CenturyLink is a telephone service belonging to my local Ogliopoly that apparently has the most users to my area. The Ogliopoly also contains Charter and Comcast. Of the three, CenturyLink is apparently the only service that still provides POTS. For those that don't know, POTS stands for Plain Old Telephone Service, and uses the Copper Lines rather than VoIP. I prefer this. Since I am limited to one service, I have had experience in their methods of service. In this article, I hope to show how CenturyLink truly is a terrible service, and should avoid talking.
CenturyLink seems to think it's ok to stray away from the North American Dialing Plan, which has been the standard since The Bell System was in place. CenturyLink fails in three major ways by breaking this standard. The method of the North American Dialing Plan is simple. The normal way you would dial a telephone number that is considered a local call (within the same area code) is
For some reason, their non-standard interface only allows this if you use the same prefix. This means that a person with the telephone number 123-4567 can call 123-4321, but 234-5678 has to dial the long-form manner.
However, the next method of failure is that their longform manner is also broken. The traditional long-distance method would for the person to dial 1-234-567-8900. This is the Country Code, Area Code, Prefix, and Suffix. This seems to only work on a rarity. I do not know the correct perameters for this to work. When I attempted to make a call, I ended up having to dial my phone number in a heavily non-standard format, 234-567-8900 (with no country code). Once, the Country Code worked.
Misprogramming of Automatic Operators
The Automatic Operator (usually using the recorded voice of Patrica Fleet) is a computer-triggered error message played when you have made an error with your telephone call. Centurylink seems to have failed to program their circuts correctly.
I attempted to call a telephone number that was a local call. Calling the telephone number in the traditional manner (prefix+suffix) resulted in the error recording "Your call can not be completed as dialed." Calling in the traditional long-form format (Country Code+Area Code+Prefix+Suffix) resulted in the error message "It is not nessesarry to dial a `1` when calling this number." Finally, I tried their non-standard method of dialing (Area Code+Prefix+Suffix). This once again resulted in an incorrect error message "Your call can not be completed as dialed.". Later, I discovered I was using an outdated number. The correct error message that should have been played was "You have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service.".
Living Operators are Trained Bizarrely
After the trouble with dialing the (unknown) disconnected phone number, I decided to dial the actual human operator to help me place my call. A man answered. I told this man the number and rather than try to find information about the issue in connection, he asked me for billing information. I assumed he mistook me as calling from a payphone. I told him that I was calling from my work phone. He then continued to ask me for billing information. He asked me for my first and last name. I refused to give him this information. I decided to simply hang up before I entered a heated argument with a random Telephone Operator. This is a strange manner to operate calls.
This is not an isolated incident either. This was the second time such incompetence had happened to me, the first time on anothr place of work's telephone.