Author Topic: At war with Charter cable  (Read 2072 times)

Case

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At war with Charter cable
« on: December 10, 2017, 05:10:31 PM »
I pay $65/month for internet, and it never even reaches the advertised speed.  They also are trying to charge me rental fees for the modem, even though i bought it myself (long backstory ill avoidj.
I live in a small town, but there is no competition so the company seems to charge higher than expected prices.

How do you fight the internet companies?  Whenever i complain about the speeds being low, they come out, waste my time doing all of the tests over and over, ultimately conclude that the speed is in fact low, repeat repeat.
As im sure many of you are aware, it feels like a David vs Goliath battle.  its not THAT much money, this is more of a principle thing.

Ive gone thru the phone tree many times, and it never works out, even if i go straight to the retention department.  Ive been thinking of keeping a record of the internet speeds, to use as evidence.  But it seems pointlesss, because its not like im goign to sue them, and there are not competitors in the area worth going to.

What would be awesome is a class action lawsuit....

Daley

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2017, 08:58:51 PM »
The only real way to fight back is to stop playing their game and giving them money. Also, trying to sue them for failure to deliver advertised service speeds is pointless, as there's no quality of service guarantee with your contract.

You say that there's no competition. Do they have a literal broadband monopoly in your community? Who's the landline phone provider in your area? You might get lucky and have more options than you think beyond the obvious.

Case

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2017, 11:22:26 AM »
The only real way to fight back is to stop playing their game and giving them money. Also, trying to sue them for failure to deliver advertised service speeds is pointless, as there's no quality of service guarantee with your contract.

You say that there's no competition. Do they have a literal broadband monopoly in your community? Who's the landline phone provider in your area? You might get lucky and have more options than you think beyond the obvious.

I checked last night, and there is in fact AT&T.  Up until recently I had never considered them because their max offering used to be like 5 mbps.  However, now it's $50/month for 50 mbps.  There is a 1 tb cap (before they charge you more).  I'll have to look into whatever miscellaneous fees they have, to make a better comparison.

The unknown is how consistent their service is; I don't know anyone that doesn't have Charter in my area.  Despite how much they annoy me, they are at least straight-forward; set monthly fee (which increases on occasion) with no additional surcharges, and receive ~40 mbps plus or minus 20 (supposed to be 60).  On occasion it drops down to un-usable levels, though this is usually only a few times per year.

Daley

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2017, 11:39:40 AM »
If it's AT&T Uverse, you can actually get the service without actually dealing with and doing AT&T's own abusive variant on the consumer monkey dance. Go with TOAST.net instead. No introductory pricing or stealth service rate hikes, no eternal contracts and ridiculous terms of service, no foreign customer support.... just reliable internet access at a fair price. I've used them myself for the past two years, and it's been the least irritating ISP experience I've had since I used TOAST.net for dial-up nearly two decades ago.

Case

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2017, 11:49:21 AM »
If it's AT&T Uverse, you can actually get the service without actually dealing with and doing AT&T's own abusive variant on the consumer monkey dance. Go with TOAST.net instead. No introductory pricing or stealth service rate hikes, no eternal contracts and ridiculous terms of service, no foreign customer support.... just reliable internet access at a fair price. I've used them myself for the past two years, and it's been the least irritating ISP experience I've had since I used TOAST.net for dial-up nearly two decades ago.

I think it's formerly UVerse, but currently hase some different name.  I checked out that toast link... interesting but unclear if it's in my area (I'm mid michigan rather than SE MI) and the price is a little higher and the service/limits are a little lower.  The 10 mbps service would be cheaper but that seems like it might be borderline fast enough for streaming on multiple computers/devices.

robartsd

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2017, 12:15:32 PM »
I think Daley was suggesting Toast for DSL rather than their limited cable internet. https://toast.net/services/dsl/

Daley

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 03:06:49 PM »
...and the price is a little higher and the service/limits are a little lower...

You're comparing apples with bait-and-switch oranges. You might want to give AT&T's fine print a read and pay attention to the fact that it's (near) impossible to find their non-discount introductory or bundle service rates (I certainly can't these days). The last time I could get a straight answer from AT&T a couple years ago on their non-discounted 6Mbps VDSL only service plans, they were charging $45/month. I'm paying $38 for the same service through Toast, and I've not had to pay extra for mandatory modem rental fees, re-negotiate better rates, paid more than $50 for the initial install, or been under contract for more than the initial year. With Toast? No surprises, and a dang simple terms of service. What you see is what you get. The best I've been able to gather on the general internet, non-discounted 50Mbps service from AT&T is around $80-ish a month? Maybe?

The only time I needed technical support with my connection with Toast, it was one of the easiest experiences I've had in my life. Spoke with someone who was actually knowledgeable, and respected my own experiences and background in networking. I troubleshot everything on my end to make sure it was a problem ouside the DMARC before calling, and a three minute conversation had them sending out an AT&T field tech to fix the line problem at the pole/DSLAM.

Think longer term than just the introductory rate. You *do* want out of the sort of abusive ISP relationships that's driving you to anger with Charter, right?

As for your concerns about sufficient bandwidth for streaming, understand that for 720p/1080i video, you only need about 5Mbps per feed at most. If you're willing to do 480p (which is still plenty sharp and pretty), you only need about 1.5Mbps per stream. Our 6Mbps feed is more than plenty for everything we do, though our household usually tries to watch the same vacuous video entertainment at the same time, so we don't have multiple stream situations... not that it'd bother us dropping down in image quality if we did. Even still, it's plenty for our needs and doesn't have any problems with multitasking the connection between video, VoIP phone services, and internet browsing. If you're still concerned, go with their 12 or 18Mbps packages instead... it'll be more than plenty.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2017, 03:15:45 PM by Daley »

Case

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2017, 03:27:01 PM »
...and the price is a little higher and the service/limits are a little lower...

You're comparing apples with bait-and-switch oranges. You might want to give AT&T's fine print a read and pay attention to the fact that it's (near) impossible to find their non-discount introductory or bundle service rates (I certainly can't these days). The last time I could get a straight answer from AT&T a couple years ago on their non-discounted 6Mbps VDSL only service plans, they were charging $45/month. I'm paying $38 for the same service through Toast, and I've not had to pay extra for mandatory modem rental fees, re-negotiate better rates, paid more than $50 for the initial install, or been under contract for more than the initial year. With Toast? No surprises, and a dang simple terms of service. What you see is what you get. The best I've been able to gather on the general internet, non-discounted 50Mbps service from AT&T is around $80-ish a month? Maybe?

Think longer term than just the introductory rate. You *do* want out of the sort of abusive ISP relationships that's driving you to anger with Charter, right?

As for your concerns about sufficient bandwidth for streaming, understand that for 720p/1080i video, you only need about 5Mbps per feed at most. If you're willing to do 480p (which is still plenty sharp and pretty), you only need about 1.5Mbps per stream. Our 6Mbps feed is more than plenty for everything we do, though our household usually tries to watch the same vacuous video entertainment at the same time, so we don't have multiple stream situations... not that it'd bother us dropping down in image quality if we did. Even still, it's plenty for our needs and doesn't have any problems with multitasking the connection between video, VoIP phone services, and internet browsing. If you're still concerned, go with their 12 or 18Mbps packages instead... it'll be more than plenty.

I think I need at least 12 Mbps in that case, to accommodate the possibility of two people watching at the same time which is not unheard of in my house.

With AT&T, the main catch I've found so far is the $99 install fee (minus $50 credit) and the 1 tb/month data limit.  For the first year it is $40/month, and after that $50/month.  If they then hike the price higher than $50, I could always switch again, but i'm already saving a fair bit vs what I currently pay.  The other concerns are whether the speeds will be consistently fast enough, and whether dealing with the company is a nightmare.  They do not charge a modem rental fee (or so they claim).

The quote I received from toast is $50/month for 18 mbps ($50/month), plus a $50 install fee.

So the AT&T would save me $120 for the first year, and would give faster speeds (which may or may not matter; and who knows if they will be the advertised speeds).  But yes, possibly with an asshole company... though I'd at least be locked into the contract rate for a year, and then I can switch to toast.

cantgrowone

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2017, 07:40:29 AM »
Hi Case. I have been using Charter 4.5 years. They started me off at $25/month for 12 months and then upped it to $65/month. I now pay $45/month. Every year around July I call the cancellation department and tell them I'm going to cancel and talk them down to the $45 rate.

You can try the above, but it won't fix your internet issues only the price you pay.

Daley

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2017, 08:11:59 AM »
So the AT&T would save me $120 for the first year, and would give faster speeds (which may or may not matter; and who knows if they will be the advertised speeds).  But yes, possibly with an asshole company... though I'd at least be locked into the contract rate for a year, and then I can switch to toast.

Two things. One, your time is not worth zero dollars. Two, check your math and the fine print.

Some observations to consider about this plan before pulling the handle, that explains these two points:

AT&T may be selling "50Mbps internet", but note their fine print: "Max speeds may not be realized if 2 or more HD shows viewed at same time." Think about how much bandwidth two HD video streams utilize (10Mbps or less), and what this statement implies about what your actual real-world streaming throughput is going to look like.

Remember your complaint about Charter at the top of the thread...
I pay $65/month for internet, and it never even reaches the advertised speed.
[snip]
Whenever i complain about the speeds being low, they come out, waste my time doing all of the tests over and over, ultimately conclude that the speed is in fact low, repeat repeat.
[snip]
Ive been thinking of keeping a record of the internet speeds, to use as evidence.

It's also worth pointing out that for the most part, speed grades are an artificial construct by broadband ISPs to justify extracting even more money out of customers. Many other ISPs around the world in countries that have better telecom and infrastructure regulation just basically have one or two offerings at a reasonable price with the firehose open as fast as they can deliver it.

Your "$120 savings" is built upon the flawed logic of free installation, which AT&T is going to charge you $99 to do, and give you a $50 gift card some time down the line, costing you $49 plus the annoyance of a Visa gift card. Toast is also going to charge you another $50 install fee at setup to switch, assuming they still have the 50% off install offer in a year. This drops the "savings" between the two down to either $70 or $20, depending on the install cost with Toast in a year (120-50=70) (120-100=20).

You'll also have down time and the hassle of switching from AT&T to "AT&T" switching to Toast. So long as you have service active with AT&T, you'll have some issues ordering new service from Toast, which means potentially needing to disconnect service before order or dealing with a lot of switching headaches and considerably more time on the phone with AT&T. Also, there's no such thing as same day install with vDSL service, and you will have to schedule an install up to a week in the future. Ask yourself if this potential service gap is worth even the $70 savings number.

Your time also isn't free. Remember...
...they come out, waste my time...

This plan is committing to not one, but two internet service installs, complete with all the sit-and-spin time wasting that comes with it. Assuming your time has value, is that second install worth even the $70 savings assuming you go with 18Mbps service with Toast over the course of two-plus years of under contract internet bills, yielding a total cost average of $2.92 savings per month? Especially when you consider the potential headaches, hassle and lost connectivity that may come with the switch from AT&T Residential to Toast (which is effectively using AT&T business service)? It's AT&T, this stuff never goes as smoothly as you hope.

Your "$120 savings" is also predicated on the idea that you'd use the 18Mbps speed package from Toast after switching, but given the above fine print from AT&T, it seems like 12Mbps would be a more realistic equivalent to the speed part that matters to you most given their statement. This alters your $120 savings idea over the first year down to a theoretical $48 monthly savings gap if you can actually get by with 12Mbps service, which given that additional install fee you didn't factor, now puts you at either -$2 or -$52 savings going AT&T first depending on Toast's install fee in a year (48-50=-2) (48-100=-52).

Just some food for thought, applying some logic and reality to the situation. Hope it helps. All the best no matter what path you ultimately choose, but do remember that there's a difference between being cheap and frugal.

Edited for early morning brain dumb math error and clarity.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 08:27:27 AM by Daley »

robartsd

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2017, 09:01:41 AM »
AT&T may be selling "50Mbps internet", but note their fine print: "Max speeds may not be realized if 2 or more HD shows viewed at same time." Think about how much bandwidth two HD video streams utilize (10Mbps or less), and what this statement implies about what your actual real-world streaming throughput is going to look like.
My impression is that AT&T's Uverse TV service is actually streamed over the data connection. Since internet and TV are sold as separate products, this fine print is needed to keep them related; otherwise customers might win lawsuits for not getting their full internet bandwidth while tuning multiple TVs to different HD Uverse TV channels. I'm sure AT&T's 50Mbps service will handle OP's streaming needs.

Thanks for the tip on Toast. I currently have fiber from Consolidated Communications (advertised price $15/mo - actuall cost $26/mo after taxes and fees), but I'll look into Toast if I decide to switch.

Case

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2017, 09:11:10 AM »
So the AT&T would save me $120 for the first year, and would give faster speeds (which may or may not matter; and who knows if they will be the advertised speeds).  But yes, possibly with an asshole company... though I'd at least be locked into the contract rate for a year, and then I can switch to toast.

Two things. One, your time is not worth zero dollars. Two, check your math and the fine print.

Some observations to consider about this plan before pulling the handle, that explains these two points:

AT&T may be selling "50Mbps internet", but note their fine print: "Max speeds may not be realized if 2 or more HD shows viewed at same time." Think about how much bandwidth two HD video streams utilize (10Mbps or less), and what this statement implies about what your actual real-world streaming throughput is going to look like.

Remember your complaint about Charter at the top of the thread...
I pay $65/month for internet, and it never even reaches the advertised speed.
[snip]
Whenever i complain about the speeds being low, they come out, waste my time doing all of the tests over and over, ultimately conclude that the speed is in fact low, repeat repeat.
[snip]
Ive been thinking of keeping a record of the internet speeds, to use as evidence.

It's also worth pointing out that for the most part, speed grades are an artificial construct by broadband ISPs to justify extracting even more money out of customers. Many other ISPs around the world in countries that have better telecom and infrastructure regulation just basically have one or two offerings at a reasonable price with the firehose open as fast as they can deliver it.

Your "$120 savings" is built upon the flawed logic of free installation, which AT&T is going to charge you $99 to do, and give you a $50 gift card some time down the line, costing you $49 plus the annoyance of a Visa gift card. Toast is also going to charge you another $50 install fee at setup to switch, assuming they still have the 50% off install offer in a year. This drops the "savings" between the two down to either $70 or $20, depending on the install cost with Toast in a year (120-50=70) (120-100=20).

You'll also have down time and the hassle of switching from AT&T to "AT&T" switching to Toast. So long as you have service active with AT&T, you'll have some issues ordering new service from Toast, which means potentially needing to disconnect service before order or dealing with a lot of switching headaches and considerably more time on the phone with AT&T. Also, there's no such thing as same day install with vDSL service, and you will have to schedule an install up to a week in the future. Ask yourself if this potential service gap is worth even the $70 savings number.

Your time also isn't free. Remember...
...they come out, waste my time...

This plan is committing to not one, but two internet service installs, complete with all the sit-and-spin time wasting that comes with it. Assuming your time has value, is that second install worth even the $70 savings assuming you go with 18Mbps service with Toast over the course of two-plus years of under contract internet bills, yielding a total cost average of $2.92 savings per month? Especially when you consider the potential headaches, hassle and lost connectivity that may come with the switch from AT&T Residential to Toast (which is effectively using AT&T business service)? It's AT&T, this stuff never goes as smoothly as you hope.

Your "$120 savings" is also predicated on the idea that you'd use the 18Mbps speed package from Toast after switching, but given the above fine print from AT&T, it seems like 12Mbps would be a more realistic equivalent to the speed part that matters to you most given their statement. This alters your $120 savings idea over the first year down to a theoretical $48 monthly savings gap if you can actually get by with 12Mbps service, which given that additional install fee you didn't factor, now puts you at either -$2 or -$52 savings going AT&T first depending on Toast's install fee in a year (48-50=-2) (48-100=-52).

Just some food for thought, applying some logic and reality to the situation. Hope it helps. All the best no matter what path you ultimately choose, but do remember that there's a difference between being cheap and frugal.

Edited for early morning brain dumb math error and clarity.

Alright, I see your point, and you may be convincing me to switch to toast, but I have to check and see what services are available to me.  The cheapest the quote they sent me had was 18 mbps for $50/month.

So, in your experience, toast always delivers the specified internet speed?
I am not in a particularly high demand household, but I do not want to encounter scenarios where slow downs are noticeable.

We have maybe 5 devices connected to our network at once, but it is only common to be using two of them at once to do something involving streaming.  This would be something streaming on two devices at once (Netflix or youtube/etc...., HD but not 4k).  I want websites to load quickly, but I cannot quantify the rate; just 'fast enough' to not notice slow loading.

Charter's speed is for the most part ok, but a few times a year has a massive slowdown.  Getting a 'lower bandwith' option like 12 mbps in theory might work, but only if the 12 mbps is delivered spot all all of the time.  It seems like that leaves little room for error.  Are you trying to explain that the speeds listed by charter/others are all an illusion?

To your point on cheap vs frugal, I am in agreement, and primarily want to make sure the speeds from Toast are fast enough.  For example, 12 mbps is theoretically fast enough for streaming two HD videos at once, but the reality is that there is some fluctuation (say plus or minus 5 mbps) resulting in an occasional slow down or reduced video quality, and I potentially have to deal rage on my part of an pissed off family member.

Daley

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2017, 09:11:32 AM »
AT&T may be selling "50Mbps internet", but note their fine print: "Max speeds may not be realized if 2 or more HD shows viewed at same time." Think about how much bandwidth two HD video streams utilize (10Mbps or less), and what this statement implies about what your actual real-world streaming throughput is going to look like.
My impression is that AT&T's Uverse TV service is actually streamed over the data connection. Since internet and TV are sold as separate products, this fine print is needed to keep them related; otherwise customers might win lawsuits for not getting their full internet bandwidth while tuning multiple TVs to different HD Uverse TV channels. I'm sure AT&T's 50Mbps service will handle OP's streaming needs.

Thanks for the tip on Toast. I currently have fiber from Consolidated Communications (advertised price $15/mo - actuall cost $26/mo after taxes and fees), but I'll look into Toast if I decide to switch.

Actually, AT&T has dropped their IPTV services in many areas and have gone over directly to DirecTV satellite on their new customer internet and tv or "triple play" service bundles. Not that it matters in this case, as the quote referenced is fine print on their internet only service package... so my point stands.

You also brought up another good point. Back when I had DSL service through AT&T, they clipped me for additional taxes and fees on top of the advertised price. Toast's pricing has all those fees already baked into the price they post.

Daley

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Re: At war with Charter cable
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2017, 10:21:34 AM »
So, in your experience, toast always delivers the specified internet speed?

I'm on Toast's $37.95/month, 6.0/0.75 Mbps plan.



You tell me if they're delivering what I paid for, but my wife and I find it plenty fast.

Of course, YMMV. Line quality and oversubscribing in your area can impact these sorts of things.

Are you trying to explain that the speeds listed by charter/others are all an illusion?

Read this FAQ from AT&T, and you tell me...

But think about it. What costs them the most money is the actual data moved and the time of day its delivered due to peak demand, not so much the speed in which it's delivered. It costs your ISP the same amount of money to deliver the exact same content to you at an artificially capped slower speed as it does at the fastest speed your neighborhood wiring and subscriber levels can support. Your ISP also doesn't give you any sort of guaranteed speed promises outside of theoretical "up to" scenarios, but makes plenty of caveats that it can frequently be slower than advertised.

The cheapest the quote they sent me had was 18 mbps for $50/month.

If you can get their 18Mbps service at your address, you can also get their 12Mbps and 6Mbps service. They don't list it on their front page, but they even offer 3Mbps... but you gotta ask for it.

Anyway, pay attention to the maximum speed Toast can promise at your address. That's the technical limits of reality on the service speed that can theoretically be delivered over your neighborhood's wiring. As you can see from the previous link, there's a lot more to factor on speed than just the last mile throughput. AT&T residential tried pulling the "we can totally sign you up for our 45Mbps package at your address for super cheap introductory pricing, way cheaper than any of the slower packages" when I was pricing two years ago just for giggles (and even today, I poke in my next door neighbor's address, and AT&T residential's offering the same 50Mbps plan they're offering you), but Toast told me that the infrastructure and line length for my address could only support their 24Mbps service plan at most without speed and signal degradation, and the AT&T Business field tech confirmed that when he was doing the install by stating that the maximum stable throughput I could ever get at our location was ~32Mbps on current vDSL equipment. Given there's no speed tiers from Toast between 24Mbps and 45Mbps, guess which company was more honest with me?

There are reasons why I won't do direct business with AT&T anymore.

As for your continued concerns about whether 12Mbps is enough... just start there and see how things go if you're curious. If it works for you, you're fine! If it's still not quite enough, bump up to the 18Mbps package. No skin off your teeth. Toast may extend out the 12 month contract to the new date you switch to a different speed package, but they don't sock you any extra fees for doing so. Even still, if it concerns you that much and you think it'll drastically impact the level of peace in the household, spend the extra $6/month if it helps you sleep better.

...and if the kids are the ones complaining, tell them they can either learn some patience on the downloads you're enabling them to have for free, or they can pay the difference on the monthly bill for anything faster than what you're willing to spend. :)
« Last Edit: December 12, 2017, 10:30:30 AM by Daley »