Since about midday yesterday, Wednesday, I've been without net access along with several hundred other people in the part of Amsterdam where I am. Still no service this morning.
No dial-up any more: none of my PCs has the capability to connect to the net via a normal phone line (how we progress!). So I'm writing this post from an internet cafe downtown.
From what KPN, the Dutch telecom company, and XS4ALL, my ISP, told me in my frequent calls to them during Wednesday, there was a complete outage of DSL service in Amsterdam affecting hundreds of subscribers. No one could say what the problem was nor when it would be fixed. All KPN would say was that they were working on fixing it, whatever it was.
In one of my conversations with KPN yesterday, the otherwise-helpful support person suggested I check the ISP's website for info. Duh! Hello?!
At 11.00am this morning, there was still no net service. Speaking to KPN early this morning, they told me that the problem had now been fixed although still unable to say what the problem was. If I still had no connection, then full service restoration was in the hands of my ISP, they said. They also said that other parts of The Netherlands were without DSL service.
But speaking to XS4ALL at 9.30am, they told me that KPN had not fixed the problem (confirmed by KPN when I spoke to them again at about 10.30). XS4ALL have now posted a news item (Dutch) about the outage on their website. KPN's website is unreachable as I write this.
The conversation with the tech guy at my ISP was interesting as he could throw a little light on where the problem might lie in KPN's network. It seems to be to do with packet loss, something I've observed myself. So while I do have a physical working connection to the net (for instance, I can ping various sites and mostly get a response but usually with packet losses), I cannot access any website, email, Skype, or do anything you'd normally do online. And for my ISP, all this clearly is a major issue: the tech support guy said their phones are ringing off the hook all the time.
So whatever the problem is, it must be a massive one for there to be no DSL service at all for 24 hours now. What's also alarming is that no one at either the ISP or the telecommunications provider is able to say what the problem actually is nor provide any indication on when there will be a solution.
So I don't know when net service will be back. And now the fun bit. In my last conversation with KPN, they said they'd report my lack of DSL service to their tech engineers, who I can expect to hear from within 48 hours. All I can really do is laugh at such a joke. If there were an alternative to KPN, I'd be talking to them right now. But there isn't. There are many ISPs in The Netherlands but whichever one you sign up with, all internet service is via KPN.
This is a hell of a way to run a railroad.
[UPDATE] Net service restored at about 2.45pm.