How Do You Feel About Your Broadband?

FiosDavid G. Imber has a question for you….

For a number of years I’ve gotten my broadband through Covad and a local company called Old Tribecans know it because it’s an “alternative” company that’s been serving the area since the 90s, when it was cutting edge. It’s still a fine company, doing its best to stand up against Time Warner Cable and Verizon, but DSL just doesn’t cut it anymore.

The problem is, I despise TWC—I withstood years of abuse from that company. And the Verizon FiOS alternative, while attractive, comes with its own set of problems in terms of deployment. It’s in Tribeca, in fact my tech contacts tell me it’s on my block. But Verizon lacks the will and ability to get it into upper floors right now, even when landlords are perfectly OK with giving them access.

Here’s where TC comes in: I’d love to ask people, especially those who work from their home office, or who have businesses here, what they’re doing for broadband access, and how they feel about it.

That’s your cue!

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  1. Currently in a TWC and FIOS enabled building, and have had both (and for a while had both simultaneously).

    As a bit of a tech artifact – in an older building like I am living in, FIOS is fiber to the basement (MDU – multiple dwelling unit) and VDSL (Very high bitrate DSL) or coax from the basement to the unit. So basically Verizon runs a massive fiber connection to your building, and some hardware in the basement, and the last mile is all traditional copper-based DSL or coax riding over your old legacy phone lines or cable. Newer buildings that are wired for fiber are able to get fiber to the premise (FTTP).

    With FIOS the speeds were some of the fastest I’ve experienced with some of the lowest latencies out there. It also never went down where my TWC connection used to drop a lot, so I used my FIOS a lot more.

    Of course it’s 2014 now… and TWC has fixed all my issues as far as I’m concerned. Internet has never gone down. My Ultimate package went from 50mbps to 100mbps downstream for free, and they sent me a little card letting me know. And my upstream at home is 5mbps which is better than the 2mbps VZ was prepared to offer me. Customer service has improved, and most of the annoying things that used to require a truck to come are now self-service — I can pick up CableCards and self-install, I can buy a cable modem on Amazon and call in the serial number and MAC address and stuff just works.

    I’m moving in a few weeks, and have decided to keep TWC. I called them earlier today to move my service, got a normal person on the phone in 5 min during lunch, who gave me a lot of flexibility in terms of truck roll hours, and reminded me that a truck roll may not be needed — if I connect my stuff and it works, then I can cancel.

    The old TWC was never like that.

  2. Thanks @alee, the tech stuff is very meaningful to me. I’d heard from friends in Astoria about the 50~100 mbps jump, and that was part of what prompted this general inquiry. That service has improved was something their report did not include, and it’s encouraging.

  3. I used Time Warner Cable for a year and a half and my internet service would go out on average for 5 business days per month. It took about 45 minutes on the phone each time to find out that there was “an outage in my area” and for Time Warner Cable to tell me there was nothing they could do about it other than proceed according to their regular schedule (they would provide no estimate as to how long the outage would last) and I had to make at least two additional phone calls each time to get reimbursement for the time of the outage (most of the time they argued with me over the timing of the length of the outage and would pay me less than what would constitute reimbursement for the full time of the outage). I switched to RCN, which, while not incredibly fast, has not gone out once in the last 9 months.

  4. RCN isn’t available at my location. I called the company (because their website couldn’t find a city in NY state called “New York”, not kidding). They don’t serve my block and the representative said that as far as he knows, it’s a “block by block” thing.

  5. My building is wired for TWC only. We’ve tried to get fios but keep getting a runaround. Can’t figure out how to get Verizon to wire our building.

    When TWC broadband is working, it’s been OK, at least this past year. But every single summer there are outages, and it’s hard to get them tell you that that is why you’re internet is so problematic. They like to blame it on your modem, but right before your scheduled appointment, they give you a robot call telling you it was an outage in your area and you should cancel your appointment. Then the problem starts up again a couple of days later.\ This has been happening over the past month. And like Eric, I must call in to get a refund. As someone who runs a business from home, this is extremely disruptive.

    Oh, I only get 30 mps down, and 5 up, FWIW. I don’t have cable TV and also got rid of TWC phone service because it went down a lot. Alee, how much do you pay for 100mbs down?

  6. A few quick notes (because I’ve been over my ears in this stuff recently). The 100 mbps down, which I believe TWC is calling their “MAXX” option, was announced just a few weeks ago, and it was meant as a direct broadside to Verizon’s “whisper campaign” that they’re ready to deploy in more neighborhoods (remains to be seen). All new applicants for their “ultimate” package got the upgrade, and they changed their website seemingly overnight to reflect it (you rarely see them do anything that fast). My tech friends in Queens say they’re running the higher speeds over newly furbished servers, and that the caliber of the service is noticeably different, but I can’t comment accurately on that. Existing “ultimate” customers were bumped up as well. So there’s no cost differential.

    And to counter this, Verizon announced on July 21 that all tiers will be symmetrical. This is an important step. TWC’s MAXX for example is 100/5 iirc. That’s not bad, but Verizon is saying that from now on all their offerings will be like 100/100, 50/50, etc. They deployed this in LA last winter and it was very successful. It’s particularly good for certain types of activities.

    What all of my research has turned up indicates that the Verizon product is very superior. But the company manages to bork everything on the corp. side, which is the story of Verizon in the modern era, it seems. Great products, abysmally handled.

    BTW, when talking about TWC I’m using information on their consumer class products. I have been told that if you pay for TWC Business Class your treatment is night and day different.