Internet Personal

End of the Affair

(Blogger’s note: This break-up post was written a couple of weeks back.)

We go way back, Globelines and I. More than 5 years, if I can recall correctly.

I signed up with the company before Globelines became what it is today, one of two giant telecommunications companies that dominate the country.

I signed up to what was then Islacom not only because I’m a sucker for underdogs but as personal protest against the single dominant carrier at that time, PLDT, and its move to meter local calls. When I signed up, I knew I would be using my phone more for Internet connection (via the Jurassic dial up service) than for calls and if PLDT were to meter local calls, I feared I’d be racking up huge bills.

PLDT myDSL I’M WITH HER. It’s goodbye Globelines Broadband and hello PLDT MyDSL.

PLDT eventually abandoned the move to meter all local calls. It, instead, offered a prepaid service that has become popular today.

But I stuck with Islacom, which became Innove, which became Globelines. I stuck with it even as it started to insist I pay a month in advance while I stood firm on paying only for services I’ve used.

This means that for February, Globelines bugs me in the middle of the month, to pay for the entire month’s billing cycle. I, on the other hand, insisted on paying only for my January bill. Maybe this is standard billing practice but I don’t encounter this with my cable company, electric utility and my subdivision’s water distributor.

Not even occasional notices of disconnection, which sometimes lay unopened in my office desk for weeks, forced me to pay a month in advance.

I stuck with Globelines and spurned PLDT teams that come into our subdivision once a year tempting me with offers to transfer to their service. Not only did I stick with Globelines, I managed to convince a few to sign up with it and its broadband Internet service. I was among its ‘costumer evangelists.’

But everything unraveled with the earthquake in Taiwan that disrupted Internet connectivity in the Philippines.

It took a long time for Globelines to recover. For more than a month, its broadband Internet service was unusable in our subdivision. For several weeks, I couldn’t connect to any site and, for someone heavily dependent on Internet connectivity, I couldn’t do anything. After a few weeks, I could start connecting to a site for a few minutes before the connection is again cut.

Globelines claimed they have fully restored Internet services but even as they did so, I still encountered problems. I later learned that a customer service representative called my home and asked, of all people, my eight-year-old son whether the Internet connection was restored. My son, spared from seeing his father’s outbursts when using the Globelines service after midnight, told them it was, saying “gigamit na man.”

But I still stuck with it, assuaging a colleague that has turned homicidal that Globelines will eventually recover. Never mind that a support e-mail I sent on Dec. 13, 2006 was acknowledged 5 days later and, for all accounts, ignored until now.

I had meant to stick with Globelines notwithstanding the insult I felt when it included a letter in my bill that they were granting subscribers a 50 percent discount because Internet services was “intermittent” in January. Intermittent? I’m sorry but it wasn’t intermittent, it was entirely unusable. And the multitude of posts in various forums bear me out on this.

When PLDT again offered me to switch to their network, I was starting to consider leaving Globelines. But even then, I knew that had things stayed as they were, I would have stuck with Globelines. For one, switching carriers means losing your phone number of several years and I wasn’t prepared to lose mine.

That was until Globelines dumped me, a customer of several years. They first cut off the service of my now homicidal colleague who didn’t want to pay for a service he wasn’t able to use. He told me he was never able to connect to the Internet in January and, being the tight-fisted businessman that he is, didn’t want to pay for unlimited broadband “connectivity.” It then disconnected my service on February 20 (or thereabouts), never mind that the bill said I had until Feb. 27 to pay.

I’ve since transferred to PLDT MyDSL. And it is an auspicious start of a new affair.

By Max Limpag

Max is a journalist and blogger based in Cebu City, Philippines. He is co-founder of the journalism start-up InnoPub Media.