Review by mikehd
Good "works mostly"
- Location: Lebanon,Linn,OR
- Cost: $50 per month (month by month)
- Install: about 15 days
Bad "bandwidth exhaustion in our area since May 2013 with June 2014 estimated repair date"
Overall "Guess I'll be patient..."
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
CenturyTel now offers its ADSL service in rural Oregon. I lucked out when they pushed it out to a remote office (blockhouse) about 2 miles from my house. Only one speed available (512/256) for $49.95 per month, no limits on usage. VPN fully supported, dependent on home hardware. No home networking supported. Westell Wirespeed DSL modems used ($120 from CenturyTel), and they allow you to spread the cost over 12 months if you like. Order process was a bit confusing in that the hardware came but no notice what to expect next. Service was delayed 2 days past the promised date due to inexperienced field techs (finally found load coils on my line at the RO). PPPoE with DHCP is used. Actual speeds are typically 450/220. Very happy to have a stable broadband service.
Update Jan 31, 2002 - since my first signup with CenturyTel I have experienced about 5-10 days of service interruptions, mostly due to loss of their carrier out of the state. Some troubling tech support issues occurred during the most recent service "brown out" (not gone but slowed way down). I got one tech to tell me that they were having problems on their network, but the second time I called the tech just said that my Netgear RO318 router was the problem. The symptom was slow connection and IP address expiring every 5-10 minutes.
Also, if you check out community.centurytel.net you will see that they are running a promotion where you get your ADSL modem for $49 (regularly $120) and first month of service free if you commit to a year service.
Update July 7, 2003 - Service has been very steady and reliable over the past 18 months. Some slow down issues lately where a reboot of the Westell was required to get full 450Kbps speed (512Kbps advertised). Not clear to me why they don't offer higher speed service - is it their hardware? infrastructure?
I've been using the news service and their website more often lately and am a bit disappointed to how weak they are in those areas. The news has a very low retention rate, and their website just repeats the same info available everywhere.
July 15, 2003
Thought I would take the time to report a rarity with our ADSL service: an outage today! It may have been foreshadowed by increasing frequency of disconnects over the past few days. Today we could establish synch with the RO, but couldn't find a PPPoE server to get our IP. Just talked with a local field tech who was on his way to the Lacomb RO to turn things back up.
I had contacted the CT 800 number on Sunday (July 13) night to let them know things were starting to have trouble. Monday afternoon (July 14) we got a message from a local field tech to discuss the issue. Today (July 15) we get contact with the same field tech who is going out to fix the problem, and said that he would call back to the house to verify that service was re-established. I'm impressed.
More good news on the CT front: they will be offering higher speeds very soon. They have the network capability and have made the business decision to become more competitive with cable (Comcast in Lebanon, OR).
Aug 1, 2003
No news yet as to when CT will roll out the higher speed packages.
June 17, 2004
CT has been offering 512/256, 768/256 packages for a while now. For the same price that used to get you 512, you know get 768.
They also switched to Giganews for their newsfeeds, which has been a big improvement.
Stability has been excellent. Their web-chat CS is not usually useful for me. Their 800 number CS typically results in the problem really being solved.
Bottom line: CT aDSL still delivers.
December 31, 2004 - Happy New Years!
The last six months has been the worst in terms of network stability with CT. Numerous calls to the 800 number result in the usual "all ok up here" and "reboot the modem, disconnect your firewall" routine. Most problems peaked in September, and have again smoothed out in the past month or so. I'm downgrading my rating of CT based on the past 6 months to average overall.
In an attempt to resolve the connection stability issues, I purchased a next generation Westell dsl modem (6100) to see if it's vaunted and hyped technology would enable more stable connects at higher speeds. No help.
I'm back on our old 356 and haven't had to power cycle it in weeks. Service is set to 1500/256 and typically we get 1200/220.
September 5, 2006
CT has upgraded our local RO to be fibre fed. Must say that this is the most exciting development in the world of CT since they discovered aDSL technology. They are apparently now offering 3Mbps and 6Mbps packages but I don't know pricing yet.
Their website portal is still pretty clumsy and hard to find info. Looking for the latest offerings? can't find it here, gotta call them. Their 800 number tech support has been reworked to be more responsive and human, feels like you're working with someone that cares about the issues not just a drone. They still have that delightful southern accent.
Local tech support continues to be strong. Although a recent RO upgrade resulted in our service being left at 512/256, a call to the 800 line got a ticket opened (after the typical modem reboot, no router troubleshooting steps). Got a return call from the local tech who validated our MTU didn't change then set us up the bomb to 1.5/256 again.
Need to see what the line conditioning steps are to get to reliable 3Mbps service.
November 5, 2006
We got 3/512 service this past week. Been very steady. Replaced the 5 year old modem with a new 6100 series. $50/month for the 2x faster service.
March 8, 2007
Another round of calling CT's CSRs to get some resolution on our periodic synching issues has concluded. Resolution was attained by insisting they open a repair ticket and having the local tech see the issue from his gear in the Lebanon office. A field tech was sent out to troubleshoot the cable pair. He found a bad splice that was grounding out the pair during wet weather (which we have a bunch of during the winter). Having the local phone number for a sympathetic tech is invaluable, but it is also a responsibility to not abuse the relationship. I still call the CT CSR line to open tickets, but it is good to know I can call (and I get calls from) the local tech for issues such as this.
Sept 26, 2007
Further issues with unsynching and speed degradation over a 24 hr period forced me to call in the CT CSR center again. Took a few tries as one of the CSRs wouldn't open a repair ticket if I could reboot my modem to restore speed. Another wanted me to put my netgear router back into service to address the PADT disconnect issues. Sigh. Eventually I got a repair ticket opened and the once again excellent folks in the Lebanon Oregon office were able to track it down to the last piece of hardware: my Network Interface Device. They upgraded it to a new one that uses a whole house splitter/filter. I did three home runs to it: one for data, two for phones. The dsl tech did the final tie in and an excellent job of dressing the cables down to the house. We went a record of 90+ hours without an unsynch or disconnect. The record was broken due to a power bump that reset the modem and router.
Summary: CSRs... meh. Local techs... EXCELLENT!!
August was a month or more of 'nightly slowdowns' where our 6Mbps service would magically drop to less than 1Mbps, then restore back to 6 by morning. Of course there were no issues at CT's end . Noticed a post in the new dedicated CT forum by another local CT user in Lacomb with the same issue. Luckily CT techs are now participating in that forum and were able to investigate a bit for us folks. By mid-September the problem was resolved.
Once again, I am very grateful that CT has invested in our rural community in the technology needed to provide HSI access. I just wish they would upgrade their CSR group and provide them with real tools and real info on the true status of the network.
The past year has been mostly without drama here in Lacomb with Centurytel. We haven't had any issues with the merger with Embarq into Centurylink. Our best service is still the 6/512 tier and it typically performs fine. Our Belkin G wireless router started to develop some issue with stable download speeds (verified by connecting directly to the modem and using Vista's native PPPoE client) so we replaced it with a Buffalo Tech WHR-HP-G54. It's a fine router once you replace the garbage firmware on it with Tomato, but that's not really relevant to this review of Centurylink.
Hoping that CL will invest further and open up the available speeds to >6Mbps down in the new year.
Oh, and sorry for not seeing your reply earlier DSLdude08. I haven't had to contact the CSRs this past year so don't have any performance reports from that end.
Happy Yule everyone!
The love affair is over. Centurylink appears to have abandoned any real plans to fix the ongoing bandwidth exhaustion out in our area. It has been an issue since May 2013. I'm going to try calling our local techs and see if they can give me any real info. sigh.
After sending an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org I received an update stating that the necessary network hardware to relieve the bandwidth issue should be in place by June 2014.
BTW, I was very impressed with the contact thru the above email. Give it a try if you have persistent issues.
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updated 193 days ago