When I moved to Poway in '99, Cox still sent a tech, but the lead time was much shorter. Well over a year ago, Cox went to self-installs... call in, sign up, pick up a box at one of their offices, plug it in yourself, and away you go.
For many of my friends, it's been the Digital Subscriber Line. For them, it was hell. Since DSL providers don't have their own municipal cable plants like the cable TV companies, getting DSL involves three companies. The ISP you sign up with provides you with internet service, they contract with a DSL provider (often a Competing Local Exchange Carrier (Covad, Northpoint, Worldcom, Sprint, and historically some others), but sometimes the Incumbent LEC (PacBell, Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, US West, etcetera,)) to get the digital circuit from them to you, and the DSL provider contracts with the ILEC to use the copper phone wire pair to reach into your house. Three companies. All of which compete with each other on one level or another. This has historically not been a friendly combination.
DSL installs used to involve multiple technician visits. Why? Because someone would always fuck things up. The digital circuit from the ISP to your local telephone central office (CO) would be completed, but tying your house's phone line in was overlooked. Or the other way around. Or the tech wouldn't show up when they said they would, and nobody was home. Or the ILEC would lie and say a tech showed up when none did. DSL installs used to take a month or two.
Fast forward to May, 2003. I sat down and filed an application with Speakeasy late Monday night. By Tuesday afternoon, I've received an e-mail response giving me my IP address and stating that PacBell would connect the wires this Friday. Tuesday night, I get mail with a UPS tracking number for the DSL bridge.
The bridge showed up about 3:15 this afternoon. I opened it up, patched everything in, and the connection was already active. Forget Friday, it's running two days early
(I'll write up why I'm moving off Cox's cable modem service another time...)