This is the actual letter I sent to the management of my residence. The names have been changed to protect the evil. (See also: They couldn't install the DSL for further explanation)

August 16, 2000
Nancy |last name hidden cause I'm nice|
General Manager, Atrium Village
|address hidden cause I'm nice| Hill St.
Chicago, IL 606XX

To Whom It May Concern:

I have lived at the Atrium Village for three months now. I moved in during June of this year, and shortly after moving in, started researching high-speed Internet accessfor the Atrium Village area. I require high-speed Internet access at home for work, where I am a full-time web designer and programmer.

I found that I had moved into an area of Chicago that was particularly advanced as far as Internet connectivity is concerned. The options of high-speed Internet access via cable modem and via DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) are readily available throughout the Near North area of the city. My main concern from then was to decide which provider to choose.

Cable Internet access was my immediate choice for its ease of installation and low price. Knowing of the Atrium’s contract with OnePoint Communications for cable television, I looked to them first for cable Internet access. Upon finding out that OnePoint did not offer cable Internet access to the Atrium, I looked to 21st Century Communications for the cable Internet service. I was under the impression that since cable Internet service does not transfer signals like cable television service, that it would not breach of the Atrium’s OnePoint contract. I received a “Right of Entry Agreement” from 21st Century that was to be signed by the management of the Atrium to let their technicians onsite to install the cable service. I was then told that they could not come onto the property because it was a breach of contract, and that I should look into DSL for my high-speed Internet access, because other residents of the Atrium have DSL and have had no installation conflicts.

I decided on Flashcom for a DSL service provider. I called at the beginning of July and ordered the service, understanding that it would be no problem with the Atrium management or any outstanding contracts that existed. I was told by the Flashcom representative that it would take about three weeks for the phone line to be checked by Ameritech (the provider of the actual physical phone line), and about a week after that a Flashcom technician would be onsite to install the service in my apartment.

During the first week of August I received a phone call from a representative of Rhythms DSL confirming my Flashcom DSL installation and setting an appointment time. The appointment was set for Thursday, August 10, during the hours between 8:00 A.M. and 12:00 P.M. During this appointment the technician was to come and set up the phone line and hardware (phone jack and computer) to enable the apartment for DSL service.

At 2:00 P.M. on August 10 the technicians arrived. They came into the apartment, looked at the phone jack, and then asked to see the management for the key to the phone closet. I led them to the main office in the mid-rise to get the key from the general manager of the complex. We were informed that she was on the phone and then waited for about twenty minutes.

When you entered the room, I believe you started to say to the technician something like “some resident keeps calling all of these companies for cable Internet access,” when you stopped and noticed me. You proceeded to tell me that I could not have cable Internet access and that 21st Century and OnePoint were merging at the end of the month. I expressed the fact that I was no longer interested in cable Internet access, and that the technicians needed the key to the phone closet to switch my DSL line on. The technician then noted that DSL is in fact a phone service, and is in no way related to the cable infrastructure. You then continued to cite the contract with OnePoint and started talking about “recognized contractors,” who were the only people that could gain access to the phone closet. When I explained how I was told to get DSL and that other residents had the service, I was informed that there were no DSL installations approved by the office and that they must have had their service installed without inside wiring (which is not physically possible).

At that point I noticed that I was being blindly ignored. The DSL technician had obviously given up the argument, and I was once again out of luck. I was also out a month and a half of waiting and a more than a day of work. I waited in person for an unreasonable amount of time for a phone call to end. I was referred to disrespectfully before I was even seen. I was given false arguments and excuses that did not even apply to what I was talking about. I was interrupted. I was backed up by industry professionals, and a resident that was also waiting to talk the manager about his own crisis that he had explained was very serious and had happened for the third time (false eviction notices), and still ignored. I find my treatment in the management office of the Atrium Village unnecessary, uninformed, and most certainly unprofessional.

Nowhere in the Resident Handbook or anything else that I have seen does it state that management approval is required for phone service installation. A digital subscriber line is a phone line. The only difference between DSL and a regular phone line is the ability to transfer data at extremely high speeds. You cannot use DSL as a regular phone line, you cannot use DSL as a fax line, and you definitely cannot use DSL for cable television service. It is a digital phone line. That is all.

I understand that the Atrium must protect its property. I understand that there is risk associated with infrastructure installation. But I also know that the technicians that were here to install my DSL service were professionals. They came only to do their job, and were denied. Such denial is a denial to the technicians, a denial to their business (Rhythms DSL), a denial to Flashcom, a denial to Ameritech, and a denial to my roommates and I, who are paying residents of the Atrium Village.

I would assume that as a resident in an adult community such as the Atrium I would have the right to choose the businesses I patronize for the services I choose. It seems with inconvenient contracts like the OnePoint contract that I am restricted in my choice. It is my understanding that since the contract is between the Atrium Village and One Point, I am still free to choose to have a DSL service, and that I am free to choose who I go to for the service. However, I have been denied that choice.

I write simply to express my concern and ask what I can do. Considering my treatment by the management concerning the services I have attempted to acquire, I would assume I am only left to ask the management. If I cannot choose, I insist you choose for me. If high-speed Internet access were not a necessity for my occupation, I would simply settle for a phone line. However, that is not the case. So, I ask you, the management; what are my options? Research for me, if you will not let me research for myself. Give me options. I’m sure that the price and speed (with free installation and hardware) that I was offered from Flashcom will not be found elsewhere without other problems and a longer wait. Therefore, I request comparable options or the ability to receive the service I want and along with it full cooperation from you, the management.

I hope you understand my situation. I have made an effort to understand the Atrium’s policies and have found no inconsistencies between my requests and the guidelines of the Resident Handbook and lease. I can find no other options for myself than to confront you directly for assistance, as opposed to resistance. I can be reached on weekdays at work from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. at 773-XXX-1X21. Any other time I can be reached at XXX-501-0XXX. Other than this one issue, I have been very happy living at the Atrium Village. I sincerely hope we can work something out. Thank you for your time, and I am looking forward to your call.


|signature here|

Unit 216, Apartment 3

cc: |roommates|