You've heard all about it

You've heard all about it here, you've heard it everywhere else - getting DSL is a nightmare. But I had no idea how far gone the industry was until this evening. When I first tried to get DSL, I went with PacBell. That fell through, so I tried Earthlink next (which forced me to actually sign up with Mindspring, and used PacBell's infrastructure I was told), but they couldn't give me a date so I cancelled the order and cancelled my account at Mindspring/Earthlink and signed up with Concentric (which used Covad's infrastructure). That eventually worked out, and has been working fine ever since.

Tonight, I received a call from Earthlink, confirming my appointment for a some proposed DSL install tomorrow morning that I hadn't ever heard about. Despite my having cancelled my account, they went ahead and ordered an installation from Covad (apparently they've branched out from PacBell's network), claimed that the work done to set up my current line would work for this new line, and the worst part is the person phoning me worked for Covad, but couldn't cancel my account, couldn't access my account, nor could he do more than give me a generic tech support number at Earthlink.

I'm surprised to hear from all the representitives I've spoken with that the computer systems of each participating company can never communicate with their partnering company. Concentric couldn't tell me the status of my Covad order and Covad couldn't alert me to the work done by PacBell that I should have been notified of. Earthlink couldn't talk to PacBell and estimate when I could get an account, and now Covad can't talk to Earthlink and apparently Mindspring didn't tell Earthlink to tell Covad that I cancelled my account and that they should cancel my order.

With all these separate agencies and companies, I'm surprised anything gets accomplished in the telecom industry.