Bezeq’s Hanukah Miracle

by Brian on December 16, 2012

in Technology

Bezeq is Israel's leading telco

This isn’t the story I thought I was going to write. In that first draft, Bezeq, Israel’s main telecommunications provider, was an evil temptress, bait and switching unsuspecting customers with promises of super fast Internet only to be told that they were among the unlucky who’d be stuck with old technology for the rest of their sad, stolid and slow online lives. But this story has an unexpected twist and an ultimately happy light at the end of the Hanukah tunnel.

Two weeks ago, we upgraded our ADSL Internet from 10 to 20 mbs of download speed. What that means I’m not entirely sure but, doing the math, it seems that some actions on our home computer network should run twice as fast. Moreover, our upload speed was to be boosted by four times. Imagine YouTube videos getting posted in minutes rather than hours. And the price: just a few shekels more per month.

But, after we’d set up our shiny new modem/router and ran the Bezeq speed check, we were dismayed to see we were still getting just 10 mbs. We called Bezeq’s technical support. The friendly English-speaking representative said to wait a few days and everything should be just fine. We did. But still no 20 mbs. Another call and the technician on the other end of the phone started pressing buttons on her computer. Lights on my modem went on and off and on and then finally off…for good.

“Oops,” said the nice Bezeq woman. “It seems you have a problem with your line. We’ll have to send a technician to your house tomorrow. And, by the way, no Internet until then.”

Now, normally this would have made me crazy – my home is also my office and without Internet access, I can’t really work; how would you read my posts here at Israelity without a connection to the web? But I had just come off a weekend silent meditation retreat (more on that in an upcoming post) and was feeling very accepting and “in the moment.” Certainly, I had other projects I could work on that didn’t require a constant checking of email and Facebook.

24 long hours later, Lior the technician arrived and began his tests. He opened apps on my computer, talked via walkie talkie with Bezeq tech support to check different speeds, climbed under my desk. Finally, he turned to me like an oncologist about to deliver bad news. “You can’t get 20 mbs in your location,” he pronounced. “Your house is too far from the station. The cable is too long and won’t support that speed.

“They’ll be fixing that though, right?” I asked. “No,” he shook his head. “Not for another generation.”

I didn’t know whether he meant a generation of technology (which could be a year or two or less) or until I have great grandchildren. His eyebrows indicated the latter. We shook hands and I prepared to write that first draft of this article, the one where I was going to slam Bezeq for promising one speed but not delivering and having no plans to help loyal customers like us.

A week later, we received an SMS from Bezeq. “Your upgrade to 20 mbs has been successful.” Huh? We called Bezeq again to check to see if something had unexpectedly changed.

“Oops,” said the nice Bezeq woman. “It seems you have a problem with your line. We’ll have to send a technician to your house tomorrow. And, by the way, no Internet until then.”

This time we were visited by Erez who did the same checks as Lior but his eyebrows suggested a different outcome: he pronounced us healthy and fast. “But what about what Lior had told us?” Erez didn’t know anything about it. And off he went, and so did we, at blazing fast speeds and a sense that Bezeq was more befuddled than intentionally evil.

Two days later, on the fifth day of Hanukah, who should I see walking through our courtyard but Lior, off to another customer. “Did you hear?” I asked. “We have 20 mbs!” He’d heard; after he’d visited the week before, apparently Bezeq had done some fancy footwork with the cables – the technical details involved switching from one long cable going from apartment to apartment to more of a hub an spoke arrangement, but who cares, we were able to get what we’d been promised.

“You said it would take a generation,” I said to Lior. “How could this be?”

“It’s a miracle,” he replied. “A true Hanukah miracle.”

Now, I don’t know if part of the Maccabees victory over the Greeks so many years ago had anything to do with superior communication skills, but I’ll gladly accept this holiday offering from Bezeq. For 21st century geeks, speed is far superior to gelt. And this is the story that I really wanted to write anyway.

This miracle first appeared yesterday on Israelity.

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