Time Warner's Internet Service: Failing Across Texas?

Posted: Apr 27 2011, 3:19pm CDT | by , in News | Technology News

Time Warner's Internet Service: Failing Across Texas?

Dishonesty appears to be Corporate Policy

Few things are more important to the modern nerd than reliable Internet access. We pay our ISPs good money to keep us connected. When they fail, paying customers have a right to know how and why. Disruption due to a storm or disaster is one thing. Large-scale service failures with no apparent cause at all deserve further investigation.

Late last week, my Internet went down. I live in the D/FW area, and the Time Warner Cable customer service rep told me that my modem had failed. I picked up a new one from their office in Richardson, plugged it in at home...and found that it too was not working. I went in for another box, which also failed to work. At that point, the representative told me that there was a problem with the connection to my home- not the box. She sent a service team out.

...And they told me there was no issue with my connection. The box had been set up incorrectly (I still do not understand how) they "fixed" it. And for about 24 hours, my wired Internet connection functioned fine. But WiFi would not work at a usable speed and, after a day of service, my entire connection was down again.

At this point, I'd already filed a complaint with Time Warner. And their customer service hotline kept connecting me to an office in Mexico City. I was fed up with "on hold" muzak and tired of dealing with aggressively unhelpful customer service reps. This morning, I plugged in my Journalistic Apparatus (a PlayBook with a tiny directional mic) and headed out to the Time Warner offices for some answers.

I wasn't the only one.

Today alone, I've talked with more than a dozen customers experiencing similar or identical service issues. Almost everyone I spoke with had the same pattern of problem. Their service went down, they were told to get a new box and, in several cases, that second box also failed to work. The first office I entered had four other customers, all with bad boxes. We'd been talking about our shared issues for several minutes when the CSR called one of us up to the desk.

He said: "I have a bad box, like a lot of other people apparently."

And she responded: "Actually, sir, you're the first person to come in with a bad box."

This was a lie. I feel confident in stating that because, for the previous five minutes all four of us had been complaining about our dead boxes. I had replaced two bad boxes within the last five days. When the customer above mentioned the fact that there was no way her statement was true, the rep shut down and then moved on with processing the box. She gave no further response.

To me, it sounds like her response was a "stock answer" demanded by Time Warner in order to marginalize any service issues experienced. 'Of course there's nothing wrong with our service, you're simply experiencing a strange but localized issue. There is nothing to be concerned about.'

The fact that Time Warner's immediate response to a legitimate issue was a baldfaced lie prompted me to visit another service office. A few miles down the road, in Plano, I ran into the same sort of complaints. This office was filled with unhappy customers- including four people in line with HD cable boxes in need of replacement and several users with service complaints. Three of the people I have talked to today reported that the issues persisted- in the same manner mine have- after a visit from the Time Warner service team. Here's a typical story from a D/FW customer:

"I have talked to 3 different customer service reps by phone, one of which told me we have had over 9000 flaps (?) which are disruptions of Internet service. Service ...techs have been to the house on 3 occations telling me all different problems. We are on our 3rd Internet modem box from Time Warner, and still have times there is no Internet service."

This is clearly not a small or localized issue. I have also heard at least one solid report from a user in Austin who is experiencing the same problems. Despite my best efforts, I have been unable to get any sort of explanation from a Time Warner employee. But I will continue to dig. Until then, my fellow Texans and I will just have to continue relying on our smartphones for Internet access.

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/5" rel="author">Robert Evans</a>
The excitement about new smartphones, tablets and anything mobile drive Robert to unearth the latest rumors and developments in this fast moving space. He adopted 4G as soon as it become available and knows where the mobile market is going.
Robert can be contacted directly at robert@i4u.com.




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