Review by linicx
Good "Works as advertised 98% of the time "
- Location: United State
- Cost: $73 per month (60 month contract)
- Install: about 30 days
Bad "Slow to fix small problems. Be persistent. "
Overall "Good service if you understand the limitations of distance"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
As you read my reviews, whether you agree or not, It is important to understand that in each case I lived in RURAL America, and was treated poorly by a corporate conglomerate . It makes no difference if you live in Winslow Arizona, Oakford Illinois or Pea Ridge Arkansas. If you live in an isolated area the odds are overwhelming that you will get a slow Internet connection (less than 1.5Mbps down) and lousy service at a very high price ($40-$50) from the same company that brags how it offers 24Mbps down for $19.95 in a densely populated town.
This is RURAL AMERICA - the home of reality. The place where NO national telco or cable company wants to serve you or your family. These companies state they lose money every time they hand you a pen and stick their hand in your pocket - because you do not live in a densely populated are like New York City. The reality is they don't lose one penny serving rural America. What they whine about is the 5 miles between farms and ranches, and the 20 miles of boring cornfields between small towns. . .
Internet networks are nothing but a series of wires, hubs, routers,.arrays and switches that delivers the world wide web to your house What you get is only as good as your local provider and local tech support. You may get a bad deal like I did from Century Telephone, or you might get lucky and find an good deal from your local cable company. You might also find a local mom & pop operation that is superior to all the telco and cable companies in the world. If you do, thank the Internet Gods, and be happy. I've found two in almost 20 years and I consider myself extremely blessed.
Gather your wagons around, boys, this has been a circle chuck from the start. I was in the process of buying a house, closing a house sale, and moving between two states with a dying spouse when I ordered the service. The installers were supposed to be at the house the day of closing as we would be returning home the next day. They showed up a day late. And we paid for one month of no service because no one at tha local level bothered to check records. They assumed all was well when it was not. Nothing worked. The copper pair that came to our house had been assigned to someone else. I essentially paid to roll out the truck to fix it.. It still irks me.
The sales gimmic the lady offered would give me a $20 bonus per month for new service for getting the local/LD/dsl bundle. She forgot to mention the caveat. I had to send in one coupon per month six times. Let me be the first to tell you that IF you are the sole caregiver of a blind sick patient at home, you don't think about ponzi schemes, you think about the patient, ER, ICU, Rx. meals, death and dying. And I lost the $120 bucks. It is my fault, but this is one of the most unreasonable telco I ever dealt wilth. They make Ma Bell look like a piker when it comes to plain old-fashioned mean spirited customer relations.
Something else I did not know is the local telco sold out to Centurytel before we moved. It promised to be a bumpy ride and it has been. I can't keep a signal. Filters were replaced twice and the Starbridge Lynx 220 modem was replaced twice, too. A new copper pair from the office to the house was installed, plus the office equipment was reset or reseated four times. And it sill doesn't work very well. I guess I've been without service for at least 12 days in the last four months.
To their credit, when the phones only worked like a half-duplex card they fixed it the same day but only because the work order went to a compassionate repairman who knows my sick spouse. These guys are the cream of the crop, but they are over-worked and under-paid. Sooner or later someone will be hurt.
The DSL is iffy. When it's hot, it's hot, but when it's not, dial up is faster. A lot faster. CenturyTel has room to improve in terms of consistent up/down speeds. But in terms of office staff and first level tech support, this car-wreck-about-to-happen needs a complete overhaul.
The good news is wireless from a local-owned company in a nearyby town is coming soon. The better news is I have the land, the building, and the electricity to power a new tower.
I need to clear up some things for BBR. Once upon a time this service was GRICS. Century Telephone bought it about two years ago.
I can say with all honesty, no improvements have been made. The promised FIOS was never installed. I do not know anything about this service except it stops 4-5 times a day for no apparent reason. Messages from a genealogy group I belong to are being blocked. I never cared enough about this company to inquire why, because the answer is always the same. The server is always working fine; my PC is the problem. It is the same " all purpose" answer I heard fifteen years ago. The problem is I have not used a PC in a number of years,
Today is 26 Feb 09. I finally had enough.Tomorrow I pull the plug on the internet, and if I like the new ISP, in a couple of weeks I'll add their VOIP and drop Century Telephone completely. When I'm all done, I will save about $100 a month and still have everything I need.
It is now mid-May. Good old Century Telephone tried to jerk me around for an extra $200+ for quitting the contract early. The low speed and frequent interruptions was not acceptable for DSL or for the price I was paying, plus I was paying 15 cents per local call.
Some how these arrogant telcos believe two things. 1- Every customer uses a PC, and 2- Rural customers don't know what a computer is. They are wrong on both accounts. By the time I came to CenturyTel, I had already been on DSL for several years and I didn't own a PC. The fact that they did not provide it was not my fault. They fact that it took several months to get the phone service working to a point where I could actually use the Internet was not my fault - but I still paid for it. I stayed with them longer than I should have - only because I did not realize I had another option. The ISP I use now is like a breath of fresh air. The office is awesome I can talk to IT anytime it is necessary, and they do not treat me like I just got off the turnip truck. Now they are upgrading and I have some small connectivity issues. They are aware of it and it isn't anything I am not willing to live with until the upgrade is complete.
As for CenturyTel's antics, I filed a complaint with FCC with a brief history of my problems with their service and stated I thought the 30% per month they wanted to charge on the balance of the contract was outrageous. Century Telephone agreed. They offered to send a small refund - but it takes four billing cycles to write a check - but they want their check every month.
My experience with Century Telephone is a common problem in rural America. Poor service and slower than advertised speeds is as normal as eating a hamburger. And every once in a decade you find a small ISP that works hard to give customers the best service they can provide. Small ISPs are not national telco and cable companies They are at the mercy of these companies who provide the Internet connection -which can be as far as 200 miles from local servers. In 15 years, I found one cell phone company and two ISPs that believe customers are VIPs. The public if fickle. It is a shame that the telcos and cable companies that depend upon us for revenue don't understand it.
Update: Februaru 16, 2010
I said good-by to Century Telephone several months ago and I have not looked back. I do not regret my decision as it saved me a great deal of money and a lot of aggravation. This company does not serve rural America well. It caters to larger towns. Don't look for any improvement in a town less than 25,000 or larger.
Since I left, this company is trying to shed its tarnished image with a new name. It gobbled up a few smaller telephone companies in their rush to the East Coast. Now they are offering unbundled Internet because locals are leaving this company in droves. I do not know if they really believe their own smoke and mirrors or not? I do not understand what this company does not get abut the last mile copper line. If you haven't got it you won't get it until that copper comes to your house. What they don't tell you is if you are far enough away from the Central Office (CO), you won't get it anyway,. You might compressed dialup, but you eill not get true broadband speeds.
Update March 22, 2010
When I dumped this telephone company, the carrier I went to had some ups and downs, but terrific tech support. I was never told my equipment was at fault, and there has never been any money issues. The big surprise is my speed was upped to 7 Mbps last week. My speed test is now consistent to any point, at any time of day. It is the best speed I ever had in any rural area and a far cry from the 33.3 modem I first used all those years ago. . I keep thinking I"m in a dream and I'm going to wake up. I am realistic enough to know that if I ever see speed tests of 50 Mbps, NYC will be pulling 500!
Update December 22, 2013.
CenturyLink in rural America is very much like the little girl in the 1940s nursery rhyme....."When she was good, she was very good, but when she was bad she was horrid." By federal law FCC licensed telephone company must provide a usable voice connection between the customer and all USA borders in the lower 48 excepting in extreme power failures such as those caused by massive flooding, tornado, earthquake, hurricane, ice storms, and contractors who dig first and pay later. This law does not cover: cellphone, cable, portable phone, any type or kind of VoIP,. operating systems, or third party Satellite TV, or Ham Radio operators. The law does not guarantee how well any Internet will work, whether or not there is congestion on the line,whether or not the service was over sold, how much noise is on the line, or any download or uplink speed. The commerce commission only addresses telephone, gas and light issues.
Most rural phone companies are placed in a county seat -- the city where your county or parish courthouse is located. In this case "parish " is a legal definition of land rather than a religious destination. Rural American towns can be very small or quite large. A rural county seat of say 1500 is less likely to receive fast internet. On the other hand a rural county seat of say 2500 with a hospital, heliport, EMT, satellite community college, and perhaps a port of call is likely to have more bandwidth allocated to it. This is a fact of life based on community need.
The problem with rural is this. A phone company can provide a telephone service to every house in the county and everyone will have he same experience. Not so Internet. It has its limitations. There is no diplomatic way to explain to a customer their Internet will never meet the advertised speed because it is X miles from the plant (office) equipment. It may cost $50,000 to bring FTTH to one house that is less than two miles from the plant. Multiply it by 2000 and then subtract the number of homes who have other communication devices. It is not cost effective to the company or to the customer. This is why if you live in rural America, and not in a village, city or town county seat you are more likely to have 1.5 Mbps down at home than you are 10 Mbps down.
My beef with Century Link in the last 3 years has been with land line quality once they switched to ADSL, and I started to wear hearing aids. My position is if this: If Century Link can provide 100T fiber to Paris and London it should also be able to provide a home land line that is stable and reliable in rural America. I went through all the "it's not us, it is your equipment" excuses for over one year.
One day I was surfing my state services and I found the Commerce Commission. When I made the same complaint the third time I had several different telephone people here. Nothing is wrong with my equipment. Any problem I have is between their equipment, the POP (which I can see), and the plant. The last time they were here they replaced all the jack filters in the house with a whole house filter, tinkered with a phone in the basement I rarely use, upgraded the modem, and gave me a new card in the plant. The telephone guy thought the problem might be my portable phones. I cannot use a standard phone because I can't hear the caller. He said it was the best quality portable phone he'd ever tested. It should be. I spent a lot of time talking to Panasonic corporate to find the correct phone for me.
I can say today that 98% of the time I have a stable 10/1Mbps Internet connection and a phone that is reliable. The DSL phone is not POTS, but it is more reliable than VoIP because I don't have the uplink bandwidth to support VoIP. Century Link could have, and should have, fixed this problem long ago. I give them lot credit for doing it right, but only after they were prodded by the Commerce Commission. Instead of fixing it, they paid 100 man hours to avoid it. This is not only poor business practice, it nets a lot of bad reviews and complaints.
In my opinion most of the large corporations play the same game with customers. It's a craps shoot when they throw the dice. Sometime they win, and sometime customers win if they are persistent enough and pursue all avenues open to them. The single thing none want is a reputation for abusing handicapped customers.
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