… and pay/bonus them according to their fixes
Thank you for reading this post to the end…
PS for some reason this blog’s text editor replaces the outline second level bullets with a second level of numbers… quite confusing… my apologies.
My AT&T DSL fluctuates from full throttle to zero in a very regular pattern (using different modems, using different computers with different operating systems)… and having tested one computer and modem at one of my neighbors that is far enough to be on a different path but most probably to the same end office (where it functioned flawlessly)…
Have a look and tell me what you see to be the issue and the resolution… Thanks, J
AT&T technician Ray looked at the data, ran some tests, called the ‘office’, had an AT&T router reconfigured (one in the EastBay) and all is right with the internet world (WoooHooo)…