AT&T's business-class service -- or just business-class prices?

Sometimes the only difference between AT&T's business and home service seems to be a higher price

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"I decided to tough it out until Thursday," he says. As planned, his U-Verse went live on Thursday, complete with static IP addresses.

"But the U-Verse box is a modem/router and I needed to bridge its router so I could send everything to my Cisco router." Ed got on the phone with technical support for a call that took four hours before he was finally able to reach a top-tier tech with the necessary skills. He finally got everything working. His business was up and running again on the new U-Verse line -- but success was brief.

"On Friday morning the VPN was down," he says. "After hours of calling, I learned that a flash update ran during the night, resetting everything back to the default. My box was no longer bridged."

Ed took to phone again, and once more, it took him several hours to find someone with the skills to bridge the U-Verse modem. "Apparently," he says, "they have one -- and only one -- top-tier tech who knows how to do this."

His business was really up and running again. This time, things went well -- until he got the bill. "It was more than twice the amount that the sales rep had quoted," Ed says.

So he was back on the phone for hours and was eventually told it was an error that would be taken care of right away. Soon after, his VPN went down again. It took many more hours on the phone to uncover why: To correct the billing problem, someone had cancelled his U-Verse account and static IP addresses and created a new one -- resetting everything.

Needless to say, Ed is not happy about paying extra for business service. "It's clear," he says, "that AT&T is not prepared for a business that wants to use its own router. I am paying more for my business U-Verse service than the advertised residential rate in order to get better service."

But, of course, all the facts aren't in. Unless Ed was able (or willing) to go through the exact same experience with the residential service, there's no way to compare the two. It's possible that he did get the "higher level" of service he paid for, and he could still be on the phone if he'd chosen the residential service.

Do you know? Is he paying more for better (if not perfect) service? Or is he just paying more?

Got gripes? Send them to christina_tynan-wood@infoworld.com.

This story, "AT&T's business-class service -- or just business-class prices?," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Christina Tynan-Wood's Gripe Line blog at InfoWorld.com.

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