Author Topic: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...  (Read 26087 times)

Offline mdconnelly

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Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« on: November 15, 2010, 04:11:50 PM »
With the price of Time Warner Cable increasing, the digital TV service offerings marginal, and my slow TWC broadband connection sucking at least 30% of the time, I'm ready for a change.

Two challenges:

-- What competes with Roadrunner?  I want at least 7mb download speed all-the-time.   Mine maxes at that, but in the evenings it gets unbearably slow at times - to the point where watching Netflix online is just painful.  I've called it in, had them come check the lines, modem, etc... Last time they came out they said I'd need to replace all my in-wall wiring.   Really?  I mean, when it works, I do get 7mb download.  The problem is that, in the evening, I just don't get it consistently.   Is there anything else in this area (Durham, NC) that competes with Roadrunner for broadband?  I've tried Verizon DSL and that was definitely worse.

-- Digital TV.  While TWC cable offerings are OK, they're expensive.  And the DVR they provide (at a cost of course) just kinda sucks.    Should I be looking at DirectTV? 

OK, enough whining.... I figure some of you out there may have also gone down this rabbit hole and come up in a good place.  Any suggestions?

Offline richidoo

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2010, 06:09:53 PM »
I have DirecTV, very happy with it, going on 7 years now.

I have AT&T FastAccess DSL for data, very happy with that too. 6Mbit is available last I looked, but maybe even faster now.

As for pricing, the best bargain is to get it all from TWC. I probably have the worst bargain, but I never have to talk to a TW employee.  :thumb: 

Offline tmazz

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2010, 07:10:23 PM »
With the price of Time Warner Cable increasing, the digital TV service offerings marginal, and my slow TWC broadband connection sucking at least 30% of the time, I'm ready for a change.

Two challenges:

-- What competes with Roadrunner?  I want at least 7mb download speed all-the-time.   Mine maxes at that, but in the evenings it gets unbearably slow at times - to the point where watching Netflix online is just painful.  I've called it in, had them come check the lines, modem, etc... Last time they came out they said I'd need to replace all my in-wall wiring.   Really?  I mean, when it works, I do get 7mb download.  The problem is that, in the evening, I just don't get it consistently.   Is there anything else in this area (Durham, NC) that competes with Roadrunner for broadband?  I've tried Verizon DSL and that was definitely worse.

-- Digital TV.  While TWC cable offerings are OK, they're expensive.  And the DVR they provide (at a cost of course) just kinda sucks.    Should I be looking at DirectTV? 

OK, enough whining.... I figure some of you out there may have also gone down this rabbit hole and come up in a good place.  Any suggestions?

Direct TV is ok but they have no real broadband product to go with the video service.  And the reception is weather dependent. Finally be very careful if you get it installed in the next few months. A former neighbor of mine move to upstate NY and ordered Direct TV they came to his house in Nov. set it up and he was quite happy with it until April, when the leaves  filled in on all the trees in his yard and blocked his line of site to the satelite. There was no way to get a signal unless he took the dish off his roof and mounted it on a 60 foot pole. Needless to say he went back to cable.

I know that the Verizon DSL product would be slower than Roadrunner, but since you switched over, do you have any idea if Verizon has made Fios available in your neighborhood? (Verizon sold its Durham Operations to Frontier last summer, but Frontier is still selling the Fios product line - http://www.frontier.com/category.aspx?type=1&c=153 )The biggest problem with Roadrunner9or any other cable modem service) is that it is a buss system, so you are sharing the bandwidth with all of your neighbors. So themore people that are on at any given time, the slow the response to each individual. With Fios yo get a fiber optic line all the way into your house and the bandwidth over it is dedicated to you and you alone. No matter how many other fios customers in your neighborhood are on-line you still get the same speed.

Unfortunately, if there is no Fios in your area you don't have much of an alternative to Roadrunner for high performance broadband. the new 4th generation cellular data systems (4G) are not widely deployed yet and even where they are, the throughputs are closer to the performance of DSL than they are to Roadrunner. While this may be great for mobile connection it is rather on the slow side or home use.

Tom
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Offline hometheaterdoc

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 07:55:40 PM »
Mike,

Tom is right... unfortunately, you've got neighbors that you are sharing your roadrunner bandwidth with whom are actually using it... might have a few folks that are heavy consumers like me that are pulling content at the same time...  thankfully, I've got neighbors that aren't heavy users.  so I consistently get 900K per sec true download speed on files with bursts higher than that... sounds like others are doing the netflix thing when they get home in the evening or otherwise downloading content and you are sharing the same segment with them.... might be interesting to see where you are in relation to the nearest switch...

re-wiring your house won't fix your issue unless you have 50 year old RG-59 that is flat out broken in spots... which it sounds like that isn't the case since you have normal download speed during the day....... that's kind of funny they even suggested it... I've had more than a few funny experiences with the idiots at TWC.  I've dealt with a couple competent techs with them... but they are few and far between...

I have Dish, but I wouldn't recommend it... their DVR is exponentially better than TWC (anything is better than the crap DVR that TWC offers), but I've had more than a few rubs with their customer service and they've cut some channel selection and removed some HDTV channels during my 1+ years with them but haven't adjusted the price of service accordingly.... I'm likely dropping them when my contract is up...

last I checked, FIOS was a no go locally and we're likely a year away from 4G in this market from Verizon... it's going to be interesting when it is finally offered though... Verizon seems to have the best tech and roadmap for 4G based on what I've read and seen... ....  but right now there really isn't anything that competes with Roadrunner on speed.  DSL just doesn't cut it for anything other than basic surfing... any heavy downloading just eats it up....
Shane Sangster
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Offline mdconnelly

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2010, 05:08:55 AM »
Thanks all for the sage advice.  I'd kinda come to the same conclusion.   4G service alternatives to broadband are available but likely to be slower than Roadrunner as is DSL.   I don't believe Verizon Fios is available in downtown Durham (yet), but when it is, that'll be the path.  Verizon does offer a high-speed service that looks to compete with RR turbo, but not sure if that's available either.

My frustration with TWC is mostly their incompetence.   I've been bounced to two different India help desks and put on hold more times than I can count.   I finally was able to arrange for a tech to come out but they couldn't come in the evenings which is the only time I've been seeing the slowdowns.   When he did come out, after checking the line he said a) it was a modem problem and b) I had to replace all the house wiring.  Of course, at the same time he checked the line, performance was excellent using the old modem and existing house wiring.  (That kinda stumped him ;-)

I was thinking about bumping up to RR turbo (more $$) but somehow I suspect I'd still have the same nightly slowdowns due to my neighbors (the downtown area here is certainly denser than the burbs and all wires are above ground).

Shane, I will take your advice on waiting until late spring before going down the DirectTV route.  Thanks!

Offline BobM

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2010, 05:29:03 AM »
I guess I take it for granted. My town was the very first FIOS installation and I've been a subscriber ever since. Verizon does have issues with their billing group and getting through the myriad of customer service prompts to speak with a person knowledgeable about your subject of interest is a pain, but the tech is probably the best around right now.

Good luck with your search,
Bob
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Offline bpape

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2010, 05:44:28 AM »
If RR is really your best option (other than incompetance), the Turbo service may give you what you need.  Many times, the faster service primarily gives you 'priority' to bandwidth available in addition to higher speed ceilings.  

Bryan
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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 09:26:42 AM »
AT&T U-verse (fiber optic) is available in my area in Cary. Its easily the best option around here it seems. You could get one of those iSpot 4g boxes too if your in a good 4g range and hack it (EXTREMELY EASY!) for $100 and then $25 a month for home and portable internet. I quit roadrunner a long time ago, my 384kbps upload speed was only 30kbps in reality, which is too pathetic to pay $25 a month for, let alone the $60 they wanted after 12 months.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 09:28:23 AM by manaox2 »

Offline richidoo

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 10:39:27 AM »
Cool stuff Scott!  I agree that wireless will take over in the next couple years.

iSpot  http://www.clear.com/   no coverage at my house yet
Uverse  http://www.att.com/u-verse   no service at my house yet




Offline mdconnelly

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2010, 04:54:07 AM »
Well, it seems there are no plans for Fios in Durham, but Frontier (my current phone service) has an nice offer to add high-speed internet (7.1mb download) at a very attractive price with a 12 month contract.   Given a free 30 day period to try it, I figure it's a no-brainer.  After doing some more digging, a potential advantage is that their service (essentially DSL) is claimed to continuously provide the highest speeds and is not affected by neighbors, etc... as is Roadrunner.  We'll see.

Hey, I doubt it can be worse than what I've been getting with Roadrunner and it's cheaper.   But if it doesn't pan out, I can always try to negotiate with TWC for a better package before I cancel my service (that is, if they allow their India help desk to do that ;-)

 

Offline richidoo

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2010, 04:58:50 AM »
Do you watch "Outsourced?"


Offline allenzachary

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2010, 06:07:05 AM »
You guys are talking about something that is right up my alley.  I spent 8 years at TWC as an account executive selling Road Runner to businesses.  For the first six years, the company and product steadily improved, actually getting to the point where they were offering competent customer service. 

When TWC was spun off from Time Warner Inc, however, everything began to unravel.  Part of the spinoff entailed the cable company buying itself out at a cost of billions of dollars.  The other part meant that the upper level management at cable was left to its own devices.  Changes at TWC have made their customer service worse than ever.

That being said, the Road Runner product is very good, when it works properly.  The evening slowdowns are much less likely caused by demand from the neighbors than recurring technical issues at an electronic device on the cable line that services your neighborhood itself.  Downstream bandwidth is not a problem for cable.  They have a massive capacity.  Their soft spot is on upstream, which is very limited compared to downstream (hence 7 Million bits per second down, 384 thousand up).  If there was a capacity problem, it would be noticeable when you tried to upload large files.

As Shane said, a rewire of your house is unnecessary.  I have seen a bad splitter or a loose fitting cause intermittent havoc, but it wouldn't happen at the same time each day. 


Offline mdconnelly

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2010, 06:24:15 AM »
Allen - great insight.  Thanks.  In my experience, TWC's biggest problem over the last year or two has been customer service.  Technical problems like I've been having should be easily solved - but requires competent tech staff.  Sadly, I have had no luck finding them, which brings it right back to customer service.  The guy they sent to my house (which of course meant I had to take off work to meet him) was a nice guy - but with absolutely no technical depth beyond knowing how to swap the modem.  When I suggested that the problem was not in my house, he was at a loss.   I even compiled details stats on download performance vs time-of-day and sent them via my trouble-ticket, but to no avail.

What I suspect is that once Fios or similar high-bandwidth services are made more available, TWC will see customers abandoning ship in droves.  Or, they'll get smart and clean up their act... nah, probably not.

Rich - I have seen Outsourced!  I'd be extremely happy if TWC's help desk was at least as funny as that show ;-)   But, to be honest, most customer service lines start out the same way simply trying to weed out the obvious.  You have to be extremely persistent and knowledgeable to get your call escalated.  The funny thing was that after I was bounced to two different India help desks, when I got persistent they actually forwarded the call to someone in Durham!

Offline allenzachary

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2010, 06:32:30 AM »
Alternatives:  DSL, but only if you are within about 1500 feet from the DSLAM, the electronic box that provides DSL to your area.  If you are farther than that, your service will not be what they advertise.  The 30 day free trial would give you the information you need; if it's fast, you are close. Frontier will never tell you the location of a DSLAM. Before you sign up, though,there is a faster way to learn about DSLL.  Ask your neighbors how their DSL service works.  If they are fast, you will be too.

Satellite is not a viable option for high speed Internet service.

FIOS is a great product and Verizon/Frontier is working hard to deploy it.  It is incredibly expensive for them to provision residential neighborhoods. During the housing boom, they were focusing on new developments.  They didn't focus on established neighborhoods, apparently because they felt it would be too difficult to supplant the existing services.  In new developments, they could sign exclusive deals. When building of new homes slowed to a trickle, so did the emphaisis on spreading FIOS.  So if there isn't FIOS where you are now, don't hold your breath.

Since Verizon is the incumbent phone company, your won't see ATT U-Verse there as it's not their territory in which to build.  U-Verse is facing similar problems that FIOS is facing anyway.

Before you commit to a new DSL service, you may want to speak with some of your neighbors.  Do they use TWC?  Have the experienced the same issues?  If several neighbors are having the same issue with TWC, you can get their attention by having everyone call with the same complaint, and have them all cite the other addresses where the problem is happening.  Don't talk to the overseas folks, insist on speaking to someone relevant.  Alternately, when you get to their automated answering system, push "Disconnect service," which will put you in touch with the escalation folks, who usually are local, competent and actually care that you are having  issues.  


Offline richidoo

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Re: Fed up with TWC - what to do, what to do...
« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2010, 07:11:28 AM »
When I have had trouble with DSL over the years I have always had good experience with BellSouth. The last trouble I had was after ATT buyout, but close enough so that it was still BellSouth as usual. I had American agents who acted as middle man to the 2nd tier engineer who fixed the problem while I waited on the phone.

DirecTV also has excellent customer service, in my experience. And I have had my share of technical difficulties trying to make old equipment last too long.

The online forums have been helpful over the years in diagnosing networking and hardware issues with DSL and Sat. For a while DirecTV hardware would freeze when recording local Fox popular shows. Only in certain cities and only on certain channels at certain times. It seemed like my hardware problem, but it wasn't. We stopped recording and watched it live no more problems. I think it was an internal miscreant playing tricks because it eventually stopped. But the forums figured it out. A lot of people like to bitch about their problems, so you can find others with the same technical problem as you. Sometimes they come up with solutions, or pressure the vendor to fix.