Once I got to work, I googled the tech support number for Comcast, which is my service provider. The automated attendant quizzed me about the service I desired:
- language of choice?
- corporate or commercial customer?
- television or internet service?
- yadaa yadda?
After waiting through the usual "Thank you for your patience" messages, I got through to a human-sounding attendant who informed me that my account was in good standing and there was no service interruption in my area. This afternoon would be the earliest that they would be able to make a service call to my home. Would I like noon to 4:00 p.m. or would I like 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.? Interesting question -- I chose door #1. They took my number and will call me some time after noon.
Later, when I talked to a few other people this morning, I began to suspect that maybe there was an Internet outage after all. One helpful support person (I work very close to a help desk) suggested that I check the Comcast network health web page, which would tell me about the current known status in my service area. Unfortunately, that page required a login. I used to be an Adelphia customer prior to Comcast buying them out -- I tried my Adelphia username/password, but I was rejected.
Not to be deterred by such a small matter, I navigated to Comcast's support site and proceeded to respond to a series of questions that led me into a waiting cue for a tech support chat session. That person told me that I would have to actually speak to tech support.
The automated attendant quizzed me again, asked for my telephone number (including area code) and asked me to state clearly the nature of my problem.
I clearly stated "I do not have a username or password for my account."
The attendant said that it didn't understand my problem and to try again. Not so clearly this time, I said "bite my ass." Not surprisingly, that was also not a succinct statement of problem. Please press 1 if you would like to speak with a support representative.
Their automated system thanked me for my patience and informed me that they were "experiencing a higher-than-normal call volume today" (I get that EVERY time I call them, BTW). And by the way, there is currently a service interruption in the Morgantown area. If I would still like to speak with a real person, enter my telephone number (again).
After about 15 minutes in the company of an automated attendant thanking me for my patience, I think I spoke to a real person. He eventually told me that I don't actually have a Comcast account/password -- it's currently some long MAC-style number. But when service is once again resumed in the Morgantown area, they will flash my modem (I wish I could return that favor). Afterwards, I'm to call their tech support number, wait on hold for another 15 minutes because they'll most assuredly be "experiencing a higher-than-normal call volume," and eventually speak with a human who will let me establish my account name and password.
Apparently someone is still going to come in person to tell me that they're currently experiencing an Internet outage in the Morgantown area.
I have just glimpsed the ninth circle of hell.
Update: Local Comcast called me on my cell at about 4:10 p.m., asking if I still wanted them to come over (in the noon to 4:00 p.m. time frame that day).