Cablevision Sees Nothing Wrong With Month Of Super Slow Or Nonexistent Internet Service

Nicole is a web developer, and as such, relies on a steady and speedy connection to the Internet. That’s why she shelled out around $415 in installation and fees to Cablevision for access to their 100MB “Ultra” Internet service. But in this case, that 100MB promise has been like a flickering mirage of an oasis in a very dry desert.

She writes that since the $300 installation, the Internet service has never worked, which might make one think it was installed incorrectly. Nicole says speeds are usually about 0.5MB — so slow that Gmail recommends switching to “basic mode” — to a max of about 60MB before dropping again. Cablevision doesn’t agree that any refund is warranted, and says nothing is wrong with this situation.

I’m a web developer, and have almost lost my job because of all of this.

Yet, Cablevision refuses to refund us these massive fees after a month without a working service. We have spoken to people from their corporate office, and are constantly reassured that the service will be fixed, and that they cannot refund the $300 installation fee (which we feel we should not have to pay because, well, it wasn’t installed correctly, right?) because it will be fixed.

Today was the worst. The sixth technician to come out, a Jose from the engineering department, came to our apartment today and insisted nothing was wrong with our internet (because once in a blue moon, the Internet will spike up to half of the speed we are paying for!), shouted at us, and his assistant technician stared me down in an extremely uncomfortable and misogynist way.

These technicians have just left our apartment, and now our internet is capping out at about 3MB. But Jose claimed that everything is now resolved, so we will receive no refund, our internet is still broken, and we have spent the last MONTH dealing with this, constantly staying home from work to allow the endless flow of technicians who do nothing access our apartment.

Nicole can’t even leave Cablevision, as it’s the only ISP in her neighborhood outside of DSL service.

This reminds us of going to the doctor with a health complaint that sort of resolves itself when you’re actually in the office and you’re caught being like, “But I swear, it really hurt like five minutes ago…”

Anyway, that doesn’t make it any less of a real problem, and paying for a service should (ideally!) mean you actually receive that service.

Comments

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  1. Arimer says:

    When i first switched to the 50Mbit package with my cable company I had the same issues. Slow speeds. poor connection etc. Had to call in and finally they realized they had never set the modem u p to propely accept the higher speeds. Guy flashed the modem restarted and problem was solved instantly.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      sounds good. it’s probably something they don’t normally think about.

    • Starfury says:

      I have Comcast here in the SF Bay Area. When I got the service it was great for about a month then I started having tons of connection issues. On the 3rd call in about the issue the tech (who had a clue) told me that I’d been given the wrong modem for my speed tier. Since I was leasing the modem I decided to just buy my own that was the correct kind. Now My 20mb plan gives me 30+ on speedtests and the connection is up 99% of the time.

      I will not get Comcast for TV though…very happy w/ Dish.

  2. Dre' says:

    Call your local Public Service Commission. Nothing gets local monopolies attention faster.

  3. El_Red says:

    Film it, then post it on Youtube. You’ll get credit soon enough.

  4. Marlin says:

    Small claims court?

  5. sirwired says:

    Consumerist, that’s supposed to be 50Mb (megabit), not 50MB (megaBYTE). There’s an 8-10x difference between the two, depending on how you count.

    • NaOH says:

      What do you mean how you count? There are 8 bits in a byte, period(HDD manufacturer sneakiness notwithstanding).

      • SBR249 says:

        but are there 1048576 bytes in a megabyte or 10^6 by whatever measure is used?

        • mandy_Reeves says:

          lol this conversation makes me feel as if I am watching people act out a script from Big Bang Theory…can I be Wallowitz?

      • sirwired says:

        Gigabit Ethernet (which would be required for 50MB/sec service), when transmitted over fiber, has a data encoding scheme called 8b/10b. (I won’t go into the reasons why here… but they are good ones.) This means that every 8-bit byte of user data requires 10 bits to actually cross the wire. Makes for an actual signalling rate of 1.250Gb/sec. If you are in marketing-land, you count signalling bits; if you are in engineering-land, you count actual data bits.

        To make things even more confusing, Gigabit Ethernet over twisted pair uses NRZ encoding, which means no overhead.

      • sirwired says:

        And, on another note, the “HDD Mega/Giga/Terabyte” vs. “Binary Mega/GigaTerabyte” controversy has been officially decided.

        The International Electrotechnical Comission (IEC) has decided, once and for all, that Mega/Giga/Terabytes refer to the appropriate standard powers of 10 to keep things consistent with the metric system. If you want to use the power of 2 units used in actual computer architecture and programming, the correct term is Mebi/Gibi/Tebibyte (with the prefixes of MiB/GiB/TiB.) The IEEE has also adopted this notation.

  6. Clyde Barrow says:

    “shouted at us, and his assistant technician stared me down in an extremely uncomfortable and misogynist way.”
    ____________

    These two jerks need to be fired.

    • Cat says:

      “stared me down in an extremely uncomfortable and misogynist way.”

      I understand the “His stare made me uncomfortable” part, but what exactly IS a misogynist stare? (Please demonstrate) Isn’t she just assuming it was misogynist? Or maybe it’s the same as the “Hopeless n00b” stare I often give?

    • StarfishDiva says:

      What gets me is most of those “engineers” are just jackasses who barely know how to make their own ethernet cables. They are usually outsourced, no college (not that this really *matters* with tech support job, just knowledge), and crude, with no real company standards to abide by.
      I think a nice EECB and social campaign should help.

      Also, yes, modem is a biggie. Do you use DOCSIS 2.0 or DOCSIS 3.0? Did Cablevision send you the modem? What’s the model?

  7. Clyde Barrow says:

    When i first got Comcast back in 2006, I bet I had these guys comes out to my house 10 times in a four month period. With the very last visit (because the issue was fixed), it turns out that the connection at the pole was loose and not attached tightly. Once it was refitted, it they haven’t been back except for any issues in my house.
    I would recommend that these guys check the fittings at the pole and check again.

  8. coffee100 says:

    Sue. File for an injunction. Issue subpoenas for every last scrap of paper and every e-mail relevant to the case, including the customer list. Start obtaining sworn affidavits from all other customers using the same service. Form a customers committee.

    Cablevision is publicly traded, so notify the SEC, NYSE, FTC, FCC, your state public utilities commission and Attorney General, all of their shareholders and their board of directors via certified mail of the pending legal action. Be sure to CC every member of senior management.

    Then start scheduling depositions. If they offer to settle, forward it to the court as evidence. Just before a jury is seated, make your one and only settlement offer for one thousand times your costs. If they refuse, go to trial and win. Then walk into their bank with a County Marshal and collect ten thousand times your costs.

    Document the whole thing and send it to Consumerist. That’s how to stop this shit.

  9. WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

    Cablevision recently took over the local cable company here in Wyoming “Bresnan” and changed it to Optimum. Since the change over the TV service was spotty and On Demand selection so limited i ended up switching ti Dish Network but kept my 15MB internet i had from them since i refuse to use Centurylink DSL. The internet is horrible, i avearge about 1MB down and 0.25 upload.

    I have called almost every day, same thing, theres not issue in your area, we can send a tech out but if he doesnt find anthing it going to be $45, so i had a tech come out. He said signal looks good, checked the speed and said it is slow but theres nothing he can do thats just how it is and left, then i got charged $45. Awesome thing also when i canceled my TV and kept the internet there was a $50 change of service fee which no one bothered to mention.

    I argued about the change of service fee and was told it was in the paperwork i signed with Optimum, funny thing… i never signed anything with Optimum and never recieved any change in terms when they took over. Cablevision sucks and should go down in flames!

  10. Darrone says:

    EECB worked for me when i had cablevision. But even a single fix is never enough. They’re internet and TV was soooo intermittent that it was insane. You have to resign yourself to getting a tech to visit every 1-2 months.

  11. Hi_Hello says:

    OP can’t leave Cablevision….so she would have to stay with them…and would need to continue deal with them until it’s fixed…

    I don’t see why the installation fee should be refunded… maybe the monthly service until they fixed the problem…

    I can see the installation fee should be refunded if they cancel cablevision all the together….

    Are they charging OP each time they come over to see what’s wrong?

  12. Almighty Peanut says:

    open up a command prompt (if windows) or a terminal (linux/unix/osx)

    run a tracert to some sites like google so you can use the results as ammo that something is f’d up. a decent number of hops is right around 12. the less the better. if it goes on for awhile and then just keeps timing out sometimes, then they have some serious routing issues that should be addressed.

    also, run ping -t 8.8.8.8
    that will run a constant ping to google’s DNS server (they don’t care) and you can see exactly when it drops and how often. keep the ping going even when you do speedtests. speedtest.net and speakeasy.net/speedtest are really good ones to use (pick the site closest to you at speakeasy). keep a log for a day or 2 and just collect all the data.

    anybody else in the building experiencing craptastic internet?

    if a technician ever comes to my house for something they know not to question me now. built my own firewall out of a full fledged (albiet small) PC, so they don’t ask me to plug it directly in to the modem (fiber ethernet handoff on fios actually).

    • BobOki says:

      Better yet, grab a program named “UOTrace”. Open the program, it will ask to download a list, tell it NO. Once in the program, enable advanced settings.
      Run a trace to google.com or any server you want. Then all you need to do is hit poll. It will continue to poll until you stop it, shows average latency at each hop so you can tell where the bottnecks are. Anything over 5% loss is considered completely unacceptable and anything above 1% is just bad. If the loss occurs after their network, not a whole lot you can do.

      This alone has fixed more issues with ISPs for my friends, coworkers, and myself and is an INVALUABLE tool when forcing an ISP to fix their own crap.

  13. xtom_tomx says:

    Here in Tokyo we get around 50 Mbps standard.
    So sad America. So sad.
    Your Cable companies are the devil.

    • nishioka says:

      I had the option of taking 160Mbps when I was in Sapporo 2 years ago. My jaw about hit the floor when I saw the J:Com brochure. But, 24Mbps was free at the apartment I lived in, so I went with free instead. :)

    • Almighty Peanut says:

      i’m pushing 150Mb down and 65Mb out in America. sonic.net and google are rolling out gigabit to the home. i’d say we’re doing ok here.

  14. OmnipotentMLE says:

    Dear Cablevision,

    Where’s my HBOgo??

    • Chuchundra says:

      On its way. HBO and Cablevision came to an agreement a month or so ago and now they’re working out the details.

  15. Stilor says:

    @Cat:

    I wanted to make exactly the same comment when I noticed yours. I think with that kind of attitude (“every stare I get is misogynist”) the OP pretty much antagonizes each and every person she talks to, be it CSR or technician. No wonder they don’t go above and beyond for her needs, either.

    Now, it may be possible that the issue is not with the internet service per se, but rather with her PC and that could be the reason why the ISP sees everything’s okay, but OP doesn’t get the connection speed she expects. If that’s the case, small claims suit or PUC complaint will fall flat on the face.

    Of course, technicians could have helped her or at least pointed her to that as the possible culprit. Then again, given OP’s attitude I wouldn’t be surprised if their effort were met with a misandrist (yeah, there is such a word, too) stare and a cold “my-pc-is-fine-get-your-f***ing-internet-working” response.

    • JennQPublic says:

      She never said every look she gets is misogynist, or even that both techs were looking at her that way. Is it really such a stretch to believe a guy gave a troublesome female an unwarranted look?

      As a tech-savvy female, I can attest to the fact that some male service technicians do not like it when a woman knows as much or more about their field than they do. Some think it’s hot, but a few seem to take it as an affront to their manly-techiness. This was the sixth time she’d had someone out, she was bound to get one of those guys eventually.

    • Solkanar512 says:

      Yeah, I too have never seen members of the tech industry be dismissive of women, never. You’re totally in the right here to blindly diminish the complaints of this woman for no reason except that you perceive that she has an “attitude”. Which she has no right to have, given that this company almost cost her a job.

      I’ll bet she was really whiny and screechy and cries all the time too. Must be “that time of the month”, amirite?

    • Dieflatermous says:

      Your hatred for women is showing.

  16. Vox Republica says:

    As somebody else noted (and it’s a tactic I’ve used in dealing with the equally worthless Time Warner Cable), I make sure to have an ample supply of ping results on-hand. TWC also has their own in-house speed test program on their website, which I use obsessively when I notice things are lagging a tad too much; perhaps there’s a similar one on Cablevision/Optimum’s site?

    • Ivory Bill says:

      OP should jack her pc in directly at the modem and check responsiveness to eliminate issues with house wire and equipment. Then run and record every available internet speed test (as someone has already suggested.) If the tier1 phone monkey gives her any guff, she should insist on an escalation to tier 2 or 3 tech support. Remind them of how many calls have been made and explain that all that is being requested is a reasonable fraction of the bandwidth that has been promised (and paid for.) Simply put, she should arm herself with evidence, use the magic word (“escalate”) and stick to her guns. Once the problem is solved, call them again and insist on knowing the resolution.

      With that information and some more persistence, she should be able to have her service and get her credit.

  17. dolemite says:

    When I first got “Blast” from Comcast (15MB), it was pretty peppy. Over the last year or so, around 6pm…boy, it slows down. It basically slows down to 1/4 speed during prime hours…around 500-600kb instead of the 1-2mb I can get in off-hours. And I live in a a small city with not that many neighbors. I wonder if she lives in a really congested area.

    • kretara says:

      I had the same issue with comcast.
      High speeds during the day, but as soon as 6pm hit the speeds would drop down to ISDN level and sometimes to dial-up speeds. The speeds would stay very slow until about midnight when they would dramatically pick up again.
      Between 6-midnight the comcast TV picture would pixelate like crazy.
      My IP phone (I had the comcast triple-play) rarely worked for 3 months.
      Comcast techs came out numerous times and said everything was worked as designed.
      Switched to uverse and have not had a problem since.

  18. mbd says:

    Post your problem on the Yahoo Groups cablevision_digital forum. There is a Cablevision executive who monitors that group, and has from time to time intervened to the benefit of customers with technical problems (not billing/programming which he does not handle) who have not had any luck going though normal customer service.

  19. Speedstr says:

    I’m making a long assumption here, but with her being a web developer, I’m guessing she’s pretty savvy with the internet.

    Has she gone to Speedtest.net and tested her speeds there? They keep a log of every time you run a speedtest with time/date/ping/upload/download so you can have something to refer to the technicians with. I haven’t heard an instance where they’ve disputed these logs. You can even download a copy of the log, and email to them.

    The other question is 100MB/s download speed being the “optimal” speed, what is the minimum speed that they assured you? I myself am subscribed for a 12MB/s download speed, but am guaranteed a speed of at least 8MB/s. While I’m sure you’re not concerned with getting 100MB/s every time, is 60MB/s the lowest? And how much of a percentage of the day are you achieving that speed?

    These are concerns that need to be included into the story.

    • SonicPhoenix says:

      As to the first part of your comment, yes you are making a very long assumption. I worked for an ISP for a few years some time ago and I can’t tell you how many “web developers” I worked with who were basically people with a marginal working knowledge of MS Frontpage who managed to con a bunch of people into believing that they knew what they were doing. On several occasions I actually had to debug their code to prove to them that it wasn’t a problem with the server they were hosted on. One didn’t know the difference between using a DSN or a DSN-less connection to a database.

      On a related side note, I’m very happy that I no longer work there and don’t have to deal directly with end-users.

  20. Eugene says:

    Time Warner did the same to me but it was super slow for a couple months. I was a server admin so I worked from home at midnight sat night when I needed to patch servers or drive 30 minutes to the office and sit there at midnight so it didn’t make it impossible for me to work, just made it difficult. My wife was in college then and couldn’t get on to the schools web site for her online class.
    Multiple repairs and escalating to managers on duty with no fix I finally ask what we were supposed to do when we needed internet for school and work and was smugly told that their service was for entertainment purposes only and if i expected to be able to use it for school or work I needed their business class service at 10x the cost.
    Thankfully there as one other company I could switch to who assured me no problem with school or work from home.
    I didn’t pay my last TW bill electronically, I actually wrote a check then put on it “Void: This check is for entertainment purposes only.

  21. Ivory Bill says:

    OP should jack her pc in directly at the modem and check responsiveness to eliminate issues with house wire and equipment. Then run and record every available internet speed test (as someone has already suggested.) If the tier1 phone monkey gives her any guff, she should insist on an escalation to tier 2 or 3 tech support. Remind them of how many calls have been made and explain that all that is being requested is a reasonable fraction of the bandwidth that has been promised (and paid for.) Simply put, she should arm herself with evidence, use the magic word (“escalate”) and stick to her guns. Once the problem is solved, call them again and insist on knowing the resolution.

    With that information and some more persistence, she should be able to have her service and get her credit.

  22. rlmiller007 says:

    The contact for cable issues is the Franchise Authority. Contact your city and they’ll direct you. I worked for Comcast for almost 10 years. Whenever they got involved services were fixed instantly. After all they are the ones who say who gets to rpovide you with cable.

  23. attackgypsy says:

    When I had the 100MB service, I had 6 different techs in my house. On one day.

    Because it was so new, they asked me if they could bring in some techs to train them on it.

    Since I worked for Cablevision at the time, I didn’t mind at all.

    My install took about an extra half hour longer than normal, but I never had any issues with it, even after I left Cablevision. It just to be too expensive at the time for me.

  24. maruawe says:

    i heard this is common with Cablevision …Their net work seems to need a LOT of work

  25. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “Nicole can’t even leave Cablevision, as it’s the only ISP in her neighborhood outside of DSL service.”

    WTF sense is that supposed to make? Switch to DSL then. Who the hell even thought that was a rational thing to write?

  26. noncomjd says:

    I had FIOS, in the middle of last year swayed by the increasing cost of FIOS (FIOS Speeds: Down: 31.01 Mb/s Up: 24.09 Mb/s Pings:9 ms )

    A Cablevision offer of a $70 a month triple play (including Boost a 50 Megabit download service) and a free Ipod we switched.

    Download speeds were as close to FIOS almost for the first month (CV: Down: 21.18 Mb/s Up: 1.75 Mb/s Ping: 9 ms, on the 29th day of service speeds dropped to (CV: Down: 4.99 Mb/s Up: 1.31 Mb/s Ping:19 m ) and pretty much stayed there until we dropped them and went back to FIOS a few weeks later.

    Prior to dropping them, calls to CV yielded answers such as “you are are a crowded node” or “it’s your computer, not us”

    Slow speeds, horrible picture quality (Freezing, pixilzation), not to mention they go out of their way to block, slow bit torrenting and file transfers made switching back easy.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      I’ve gotten the full ‘node’ routine from Comcast. They’ve added fiber and boxes to the network and we have more trouble than when there was more copper in the network. But that’s the problem with fiber. you’re limited by the equipment involved.

  27. noncomjd says:

    I had FIOS, in the middle of last year swayed by the increasing cost of FIOS (FIOS Speeds: Down: 31.01 Mb/s Up: 24.09 Mb/s Pings:9 ms )

    A Cablevision offer of a $70 a month triple play (including Boost a 50 Megabit download service) and a free Ipod we switched.

    Download speeds were as close to FIOS almost for the first month (CV: Down: 21.18 Mb/s Up: 1.75 Mb/s Ping: 9 ms, on the 29th day of service speeds dropped to (CV: Down: 4.99 Mb/s Up: 1.31 Mb/s Ping:19 m ) and pretty much stayed there until we dropped them and went back to FIOS a few weeks later.

    Prior to dropping them, calls to CV yielded answers such as “you are are a crowded node” or “it’s your computer, not us”

    Slow speeds, horrible picture quality (Freezing, pixilzation), not to mention they go out of their way to block, slow bit torrenting and file transfers made switching back easy.

  28. u1itn0w2day says:

    Internet speed has too many variables over a public network. And that’s the crux of the problem. The network that is used to get that service can affect speed as much as the equipment involved. If it’s old there’s probably alot of copper. It could be part copper and fiber which adds to the amount of equipment involved in the network ie another thing that can go wrong. Even though the majority of their coverage area can support the promised speeds maybe your neighborhood run can’t.

    That being said you have your equipment including modems,routers,cables,computers, accessories etc which also can affect speed including the software you are running or viruses you got.

    I’d say make sure you do any trouble shooting procedures step and step complete at least once. Get that documented then start pushing the company harder. If no results after they’ve been given one last chance then go to the state utility regulators and FCC. You can also document and warn others by reporting them to the BBB.

    Good Luck

  29. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Easiest solution, report them to the Board of Public Utilities, or whatever your States equivalent is called.

    The one time I had a major problem with Cablevision, I spent several hours on the phone with them with a “final resolution” that was far far below what was actually acceptable to me, or even remotely fair. I filed a formal complaint with the BPU, and with 24 hours I got a phone call from some corporate data analyst (or business analyst or somesuch) at Cablevision – the kind of person you can never actually reach by calling customer service – who resolved the issue to my satisfaction in less than a day.