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Charter Sucks!

 

Cable wireIt’s not often that I vent on a business — I know how hard it can be in this competitive world to satisfy ever more demanding customers. But I am about over Charter Communications. For over a month now, we have had missing channels and bad reception. We made an appointment and they never showed up, which doesn’t leave you feeling particularly good about having wasted a day to be there for them. Nor were they particularly apologetic about not showing up.

And every time you try to get a response from them, you are back to square one: you have to navigate a phone menu that resembles chinese water torture more than anything else. If and when you do get a human being, it’s a whole new world — you have to explain all over again what the problem is. And they will want you to make yet another appointment.

We did finally have a tech show up when we were at home. After doing some checks he told us that the problem was in the line outside the house. Along the way, he told us he was not too happy with the service department at Charter, himself. He was a nice guy and seemed genuinely interested in helping us out. He placed a call and told us they should have a tech out the next day to check out the lines coming into the house.

When I came home the next day and saw a Charter truck heading up the street I foolishly thought that they had found and fixed the problem. No such luck. We did pick up some of the channels we were missing, but then others we had had turned up missing. And lately the broadcast stations like NBC, CBS, NBC, and NPR are getting really bad. Along with still missing channels we should have.

Which brings me to the moral of this whole rant. Charter is a monopoly here in Clarksville. They have no competition so, evidently, they don’t have to worry about whether we customers are satisfied with their service. The message I’m getting from all this is, “If you don’t like our service, put up a dish!”. Which, if it weren’t for my need of a broadband network connection (I telecommute a couple of days a week), I might just consider.

Perhaps Clarksville/Montgomery County should consider instituting it’s own cable service, as does a number of cities throughout the country. Could be a good source of revenue. And at the very least, maybe it would scare Charter into being more responsive to its subscribers.


About Tom Paine

    Systems Administrator for ASP for hospitals/med surg facilities.

    Politics mostly socialist/populist. Anti-corporate, pro working class.

    Student of history who fervently believes that “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it”.

    Email: tompaine@clarksvilleonline.com

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7 Responses to “Charter Sucks!”

  1. Bill Larson Says:
    July 4th, 2006 at 2:00 pm
    Bill Larson

    Vote yes, on the referendum in this fall’s election to allow CDE to offer telecommunication services. They are planning on wiring fiber optic connections to every home and business in Clarksville, TN.

    See the story at CDE requests to provide additional services

    Yes, I agree they suck and don’t seem much care if you know about it either. This was my last email to them just two days ago after they tried to blame my computer for a networking issue on their end, which is standard operating procedure for them.

    I am a network administrator, wanna try again? My systems and networks are tuned to a quality level exceeding that which your internal networks are. The problem occurred both in the normal and safe mode with networking mode.

    The problem has since resolved it’s self which indicates to me that it was a Charter cable network issue. It’s past time that Charter stopped instructing their personnel to ### (WORD removed for legal reasons) to their customers as a default policy to ##### (WORD for legal reasons) for their ########## (WORD removed for legal reasons) and inability to operate a consumer grade network. If the people currently running your cable data network are unable to keep it running at ISP industry standard levels, then fire them, and hire someone else who can.

    This will come back and bite you, when it comes time for the city to renew your contracts. I will personally be leading a campaign to have Charter Communications replaced as Clarksville, TN’s cable franchise.

  2. robgilm Says:
    July 4th, 2006 at 4:11 pm

    I ditched Charter some time ago due to their incompetence. Constant down time of my never as fast as promised connection and the complete lack of knowledge and concern on the tech’s part was too much for me. Bellsouth DSL on the other hand is nearly flawless, and on the rare ocassion that I have needed assistance from the tech department they are both courteous and helpful, the exact opposite of Charter.

    If Charter has you ready to stomp on your modem give Bellsouth a call.

  3. wbird Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    I understand that no one is happy with cable companies but I hear everyone on this topic say that they want to vote Yes to have competition. Actively there is competition in Clarksville against Charter with Dish Network and Direct TV. So CDE will be the 4th competitor in the market? The proposal sumbitted to the City Council for cost of the system with Interest was over 88 million dollars that the tax payers of Clarksville, TN will be responsible for. Fiber to the home, you need to ask the questions; will CDE run a new line of fiber to every household that has an electric meter? I don’t think so. So if they compete with the 3 video providers existing and get a small share of the market, those homes will be the only ones that will have fiber to the home to read electric meters and be able to do instant disconnects and reconnects of power.
    I do not mind competition from a privately funded company not using tax payer dollars, 88 million dollars is a huge debt for the city to incur. If it would be profitable, why hasn’t an private entrepreneur built a Cable/Internet system already?
    Other questions that you have to ask if you live in a underground subdivision, Will I have another pedistal in my yard to mow around? Will I have my yard dug up by a trencher to lay new lines? Will I have to have another line buried up to side of my house? Will I have another box mounted on the side of my house? The answer to all of these questions is Yes.
    Better equiptment for Police & Fire Departments, Education, Better Roads, and more money for the develpment of the city to bring more business in Clarksville is what we need. Not 88 million dollars for something that we already have by numerous other companies.
    Smart tax paying citizens do not need to see our city go into debt another 88 million dollars, Vote NO on Nov. 7th election.

  4. Bill Larson Says:
    July 27th, 2006 at 8:31 pm
    Bill Larson

    The proposal submitted to the City Council for cost of the system with Interest was over 88 million dollars that the tax payers of Clarksville, TN will be responsible for.

    88 Million, It’s a small price to pay for a world class telecommunications infrastructure which will make Clarksville, TN a competitive city far in the 21st century. We need this kind of infrastructure to attract new investments in our community.

    Charter and Bellsouth will not provide it unless they are forced to as they are much happier with the status quo. There are areas which are not covered with Cable and DSL Internet services yet, they would be if Charter and Bellsouth had competition in those areas. Their motto is spend as little as possible to provide their services, so that they do not cut into their profit margins. I am sure that you know you get what you pay for.

    Actively there is competition in Clarksville against Charter with Dish Network and Direct TV. So CDE will be the 4th competitor in the market?

    CDE would be the 5th television provider as Bellsouth is already investigating offering TV service over the telephone lines. You also have the rising field of IPTV or television provided over the Internet.

    In the data arena, there are in reality only 3. Bellsouth (broadband), Charter (broadband), and everyone else (Dial up).

    Charter has no interest in competing against Bellsouth and visa versa. You need a dynamic market for real competition. A market of two isn’t dynamic. A market of three or four or five would be better.

    Fiber to the home, you need to ask the questions; will CDE run a new line of fiber to every household that has an electric meter? I don’t think so.

    It’s currently CDE’s plan to run fiber to every home. It’s in their interest to do so. They are not required to ask permission to do it, only to offer other services over the network they are already planning on building. In reality it’s simply a question of how you wish to pay for it. In higher electricity rates as they tack it on your electric bill, or via a long term low interest rate public bond. they can also reduce the total cost to the public by the revenue they generate from the services that they sell over the fiber, that is if we vote to allow them to do so.

    If it would be profitable, why hasn’t an private entrepreneur built a Cable/Internet system already?

    It is simple. The barrier to entry is too high for a private company. We don’t trust private companies to provide us clean water, to treat our waste water, to give us electricity. Why should we trust private companies with our telephone and data services.

    Will I have to have another line buried up to side of my house? Will I have another box mounted on the side of my house? The answer to all of these questions is Yes.

    You have to weigh the good against the bad, the costs against the benefits it provides. with the CDE plan, the benefits are so much more than the costs we would incur, that we would be foolish not to approve this.

    People complain that good jobs are no where to be found, that people have to drive to Nashville to make a decent living. Why. Because Clarksville currently does not currently have the infrastructure needed to support these type jobs.

    Every single company in the modern economy wants a cheap and reliable data infrastructure which can provide and support complex telecommunications services. Charter and Bellsouth have proved that they can not or will not provide them. And forget about the word cheap when you are asking about their services for businesses.

    This is simply the first step in making our city the type of place that large companies and corporations look for when they want to locate there. By supporting this we give our city the potential to become Clarksville, TN the Silicon Valley of Tennessee.

    I noticed that you did not disclose your connections with Bellsouth or Charter cable, and based on your comment it’s clear you have them with one or both. I would be interested in hearing about them. Are you a employee, consultant, PR person, stock holder, or lobbyist with either Bellsouth or Charter Communications. I bet your answer would have to be Yes.

    In the interest of openness and complete disclosure, I have no connections with CDE, Charter Communications, or Bellsouth. I am just a Clarksville Resident who has looked at the current options and found them wanting. Vote yes on this Referendum.

  5. Charter Communications Says:
    November 8th, 2006 at 12:34 am

    Dave

    Interesting topic… I’m working in this industry myself and I don’t agree about this in 100%, but I added your page to my bookmarks and hope to see more interesting articles in the future

  6. lsnrnn33 Says:
    January 22nd, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    I had Charter at one time, then switched over to work and subscribe to DISH Network. Love them! Haven’t had anything to call in about and my bill is very affordable, with the free HD and all. I take advantage of the international programming too. They have over 170 channels internationally! Definitely the best TV provider I’ve gone through! No more cable for me! :)

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