As of last week, I and numerous others had been experiencing severe problems with our Navigonet wireless internet/email service, provided by Northwestel, for about five weeks.
The service had abruptly, on or about June 20, begun to experience an unprecedented interruption in speed and reliability.
At times, it was unusable. At its best during this period it was painfully slow.
After attempting to seek help for more than a month, last week Northwestel finally jumped into action and I was rewarded with some assistance.
It came in the form of Alex Studer, manager of field services for Northwestel.
Studer phoned me and asked if he could come to my home and evaluate the situation. I agreed to this.
On Thursday afternoon, Studer and an assistant showed up about 1:30 p.m.
Studer was professional, pleasant and exuded competence and a genuine desire to solve my problem.
He proceeded to check out my system and, in doing so, quickly determined there was a significant variation in my signal strength, from superb to nonexistent. Mostly nonexistent.
He was clearly surprised at what he found.
Navigonet, by the way, is not his area of expertise, but he clearly knew what he was doing and what he was looking for.
After about three hours of testing and probing the immediate area around my house, he departed with a promise that he was determined to solve the problem as quickly as possible.
Less than 24 hours later, he paid me a personal visit (a phone call would have been adequate) and indicated that the primary problem had been corrected.
Apparently, someone from Bell Canada had “changed a few frequencies about a month ago,” and failed to inform Northwestel.
I have determined that Northwestel apparently has no support mechanism for Navigonet.
Studer was finally pulled from another area and instructed to investigate the problem I had been trying to get Northwestel’s attention with for almost five weeks.
Unfortunately, this is vintage Northwestel.
This is monopolistic behaviour, plain and simple, something at which Northwestel exceeds. It isolates itself from the public, gives you a phone number that requires a 25-minute waiting period, putting you eventually in contact with a person or persons who have no idea about this system and apparently tell you whatever comes to mind, and feels that should suffice until such time as you become so frustrated you give up or appeal to the press for assistance.
And the entire time, there never was a support system in place.
Am I surprised? No. Pretty much what I have come to expect from this outfit. I mean, who you gonna call if you get sick of Northwestel? Such a sweet setup for them.
Studer was a class act from start to finish. It’s guys like him who ensure the survival of Northwestel, despite its focused corporate mentality of acquiring high profits by supplying poor service. That generally works for them.
I hope they appreciate him. I certainly do.
Some competition, please. Isn’t it time?
Haven’t we paid our dues?