Review by ArizonaSteve
Good "Speed is getting slower everyday. 176kbps is nothing to brag about!"
- Location: Apache Junction,Pinal,AZ
- Cost: $60 per month (month by month)
- Install: about 30 days
Bad "Slow, Long Ping Times, HIGH COST!"
Overall "World's Worst Cable Co. Service is bad and so is tech support!"
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)
Service was out last night and now the speed is down again to 678Kbps down, a little faster than dialup except for the slow ping times. Who wants to wait several minutes for each webpage to open or time out?
It does weird things too, like sometimes Yahoo or Hotmail can't be reached or Gmail won't open any messages.
I can't believe those guys are trying to raise the rate for just internet from $52 to $60! That's twice as much as everyone else around here charges! I don't know how they can get away with that, they must think they can do anything they want since they have a monopoly. They should be lowering the rates, not raising them.
I won't pay that much for their lousy service and I'm going to cancel. I suggest everyone else do the same!
I went to talk to the Mayor to see if anything can be done about the outrageous increases and he said that he didn't think so but their contract is up for review this year and since they have thousands of complaints against them they might not be renewed! He wasn't happy with them either because his TV service goes out all the time. He said I could go to city hall and file more complaints if I want. I must have a hundred or so by now that haven't been documented including their attempt to cheat my by putting charges on my bill for renting a modem when I wasn't renting anything from them. Hopefully they can be kicked out of town and somebody else with lower rates and better service brought in.
I suggest anyone else in Apache Junction also go to city hall and file complaints.
When the service was going out every other day for the first two years I would sometimes go by their office and demand credit for the lost service. However, after a couple of years they changed the policy so that service has to be out for over 24 hours before a credit can be given. It got a bit better or maybe I just learned to live with it and wasn't too much of a problem until the fall of 2006 when the internet died one Monday so I went over and reported it and was told they couldn't get to it until Thursday! When I got the bill it was for the full amount of $52 so I went back and demanded a refund for the week of no service. They corrected the bill there at the office but it would never 'take'. When I got the next bill they had added the amount deducted back on again. I would go over and have it removed and then it would be back again. It's like the two groups were not even communicating with each other. That's when I noticed they had been charging rental for a cable modem and asked for that to be removed also. The next month I didn't get any bill! I went in to inquire why and was told that with the credit I didn't owe anything. After that they never could get the billing straight again and the next month I got a bill for TWICE as much!
I refused to pay the added amount and continued to pay just the standard $52 amount and not the double amount each month but they started sending me past due notices and calling every month. Once I answered and it was a woman calling from Mediacom saying my bill was past due. I told her not to call me here anymore and she said that she was not going to stop so I've blocked their number on caller ID.
Update: Digital cable on Mediacom is nothing but a SCAM! The channels aren't digital, just like they say in the satellite dish commercials!
Sunday a Mediacom salesman came by and was telling me about all the advantages of getting digital cable and showed me all the new channels I could get. I only have Internet because all the basic channels are weak and snowy besides being too expensive. I have an HDTV receiver and already get better reception from my roof antenna on all the channels than they do!
Anyway, he said they had a promotion going on and I could get a package with Internet and digital cable for a year for only $2 more than I'm paying now for internet alone, $54.95 vs $53, and I wanted to try it out and said OK. Today a guy brought by the cable box and hooked it up. Actually he just handed it to me and I hooked it up. Then he left and it took quite a while to download the guide. At first it could get HBO, Cinemax, the Movie channel, etc. and since they are the digital channels they come in perfect. After a while they were cut off and I still get the basic channels but THEY AREN'T DIGITAL!! They are the same weak, snowy channels as before that you can get on your tv without a cable box so the digital cable box serves no purpose except having a guide. I can hear the sound on some of the HD channels but it requires an extra cost HD adapter to get the video but I already get HD. The Motorola DCT1700 cable box is going to be useless to lots of people too. It doesn't have digital audio out or even S-video, just 3 RCA jacks for composite video and stereo sound! If they try to sell you digital cable watch out!
Outage update: The repair crew came by a couple of times during the spring and couldn't make any sense out of the noise that I'm getting when service goes out every day. They tried monitoring it for a few days and could never see anything like that on their equipment.
The last time they were here I showed them how weak the signal is and asked them to turn up the level. It's odd they have equipment to monitor the signal but don't know how to use it. All the times they were here before and checked the signal they never were bothered by how weak it was. Part of the problem is with their equipment, they have an expensive digital spectrum analyzer that seems to amplify and filter the signals so they never see the noise and interference but they never noticed the signal strength, or lack of it either. Even the modem will give the signal level without any other equipment and always read about as weak as possible so I guess they just have no idea how much signal there should be! My spectrum analyzer is an older model that doesn't amplify or filter the signal, just shows the raw signal on the screen. In this case Mediacom has such a low level signal that it isn't even visible on the screen. Compared to an off the air signal from my roof antenna that shows all the stations sharp and clear the cable signal was non-existent. After they boosted it some it's now high enough to be visible above the noise but still not as strong as an off the air signal from Phoenix over 30 miles away. Since that was done the internet reliability has been a lot better, it worked fine for a little over 2 months. After that it started going out again occasionally but only once or twice a week so I haven't checked into the problem yet.
They Raised the Rates! Now it's $52.95 per month for bad service!
I don't see how they can have the nerve to ask for more money but I guess they have to pay those service guys who come out all the time and never fix anything.
Or don't come out when they are supposed to, whichever the case may be. Last time I went to their office to complain about the outages they scheduled someone to come the next Monday and give me a loner modem to try. They were supposed to come between 8:00am and 12:00 but nobody showed up! In the afternoon I called the office to see what happened and they didn't know where the guys were or how to contact them! I asked to speak to the supervisor and they said there was no supervisor, they were working on their own!
Since I couldn't even get any response from Mediacom I decided that after a year of problems I'm going to have to find the problem myself if it is to ever get fixed. I dug out my old spectrum analyzer that I used when I was designing satellite receivers in the '80's and connected it to the cable splitter to monitor the signals.
I had expected to see the blips on the screen showing the cable signals, find the channel the internet modem uses and monitor it for changes in amplitude, frequency, etc. but instead I found hugh amounts of noise and interference that completely swamps out the signal. After watching it for a few days I found that the performance is worse when the noise is greatest and sometimes it's so strong that it knocks the modem off line.Even when the interference is at a minumum it's still greater than the cable internet signals. I've also noticed that the cable signal sometimes goes away completely! Last night at 10:00pm the modem lost receive and went off line when the signal went away for about 10 minutes and there was nothing on the cable at all, not even the noise. I printed out the copy of my pictures and took it over to the office to give it to someone who might be able to do something about it but they weren't interested! I was given the email address of a Mr. Ross (probably a fake name just to get rid of me) that I could send it to but after sending him email there was never any response. After service went out some more times I called tech support once again and they actually sent someone out who showed up this time. They always come when it's working perfectly so I showed him the pictures of the noise on the cable and a video capture movie I had saved. He seemed puzzled and left.
This weekend I found that if I call tech support after 11:00pm I can speak to someone who actually sounds knowledgeable besides the receptionist who just schedules service calls. I gave him the URL to my website and he said he would give the problem priority treatment so I may get some solutions now.
Service is bad and so is tech support! Waiting 4 days for repairs is rediculous!
Don't sign up for this unless it's all you can get.
Ordering and installation went pretty well although it took 3 guys with 2 trucks to install the cable. Speed was 1.5Mbps down and 128Kbps up. They provide a dynamic IP address. At first I had the TV service too but cancelled it after 3 months because all their channels come in poorly with snow or distortion and I get better reception than they do. Besides, I have HDTV and they don't offer that yet. The internet service worked well until summer and started to go off every day when it got hot outside in the afternoons. It's Arizona, you'd think they would be prepared for the heat, DOH! Couldn't get tech support on the phone so went to the local office and complained. They called tech support and arranged for a service call the next day. Service guy came out and looked it over, went away for a while and said they found a loose connection and it was fixed. Not sure about that since summer was nearly over and the temperature extremes had subsided but at least it was working. Then in the fall it got flakey again and started dying every evening when it got cold out. Most of the time I could get it going again by resetting the modem. Then it went out completely one Tuesday morning and didn't come back on. Couldn't get anyone in tech support until Wednesday and they said they couldn't get anyone out to look at the problem until Friday afternoon! I guess they had to drive up from Florida! I went over to the local office to complain and was told they didn't know anything about the problems since they didn't get trouble calls! Waited all week and service guy finally showed up on Friday, he looked around for a few minutes, said they were having trouble in other parts of town too and left but it was working again on Saturday. I don't know why they want to come out to my house anyway, the problem isn't at my end. They should have monitoring equipment at the central office to show if it's working or not and where the problem is!
I'm the IT guy for the county school district and we have different equipment, fiber and microwave instead of cable, but we never had problems like that. I suspect their amps are drifting with temp changes. I got the office to give me a credit for the four days it was out but had to argue with them for it.
The weather warmed up some and service got better for a while but it still dies almost everyday. It went out while I was using it on Jan. 6, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 29, and twice today, Jan 31. Tried calling tech support on the 21st and was put on hold forever and finally gave up. When I called on the 26th they hung up while trying to transfer the call! When I finally got through to tech support once they weren't any help. They are in Fla. and don't seem to know anything about any problems in AZ.
This afternoon the modem lost the signal and rebooted at 4:20 pm, then it worked a while longer and died again at 6:30pm. This time rebooting manually didn't help, I could ping the DNS but not any sites like yahoo.com or ebay.com. Tried to call tech support but was put on hold so long it was working again before they ever answered so I hung up! I got an email saying they were going to double the speeds and I just checked and I'm now getting 3030 Kbps down and 240 Kbps up.
They said it would be down for a few minutes between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m. from January 28, 2004 through January 31, 2004. Since this isn't 2 a.m. I don't know what the problem is but must not be due to the upgrade. I just wish they could keep it working well enough that it didn't die every day!
Speaking of the DNS servers, they sometimes have problems too. MCHSI doen't even have their own DNS servers. When I was having problems one day I did a trace route and found that Mediacom uses ATT.NET DNS servers that are located all the way in New York City! Sometimes there seems to be so much congestion that it takes a long time to reach the DNS, which makes web browsing difficult.
For $50 a month they should provide better service that is reliable.
Update: They doubled the upload and download speeds but I just wish they could keep it working everyday! Service went out almost every other day during January and February started out the same way. When it completely died Sunday morning Feb. 8th at 10:00am I called tech support again and was told they would be out on Monday to fix it between 8:00 and 12:00. At least it wouldn't take 4 days this time! I was home all morning Monday and nobody showed up! After noon I went over to their office to see what was going on. I'll bet they are starting to wish they weren't located so close to my house. The lady called to check on the work order and found out the service crew was out in Queen Creek working. They were out of radio range and couldn't be contacted but they should be going to my house after they finished there. Out of radio range? Never heard that excuse before. The batteries in their CB's too weak?
They finally showed up at 4:00pm. For some reason it always takes 2 or more guys and 2 trucks when they come to my house. One guy checked the signal level at my modem but of course it was working ok then so there wasn't much to see. They mentioned hearing a leak from the cable as they drove up my street so they wandered off down the street to check on it. They have scanners that are tuned to a cable channel and will beep when a signal is picked up, a handy way to find cable breakage from several hundred yards away. After an hour someone called to say they had found 3 taps that needed to be fixed and it should be fine by the next morning. I suspect that lowlifes who live in a mobile home park down the street are tapping in illegally and messing up my internet service.
Anyway, they must have fixed something because it quit going down every other day. It only quit once for a minute on Sunday Feb. 15th and otherwise has been working pretty well everyday since the last repair. One problem I still have is sometimes it's impossible to read email in Yahoo mail or to even open Hotmail. It just sits there a while then gets a Server Not Found error but works when I try again later. The weather has been rather mild, not too hot or cold so if the service has been improved remains to be seen.
Right after leaving this update it died 3 times in a row! It's Friday, called tech support again. They have added several more annoying layers of nonsense to the voice messaging that you have to get through to finally get a person on the phone. They said someone would come out on Monday 8:00-12:00 but I doubt it will do any good, never really helped the last 3 visits.
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updated 2.9 years ago