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Time Warner Boosts Broadband Customer Speed — But Only Near Google Fiber 203

Posted by timothy
from the just-a-coincidence dept.
An anonymous reader writes " Rob is a Time Warner Cable customer, and he's received two really interesting things from them lately. First, a 50% speed boost: they claim to have upgraded the speed of his home Internet connection. That's neat. Oh, and they've also cut his bill, from $45 to $30. Wow! What has prompted this amazing treatment? Years of loyalty and on-time payments? No, not exactly. Rob lives in Kansas City, pilot site for Google Fiber. Even though they have shut off people in other states for using too much bandwidth. Is Google making them show that it's not that hard to provide good service and bandwidth?"
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Time Warner Boosts Broadband Customer Speed — But Only Near Google Fiber

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  • Cancelled today (Score:5, Interesting)

    by methano (519830) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:36AM (#42750955)
    I was one of the first Road Runner customers in the RTP, NC area. I've been a good customer. TW recently upped my rates and their remote is terrible. Unfortunately for TW, some real competition recently showed up for what once was a monopoly. I switched and just got off the phone to tell them that I am canceling. Amazingly, some promotions, that I was previously unaware of, became available to me. No way. A little competition can be a good thing.
  • Not just Google. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:36AM (#42750957) Journal

    I had my Time Warner Cable bandwidth increased without asking about a month ago here in Cincinnati because of competition from Cincinnati Bell laying down their fiber service all over town. That being said, if I could kick Time Warner to the curb and get Cincinnati Bell's Fioptics service where I live, I would in about three shakes of a lamb's tail.

    This isn't only happening where Google is doing their fiber experimentation.

  • by PlusFiveTroll (754249) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:53AM (#42751131) Homepage

    Yeah, I got that message a while back. They claim a 50% boost, but I haven't seen it. Even after resetting the modem and router, everything seems to download at about the same speed as before. I suspect BS (hardly atypical for Time Warner).

    Since you don't list what kind of router you have, what kind of firewall rule processing it's doing, and if you're using wireless it's hard to tell who the weakest link is.

    I never use a ISP integrated modem/router(/wireless gack), too many of them suck and lock out too many options. If a regular router you can stick your own server on the WAN port and run something like http://www.speedtest.net/mini.php [speedtest.net] , across the LAN you should see 100Mbps (or more if it's Gb the entire way). If it's slower then 100Mb on wired your routers performance sucks. Test wired first then add your WLAN in, I have seen many wireless setups that where showing a 150Mbps (good) connection not even perform 30Mbps transfers.

    Even more advanced tests would be to try to run 2 speed tests locally at the same time. Most equipment will starve one stream (one 99Mbps/one 1Mbps), some equipment will give bad jitter and the total speed will be less then 75% of line speed, and latency will be high, and very rarely the equipment will have decent queuing and the two streams will be close to even at around 95% of total line speed and latency will be decent.

    Actually getting 20Mbps+ from the random internet host is not very common. Testing a close, fast host inside the TW network is the best way to tell. This might help.

    http://www.timewarnercable.com/en/residential-home/support/speed-test.html/ [timewarnercable.com]

  • by bratloaf (1287954) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @11:58AM (#42751199) Journal

    Its amazing. For the past 10 years TW has been steadily increasing rates, "confusing" their billing (Oh, sorry sir for the $12/mo mistake for the past 3 years that was hidden in your "bundle"), and their service of ALL types has been getting crappier and crappier. To the point where I was ready to just ditch them all together and do ANY thing else.

    Crappy cable box problems. Internet outages. S L O W internet (at times) and OK others. Finally FIOS came around here about a year ago, and several people I know switched. Initially they had some technical issues but nothing really bad, and NO one I know including myself has had any issues at all in the past year.

    I called TW 4 times, and got all the way to a management type 3 of those times, to ask about a billing situation after our bill went up $60 a month. For no reason. They were NOT interested in fixing the situation and retaining me at ALL. In fact, the last words they told me, when I said I prefered to stay with them but was going to just go to FIOS if they couldnt fix it, were "Well, you have to do what you have to do". From a manager.

    When I turned in my boxes, the girl said "wow, you have been a customer a LONG time, why are you leaving?" I told her, she just rolled her eyes and apologized and said "Thats typical (of the TW customer support folks)".

    Now TW is running these commercials on the radio around here 24/7 trying to get people to "come back". "See the difference" "Your money back if you are not satisfied" etc. Too funny really. As long as VZ - another HUGE company - keeps their customer service and value where they are now, Im staying. For sure.

    Competition is a GREAT thing....

  • how such low prices? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Jodka (520060) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @12:07PM (#42751315)

    So I live in Overland Park, a suburb of Kansas City. Google fiber is not in offered in Overland Park yet, but because it is close by and spreading I checked out the prices and signed up for email notification when their service becomes available in my area.

    The prices. Holy cow. It's free. A one time $300.00 installation fee but then it is free. So I was wondering for months how is that possible? Is Google taking a massive loss? Did Google invent a new technology which allows them to undercut their competitors?

    Then on a drive across town to the local Fablab I was listening to the local public radio station which just happened to be interviewing Susan Crawford, author of the recently published book Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age. As the summary at Amazon [amazon.com] states:

    This important book by leading telecommunications policy expert Susan Crawford explores why Americans are now paying much more but getting much less when it comes to high-speed Internet access.

    Well as you might guess from the subtitle of the book, what she finds out when she explores is that internet and cable service in the U.S. are regional monopolies. Even when multiple internet and cable service providers operate in the same city they divide up the city into regions of monopolistic coverage and only overlap on small percentages of territory.

    So Google offers such spectacularly low prices by undercutting monopolists, having enough clout to overcome barriers to entry which block startups, and Moore's law has reduced the cost of providing internet service to something pretty close to free. The inflated prices for internet broadband service which we have paid in the U.S. have not followed Moore's law [technologyreview.com] because service provider are monopolies. Now with the disruption of that monopoly in one regional market prices are back on track with Moore's law there.

  • Re:Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 31, 2013 @01:29PM (#42752403)

    The funny part is that how much government is involved with a particular part of infrastructure is based directly on how old that kind of infrastructure is.

    Roads, water/sewage, and postal service? Those date to at least the Roman Empire, so of course they're run directly by the government as a general rule. The Post Office is specifically enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, and "Postmaster General" used to be a cabinet level position.

    Electricity? Heating gas? Ah, now we're only going back a little over a century, so we have heavily-regulated private companies providing the infrastructure.

    Telephones? Less time still, with a commensurately less-regulated industry.

    Cable TV? Even more recent, very little regulation. And, of course, residential Internet access is done on the incumbent phone and cable networks, so it ends up there on the spectrum.

    Cell phone service? It's completely Wild West, with the government just divvying up spectrum. Is anyone surprised at predatory contracts and usurious rates and terrible service?

    Here's the revelation: you go on that list in reverse order, newest and least regulated first, and I bet you're reading it from worst customer service to best. I've literally never had problems with my water utility, and rarely had problems with my electric service, but Comcast and Sprint? It is to laugh.

  • Re:Good (Score:4, Interesting)

    by guises (2423402) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @01:36PM (#42752477)
    That doesn't make any sense. What dirty tricks? The only dirty tricks that have been happening have been by private companies who hate competition [slashdot.org]. Those few municipal networks that have actually got up and running as utilities have had nothing but good press [slashdot.org].
  • of course! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tilante (2547392) on Thursday January 31, 2013 @02:33PM (#42753249)

    Of course they're doing it because of Google.

    Where I grew up, we were close to a military base. The town allowed a cable company to have a monopoly. The base didn't, and had competing cable companies. Guess who got much lower prices and a broader selection of channels? Thankfully, the town council at least had enough sense to notice that the base was getting better deals, and to apply pressure to the cable company each time their monopoly came up for renewal. Thus, while they didn't have quite as good prices and selection as the base, my parents still get better prices and selection than I do, even though I now live in a city with about five times the population.

    Competition does wonderful things to markets.

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