Are there any "technicians" who are slacker than ISP installers?

Background: Our ISP ran some new cable from our demarcation box outside the house to the modem inside when we upgraded our bandwidth a month ago. Last night we had thunderstorms. My wife was sitting in the den reading when a lightning strike nearby literally blew the cover off the jack mounted on our baseboard. The prongs on the modular connector melted and it even scorched the carpet.

Now, this was definitely an Act of God, but it caused me to have to sort things out in that location so I could temporarily plug a phone directly into the (fortunately) undamaged modem. I was shocked to find that the cabling and terminations were made in a very amateurish way. The modular jacks were just sitting in the box because they were the wrong type to snap into the spaces intended for them. Spare conductors were left hanging. The technician had not even cleaned up the wood shavings where he drilled through the floor and my built-in desk, which may actually have contributed to the scorching since the jack had wood shavings inside it. The work at the demarcation point was just as bad, if not worse. It may or may not have contributed to the lightning damage.

Of course, the ISP wants $149 to replace the jack.

It also blew up my FAX machine/printer. No hope for it.

Is this the new normal? I feel sort of bad that I hadn’t noticed this before, but the work was done when I was out of town and and only my wife was in the house.

TL;DR: My ISP installation sucked.

Can I guess the provider’s name started with an X? They certainly have a reputation for shoddy work. I saw some of it in a house we bought for my mom in Jan 2018. Coax wires in the middle of the bedroom wall and a trip hazard. I got rid of all of it. We signed with a different company.

Some companies put a lot of pressure on technicians to crank out installations in a limited amount of time. Forcing them to cut corners.

My favorite is when they drill a hole in the ceiling and dangle the wire down the wall. Or they drill through the floor and come up by the baseboard. :eek:

They consider it too much trouble to run it inside the wall.

I ran coax and cat 5 myself at my mom’s new house. before calling DirecTV or Centrylink. I wasn’t going to risk any exposed wire.

Everything is run inside the walls with a proper electrical box and cover plate. I have the DSL modem installed in a closet. I ran a dedicated cat 5 line into the office to hard wire the pc. That offers better security than Wi-Fi.

I’ll have to agree with the OP. In my one experience with an installer he did what I consider a mediocre job at best. My opinion was validated when a company quality control inspector came by a few days later to inquire about the job. After seeing the installation he agreed it could have been a lot better. Mind you, everything works. But it looks unprofessional. Dangling wires, marginal connections.

BTW: even though it seemed to fail the QC inspection, no one has come back to improve it. (And I decided to be lazy and not do it myself.)

There has been a wire running through our alley, right behind our gate, for months now. It belongs to the local cable company, whose name rhymes with Shmuddenlink. I’ve called, I’ve asked people, and I am told that it’s a “temporary line” because there was some break in the underground line, so they had to run this patch line temporarily, and someone will come along shortly to run a new, buried permanent line.

We’re closing in on a year, and no permanent line in sight. I’ve gone so far as to tell them that it’s a hazard and they’d be liable if someone trips over it. Their solution was to hang it on the fenceposts, which meant it was strung taut across my gate, which prevented me from opening it more than a crack.

I’m at the point now where I either want to A) tell them my mother-in-law, the heart patient with recent back surgery, tripped over the line taking out the trash and they are now responsible, or B) cut or disconnect the line and see if someone starts paying attention.

Some years ago I had a new oven installed by a “professional” installer. After a few years it started randomly tripping the circuit breaker when it was in use. I decided it wasn’t worth trying to diagnose the problem so I got a new oven. I decided to install this one myself. I pulled the old oven out and discovered that the oven was fed with aluminum wires, which I hadn’t known before. The original installer had connected the aluminum wires to the copper oven wires with standard wirenuts, something that even I know is a very bad thing. In fact, the plastic on the wirenuts had MELTED, exposing bare wires and explaining the shorts that were causing the beaker to trip. My house could have burned down because of the irresponsible actions of that idiot installer.

Ronnie Reagan said it best “Trust, but verify”.


I once did some service work on a rack of servers. Server racks come in many styles, but they all basically come down to 4 posts with holes to mount heavy duty rails similar to drawer slides. The back sides of the rails were attached to the posts with wire ties like you find on cables when unpacking new equipment.

The icing on that slice of stupid cake? The rails were designed to snap onto the posts without any need for screws or tools. You literally click them into place. It took me five minutes to do it correctly.

OP here with the follow-up and conclusion:

The repair technician just left my house. She found that the original installer had goofed up the wiring of my in-house phones at the network interface on the side of the house. (This was back-feeding my phones.) We found a second location in the wiring outside the house (it’s an older house and the phone cable was stapled to the siding by BellSouth some years ago) where the insulation had been blasted off. We discussed options and she simply re-routed the exterior cable to the only phone jack that I really use, eliminating the tangle of cables at the old interface box.

Two additional bits of interest:

  1. She did not have a butt set or toner to check the cable, conductors, or dial tone, so I lent her mine.

  2. She did not understand how to make an IDC connection in my phone wall-plate. I’m sure she would have figured it out, but she had never seen one before.

  3. When checking the cable, she mistakenly identified one cable as the phone cable. It was actually the new fiberoptic cable installed a few months ago when I upgraded. Before I could stop her, she cut it in order to troubleshoot it. It took her another 45 minutes and some parts to re-run the fiber and re-terminate it.

OTOH, she was very nice and great to get along with. It took her over two hours to do the work. I could have done it in about 20 minutes, but I didn’t have the parts (modular jack, etc.) handy and I didn’t want to fool with the cables and jacks they installed and maintain. I was not charged for any of the work.

BTW, the ISP actually begins with an A and ends with a T.

When we first got Comcast internet, the technician decided the easiest way to set it up was to unhook the DirecTV connection and declare the existing coaxial cable the sovereign property of Comcast. We, uh, had to make Comcast come out and actually run their own cable.

Then each time we needed another outlet or anything, it was always cobbled on in some Mickey Mouse way with cables running around the outside of the house. A couple months ago, the cable went out completely. We had switched to Triple Play years ago so the television, phone and internet were all out. Out of curiosity, I opened the box outside and one cable was just hanging and the other had been capped off with an intentional cap/blocker. I didn’t want to mess with it though so left it alone. When the tech came out, he took off the cap and connected them and the system started working again. He tried to charge me for it but I refused and eventually won that argument. I have no idea what was up with the connection but my best guess is that some other part of the cobbled together system was originally supplying that connection and failed and the "re"connected portion bypassed that.

BTW, I DO know how to count. Make that “THREE additional…”

At the rate the company is shedding employees, you’re probably lucky anyone came out at all.