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RCN CABLE page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 361 reviews (188 good) (83 bad)
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Review by srr2 See Profile

  • Location: Bethlehem,Northampton,PA
  • Cost: $200 per month
Good "Cable modem, TV and VOIP Phone in one package, Good performance"
Bad "Customer (dis)Service, Tech (non)Support, thin HD lineup"
Overall "Very reliable, uncapped Internet,"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Update, Feb 2014

No significant changes to report. Now have 75Mbit/15Mbit service which has proven to be very reliable. RCN's service is generally reliable, with one notable exception: major power outages. The days of always-on POTS are gone. RCN's VOIP is no more or less reliable than its other services, which means that when the head-end backup batteries are drained, everything goes. That takes about 10 hours. (T-Mo's cell service here isn't any better -- it drops out in around the same time frame, leaving us with nothing.)

As long as there's power, RCN's stuff works. I don't monitor uptime, but it's very very good. In the last year, I don't think anything has been down for longer than an hour or so, and that was due, IIRC, to a cable-cut. I get the speed I pay for 24/7. I consider myself lucky however, because that's not the norm in other areas of the Lehigh Valley.

Another big plus is that there are no caps that I'm aware of. But then, my usage is probably more or less typical. Running full speed downloads all day might get you a letter -- I don't know.

HD TV channel selection is still a little weak, with some very curious selections. For instance, they don't offer H2 in HD, but they have "Blaze" which has to be one of the worst pieces of dreck in all of TVLand. Etc. TV quality is still good. I don't seem to see the compression artifacts that others have complained about. I see no meaningful difference between RCN's signal and an OTA signal from a local source.

Phone works without issue for voice, fax, and my house alarm.

Mercifully, I haven't had to call CS for quite a while, so I don't have any new information on that. The problems with noisy billing seem to have gone away.

Update, Dec 2010

After finally finding and fixing two bad connectors on the underground drop to the house, RCN's service has proven to be very reliable. There are no more phone dropouts, no Internet dropouts, and only slight very infrequent pixellation on a few digital TV channels. This is still true a year after originally posted.

Mach 20 mostly does what it claims, though there are times when network congestion obviously slows things down, but that's mainly at prime time when I tend not to use it heavily anyway. My heaviest use is at times I always get full speeds in both directions. I'd like to have faster upstream than the 2500KByte/sec upstream that comes with the Mach20 service, though this appears fairly typical for other competent providers. This area is still DOCSIS 1.1 only, so speed offerings are limited.. The modem is an Arris TM502G telephony modem. It has been 100% reliable (exclusive of exterior cabling problems) and runs very cool. I subscribe only to a dynamic IP, but it appears that as long as the NIC MAC address doesn't change, neither does the dynamic IP. Network latencies are normally quite low, at least to the UBR -- on the order of a few msec.

I have three SDTV and one HD connection, including some premium services. These are also reliable. RCN provides Motorola DCT700 for SDTV and a variety of HD boxes. I have a DCX3200 which provides adequate functionality for most applications. The DCT700's weaknesses include not having a component video output, and no options to set audio mode. There's only one guide which can not be customized at all. You therefore have to sift through many unwanted and/or unsubscribed channels to find the ones you're looking for. It's still better than no guide, but not by much. There are a few timers you can set, including those for a single event, daily events, or M-F events. They're pretty easy to use and seem reliable. RCN provides a few different models of remotes. Depending on your use, they may or may not be adequate or even useful. They're all plagued by use of inferior membrane switches and tend to wear out the popular buttons very quickly. So far, RCN has been willing to swap them out over the counter at no charge.

I recently upgraded to HDTV on one system. The switchover was extremely easy. All you have to do is walk into the customer service center with your old converter and ask for an HD one. Everything else was automatic. The counter personnel were very fast, accurate, and efficient. It was about the most painless transaction I've ever had with RCN.

The DCX3200 (along with a number of others in the Motorola family) offers a nice extra feature - remotable IR remote control input. You have to buy an IR sensor, but all that's necessary is plugging it in. You can then hide the big ugly converter box out of view, as long as you make sure that it gets adequate ventilation because it's a power hog.

RCN's HD maxes out at 1080i. With a good source, it looks fine, so I assume that they're not performing satellite-level compression on what they deliver. Retransmitted local channels are very good, with practically no compression artifacts.

There are two important deficiencies to RCN's service: Tech support and Billing. Tech support is almost always offshore. They're uniformly impossible to understand on the phone, and utterly incompetent when it comes to solving problems more complex than "The cable box power supply is unplugged". When something goes wrong, you can pretty much count on having to make multiple calls and then being put through endless irrelevant hoops before getting to the real issue at hand.

They also offer a variety of VOD. There's the usual list of PPV movies, premium channel re-runs, and some free stuff. The program material is fine, but navigating the VOD service is just horrible. "Clumsy" and "Slow" only BEGINS to capture the experience. When a program is finished, you have to start over from the beginning. Navigating the tree structure of the menu system is just awful. Painful. SLOW, with a million button pushes. They ought to look to Netflix for ideas on how to deliver VOD programming. The other thing they should have is a real-time listing of VOD content on their web site. As it is, if you think you might want to watch something, you have to endure the full pain of the horrible menu system just to see what's available. Then there are the things that *appear* to be available to you, but actually *aren't* which you find out only when it's too late. Too bad, Bunkie, it's back to the TOP of the Pain-Menu for you for guessing wrong!

Billing..... what a nightmare. I'm not kidding -- I dread opening the bill every month, wondering what they've cooked up now. For the last year, the price they're charging has changed EVERY month. I was getting so frustrated with it that there were some pretty hostile phone calls to Billing. Most of the time, the problem was fixable, but then, when the next bill comes you find out that the CSR didn't do what s/he said s/he was going to do. This is ENDEMIC. They are absolutely unaccountable for what they say, and apparently will tell you anything to get you off the phone. Then, to add insult to injury, after one particularly egregious screwup, this letter comes from some guy who claims to be the "general manager". The letter is on RCN letterhead, but it has NO CONTACT INFORMATION and NO DATE on it. It promises that "since you're a good valuable customer, your pricing will not change for the foreseeable future." Well, apparently this guy, whoever he is, lives on some other planet because, as usual, the VERY NEXT BILL had a new, much higher price on it. These people make dealing with this company a nightmare.

If RCN would get their act together on pricing and support, they'd actually be pretty good and I'd be pleased to give them my business and a higher rating here.

One last gripe I have with RCN is their apparent inability to control the volume level of locally inserted commercials. Some of them are just ridiculous, with -- I'm not kidding -- volume at least 10dB higher than the program content, It's especially bad with those from local car dealers, it seems. While the primary responsibility for this unprofessional behavior probably lies more with the amateurish fools that run the local ad companies (that would be you, Viamedia), ultimately RCN has to take responsibility for what goes out over their system. Maybe they'll get serious about getting this under control when the new FCC rules on this subject go into effect.

Otherwise, would I recommend RCN to my neighbors at this time? Maybe. I can tolerate the support deficiencies and price because there's no viable alternative right now. VZ DSL has gone down the drain here and Service Electric still hasn't upgraded this area to two-way, however as of late 2010 they are in the process, so it will be very interesting to see what they have to offer in the way of competition.



member for 12.8 years, 1919 visits, last login: 35 days ago
updated 244 days ago

Comments:

Review by emusselman See Profile

  • Location: Chicago,Cook,IL
  • Cost: $112 per month
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Fast, reliable internet speeds. Price is considerably better than Comcast, and speeds are much faster than Uverse."
Bad "Customer service requires you to jump through hoops if you run into internet issues."
Overall "RCN is a great alternative to Comcast or other cable providers, and is worth the switch."

I have a bundle that includes a Tivo quad tuner, whole-home bundle. The main unit records 4 shows at once, and the add-on units act as separate tuners that can play and control the main DVR. Internet is 50 Mbps download and 6 Mbps upload.

Order and installation process was painless.

We own DOCSIS 3 modem, otherwise the rental fee is $5 per month. By purchasing one, it paid for itself in the first year.

Service has mostly been very reliable and good. We ran into trouble with slow internet during peak evening hours after 8 months of normal service, which required several calls to Customer Service and two technician visits. Ultimately the problem was with RCN's network, which was corrected once it was identified. My only complaint is that we had to jump through several frustrating hoops with tech service visits before the real issue was finally discovered. However, once the issue was resolved we are were back to full speed and were offered a generous credit for the time we experienced problems.

With all this in mind, I would recommend RCN over other cable companies hands down.

member for 328 days, 16 visits, last login: 280 days ago
lodged 285 days ago

Comments:

ColombianMax

@comcastbusiness.net

Good to know!

Hmm, good to know, I'll keep them in mind for when Comcast screws up!

Review by scott523 See Profile

  • Location: Upper Darby,Delaware,PA
  • Cost: $53 per month
  • Install: about 10 days
Good "Price, Quick and simple installation."
Bad "Inconsistent speeds, Old debts ON property MUST be paid."
Overall "Best speed for the price. "
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Story:
Returned to RCN after their previous management failed to match Verizon's offering in 2010 and now (2013) Verizon can't match RCN's offering under new management.

Services:
Unlimited phone covers North America and Internet speed is 50/5 Mbps.

Installation:
Installation was quick since I had RCN before. A simple DOSIS 3.0 cable modem was installed and a phone box down in the basement. I opted to connect my own Apple AirPort Extreme base station to the modem. This is one less equipment to return if I have to jump ship.

Good:
1. Best speed for the price despite inconsistent speeds (see below).
2. Quick installation and no software was installed.
3. Although I could have signed up myself, this offer was brought to me by a kind representative going door to door.

Bad:
1. Inconsistent speeds can be a problem, especially during peak time. Speeds can go from 5/5 to 30/5 Mbps. It's a good thing I'm not a power user or I may consider using Verizon FiOS which is reliable.
2. Upon signing up for service, the representative ran a check of any debts on the property. There was an unpaid debt NOT under my name but someone who used to live here. If I didn't know this person or if my service deal wasn't good, I would've turned away but I paid the discounted debt dating back about 5 years.

member for 8.8 years, 1653 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 297 days ago

Comments:

Review by jsullvn See Profile

  • Location: Jim Thorpe,Carbon,PA
  • Cost: $49 per month (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Ease of order process, install time, service good."
Overall "Recommend"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

nice

member for 13.7 years, 840 visits, last login: 14 days ago
updated 308 days ago

Comments:






Review by Pacomartin See Profile

  • Location: Bethlehem,Northampton,PA
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
  • Install: about 10 days
Good "Excellent Service, good value for money"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

RCN, was sold to the private equity firm ABRY Partners in March 2010. You should consider reviews older than that to be obsolete.

member for 1.6 years, 534 visits, last login: 12 days ago
updated 359 days ago

Comments:






Review by ctk76 See Profile

  • Location: Woodside,Queens,NY
  • Cost: $45 per month
  • Install: about 1 days
Good "could be a good value when you get close to advertised speeds"
Bad "you rarely get the advertised speeds if at all"
Overall "can't recommend them in my area"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Rather than a lengthy review, I'll let the speedtest.net results speak for itself.
The advertised speeds are 25/2.
These are my speedtest.net results this month (October, 2013):

Down(Mb/s), Up(Mb/s), Ping(ms)
16.93, 2.11, 18
3.62, 2.08, 16
10.07, 1.95, 14
15.72, 2.02, 24
2.49, 1.94, 15
2.14, 2.08, 18
2.12, 2.16, 27
4.39, 1.92, 24

I had this service for over a year and while this is the worst I've seen,
it's not that much worse than my typical results from the past either.
When it gets bad, I'm having trouble just browsing websites (RCN making me reminisce the dial-up days).
Their pricing structure will make me pay $55 next year. I doubt I'll stay with them paying $55 for 2Mb service.

member for 11.3 years, 44 visits, last login: 142 days ago
updated 1 year ago

Comments:

Review by superberg See Profile

  • Location: Skokie,Cook,IL
  • Cost: $100 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
Good "Good value, mostly reliable internet"
Bad "Poor HD picture quality, bad DNS servers"
Overall "If you are able to troubleshoot simple issues, RCN is worth the savings."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I switched from Comcast as and ISP to RCN as a Cable TV and Internet provider about five months ago. I was getting 12 Mb down/2 up with Comcast (20/6 with PowerBoost, but that isn't sustained) for $60. RCN offered A near-complete HD package (it did not have the highest end tier of standard stations, nor any premium channels), as well as 50 Mb down/6 up for $100. This is off-contract, with a $10/month rate increase annually, guaranteed for two years. The plan includes a TiVo Premier HD in the rate.

An RCN installer (or RCN contractor, I'm not sure) came by within a week to get me set up. I had prepared my small apartment and it's equally tight entertainment center in advance, so the install was very smooth. There were some issues with the line(forward signal to noise ratio was close, but out of spec), which the tech reported and were fixed in less than 48 hours. Service ran without incident during the issue.

I receive my promised service for the most part. There are occasional outages, but nothing worse than I experienced with Comcast. There have been a couple short internet outages and one TV outage. All were brief (less than fifteen minutes), and for a consumer service not unheard of.

My two caveats with RCN are this: First, they significantly over-compress their video, which noticeably reduces picture quality. HD quality is sometimes so poor it is less than SD quality -- less than DVD quality for an HD channel is pretty sad. I don't watch a whole lot of TV, so it is not a deal-breaker for me. It isn't always bad, but it can become a blurry, macroblocking mess at times. Be warned.

Second, their DNS servers appear to be just shy of broken. Within a month, I was having some serious connection issues. However, I noticed that when I switched from their DNS servers to Google's that these issues disappeared. I have not switched back since, so I cannot say if the issue subsided. I am a tech by nature, so I tend to prefer fixing issues by myself rather than calling for support, so I cannot rate their support quality.

So, if you aren't worried about having the best picture at all times and you can handle changing the DNS server on your router, RCN can be a very good deal.

member for 4.9 years, 14 visits, last login: 1.3 years ago
updated 1.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by Asterix See Profile

  • Location: Nazareth,Northampton,PA
  • Cost: $50 per month
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "Decent speeds"
Bad "High latency and packet loss at times"
Overall "Better than local cable company or Verizon"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

Was stuck with Service Electric with their 15/1 Mbps package. Service sucked with down times and slow speeds.

Reached out to RCN but they were not servicing my house. RCN was across the street but not in my community. Since I was on the HOA Board for my community and with a simple phone conversation was forwarded to the area deployment manager. He setup an expectation to lay the infrastructure in my community by 2012-end or early 2013. At the end of the year I reached out to him again as I did not see any progress, only to find that the plans are still under budgetary process. Since my yard had a pole and close to the RCN pole from across the street, he made an exception and ordered his team to lay the cables from across the street to the pole in and across the yard into my house. I was up and running with RCN 50/6Mbps in less than a week. Kudos to the local area deployment manager.

Speeds have been decent but I haven't seen the full 50Mbps yet. At least once I day I see my firewall struggling to keep up with the latency which is temporary and lasts anytime between 10-45 mins. Rest of the times it works just fine. I researched and found its just not me but other local RCN customers are facing similar high latency issues.

UPDATE - 4/30/2013 -

Its been 3 months since I have RCN services. Internet quality goes down drastically in the evenings after 6pm till around 11pm. High ping times between 180-420ms and intermittent packet loss as well. It affects quality of Internet TV like Netflix and Hulu.

UPDATE - 6/13/2013 -

Connection is still plagued with quality issues with high ping times and packet loss. Changed 2 routers to eliminate a hardware port issue. Modem was changed a few weeks ago but the service issues continue on. Have lowered my overall service score. 50Mbps connection barely gives me 10Mbps these days.

member for 12.1 years, 3867 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 1.3 years ago

Comments:

Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: Somerville,Middlesex,MA
  • Cost: $115 per month
Good "good price for tv and phone"
Bad "Horrid customer service, the live reps dont know how to properly speak to customers, automated systems are not user friendly"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)



Maybe I am just spoiled by great customer service, but I switched to RCN for the cheaper rates and I regret it. Their online system, automated phone system, and even live representatives are not user friendly. The rep that signed me up spelled my name wrong, which gave me issues trying to start online billing and when I called about it the reps were very rude and not cust=

omer service oriented. I attempted to set up auto bill pay 2X and each time it failed and I ended up having to call to make my payments which cost a $4 convenience fee with the automated system or $6.95 if I spoke to a live rep. While the tv and phone services themselves worked just fine. I would rather pay a little bit more for conveniences such as: a user friendly online system, a user friendly automated phone system, and representatives that enjoy doing their jobs without an attitude.

(review was emailed from domain samuelsre.com)
lodged 1.4 years ago

Comments:

rcncares
Emilie
Premium,VIP
join:2012-01-04
Gainesville, VA
kudos:1

RCN Cares

Wow. That sounds awful !! Please accept my apology for the frustration and poor service you experienced; it is not the kind of service we strive to deliver. I work for RCN and along with the technical guys, monitor this forum to help our customers. If your issues have not been resolved and you are a member of the forum, you can send a private message to ‘rcncares’, that’s me, and I will take a look at your account. It sounds like the convenience fee you were charged was our fault and if it has not been credited off of your account, I would be happy to do so.

Emilie

taximomdlh

@swbell.net

Customer Service - Lehigh Valley

I had originally signed up online (in error) for the basic service. I had called RCN three times, and got the complete run around, the second time, a supervisor actually hung up on me. I called so I could get the Signature package, which according to the webpage is $89.99 per month. After fighting with the customer service as to what I want, and the price which is on their website, I got 'that is an internet price'; however no where on the webpage does it say it is only an internet price.
I had Service Electric, and switched because they were higher in price, had I known that I would get such crappy customer service and a higher bill than my Service Electric, I would have stayed with them. I am still considering going back to Service Electric because I am so mad and upset about it.
Whatever happened to the customer is always right, or wanting to please the customer. Obviously with RCN, they don't know what this means!!!

Review by hjdiet See Profile

  • Location: Bethlehem,Northampton,PA
  • Cost: $150 per month (36 month contract)
  • Install: about 1 days
Good "Pix quality almost as good as DirecTV.. Excellent speeds. Mine is currently around 15Mbs"
Bad "Extended power outages will leave you w/o phone service."
Overall "RCN has nice package deals... can't beat them..."
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings above consensus)

After having DirecTV for almost 14 years... made the switch to RCN completely... (also got rid of Verizon telephone).. RCN gave me a package (good for three years) that's saving me almost $60 a month (with a Tivo). I had some reservations about their phone service (now VOIP)...but it's been fine. I couldn't tell the difference after I was switched over. One thing to be aware of is that if you have a extended power outage (greater than five/six hours), you'll be without phone service. When your modem powers down, that's it (unless you have the modem plugged into an extended UPS). We found that out during last year's Halloween snowstorm.

The Package increased my Internet speed from 5Mbs to 15Mbs...

A local competitor just finished cabling up our area and their prices aren't even close to RCN's... and they have usage caps!

Very pleased with the service and support... just added Starz for $2.00 per mo....

It's been over three years now and I continue to be pleased with the service...

member for 10.7 years, 1227 visits, last login: 2 days ago
updated 1.4 years ago

Comments: