Review by N3CAL
Good "Rock Solid Service in 2013!"
- Location: Lexington Park,Saint Marys,MD
- Cost: $69 per month
- Install: about 14 days
Bad "None "
Overall "Only ISP / Service available in my area. I have no other option."
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
July 2005 we purchased our home and ordered service. At the time the local cable/internet company in St. Marys County, Maryland was GMPEXPRESS. The customer service order went okay and after a two week wait service was installed. I am leasing the cable modem: Motorola SB5101 @ $2.95/month. No problems except the modem would require a power reset several times a week. My GMPEXPRESS service "Residential Gold was 3.0mb down / 384kb up. Our previous home we had Verizon DSL at 1.5MB but DSL is not available in this area so I have no other options. GMP offered the DSL modem buyback at $8.33 credit each month for 12 months. July and August went fine with download speeds always above 2.0mb each day. September 1, 2005 GMPEXPRESS was acquired by METROCAST. I received a letter from METROCAST detailing my new exciting premium High Speed service at 4 MB /384K for the same price! Since METROCAST took over the download speeds has dropped to less than 400kb day - night. The only time I can even get over 1.5 mb down is in the early morning hours. Thats no where close to 3.0 - 4.0 mb down! I've have called several times and have had several trouble tickets which they close out only after sending a Tech out to check the line. Techs always say my signals are fine and the problem is with the Head End. They are overloaded and can't handle the # of customers. This has gone on for the past 3 months. The local office has admitted their system is overloaded and they are adding more equipment to handle the load but to date the service/speed is far below what I feel I should get for my money. Tech Support doesn't know the status of the companies equipment upgrades and only insists on sending a tech out each time to check the line. They did replace my leased modem a week ago with another Motorola SB5101 which had a newer release firmware but the download speeds are still terrible. Billing each month has been painful also. Each month they forget to include the $8.33 DSL buyback credit. That requires another painful call to their Tech Support line. It's the end of January 2006 and still waiting for some decent download speeds. I wish they would reduce the monthly fee until this problem can be resolved. My advice is steer clear until they can improve their service. It's not worth the headache.
Update: 6 April 2006
It's been 10 weeks since I wrote my review. Nothing has changed except Metrocast continues to take on additional customers and has been unable to resolve any of the issues. It's been a month since they added another CMTS but service has not improved! It's gotten worse! My download speed this evening is less than 100 kbps and upload only 200 kbps. Broadband Reports.com packet loss test shows 25 -27 % packet loss between my modem and first node, all hops after the front end shows no loss at all! My call to Tech Support tonight confirmed the packet loss however they can only report the issue to the local St. Mary's County Office. My calls to the local office go unanswered. I guess they are tired of hearing the numerous complaints from their customers. My frustration could be less if only Metrocast had the decency to inform their customers of the situation and what their plans are to resolve it. It sounds like they need additional equipment besides the CMTS? I really would like to drop this nightmare but this is my only option! IOW I'm screwed and pissed all for 52$ a month! ARGHHHH
Update 2, May 03, 2006
Management called me May 1st in response to my Better Business Bureau Complaint. Metrocast gave me a one month credit for service but no apologies or answers. Since this was a management type employee she was unable to answer any of my questions. She wanted to know if my service had improved lately which my response was the average 200-500K download during the afternoon and evening hours along with 10-35% packet loss had only improved to 1000-1800 kbps download and about 7-10% packet loss. Yes there is an improvement but not up to my expectations. Early morning hours have improved to about 3500 kbps down. Her only response was to send another Tech out to my house again! The Tech was here yesterday and I was able to get some of my questions answered. The Tech called Leo and Bobbie and they indicated they were still working the issues for my area (Greenbrier) and it could be another month at least! From what I was able to get out of the Tech is the OTN site I get my service from (Ridge) needs another fiber optic line run from Leonardtown (Head End) to handle the customer base. Till then it looks like afternoon and evenings will be well below rated speeds. To sum it all up, Metrocasts Network was designed around a customer base of approx 2000 but they have at least 8000. They need allot of work to get where they need to be. BEWARE.....
Update 3, Aug 16, 2006
After about 2 months of decent download speeds (3200 kbps) Metrocast is back down to being overloaded during the afternoon and evening hours. The last week my download speeds have only been around 150 kbps. My upload has been solid at 384 kbps. Tech Support waiting time is in excess of 100 minutes. I still get the same old acknowledgement of "we have had allot of calls about the terrible speeds" and "we will have someone come out and check your line". I've had to put up with this terrible service for a full year now! The only thing Metrocast is reliable about is sending you a bill every month! Metrocast is the worst ISP I have ever had to deal with! Avoid if at all possible.
Update 4, Dec 26, 2006
Most of the problems over the past year have been resolved since MetroCast has updated their equipment here in St. Mary's County, Maryland. I can honestly say service has been reliable throughout the day and evening hours with avg download speeds of about 3900 kbps over the last three months (Oct-Dec 2006). November 15, 2006 I received a letter from Metrocast saying they were increasing their rates. High Speed Internet was going up $2.00/month and they were going to increase download speed from 4 MB to 6 MB. Well my December bill has already arrived and they held true to the $2.00 increase but I have not seen the speed increase yet! A call into the office today indicates the speed increase will take effect on 1 Jan 2007. I'm not holding my breath! I'll update again in the near future. Lets see if they can do it? I hope the new year is not another repeat of the last year!
Update: January 13, 2007
Metrocast's Download Speed increase to 6 MB has been very painful here in Lexington Park, Maryland. The supposed increase took effect 1 Jan 2007 however the reliable speeds I wrote about in my last update (over 3000 kbps) have disappeared. My download speeds have dropped way down to only 600 kbps or less during the day and evening hours. I've placed a trouble call to Metrocast which has been outstanding for 13 days. To date they have been to my house and verified the cable and modem are good but the problem is still unresolved. After providing the Tech with download data for the last 15 day period he agreed there is a problem on the Metrocast side.
I can only conclude that Metrocast is using deceptive advertising tactics and they "throttle their bandwidth" to the extent of 80% or more during daytime and evening hours. 600 kbps or less for a 6000 kbps service is plain wrong! Customers are not getting what they pay for!
Update: Feb 15, 2007
Metrocast still has not resolved the poor download speed issues for my area (Greenbrier). I have spoken with the local office several times since January 1, 2007 when the upgrade from 4 MB- 6 MB took effect. Metrocast has told me that several Nodes in my area are overloaded. They say a normal Node has around 200-250 customers on it. Metrocast tells me the node Im on has over 500 customers on it. This is the same thing Metrocast told me back in the spring of 2006! It took several months to add equipment to fix that previous problem. I was led to believe the overloaded nodes then were updated to handle the number of customers in the area and also allow for additional growth! What I dont understand is how a Node can work fine at 3500-3900 kbps download speeds, 24 hours a day from August 1, 2006-December 31, 2006, then overnight it becomes overloaded again and speeds drop to only 600 kbps? It doesnt make sense!
Over the past two months Metrocast has said they were going to split up the Nodes again. The magic date was supposed to be Feb 13, 2007. Well its Feb 15th and download speeds are only around 700-1200 kbps from 3:00 pm through 12:00pm (Midnight) which is only a couple 100 kbps improvement if that. Im also still on the same node and wonder what will happen when folks start to move into the 100 or so homes in the new section and are brought onto the same node?? I just doesnt look like there is actually any equipment upgrades happening.
I can honestly say Metrocast can only provide a 700/384 service reliably to this area. It is not a 6000/384 service they advertise and its not worth $54.00 per month! Beware!
Update: July 2010
The saga continues. I had to downgrade my 10 Meg/ 1 Meg service because I was not getting anything close to the speeds they advertised. Metrocast has made strides in updating their hardware and improving speeds in my area (Greenbrier) however they still need some work. After a very painful winter with over crowded nodes they have improved. Speeds have been more reliable and outages kept to a minimum. I'm currently getting by with 7 meg /.5 Meg service.
Update: February 2012
Metrocast has continued to upgrade their systems and increase their speeds however it still seems they have equipment issues here in Maryland. I now have the HSD Ultra internet package (25/2 Mbps) $69.95 During peak times of the day I'm lucky to see 10-12 Mbps down. Metrocast did contact me to say they will be installing new Head End equipment in my area sometime this quarter to resolve the issues we see here in the Greenbrier subdivision. Till then, issues will remain. It's the same old story. The price is high compared to other ISP's.
Update: December 2013
Metrocast seems to have completed upgrades in the past year. They have really made a great difference. My HSD Ultra Package has been rock solid the entire year and just last week they increased the package speeds once again. I now get 52/5 Mbps for $69.95. I've been happy and have no complaints.
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