Why Won't Time Warner Fix The "Old, Overtaxed" Wiring In This Neighborhood?

Alex from Rochester, NY, says every year around this time his Road Runner high speed access slows to a crawl, and stays that way until April. It occasionally happens at other times throughout the year, too. Unfortunately, Time Warner won’t fix the problem. Alex says one technician who came out to look at the issue told him, “The wires were installed when Adelphia provided service, and they haven’t been upgraded since.” Another one told him, “The problem has been going on for years, and management knows about it, but enough people don’t complain.”

Alex writes, “Well, please note this as a formal complaint. I’m definitely complaining.”

Each year, just after the holidays, our Road Runner service grinds to a crawl. We experience typical speeds of between .5mbps and 3mbps. This continues from mid-January until (usually) the beginning of April.

Last year, I worked with the local TW office, and after many hours on the phone, and several “service” visits to the my house, spoke with the manager of the WNY office. He explained that the wiring in my area (the wiring that brings the internet signal to my street) is “very old” and that at times it becomes “overtaxed” and “can’t handle the traffic.” Several of the technicians that visited my house explained to me the same problem, noting that “the wires were installed when Adelphia provided service, and they haven’t been upgraded since.” One technician explained “the problem has been going on for years, and management knows about it, but enough people don’t complain.”

Well, please note this as a formal complaint. I’m definitely complaining.

Cumulatively, I’ve spent about 100 hours over the past year (at least two hours a week, sometimes many more) “administering” my TW internet connection to my house. The manager of TW WNY graciously “upgraded” us to Road Runner with powerboost for three months “for our trouble.” The powerboost gave us speeds of about 5mbps until June. Then our internet abruptly slowed again. This fall, it was back up to about 5mbps, on average.

This past autumn, Verizon began to open FiOs service to our neighborhood, and many of my immediate neighbors switched (they are thrilled with their service, and less expensive bills.) I was hesitant to switch, for two reasons: first, TW employs a LOT of people from WNY, and that’s important to me. Second, TW provides availability to (for the most part) round-the-clock service. The service is lousy and formulaic, but at least I can speak with a human. I called TW WNY and explained my concerns, particularly the value of the service I’ve been getting for the past year or so, relative to the value that FiOs was offering.

TW WNY worked out a plan that I could “price lock” my services, and decreased the amount of my monthly bill. (Still not as good of a value as with Verizon, but it was good enough, and helped to support a company that supports my local community… so we were OK with it.)

Part of the “price lock” package included powerboost for Road Runner.

Since the price lock contract became effective, our speeds have never topped 5mbps—this is a far cry from the 10mbps advertised, and it’s well below the 6mbps peak speeds were were seeing earlier this fall.

The bottom line is that when powerboost is “on” our internet is slow. When powerboost is “off” our internet is unusable. Moreover, the lines in the area are a problem, and should be upgraded.

I’m beginning to feel strongly that TW is in breach of the contract terms set out in our “power lock” agreement. I’d like this issue fixed immediately, without my involvement—I don’t want to: troubleshoot, turn my modem off and on, drive down to TW to get a new modem, be home for service people to visit, install new electrical wiring to the modem so it’s on it’s own circuit, clean out my “cookies” and “temporary files”, restart my computer, or spend another second on the phone with TW tech “support”, nor any of the other millions of inane tasks I’ve been asked to do by TW over the past year. I’m done.

I’m asking you, Time Warner, to please: fix it, make it work. I’ve supported your company, now please live up to your end of the commitment.

Alex, I have to say that you’ve given the “support your local team” angle a good try. If Time Warner doesn’t fix this, move to FiOs and find other ways to support the community.