Moving: Connectivity– Phone, Internet, TV

I’ve pretty much had every kind of phone, internet, tv connection (cable, wireless, no phone, tivo, dsl) that you could name, but in Little Rock I found a new one to try– AT&T U-verse– that had a really long, but still user-friendly sign-up process (although this post focuses on getting the moving and getting it signed up, I’ll review U-verse later). U-verse covers our home phone, Internet and TV connections so this is one post for them all. U-verse has the best online sign-up process so far and left me no doubt that I was sign-up for exactly the services that I wanted.

When you first visit the U-verse web site, you are hit with all of their promotions explaining what it is, how it works and how much it could cost you. Since I wasn’t quite sure what U-verse is, this was a good thing for me. After entering my zip code to make sure I got the right information, their site had a couple of good videos that didn’t contain too much marketing that explained U-verse to me and sold me it was something that I wanted to try.

After I decided U-verse was something that I wanted to sign-up for I had to decide what packages I wanted. Each package has a different discount type and a different array of services and channels. This sounds complicated, but the site had a nice matrix to explain the differences which made it easier to visually see the differences and choose the package I wanted. After choosing the package, I had to enter my address to make sure the services I chose were available to me and then it was off to the races telling them every detail about my life so they would connect me online.  Although they required a lot of information, the form fields were easy to jump too, had the appropriate input masks and gave me a nice little bread crumb trail letting me know where I was in the registration process and how much I had to go. At the end of the sign-up, the site showed me my installation charges (waived) and my monthly fees and then gave me a calendar of the available installation slots (which takes four to six hours) in my neighborhood and surprisingly I had an opening for the afternoon of my move-in day a week later which I selected.

The AT&T installer showed up at my house right as the movers left. He took note of lines where I asked him to run lines for our TVs and wired computer and figured out how to get the lines where we wanted them even though half of the locations haven’t ever been wired before.  Three and half hours later everything was installed and working– although this did seem lengthy to me at first the installer was busy the whole time and had to work at the central phone box in our neighborhood, our main phone box on the back of our house, on each of the TV, phone and computer locations in the house- so the time adds up. The installer gave me a quick overview of  how it works and figured out I knew what I was doing and left so I could play with it all my self (which is the way I like it).  He even gave me his own cell phone number before he left so I could call him if I have any troubles.

Overall I would give the online sign-up and installation an 8.5. I only knock them because the amount of information they required when the service started and the postcard I got in the mail yesterday informing me the price was going up $6 a month less than a month after I had it installed.  I’m also still waiting on my cash back which takes up to six weeks to process.

This is part of my how moving works online series.

Moving: Utilities-update

So, we’re moved in and all of utilities are on and haven’t been cut-off so I guess that’s a good sign that turning my electricity and gas on via the provider’s website actually worked.

Starting up my natural gas account online with our provider CenterPoint/Energy was much like turning our electricity on online— it was long and tedious, didn’t let me set-up an online account and then left me questioning whether or not I was really successful. Apparently, I was because our home stayed warm during our recent cold spell.

This is part of my how moving works online series.

Moving: Utilities

This is my first report in my “how moving works online” series looking specifically at how moving my utilities work.

Our utility provider is Entergy that also covers portions of Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Entergy has developed sites for each of the areas that they cover, so I used the Entergy-Arkansas site. Once you arrive on their home page it’s pretty straight forward to find the new service -residential option in a drop down menu under the home heading. It took me to a three page Residential Service Application where I had to enter all kinds of information about our new home and myself. When I finished, the form emailed me with an automated response and said I would get an official response within three days. The next day, I received another email from Entergy-Arkansas with no text, but two attachments (one in text and the other an RTF file). The text file contained the information I submitted and the RTF file which was a notification letter letting me know that they had me set-up. Only, I wasn’t so sure that I was set-up because it contained information for approved applications and disapproved applications with parentheses giving directions as to what paragraphs to live in and which paragraphs to delete, but the letter did say to reply to the email if I had any questions and they would respond. So, I did reply with a couple of questions (like am I approved, is this set-up?) and they responded that everything was fine and I was all set to go.

Overall I would give their service a 5 out of 10 because it was easy to find and worked, but I don’t think they have the whole work flow for their processing set-up yet.

I guess you could call this the mid-way report, because I can’t tell you whether or not all the information made to the people who will switch the electricity over to my name, but I think it’s a good bet to assume they did it right, unless I chime in later letting you know more about the problem.

This is utilities in general because my new water provider, Central Arkansas Water, doesn’t allow for online requests for new service. I had to actually call in and handle that, but it really only took me about five minutes.

How moving works online

So, we are about to move and I want to test the convenience of moving online. How many businesses, organizations, services, banks have the necessary moving services online? How do those services work? Is in real-time or time delayed. Are they user-friendly?

As I take care of the business of moving, I’ll let you know how it works out. Here’s the services that I have moving business with

  • Electricity & Gas
  • Water
  • Internet
  • Phone
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Official USPS Change of Address
  • Change of Address with everyone else

That’s all on my list for now– I’m sure I will find others to add later. There are also probably some nice online moving services to help make this easier– I’ll have to find those and see how they work.