Quartzsite Internet woes — getting results!

Quartzsite Internet woes — getting results!

 

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

When the snowbirds descend on Quartzsite every winter, capacity is put to the max. Long lines at the LP outlets, no place to sit at McDonald’s, and at the top of the list, a short supply of broadband capacity, at least for folks who rely on Verizon Wireless as a carrier. 

This year has been no exception. As the crowds started making Highway 95 from Parker begin to look like a parking lot, Internet speeds dropped from the usual 15 to 22 Mbps down to the creepy crawly range of way less than a Meg. We tried to ignore it at first, but when you’re tasked with helping to get out the best little electronic newsletter for the RVing public, slow Internet speeds just don’t cut it. 

Finally, we took the deep breath, made sure our celly was fully charged, and dialed 611 to yelp at Verizon’s tech support people. We fully expected a long wait for help, and bless our hearts, we proved to be prophets. It took nearly an hour to wade through the usual “work your way up the food chain, take out your sim card out, put your sim card in, take your sim card out, and you shake it all about,” before finally, finally, getting a support ticket filed. Assured that we would hear back in 24 hours, OK, 48 hours at max, we waited a full 70 hours before calling back and asking again. 

We weren’t the only ones. The great tech support guru of our dreams told us that sure enough, there were “a lot” of open tickets on the same issue. The field guy came out and said, “Yep, there’s a big show in town, we’re at capacity.” After the field guy tweaked the system, we saw dramatic improvements — occasionally seeing download speeds just a bit above a meg. Oddly, upload speeds were dazzlingly fast in comparison, about 4.5 Mbps. 

While not exactly promising relief in the form of a temporary cell tower, our perseverance did see a small reward. The Verizon rep was able to secure us a hefty chunk of change for our trouble thus far, and if they don’t get a mobile tower up, another chunk of change on the next bill. Mind you, she didn’t volunteer to hand over the bucks, we had to ask for a credit. Once asked, it was done speedily. 

Troubled by lousy service, and hunkered down in Quartzsite? If you’re paying for data service, get on that phone and complain. That is, if you can get through on the phone!

photo: © Justin Smith / Wikimedia Commons, CC-By-SA-3.0 

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5 thoughts on “Quartzsite Internet woes — getting results!

  1. RayZimmermann

    We’ve had the same problem with Verizon whenever there is a temporary event with large numbers of people – – Rose Parade, FMCA Conventions, etc. I never thought calling to complain would do any good, but if it could get me a credit of a few bucks, maybe I will.,

  2. Chris Guld

    Great article! We just webcast our weekly technology show about getting Internet as you Travel and we also recommend calling the provider, in our case it was a WiFi provider. The phone call rarely fixes the problem, but once in a while it’s a miracle! You at least owe it to yourself to check if the problem is with the provider before spending hours fiddling with your own equipment.

  3. Dot Andersen

    We have been in Quartzsite since Jan 10th and staying in ltva walking distance to the big tent. We saw the speed of our phones decrease as it got closer to the 21st, when the big tent opened. We have Verizon and rely on our data plan and only use our computers in limited usage using our mifi. My question is, how do you know what speed you should be at and what speed you are actually at? I’m retired and have all the time in the world to be on hold if it will save me $$!

  4. Tommy Molnar

    I would imagine that all the cell companies suffer the same problems. Anyone know how AT&T fares down there? We go to Quartzsite long after this big gathering is over and the cell service is better than at home!

    1. Eric

      We just left quartzite, after a 5 day stay. We use AT&T and had no issues with speed or access. We stayed at the east LTVA just below the big tent. The volume of visitors this year is down compared to past years. And cool, rainy and windy weather may have also conspired to keep folks home! We enjoyed ourselves immensely!

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