Mike the sales guy from NetPlex called me this afternoon "I have some bad news about your order..." SBC Engineering has nixed the order, on account of my house being too far from the SBC central office (CO) for DSL service. Um, yeah, I know that. I was surprised that the system let you place the order in the first place. I've been expecting you to tell me that SBC needs to reprovision my phone line from the CO to the SLIC that's a mile from my house. After relaying the above to Mike, the long and short of it was that I needed to call SBC to see if anything could be done about it.
Off into AT&T/SBC-land I went. First there was searching through their web site to find a telephone number to call. Then there was wading through 900 levels of menue Hell. I must have entered my phone number three times in amongst all the option picking. I finally got a nice, helpful lass in customer service who listened to my woes and told me that the DSL group should be able to help me. She transferred me over to the DSL group, where I got Donna. Donna was a snippy, bitchy Texan who fits also_huey's user icon that says "WARNING: HAS SAND IN CLITORUS."
Donna and I did about three rounds. After a lot of explaining about how I know that I'm too far; and how I know that there's a SLIC a mile from my house (it's a big beige box, you can't miss it); and how I know that there's DSL capability in that SLIC (that's how my brother and his family get their DSL - she even confirmed it); and how I know that there are copper facilities coming from that SLIC to my area (that's where the circuit from work is provisioned from) Donna's repeated answer was "Your line is too far. Your line doesn't have a [SLIC] available." Asked how I put in a request to SBC engineering to get my line moved from the CO to the SLIC, all Donna could say (repeatedly) was "You can't. You have to wait until the company decides to do it." Thank you, have a nice day.
I dug up the contact information for Cox Cable (the local provider) and very quickly was on the phone with a woman who did not have sand in her privates. A few minutes on the phone, an exchange of faxes, and an order is in place for business cable modem service. It'll cost more than DSL from either SBC or NetPlex, but the speeds will be faster (2Mbps down / 1MBps up vs. 1.5Mbps down and 384Kbps up). So, in "five to seven business days" I will hopefully have cable broadband running. Hopefully that won't turn into a saga of its own.
 To the Frame Relay / T1 folks at SBC it's a SLIC, to the DSL folks it's a "remote terminal" to the rest of us, it's a big beige box on the side of the road that acts as an extension of the central office, effectively bringing you "closer" to the CO. It also lets the phone company pull a skinny little fiber-optic cable out to a remote spot to serve the SLIC instead of having to pull big fat copper cables all the way back from the boonies to the CO. They're popping up all over town as former farms and woodlands get gobbled up for housing developments.