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Thursday, September 29

Internet Saga

So let me explain the dilemma we’re having with our Internet, or lack thereof. When we moved into our apartment, we called Alice (one of the telephone based internet providers in the city). They had the best catch for us: month to month contract. Once we agreed to their terms they sent us a wireless router in the mail. And few days later, we received the password to use for the internet. A week after receiving the mail, we received a call from Alice to schedule an appointment with a technician to “turn on” our Internet. This meant, they would physically come to our home and “turn on” our internet. The date was 4 weeks from the date of the phone call. We were both shocked but obliged at their mercy. 4 weeks later, as scheduled, a technician came to our apartment to “turn on” the internet. He looked at the wiring in our apartment, went to the basement to see the connection, came back upstairs to look at the wiring at our apartment. Then this happens… (This exchange happens in full German for the technician and broken German for me.)

He says to me “Do you have “something” from your landlord?”
My response is I am not sure what you’re asking for. I don’t know what it is that I need from my landlord.
He repeats, louder this time, “Do you have “something” from your landlord?”
And I respond “I don’t think so.”
I finish with, “let me call my husband to figure out what it is you need.”
And before I could finish that sentence, he was out the door, down the stairs, and in his car, gone. Within matter of seconds, he was gone. I had no explanation to what was going on and whether our internet would be “turned on”.

I called Alice to find out. In the first call, I asked the woman if she spoke English because I am not sure of what just happened in my apartment. She said no and hangs up on me. Then I call back and the second woman says she doesn’t speak English but will try to help me as best as she could. (That’s better, I think). However she explains the situation to me, in German, which doesn’t help because I have no idea of what’s going on.

Then, I call the husband and ask him to call Alice. With the help of some of his coworkers we find out the technician was asking if I had “permission” from my landlord to install a new wire. I also find out that the technician works for Deutsch Telecom and not Alice. Here’s a side note that’s important to know. The way the system works here is until few years ago Deutsch Telecom provided all the internet services to the customers. That changed when the government permitted competition to exist. So Alice, Vodafone, T-Mobile and others were in the market to create competition. Unfortunately, although other companies provide Internet service, the physical (wiring) infrastructure is still owned by Deutsch Telecom which means each time someone needs internet, a Deutsch Telecom technician “turns on” the internet for the company in the customers’ home.

But in our case, the problem wasn’t any of that; it was that the previous tenant’s service provider was not Alice. According to the technician’s report and Alice, previous tenant had Vodafone which wasn’t turned off and therefore a new service provider couldn’t provide internet to us.

Confused yet? My head’s spinning just thinking about it. Future post about our next steps in this saga.


  1. you have to give this app a shot. they claim to be able to translate (on the fly) from english to german. the 1st ten are free but after that its pay per use.

  2. Thank you for the tip- we're looking into getting this app. Anything to make things go more smoothly with the locals.

  3. Oh my goodness. This sounds so crazy!