Damn, I should have known it was too good to be true. The installation guys came, but it turns out we have a typical Russian bureaucratic problem. The building we live in isn’t a rental building – all of the flats are owned by individuals (we rent from a very nice young couple who just bought a second flat nearby), but the building itself is controlled or administered by some city government office. For companies to have permission to enter the building and install things like DSL cables, they have to make an agreement with the building manager. These agreements have an expiration date, so every year or something they have to meet with the building manager and negotiate a new fee. Now, it doesn’t cost the management anything to let these guys into the building, so basically this is just a scam on the management’s part.
So, as it turns out, the internet provider DID have an agreement with the building manager, as witnessed by the fact that our landlord’s friend and downstairs neighbor has DSL through this company, but it has expired, so they have to spend a couple of weeks arguing over whether the fee is going to be 10,000 rubles or 15,000 rubles before we can get our goddamn DSL installed. Basically the building manager has the ability to deny building residents the right to purchase services from any company that doesn’t pay them this exorbitant sum. I don’t even know how this works out for the internet provider – it seems like they aren’t doing a lot of installations in this building, so if they’re only getting a handful of new customers per year at the price of 15,000 rubles, when monthly charges for DSL are something like 750 rubles for the most expensive plan, they can’t be making much of a profit, if they aren’t in fact incurring a loss.
And unfortunately, Kostia and I can’t make an official complaint to the building management, because we’re just renters and not the official residents of the flat and therefore have no rights whatsoever.