I am the "Cable Guy" that installs U-Verse. I deal with horrible people, horrible working conditions, and horrible procedures. I love my job. My day starts with a morning meeting at the yard with my crew and a pep talk from our foreman. We then load up our trucks with equipment and hit the dispatch button to see what job dispatch gives us. Could be at the top of a pole with rude squirrels, could be a cross box filled with black widows on the side of the road, or it could be in some hoarders home. I think the public view of our job is highly incorrect. I can not speak of pricing, mobility, or higher up cooperate models as I do not know any of those. Anything else I can answer, I will answer. Thanks in advance for all the questions.

Comments: 224 • Responses: 78  • Date: 

WontDieIn_A_Hospital11 karma

Thanks for doing this! You may not be able to answer but I'm looking for some advice. I had at&t internet in my apartment for about 7 months. One day it suddenly disappeared. & I mean completely. After calling customer service & giving my account number I was told that my account doesn't exist and never has existed. However I'm still receiving bills. Also, about 3 days after my internet dried up the U-verse guy walked door to door very eager to sign everyone up with "the fastest internet connection that has ever existed" No joke. Now I'm not saying that the at&t boogie man is out to get me or anything. I just want to know how to make these damn bills stop! Thanks for your help in advance.

attwiretech14 karma

Well, the ATT guy who is selling ATT door to door is a scum bag. Those are contractors and are horrible people. If you're getting bills, there's a BAN number us employees look at, it's your Billing Account Number. You're not Jane, John, Bob, Mark, or Kelly. You're ban#123456789. Call and have someone come out to a repair. Someone like me can not close the job (mark it complete) unless you have working internet. Now, your case sounds extremely odd. Really not being rude here, but either you're confused about something, or ATT really screwed you up somehow. Either way, don't stop calling them until it's fixed! Sadly, I have never worked in billing so I don't exactly know how they work, but if you call for a repair 3 times in one month, you become a Chronic Ban and they start sending the really good people to your house to rebuild everything from the ground up. BUT!... big BUT here... If there is nothing wrong, you will get billed by the technician.

bagamuffin10 karma

I'm currently a Uverse customer. Our system goes up and down quite unpredictably. Ever since we started with Uverse, our Internet and/or TV services would go down about 3 to 4 times a week. I would call tech support to see what's going on, and the only way to bring them back up is to reset everything (the modem and battery backup), then it would be fine for the next couple of days. We were finally able to get a tech to take a look and found that there was no battery installed in the battery backup. He added one, and all seemed to be fine for a few months. A couple weeks ago, we're back to resetting everything every couple of days. Any ideas?

attwiretech12 karma

This could be anything from bad service wire 2 miles away to a faulty connection in your home. It's really hard to diagnose a problem without being there or at least running test remotely. We are able to enter your account number in our ipads and see graphs, noise, interference, speeds, etc... When you call customer service, they have the same options and should be able to tell you what's wrong. If they see nothing wrong, it is going to be something inside your home with the equipment or the home wiring. Sorry, I can't be more specific.

bagamuffin6 karma

Thanks for your reply! Any help is appreciated!

My concern is that we've had 3 visits, but we'll still run into this issue. Do you know if AT&T will give us any credits since the same issue keeps happening?

attwiretech12 karma

AT&T can't see that I'm an employee if I call about my own service. They're always really great to me when I call. I have all sorts of free stuff because of a few phone calls for minor issues that I wasn't even mad about. Best advice, goes for everything in my opinion, just call with your normal upset attitude, but make sure you can relay in your tones and words that you're not rude or mean, just upset. Being nice will help you in the long run.

nomad25859 karma

Whats the best/worst coustomers you've had to deal with.

attwiretech21 karma

Best: A 20 something female who had her father living with her. Dad wasn't super old or anything, just lived in daughters apartment. It was very odd but they had the most awesome attitude about everything. Really a great couple of people to be around. I found myself delaying the repair a bit just to have a few more minutes of normalcy in customers. Doesn't sound that great, but they were really nice people is all lol.

Worst: Ugh, so many... I have a lot of hoarders and ghetto people... I would say the worst was when I was dispatched out to a house that had a pixelating TV (99% of the time that means the coax wires/connections have gone bad). It was about 6:30 pm and she had 5 TVs. I had to swap the lines on all the TVs from coax to cat5, in the rain. Just a bad day ended with a late rainy night. The people were nce, but when bad is mentioned, that comes to mind.

There was another worth mentioning. A sick man in an old home in the country. There was a half dead dog on the front porch and when I entered the home, the part of the floor you could see, was covered in a layer of dust and hair. The rest of the floor was hidden under laundry and trash. Some of the floor was missing all together in some of the rooms. Nothing but a big hole to the ground below. The ceiling had cobwebs everywhere! I'm a short guy and had to duck under the door frames because the cobwebs hung so low. Those are the houses I despise touching anything! "Sir, could you move your mouse to the wifi icon for me?"

ps-6 karma

What sort of protection do you have against disease and other health hazards that may be present in any of the homes you visit? I saw below that you can walk away from a situation if you feel like your job is in jeopardy but what about more insidious issues, like if there are kids home with the flu, for example?

attwiretech21 karma

It's pretty up in the air to the technicians discretion. We have personal protective equipment and are provided sanitizers, masks, and even jumpsuits. We're trained in working with everything from electrical risks like loose power lines to health risks from asbestos to communicable diseases to animal safety such as snake identification and bite treatments from spiders to dogs. We're taught CPR and basic health care. It's not like we can leave every job where a customer has a stuffed up nose, but the main word is 'unsafe'. The only thing you can get fired from without warning or previous discipline, is safety. AT&Ts primary concern with techs are safety and if a tech deems a home to be unsafe, we leave and report it immediately.

ps-2 karma

Have you ever had to back out of a job for such a hazard? Any truly incredible water-cooler horror stories from your teammates or foreman?

attwiretech6 karma

We will stay on top of a light pole in a thunderstorm to complete a job. But if a customer starts cursing us out, most of us will leave. Not a lot of people leave a job for health hazards. Only one that I can remember and the guy was a cat hoarder and the tech left because the ammonia smell was overwhelming.

ps-1 karma

That's pretty hardcore. Thanks for doing what you do to keep us all connected :)

attwiretech5 karma

Thanks for paying your bill and keeping me employed ;)

nomad25852 karma

Wow that was surprisingly subtle. I was expecting wild lesbian sex party/shot and robbed.

attwiretech9 karma

Nah, stuff like that, we will just leave. If a customer is being rude or if I'm in a situation where my job could be in jeopardy, we're allowed to just get back in our truck and leave. And in this economy, you wouldn't do much to throw away such a steady and safe career as I have.

Jackie_Jormp-Jomp5 karma

You'd leave a wild lesbian sex party? Man, you must really like your job.

attwiretech24 karma

I really like my wife and kids ;)

nomad25853 karma

I know you might not be able to answer this honestly but do you prefer at&t or is it just a good job?

attwiretech12 karma

Do I prefer AT&T service or work?

Service: I had Comcast and hated their customer service and prices. I got double the service for less of a price and AT&T still sends me gift cards and gives free stuff to me just for my continued service. Same with cell phones.

Employment: I think I'm treated unfairly the majority of the time. But for the pay, benefits, security, and pride... I'll gladly take it. In an economy that is consistently on the edge of collapse and with so many people being 1 paycheck away from being homeless, I will do everything in my power to keep my secure job for me and for my family. I came from minimum wage jobs and refuse to forget what my lifestyle was back then. I'm thankful.

halfchubb2 karma

What do you think of our new ABC coaching strategy? In Detroit our numbers don't matter at all to us, the only thing that matters is our quality and the smaller things like tacr. These 30 day rolling repeats are killing us!!

attwiretech2 karma

I'm doing this AMA because I was suspended for my repeats and am just home bored lol. I am also 5 star (not 4 star) this month... go figure lol. I would rather go back to the way it was before where a bill could save a repeat at least. But that'd still leave all my repeats right where they are because they're all either non-billable (bad STB, lightning hit RG, etc...) or customer error.

halfchubb2 karma

You can't bill for customer error? We always bill for customer error.

attwiretech3 karma

Yes, customer error is billable. Sorry, trying to respond to everything as fast as possible. Makes me a bit scatter brained lol.

Set_the_Mighty7 karma

I had a good experience with the tech who installed my uverse. I think he stayed extra long because my friends and I were nice to him. My tech problem: The crossbox (?) is 200 feet from my house so the main signal is quite strong. The problem is that the signal from the box in my living room doesn't extend very well to the farthest room, which is separated by an exterior space. It initially had one wired connection to the room for the TV and it works. The tenant was using wireless at first but it was such a low signal that it was barely useable.

I used the livechat thing on the website and was talking to some Indian dude who said it was OK to hook a second router up to the wired connection to use as a signal extender. He claimed he could manipulate the router remotely with out any admin info or pw access and tell the system to use it as an extender rather than a router broadcasting it's own signal. (Total bullshit, what a lying fuckbag) I had been inclined to use that spare router for this purpose anyway and went along with his plan. He claimed he did everythign necessary to make it work and ended the session, claiming that any further problems were 100% my fault.

So the router broadcasts it's own signal instead of extending the Uverse signal. Not an issue for internet but per instruction from the lying fuckbag we have his TV wired via cat5 to the router. Per the tenant the TV signal cuts out after 5 minutes, I don't know why, tenant thinks it is a signal strength issue and thinks we need some specific splitter coming off the line into the house, one split to the router for his internet and one split to the TV so the TV doesn't have to run through the second router.

Is there a specific quality splitter we should be using? The tech did something identical in another room of the house but it is this fancy (probably expensive) box that splits the signal. Would Uverse just give us another one of those for the room with bad signal?

Thanks for any suggestions you might have. My work is quite similar and I put up with the same range of customers so I feel your pain.

attwiretech8 karma

What the tech installed is probably a Netgear ethernet switch and this can be used. The router you're talking about should only be used for broadcasting or stretching the internet signal. It is NOT recommended to use a router to plug a set top box into. How that even works some of the time for you, I don't even know.

The modem has 4 yellow ethernet ports that you can plug the following: A set top box, an ethernet switch, a WAP(for wifi TV), a router, or a PC. Set top boxes should only be coming from the AT&T provided modem or the Netgear switch. The router should be for nothing other than wifi signal.

If you call for a repair, a tech can come and install another switch but this is something that is billable. If you explain the situation about the rep on the support chat, the tech may not bill you. Techs do NOT like billing people unless it's a rude customer and is necessary.

If I were you, call and ask for a tech to come fix it, explain to the tech the same thing you told me, and if the tech does bill you (we only do what we're told and his foreman may require all repairs get billed or something crazy), call AT&T customer service and ask them to waive it. You'll have luck with this about 70% of the time.

ppetro085 karma

Do you know of any tricks to boost speed?

attwiretech6 karma

DMZ mode with static IP. Not recommended unless you know what you're doing. Internet speed is largely based on servers though and your speed downloading is only as good as a servers speed uploading. You can't download 60mbps if youtube (example) only sends you 20mbps.

aldosom4 karma

Hey - first of all, thanks for doing this AMA.

I've had U-Verse for the past... probably 2.5 yrs and i'm "ok" with it. It works good and the only reason i'm not 100% happy is because they don't offer the highest speed in my area for insert random reason here.

In regards to the technicians, I've had good experiences so far so, no complaint on that matter.

Question for you - Do you know anything about AT&T throttling speeds? Specially with Youtube and Twitch.tv.

From a couple of months back, Twitch.tv seriously has is not viewable on 720p or 1080p without a VPN. With that said, this makes me think it is a problem (and i've read around a bit) with AT&T.

Have you ever heard of this issue?

Thanks in advance for your response!

attwiretech3 karma

I've never heard of AT&T throttling. I can check speeds to a home and if it ever drops below the contracted speed, there is an issue.

SeryaphFR4 karma

No offense or anything, man, but I hate AT&T.

How do you feel about your employer?

attwiretech9 karma

Well, heh... I love what I do. I love my foreman and my crew. Some of the procedures we have to follow are downright unfair. Let's say I repair your internet because you have horrible wiring in your home. I run everything all new. Everything works beautifully when I leave. 27 days later, lightning hits your house and your modem goes out and you call us for a new modem. Because you called within 30 days of me being there, I get what's known as a repeat. Means I didn't do my job correctly and very few repeats a month (about 20% of 50-60 jobs in a month) will get you on a disciplinary plan.

Another thing are those annoying phone calls you get asking you about your technician... You rate me anything lower than a 9 out of 10, and I get a write up.

Those little blue shoe covers we wear when we come in your house, yea. If we get caught without those, suspended.

I go to your home to do work and you're not there, I have to return the job, which is another tally against me and my work numbers.

So the company is very strict and you can be sure a tech in your home is under high stress probably.

Still, I love my job.

landwomble3 karma

I've occasionally walked past one of those street cabinets where hundreds of domestic customers wiring terminates, after a kid has happily just completely trashed/set fire to the whole lot. I've always wondered how the hell you go about fixing a scenario like that - where on earth would you start?

attwiretech9 karma

Wow, bad neighborhood? Punk kids... I know from natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes that after those boxes are destroyed (crossboxes), there's normally something left over flush to the ground. A cable with anywhere from thousands of pairs of wire normally stick out. If you can see the color, you can search the neighborhood records for which customer gets which pair. The hard part, instead of replacing those miles of cable runs just to make room for more cable at the end to terminate, you have to basically splice an 8' piece of cable onto it. That's thousands of splices made out of something called tyco blocks. Very time consuming. Not my job, but I've seen and heard of it.

puterTDI1 karma

I ran the phone system for my university for about 5 years. I'm amazed that your records allow you to actually determine which pair goes to which customer.

One of the biggest pains I dealt with was that our cable db was incredibly out of date. You had about a 40% chance of what we had written down actually being correct because the techs before me would never update the database.

The last project I did before I left was actually to create a website that tracked the data (rather than an access spreadsheet). It generalized the cables out and then allowed for fast tasks like pair swaps etc (that way you could just enter the two pairs and all documentation would be updated as necessary with the swapped information, rather than having to manually swap the info). Last I heard they were still using it and the documentation was getting better but was still not perfect.

I guess that's what you get when you have students who may or may not care about their job doing the work. I was a stickler about it and would piss off many other students by getting on their case for not updating the records.

attwiretech1 karma

Same thing for us. Service Techs like to swap pairs and not tell anyone which make things difficult for everyone. But the pairs are actually numbered and color coded. Something like this, but we deal with much more than 25 pair.


ccagan3 karma

How many grounding screws have you changed from flat/philips to hex head as a technician?

Also how many bottles of that orange sealant have you spilled in your toolbox?

Ever get to spend time in the fiber trailer?

Ever played trivial pursuit and lucked in to the card asking "What is the reflective coating on a fiber optic conductor called?"

attwiretech6 karma

Sounds like an employee, possibly ST, FT, or fiber guy that hate wiretechs.

1) I've never changed a grounding screw. Never even heard of doing so. You're probably in another region than I.

2) Orange sealant? I have clear caulk for holes in homes, but that get's put in a ziplock when I'm done. Sometimes it explodes in my hands and that makes a nice nasty mess.

3) No, but it looks like it's freezing in there and after working in 100+ degree weather, I've often fantasized about breaking into one to cool off.

4) Uh... no lol. I don't do any fiber work yet, but it's on my to do list. I definitely don't have time for games lol. 64 hours last week, manditory 6 days a week, and you don't see your family enough for games, only good night kisses.

nowintroducingfacts2 karma

Generally speaking, should I bother going from dsl to uverse? They say once I do I can't go back.

attwiretech4 karma

Uh. Yes lol. DSL=Slow. I think it's 6mbps max whereas U-verse is 30-60 if you choose.

GAndroid2 karma

U-Verse is also dsl isn't it? It's just VDSL connected to gpon

attwiretech1 karma

Dsl is a pair of wires coming from a central office maybe 10000' away. VDSL or U-Verse comes from fiber less than 3000' away.

halfchubb2 karma

Unless your on a inid, then it can be up to 6000ft. I hate those damn inids

attwiretech1 karma

Bonded RGs are just came out in my region... Awesome! No more inids!

lockbox2111 karma

The highest speed option I have is 24Mbps. Where can you get 30-60Mbps?

attwiretech1 karma

Closer to the fiber. The VDSL signal degrades over length and is called attenuation. The farther you go, the more degraded it gets.

pbaus2 karma

How fortuitious! I had Uverse TV installed last week, upgrading my Internet Only account. My installer said that my whole apartment is wired with Cat5, so he's running my TV boxes off of that instead of coax.

He also moved my modem out to the living room, instead of the bedroom where it was, and he said he'd backfeed the internet from the modem into the wall, and gave me an ethernet port in the bedroom where the modem was so my computers could still be hardwired.

When I went to hook everything up, no internet. The wall plate where my modem is has three ports on it. 1 RJ-11 is the data port going to the modem. 2 are RJ-45, and he had both going to ports 1 and 3 on the RG.

I plan on calling him, but figured if there was an easy fix, maybe you'd know it? ;)

attwiretech2 karma

Kinda lost me on the wallplate description. I love apartments prewired with cat5. More than likely, he wired it incorrectly. I say that because a tech who was thorough would not have left until he witnessed everything working. This is worth a call back to AT&T.

Sounds like he didn't connect the ethernet pairs in one or more of the ports on the wallplate or the wallplate in whichever room you can not get service out of. If you didn't rewire anything, this should be a free repair call.

Fapulous_Apple2 karma

When will ATT upgrade their network infrastructure so that we can get speeds over 24Mbps (Comcast offers up to 100Mbps i think)? I can't find any info on when they will upgrade speeds and is the limit due to coming into the home through phone wire? Thanks!

attwiretech1 karma

We currently offer fiber right to your house in certain markets. No one else can say they do that right now (as far as I know). And the phone wire is shielded and protected just as much as Comcast or Verizons coax.

1moar2 karma

Did you have to do any tests/certifications to get the job? Do you know when they're going to open up to new markets like Minnesota? I work in large business collections and they always push to use company services but all we have up here is wireless and I refuse to pay that much.

attwiretech4 karma

AT&T is still new in terms of our TV and highspeed U-Verse services. We still consider ourselves the phone company but we are always opening new areas. Right now, we're under such a heavy load that if we opened all the new markets that were available, we couldn't provide the man power or customer service to maintain and activate them. Keep checking with AT&T for updates though. Could be as soon as tomorrow for all I know. This question is what I get asked the most. Many people are dying to get rid of Comcast, Cox, Verizon, etc...

Tests? We have to go through extensive background checks (more so than when I got a concealed carry permit), physicals, and electrical tests before we're even considered for the job. After that, we go through AT&Ts 2 month training course and are always getting new training on a monthly basis.

RoboBeardSloth2 karma

tower climber here. i have been doing this for a month and just got put on an audit crew for at&t section of my company. so im completely fresh and im keeping this job for a while, whats the best advice for a fellow tower climber?

attwiretech3 karma

If you're refering to cell towers, I don't do that so wouldn't even know where to start. As far as pole climbing, make sure you can see all the way up a pole before breaking out the spikes or gaffes. So many times I've gone to the top just to find... "are those termites? Shit, down down down, go go..."

If you use a ladder on a pole, it's pretty failproof with all the safety straps but there was a report we got in our e-mail about root rot and the pole snapped under the ground and the tech was severely injured. Always check for root rot.

therosseverett2 karma

Hey! Huge fan of your work (not being sarcastic, I love fast internet)

I am currently going through something with my UVerse that has had a technician come out to my house 3 times already and the last one left me with 0 internet connectivity. At what point is it actually the technicians fault if ever?

I'm always really nice to the techs because I figure they're just doing their job and my outage isn't their fault. I always offer them a beer when they're done as well (except one time we ran out of beer so he took a hard cider instead)

I miss my internet :(

Side note: I called again and the person on the phone said there was an outage even though my neighbors with AT&T had Internet. I'm panicking here.

attwiretech1 karma

I've gone out to homes more than I'd like to admit, where it is 100% the techs fault. But, professionally, I can't tell a customer, "Whoever did this is a dipshit", so we come up with something more along the lines of, "I'm just going to clean up these lines to optimize the service". If there is an outage, it can effect you but not your neighbor. Call AT&T once an hour until it's fixed. Sometimes, customer service will send a tech to your house anyway, even if it is an outage. If it is, the tech won't do any work, but verify there's nothing he can do and will put in a ticket for someone else to fix the issue who is able to work on cable or fiber. Sometimes the outages are just signal issues that can't be fixed by us outside techs.

anirrelevantquestion2 karma

When was the last time you were punched in the face?

attwiretech8 karma

My son punched me yesterday by accident. Kid needs to learn some motor skills control.

MGUK1 karma

Did you punch him back? Can't let the kid get brave.

attwiretech3 karma

Yes I did. I punched him repeatedly in the face and body. That's what we do when we're wearing our play boxing gloves. He's good at keeping his hands up though.

Bgibbs2 karma

Best way to get a remote without having to pay for it? The volume down button on the U-verse remote stopped working and AT&T wants ME to pay for a new one. I love the service and the install guys are always super nice, but man does the Customer "service" suck a fat one

attwiretech1 karma

If I were a tech called out for that, I'd give it to you for free. Try having one come out. It's ATT property that's broke, not yours.

Bgibbs1 karma

Don't they usually charge for a tech to come out?

attwiretech2 karma

Here's the way it works. If it's your problem, computers, home wiring, phones, TVs, etc... or a problem you or someone who isn't AT&T caused, it's going to get billed.

If AT&Ts wiring or equipment went bad, no charge.

buhala2 karma

You've probably read this TFTS story. Have you ever done anything similar for a customer?

attwiretech5 karma

I didn't read the whole thing, but from skimming through it, I do give my work cell phone numbers to customers so they won't call in a trouble after I leave. But there are a few who continuously call me every week or two from months at a time. Currently, a retired cop is having issues with his att service never working and messing his TV up. In reality, he just keeps moving the remote to the wrong room, putting the TV on the wrong input, and getting lost in the menus. He's a sweet old man so I don't mind answering and helping out. He's far out of range to get me in trouble as it's been 8 months, but if he doesn't have anyone to show/tell him, then he's lost.

buhala2 karma

I'll give you a TL;DR

A tech let a user mess with the wires. He moves his cable so he gets better response time. Have you ever let a user do that?

attwiretech6 karma

Not at all. I take pride in my own work and I'm not going to give anything but the best. You mess with my work, I'll bill you when I have to come fix it.

mmavipc1 karma

that was a bad tl;dr. In the box in the basement where the signal gets split to the multiple tenants of the apartment, it was setup so the guy in quesiton had the shittiest signal, and a guy with a trap filer(which meant he was only subscribed to basic TV) had the best signal. The tech let him swap his wire and the wire of the guy with the trap, so that his signal would be better.

attwiretech1 karma

Those terminals are recorded. Every wire coming in and out are noted and monitored. They should never be switched unless the tech calls and updates the records. So this guy either broke the rules, or just swapped the pair and called to have records changed. Not too uncommon.

Kingt862 karma

I have had 6 different router boxes in addition to many other problems with AT&T. How many times have you had to go to the same residence for the same issue?

attwiretech4 karma

Only a few times. If you've had 6 modems replaced, your issue is probably being misdiagnosed by a lazy tech who would rather give you a cheap fix than a hard job of rewiring or locating the source of the issue. Sadly, every job has these people and AT&T is no exception.

torknorggren2 karma

Do you keep Glen Campbell on a permanent loop on your iPod?

attwiretech1 karma

Don't even know who that is, sorry. And do people still have iPods?

torknorggren1 karma

This isn't required listening anymore? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qoymGCDYzU

attwiretech2 karma

Nope. But during training, we had to make an ethernet jumper timed to this song. Now every time I hear it, I've been brainwashed into wanting to grab my rj45 crimpers and make an ethernet.


GrandAddyMo1 karma

Switched from At&t's laggy internet and paid half as much for Comcast's 70 mb/s fiber optics. Never looking back.

Proof: http://imgur.com/4yd2Eop

Edit: I know this wasnt a question, So ill ask you one now. What has been the most detailed job that you can think of? (Rewiring houses?)

attwiretech7 karma

Good for you, without competition to drive better service and performance, we'd be stuck with horrible service and high prices. When does your promotion period end with Comcast?

GrandAddyMo3 karma

The promotional period ends next May I believe. My dad's a software developer who works from home so he needs the extra speed to communicate with his servers at work.

I also know you probably get a lot of flack from costumers who see you as the face of AT&T and unfairly lay into you? AMMRITE?

attwiretech7 karma

All the time. U-Verse is not fiber to the premise (fttp)(house) typically, but if you have U-Verse, you do have fiber within about 2000 feet from you, that's why there's a lot of people without it.

We have opened a few areas with fttp and since that is so very new, we get a lot of complaints about it. Those are normally new neighborhoods where rich people think they can just lay into the AT&T guy because they own him, or something, I don't know. But like I said earlier, I'll be as nice as I can until I have to make the decision to just pack up and leave and call my boss, "hey, leaving ban#123456789 and the wife was being a complete bitch. Just a heads up."

attwiretech3 karma

Just saw your edit-

Rewiring houses? Nah. Internet cafes who have 12 accounts which mean 12 times the work.

zookkz1 karma

At my old house, we were unable to get ATT Uverse...and all we really want is the internet service. However it was not available in our area, and we had been calling every few months for several years. Finally we decided that we just had to stick with Comcast.

What makes this situation really weird though is that only a few houses down in either direction, they could ver Uverse, but we couldn't. We lived in a highly populated area (NW Suburbs of Chicago) and to this day it is still not available. Could you give some reasoning to this, or reasons?

attwiretech1 karma

I've seen people who live 30 feet from the fiber on the other side of their driveway, but the engineers ran it all the way around the neighborhood in a loop to where the customer who was 30 feet from the fiber, was actually at the end of a 2500 foot line. Does any of that make sense?

Dafapattack311 karma

I have the uverse anywhere box and I'm having a lot of trouble with regards to watching on demand shows and movies and recordings. Whenever I play anything that isn't live the show will skip every 5 secs its really really annoying so do you know what could be causing this?

attwiretech1 karma

Your DVR is on coax and is recording them that way. The coax needs to be replaced. If it's not on coax, the wifi set top box needs to be replaced.

shallowyetdeep1 karma

U-verse promotional internet for a year 12 Mbps and , its been more than a year and the price hasn't gone up. saving like $20 a month

attwiretech1 karma

I heard nothing.

goldfingeroo71 karma

I think I live in some black hole and can only get DSL service at my house. How do I get AT&T to provide UVerse in my area?

attwiretech1 karma

ATT is always going into new areas. The only way to be sure is to check back with them every few weeks. Sorry, I don't even have info on that.

iambeaker1 karma

I have had UVerse for 6 years now. I have an old 2Wire gateway. Is there a newer gateway that supports Wireless-N?

attwiretech2 karma

Not yet, but there is one coming from what I hear!

SparkzOut1 karma

I just wanted to say, I wish AT&T would put a more local switch in my town. Having a max download speed of 300kb/s makes me feel sad.

attwiretech2 karma

Keep faith brother. We're constantly turning up new areas for U-Verse! We have to ensure we do it in a fashion that allows us to service everyone. If we turned on all the fiber in every area it was available, you'd have a 2 month or more wait time for installs or repairs. Give good service or don't give service is what they're thinking I assume. Your speed is probably DSL which at one point, was great service.

dmo0121 karma

I've actually got an issue, but don't want to bother calling ATT because I'm sure they'll give me the run around. Have you ever heard of the U-verse modem cutting out the wireless in the home? It started about 2 months ago(I've had this modem about 2 years). The connection would be fine, but then about every 5 minutes the speed would drop so low that it was almost like it wasn't connected. Then it would come back up to normal about 90 seconds later. It's not the end of the world as I've wired my important stuff(Xbox, laptops), I'm just curious if you think I should take it up with ATT, do something myself, or just not worry about it. Thanks again!

attwiretech2 karma

If you're certain that the modem is dropping wifi, call up for a new modem. This is not a common issue, but it's not a rare issue either. A modem is a basic machine that like all others, goes bad after a while.

SomethingBrewing1 karma

What is the craziest form of wildlife you've had to deal with while on the job?

attwiretech1 karma

Flying squirrels at the top of telephone poles. But we also deal with a lot of black widows and snakes.

Imryanz1 karma

When are you guys going to get TV service in Fort Myers, Florida? I hate the Comcast here... so disrespectful to deaf people.

attwiretech1 karma

As I said, we're constantly updating and doing so all at once would be devastating to everyone involved. Engineers control who gets once and when. I have no knowledge of this.

BaconisComing1 karma

I was reading some of your responses and got to wondering about uverse. I saw that att is not bringing fiber through "the last mile" to the house. Did I understand that correctly? If that's the case when will uverse be fiber from the street to the house and why even bother with a better service if its not a better service all the way to the house.

I suppose my question is this. How long before att decides that fttp is the way to go, and when will it be implemented. Unfortunately I'm using cox communications now and that's my only option in this apartment complex but, the previous 7 years I was with Verizon Fios and loved every thing about it. The future is fiber.

attwiretech1 karma

FTTP is being installed on homes as we speak. It's a timely update process.

wilofson1 karma

Oh hey! I was recently offered a tech position installing home automation (AT&T Digital Life). Do you have any experience in that department or could you tell me anything about it? They offered $30/hr, iPad, take home vehicle, benefit package, ect. Which is reasonable for a licensed electrician. Thanks - Your maybe possibly someday co-worker.

attwiretech1 karma

I know it's a new position installing alarms, cameras, motion activated devices... but I know very little of it. One thing you'll learn once you start working at AT&T, each department is like a gang and each crew or yard is like a little subgang. We all are born to hate and degrade other departments and crews, so I hope you burn in hell so I don't have to come out and fix your stuff when you screw it up. (jk, welcome to the company ;))

GAndroid1 karma

Is U-Verse technology ADSL or VDSL? You have mentioned that AT&T is new in the arena of DSL, but what plans does att have when the cable companies start fighting back with docsis3 (happened last year in Canada. Cable provides 250mbps now where telco can't go over 50mbps with a bonded pair and hence losing business)

Does att install remote DSLAMs fed with fibre (FTTN) or they still wire you to the CO 6 km away?

Thanks for doing the AMA. DSL has always fascinated me more than cable but approaching 1gbps I am not sure how it will stand.

attwiretech1 karma

We do offer fiber straight into the home. Only copper pair involved is from the box outside your house to the modem. This is still new and still being implemented, but is available. We took a step in the wrong direction a few years ago with starting our TV service on Satellite, but as a company, we recovered very quickly and are still playing a bit of catch-up, but are advancing faster than any competition I know of.

GAndroid1 karma

Wait you said the remote dslam is 2000 ft away from the customer premises not just outside?

attwiretech1 karma

The way it works as best described with words...


Central office to Crossbox via copper pair. Crossbox to Terminal terminal via copper pair. Terminal to nid via copper pair. Nid to modem via copper pair.


Central office to vrad via fiber. Vrad to crossbox via copper pair. Crossbox to Terminal terminal via copper pair. Terminal to nid via copper pair. Nid to modem via copper pair.

The vrad is always within a few feet or so of the crossbox. The crossbox is where all the pairs get connected from the network to the home. The terminal is usually the little box on a telephone pole or the 2-3 foot tall box sticking out of the ground somewhere near the home. The nid is the box that is attached to the home.

pizzaboy1921 karma


I had a co-worker who used to do line installations for large buildings for AT&T. I'm curious if you still use nerf balls and vacuums to pull cables through conduit, or if he's just an awesomely believable BS-er. It sounds like it'd work, and would be awesome to try.

attwiretech1 karma

I will slingshot a cable through a raised ceiling but for basic walls, I use a strong magnet with a bullet weight tied to the end of the cable. Or just electrical tape a piece of existing coax wire in the attic and pull down my wire after cutting the coax. I will be looking into the ferret suggestion!

gyrfalcon161 karma

How many times do you do a crappy splice and have to be dispatched out multiple times to repair a problem you should have got right the first time?

attwiretech1 karma

Me personally, next to never. I do make mistakes, as does everyone though.

boris123451 karma

My girlfriend recently had U-verse installed in her house. The router was installed at west end of her house; she has no WiFi signal at the east end of her house. Her house is not abnormally large (2800 sq. feet).

If she contacts customer support, will AT&T give her a WiFi repeater so that she'll have internet access throughout her house? If not, what brand/model of repeater will work with U-verse service?

attwiretech2 karma

No, and moving a modem is billable if you didn't tell the tech where to put it. If you did tell him where you wanted it and it was still installed somewhere else, no bill. He probably put it on the west end because the phone box is over there and he didn't have to run a wire too far. I wouldn't bill if I came out and all repair bills are tech discretion.

wermz1 karma

is u-verse ever gonna get a sports package? or is that sum direct tv only stuff? im thinking about scrapping the u-400 plan. everything i can watch on there, i can find online. the only reason i watch live tv anymore is for sports.

attwiretech1 karma

We have all the sports channels and we offer the multiview for free where you can watch up to 4 channels at the same time. We offer camera angle changes, replay options, etc... What exactly is the sports package on Direct?

lockbox2111 karma

What are your thoughts on the price of internet speed in America compared to the rest of the world? Personally I think its high for the speed we're getting. How much does it cost AT&T to send 1MB or 1GB of data through its network? Also I know U-Verse throttles YouTube when I try and watch a video, because I can get faster speed with my phone on LTE or if my computer is going through my VPN; I know it's a bandwidth issue AT&T is trying to control, but wouldn't it be easier to just load my movie/video quickly so i can watch it and get off instead of waiting for it to load and sending more requests?!

attwiretech1 karma

I can't say I know about any throttling. As I mentioned, I've never heard of it. Internet price? I hate it. I don't know what it is in other countries compared to their cost of living, but I think most net pricing is too much. I think AT&T is cheaper that what I had with Comcast, but I still think it's overall too much.

bobdavis_33n1 karma

I work for a CLEC that uses AT&T lines with our own COLO equipment. I just want to thank you for some of the line work you guys do for us. Unless you are that one tech that we dont like to get because you never fix it right.

attwiretech1 karma

I can't speak for everyone, but I know everyone in my crew of 15 really take pride in their work and it shows. I'm sure I've never been to your place of employment, but I'll take the appreciation anyway :)

BeanBone1 karma

Highly relevant for me, wonder if you could help me out with what to do about the U-verse wires that have been unburied in my yard for years.

I ordered U-verse when I bought my house three and a half years ago. They had to run new wire from the box in my backyard up to the front of my house. Install guy said someone else would be coming by to bury the cable. No one ever came. We called AT&T about five times about it over a few months and they always did a round-robin transfer game and it always ended up with someone saying said they couldn't send someone out (what?).

Anyway, I string the cable up on the fence so it wouldn't get torn up by the lawnmower. Years pass. Part of the cable gets ripped off the wire, but everything still works (it's like a small-gauge thing that's partially isolated).

Last year, I get a knock on the door from a wire tech saying he has to run a line out of the box in my yard for a neighbor. Great, I say, it's all yours. I told him my story and asked if he could bury my cable. He says yes, and I leave to go to work.

Get home, my cable is half buried, the planned route has been painted on the grass. The new bright orange cable (mine is black) is draped on the lawn, guy is gone. I figure he wrapped up for the day and will be back.

A year later, both cables are still loose, wrapped on the fence. When we call, we still get the run-around. My yard looks ghetto, the neighbor keeps knocking the wire off the fence, mowing is a bitch, and it's only a matter of time before a wire gets torn.

What should I do? Give in and bury it myself (like I should have done years ago, I suppose)? This is in Houston, by the way.

Edit: Clarification.

attwiretech1 karma

You need to keep calling and keep complaining. What probably happened at least one of the times, is the AT&T guy didn't make a ticket for the contractor to come out and bury it. This is unacceptable and you should definitely continue to call and complain unless you want to bury it yourself. If being nice doesn't help, tell them you're going to cancel your service and rip that box out of your yard. Should have someone come out pretty quickly!

CarolineJohnson1 karma

What do you do when you try to get a TV to show U-Verse, but none of the 68 channels it can possibly access work? (this just happened to us. Old TV, channel got randomly changed, now none of the channels on it work even though one of them did before the channel was changed)

attwiretech1 karma

TV channels or U-Verse channels? What is displaying on your TV screen?

CarolineJohnson1 karma

TV channels. What displays is static. Every single channel. Nothing changed between the working channel being changed and none of the channels working...though the U-Verse remote did get unpaired from the TV while we were messing around to see if we could use the remote to find the channel (spoiler: it didn't work). We don't have a remote for that TV other than the U-Verse remote, either.

I've been thinking we probably just need a new TV in that room.

attwiretech1 karma

The U-verse box will not display static. You either have your TV on the wrong input, or you have it on the right input, but wrong TV channel. TV channels and U-Verse channels are not the same. Try putting your TV on channel 3. If you still don't see U-Verse, you need to change the input. The inputs are Coax, antenna, Cable, HDMI, Component, Composite, and S-Video I think. Try changing the TV inputs by using the 'input' button on the TV itself or the TV remote (not the AT&T remote).

CarolineJohnson1 karma

It doesn't have any input. This TV is so old, I don't think it can even accept composite cables.

Channels 2-69 display static. The TV cannot access anything but 2-69 without a remote that can input channel numbers for the TV. We can't find any remotes that work with more than Channel Up/Down, Power, and Volume Up/Down, and we didn't get this TV with its actual remote.

Another problem is that this room has always been funky. No matter the TV or the provider, the satellite channel is always like channel 60-something even when all the other TVs in the house use 3 or 4. Last time I checked, the satellite channel for U-Verse in that room was like 64 or something.

Oh man, when I tell my family about this I bet they'll be like "GET THAT OTHER TV WE HAVE THAT MAY NOT EVEN WORK". LOL

attwiretech1 karma

Look on the back of the TV and/or the AT&T box. There should be at least a power cable, and one other cable. What does the other cable look like? Colorful? Flat and black? Silver tipped screw type cable?

Also, stupid question, but does the AT&T box have lights on the front?

CarolineJohnson1 karma

The AT&T box has lights on the front. The power light is on and the box appears to function normally.

I can't get to the back of the TV (Not strong enough to hold the TV and check the back at the same time while trying to keep the AT&T box from crashing to the ground), but if I remember correctly the other cable is the silver-tipped screw-type. I know for certain that it doesn't have composite input, component input, or HDMI input.

attwiretech1 karma

It's more than likely coax, the wire with the metal twists. It still sounds like it's on the wrong input if channel 3 doesn't show anything. You may be able to change it from the menu button on the TV as well.

CarolineJohnson1 karma

The menu button brings up no input anything.

It brings up channel add/delete, TV auto-programmer (which does nothing but scroll through channels 2-69), and all those contrast/brightness/etc things. Nothing about changing some sort of input.

And, as I said, this room never showed satellite things on channel 3/4, but 60-something. It's not the TV or the provider doing that, but apparently the room, because we've had 3 satellite providers and at least 2 or 3 different TVs in there that all needed to be on 60-something to show anything.

attwiretech1 karma

Well, if you had a tv remote, you could try manually entering in a TV channel, but outside of that, I don't know your specific TV brand or how it's set to receive it's input, I'm sorry.

onecaribou1 karma

Are you ever bummed out that the old-timers who did comparable jobs a generation ago were all Union guys getting pension and higher pay?

attwiretech1 karma

No. If I constantly compare myself to others, I'm going to have a bad time. I get good pay and am union. My family has food. That's what matters.

Butcher_Of_Hope1 karma

I had UVerse for about a year. The TV and DVR system was great. The internet however was dogshit. Now I have fiber in my neighborhood as it is a newer one, and I had the ~30 Mb internet. I never saw speeds over 10Mb, and my ping times were around 3000MS to 6000MS. My connection also showed me being in Oklahoma. Can you offer any insight?

attwiretech1 karma

Could be a proxy if it's showing somewhere you're not.

noahcross1 karma

I've had UVerse techs out to my house twice. When I first got UVerse service, I asked the installer to to use Cat5 instead of coax. He was incredibly put out by this, but did it anyway, sighing and moaning about it the entire time. He wired the second floor by drilling a hole through the wall and dangling cable down the outside of my house without proper fasteners. Crappy job for the most part. The guy had no pride in workmanship.

Last month I lost service and they sent a guy out. The problem was on the pole and he just picked up his tools and left, told me he could not climb the pole because of union rules. A second guy comes out and asks about the first guy and proceeded to bitch about the first guy not doing his job. He then proceeded to climb the utility pole and fix the problem. He told me all about 2 different divisions that seem to hate each other... He was very angry.

It seems a lot of you guys are incredibly unhappy in your work. What's up with that? Is this because of the way you are treated by ATT, or is it just a job that wears you down?

attwiretech1 karma

Both. ATT harps on us about our numbers, time, safety, etc... so much. And the job itself is very physical, mental, and really puts a strain on family time. However, this should be no excuse. They're getting paid well to do what they do and to me, this is more of a personality flaw than a job flaw.

ottrocity0 karma

My dad had AT&T U-VERSE installed. It involved running a bunch of phone lines all through the condo we were in at the time, and the signal came in via phone line. The installer kept insisting it was much, much faster than DSL. We then proceeded to get 1.5MB down while paying for 15MB.

My question is: How can AT&T get away with fraud?

attwiretech1 karma

How did you find your download speed? Did you connect to a website that tells you it will tell you your speed? How did you connect to that website, through 1 server? 2, 5, 10? What were the speeds of those servers? Did you know faulty browser addons can also effect these 3rd party websites results? If you're having issues with speed and are certain it's AT&T, call us to fix it at no charge. But if you think you have issues in your home, viruses, old PC, etc... we'll just come out there, point to your issue and bill you for the wasted time.

My answer is: A company that has been around as long as AT&T is not going to throw away billions of dollars in potential revenue by knowingly giving a product that is lower than contracted for.

PuR3xOwNaGe-2 karma

Why the fuck can't y'all get fiber optics in my neighborhood in HOUSTON? And I know y'all turn down my bandwidth when I'm not on, and as soon as I call and complain, it magically goes back up. I fucking hate you people so much.

attwiretech7 karma

Actually, every home gets a dedicated line straight from a fiber source less than 3000' away. Changing your speed would leave tracks and AT&T tracks everything. This is a major offense. You more than likely are experiencing computer issues. Again, hard to diagnose through one upset Reddit comment, but that would be my first check in a diagnostic.