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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 Jonamerica See Profile

  • Location: Chicago,Cook,IL
  • Cost: $53 per month
  • Install: about 8 days
Good "Good package deals for new customers"
Bad "terrible service, constant outage, bad equipment, $50 fee to use your own modem"
Overall "I wish I had gone with DSL from the start"
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Connection Reliability:
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Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

When I first moved to Chicago I saw an ad informing me that I could get my cable TV (with two premium channel packages) cable internet (1.5mbps down / 250kbps up) and phone services (with caller id, call waiting and voice mail) for $99 / month. This sounded like a great deal.

So much went wrong, but since this is a review for the Internet server I'll stick to that. First off the installation occurred when scheduled, but the modem they gave me lost its connection and reset every 5 minutes. Of course the cable tech didn’t stick around long enough to notice and since he was out the door before I complained I had to wait 2 days for someone to come back to replace it.

The second modem was fine for about 4 months, then the power supply when bad, sort of. Every time you jiggle the cable, say when you bump the desk or tap your foot, the cable modem lost its power and you'd lose your connection. When the tech guy came to replace the modem he informs me that, "this is a real common problem but the company keeps sending these modems out."

Now I have a new Toshiba modem that looks good, but I decide, to save $5 / month, I'd go out and buy my own modem (one that I know is quality) so that I never have deal with bad equipment again.

RCN charges a $50 fee to use your own equipment. They claim this is to cover the tech that has to come out and check to make sure your modem will work (even though they have a list of compatible modems on their site) and to make sure there isn’t a "fire hazard".

Now being a tech guy I know how the system works. All they have to do is enter my modem's mac address into their system and I'm all set. This does not require a $50 charge. But they refuse to waive the fee.

I could easily get twice the speed for the same amount from SBC/Yahoo but to do so I'd have to cancel my phone, which is also through RCN. The whole thing is a mess.

Other things RCN has done for me: Double billed my account, stopped sending me paper bills and charged me for late fees, screwed up my phone line trying to install the phone service then tried to charge me for fixing their mistake the next day, cancelled my service accidentally, channel reception -especially on premium channels- is awful, the premium channels randomly go out and become entirely un-watchable, have gone through 2 bad cable boxes as well as cable modems, the speeds are extremely low compared to what else is available for the same cost, the average bill with fees and taxes in $115. Their fees alone turn their advertised price of $99 / mo to $105.

All in all this company is not worth my money.

member for 10.6 years, 13 visits, last login: 4.2 years ago
lodged 10.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by joe9442 See Profile

  • Location: Burlingame,San Mateo,CA
  • Cost: $113 per month
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "extremely fast, cheap and I'm getting more than other services"
Bad "haven't experienced any yet"
Overall "RCN has been great so far"
Pre Sales information:
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(ratings above consensus)

I ordered a cable tv/internet & phoneline package from RCN. My cable connection is rated at 5mbps down & 800 kbps up and tests so far have put me at around 6mbps down and 800 kbps up so I'm definitely happy in terms of bandwidth. (Entire package was $113 a month, and I'm getting a helleva lot more than Comcast was offering for more money.)

So far I've had no problems.. a tiny bit of packet loss which I have heard is common with RCN but it hasn't been a problem at all with neither gaming nor bth.

Overall I definitely am happy with my choice and would recommend them in a heartbeat... the sales rep was also friendly which I've had bad experiences in the past with other companies. The tech showed up precisely on time and was also friendly.. they even had a representative come over and talk to me about the services I ordered for a little bit, he showed me a few things with the cable tv (video on demand etc) and although he wasn't very technical friendly he was a nice guy hehe.

member for 10.6 years, 8 visits, last login: 10.5 years ago
lodged 10.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by dhl0 See Profile

  • Location: Arlington,Middlesex,MA
  • Cost: $90 per month
  • Install: about 1 days
Good "cheap"
Bad "internet service problems..no fixes"
Overall "fix or switch"
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(ratings below consensus)

I've been on RCN for a week. Seemed like a good deal, getting cable tv with HBO & hi-speed internet service for $90. Had problems from the start with my computer resetting its ip address, that was sorted out a day later, but have been plagued with high losses of packets, which causes freezes and results in being dumped by servers. Not a huge issue for basic internet use, but makes playing internet games impossible. The most annoying thing is the customer support, which I've wasted many hours on the phone with, & E-mailed constantly, who can't seem to figure it out. They just say there's no problem with the modem & lines, & that its my ethernet card, but I've run all the tests & its fine. If anyone has any ideas or fixes or similar situations let me know. I will probably switch to comcast soon.

member for 10.6 years, 2 visits, last login: 10.6 years ago
lodged 10.6 years ago

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Review by cxc4u See Profile

  • Location: New York,New York,NY
  • Cost: $55 per month
  • Install: about 1 days
Good "Reasonable speed, uptime"
Bad "Slllllooooowwww response to service requests or inquiries"
Overall "If you know what high-sp33d means, then you won't have problems."
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(ratings match consensus)

RCN has good uptime and good speed. Never been capped or anything that I'm aware of. Once, I got hassled because they couldn't find a modem that I returned, but they just gave up on that after a while.

For the last 3 years, they've been my broadband provider, and I just want to say thanks for the minimum hassling. I originally ordered a dynamic IP, w/ just basic service, no special speed rate. Then 9/11 happened, and they are kind enough not to charge me for the time I was there (believe me, I had plenty else to worry about!). Later on, they bumped me up to a higher speed cap (not that I really noticed, 'cause surfing is surfing) w/ no extra charge, and they're generally good with the install-uninstall, although I really don't know what the big deal (silly charges) with wiring is. Hey, w/ a staple gun and 100 ft. coax, I can make a pretty pattern too!

>$50 is not my ideal price point (I attend NYU but no connection to campus network, :-( ), but it's better than the "T-1" line by that other no-name provider in the building. Not to mention, OOL is kinda flaky around here. Their wiring is still present and I think their jacks are active, but they don't seem to officially sell service to my building. Oh well, so much for competition, eh?

member for 10.7 years, 21 visits, last login: 5.6 years ago
lodged 10.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by tjrome13 See Profile

  • Location: San Mateo,San Mateo,CA
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
  • Install: about 4 days
Good "Bundled package, great speeds"
Bad "Not available in all areas"
Overall "Solid Internet, phone and TV all in one!"
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I used to have AT&T (which then switched to Comcast) for my internet connection. The speeds were ok, but now that i've been able to switch to RCN, I'm spoiled! I live in the San Francisco area, so I have access to the Megamodem service, and it's great. My download speeds are very good, but more importantly, the upload speeds are typically 4x faster than anything I could get with Comcast.

I've also enjoyed the solid Technical support provided by RCN. They respond quickly and honestly to my questions.

Finally, it's nice to get my phone, TV and internet charges all on one bill (and the prices are cheaper than if I paid for each separately!).


member for 12.1 years, 9 visits, last login: 10.2 years ago
lodged 10.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by datatransfer See Profile

  • Location: Easton,Northampton,PA
  • Cost: $40 per month
  • Install: about 4 days
Good "Reliable! Never gone out on me. Right quick."
Bad "There're bad points?"
Overall "Great service"
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Thinking of broadband in Norhampton? Don't even dream of Verzion. I'm right happy with RCN- I simply can't find anything wrong with it.

Several months ago I'm downloading a file, and I'm thinking "Hooo, this is fast!"- run a speed test, and I've got 3000 down. Yep, that's right, we get bumped from 1.5 to 3, no price increase, no outage- they didn't even tell us! What kind of company does that?

Not only is it as fast as I'll ever need (800 up? Are you kidding? No.), but since we got 2-way, I can count on one hand the number of times it's gone down in two years. We have a very nice Toshiba modem that's done great with everything.

1800-ring-rcn is always there, always nice, and always helpful. I've really got nothing to complain about.

Except for price (and it could be cheaper), this is not a good, but a great provider. The telltale sign is that my last review was years old- I simply don't think of RCN, because nothing ever happens.

I think I'd pick RCN over anyone else in the country. Reliability is worth it.


member for 12.7 years, 1220 visits, last login: 151 days ago
updated 10.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: Chicago,Cook,IL
  • Cost: $180 per month
Good "Nothing"
Bad "Everything"
Overall "Do not use RCN service in Chicago"
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(ratings well below consensus)

I purchased a static IP address from RCN in July, since then it has changed 5 times and it takes up to 2 weeks at times to get the IP address that I paid for restored. Since the beginning of February, I lost the static IP again, and my cable modem service stopped functioning. RCN refused numerous times to restore the IP address that I paid for. Shortly after getting connectivity again, I lost service and it took a week and 5 technicians to find the problem and correct it. The my service lasted a day after that. They have sent 2 technicians out to check my lines (which I requested). Both technicians did nothing and left. During the second attempt at getting a technician, he showed up, refused numerous times to perform the repairs requested and attempted only to sell me more services. He was not called to sell me services, only to fix my problem. I called back and was promised his return that day. After an hour of no confirmation I called back and spent 2 hours on hold only to be told that they would not fix my problem. They have scheduled another technician, but I seriously doubt that the technician will do anything upon arrival. I have been lied to about my service being fixed, and overheard conversations while on hold between co-workers on the customer service line talking about drinking alcohol at work. I have been promised that my problems would be fixed I call but nothing happens. It has been a month of no resolution. I have been told by the supervisor of their call center on 2/28/04 that she did not care about my problems because I was not a corporate account customer. The technician that came on 2/28 refused to give me a signal amplifier and refused to test the signal strength on my cable line. I have spent over 15 hours this month on hold and over 8 hours waiting for technicians in this past month only to not get anything resolved. I have asked to speak with technicians concerning my problems and told that they will not speak with me. My home business is loosing money and customers over this and there is no remedy offered for my loss in revenue.

The customer service representative do not provide information or assistance with anything not involving just turning off my cable modem and plugging it back in. There is something more to this issues than simply unplugging my modem and plugging it back in. It is obvious that there is something else wrong at my residence, and they refuse to fix the problems. The supervisor that I spoke with on Saturday explicitly told me that the customer service representative that promised to transfer me to my local dispatch office probably transferred my back into their queue, which means I was lied to about who they were getting for me to fix my problem. I was also lied to about the fact that the technician was going to return to my residence that same day and actually fix my problem. I have lost a lot of time and energy that could have been devoted to my business trying to deal with this issue.

(review was emailed from domain sharedmarketing.com)
lodged 10.6 years ago

Comments:

Review by kenward1 See Profile

  • Location: San Mateo,San Mateo,CA
  • Cost Contract price not specified. (12 month contract)
  • Install: about 40 days
Good "I like the Platium bundle it has everything"
Bad "Poor customer service, but getting better"
Overall "I STILL like it"
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(ratings match consensus)

I've been a customer for slightly over 3 years now and I still like the service. Since i signed on, the speed of my service has gone up twice. It started out ~1.5 meg down, now it averages ~4.5 meg down and 600+ up. Now, after 5 years, I'm upto 10+ meg down and 700+ up

member for 14.8 years, 5284 visits, last login: a few hours ago
lodged 10.6 years ago

Comments:






Review by laslo4 See Profile

  • Location: Bethlehem,Northampton,PA
  • Cost: $78 per month
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Extremely fast, good technical support"
Bad "Terrible customer service and billing service"
Overall "Highly recommended if you want fast internet connection"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
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(ratings match consensus)

I upgraded from one way cable which was unreliable to two way "MACH 5" cable modem service. I have tried several bandwidth tests and maximum speeds are about 5.5 MBits. Typical range is 3.5 to 5. I have had service for 3 weeks with no interruption, always on. Technical support is very good. I needed it a lot with one way modem but no problems with the 2 way.

Billing is very frustrating. RCN has a new billing system. I am supposed to receive paper bills and email notification. I do not receive either. Also online Web based bill paying does not work for me. I have called Customer service several times but issue has not been resolved and poor follow up by RCN in calling me back. I have to call RCN each month and pay bill via telephone using my credit card.

member for 10.7 years, 6 visits, last login: 3.5 years ago
lodged 10.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by byronshock See Profile

  • Location: Boston,Suffolk,MA
  • Cost: $46 per month
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "Very fast downstream, very fast upstream, peered with Northern Crossroads (local universities)"
Bad "Infrequent brief unannounced interruptions for network service, unstable connection since 12/03"
Overall "Much better than DSL for the same or lower price; great for students, and gamers; good for telecommuters (a bit unstable)"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Overall, my experience with RCN has been excellent, and has surpassed all my DSL experiences. I got exactly what I expected, and the consistency of the speed I get is excellent. I am particularly pleased with the upstream speed, which at ~700 kbps allows me to transfer large files to school as well as from school.

As a student at Boston University, I use a lot of SSH and X-Window sessions. With a stable ping of 15 ms thanks to RCN's peering with Northern Crossroads (nox.org) and excellent bandwidth both ways, these sessions are a pleasure. In many ways, I find it easier to do my work from home now.

Less of a pleasure have been other ping-sensitive (e.g. gaming) connections. From November through January, many connections to East Coast servers outside of New England were routed through Chicago and/or California. This nonsensical routing invariably resulted in at least a 100 ms ping penalty. RCN's replies to my concerns were intelligent, but the problem remained after many weeks. (It has recently improved considerably--please see the UPDATE below.) As a consequence of the routing problems, I would still be somewhat hesitant to recommend this connection to online game enthusiasts. (Note that my pings throughout this period remained as good as or better than any DSL connection I've had in Boston, however.) Prior to November, my RCN Cable ping times to East Coast servers were typically good to excellent, in the 40-60 ms range. Many pings I got between November and January were in the 70-140 ms range, and were in the 110-170 ms range when connections were getting routed through San Francisco! Although there were always some servers with low pings, many of my favorites were affected.

A minor concern I have is that brief interruptions sometimes occur in the early morning hours. These are infrequent, but they can be painful if I'm actually trying to do something. I'm sure RCN warns about these interruptions on their website (there is an outage listing), but I usually do not get the warnings in time.

If you plan on using broadband for media or telecommunications, I recommend RCN Cable in Massachusetts without reservations. If you need a broadband connection for gaming, RCN is good, not great, but is still probably better than all of the alternatives in the Boston area.

UPDATE (1/20/2003): Over the last several weeks, I have been consistently getting routings through Chicago, rather than through San Francisco, to many servers in New York. Although not ideal, this is a considerable improvement, as it halves the penalty for such labyrinthine routings.

UPDATE (2/28/2003): I updated the review to reflect the current status. Connections throughout the country have been getting very good, stable pings. To get a ping as high as 100 ms, I have to connect to a resource that is geographically distant. Connection latency and reliability have improved, and I have upgraded the score in the connection reliability category from 3 to 4 as a result.

NOTE (2/28/2003): As of 4/1/2003, the cost of high-speed internet will rise from $50 a month to $57 a month for those without RCN cable TV. RCN customers will continue to pay an incremental monthly charge of $46, although the cable TV price will be rising (you guessed it) by $7 a month. The effective price if you get multiple services (cable, telephone, internet) bundled through RCN is even lower--additional savings due to bundling can reach $25 a month.

UPDATE (4/28/2003): I raised the Value for Money from 4 to 5 to reflect the exceptionally good pricing that I now receive by having an RCN Essentials CPI (Cable, Phone, Internet) package. This reflects my individual circumstances, which may not be representative of all RCN users! The change is saving me approximately $20 a month over the unbundled cost of RCN cable and internet services (previously with a low-usage metered service telephone line from Verizon), and I am pleased with each and every component. Note that this is applicable *only* to users in my situation, with RCN's competition limited to incumbent providers for telephone and cable. The value for money here in Boston is extraordinary for those who can get RCN's services.

I would emphasize that I cannot receive DirecTV at this location, so the only competitors that factor into the overall package price comparison are Verizon Telephone and Comcast Cable.

I lowered the Install Co-ordination score from 5 to 4 to reflect a misstep in my latest installation. The order failed due to Worldcom's incompetence, and the DSL line lock from hell that has prevented me from getting RCN phone service for over ten months even though I wasn't getting DSL service. Anyway, RCN did NOT notify me that the order had failed, and I found myself waiting around at home on the day of a non-existent installation. This installation experience has been averaged in with my previous experiences, all excellent.

The connection reliability remains very good, and I'm reiterating February's score of 4. RCN seems to have responded to users' routing concerns not only with the stock "well, it's within our specifications" answer, but also by fixing their routing issues to ensure that they do not continue to plague otherwise good service. Time will tell if they have solved this problem.

UPDATE (11/5/2003): Routings have remained much better. Pings are stable and low.

UPDATE (1/27/2004): Since RCN increased the downstream cap to 3 Mbps, the quality of my connection has gotten much worse. Intensive use of the connection (performing an rsync operation with files at school, for example) often crashes the cable modem. RCN technical support has only been moderately helpful, wasting far more than $60 of my time to fix a $60 modem. A firmware upgrade seemed to fix the problem, but then it resumed after a few weeks.

This problem, and RCN's inability to diagnose it on the first two attempts, has resulted in a downgrade of the Connection Reliability score from 4 to 2 and a downgrade of the Tech Support score from 4 to 3. This less reliable connection represents worse value for the money as well, so that has been downgraded from 5 to 4.

Routing seems to have consistently improved over the past year as indicated by my broadbandreports.com line monitor ping graphs.

member for 14.2 years, 229 visits, last login: 122 days ago
updated 10.7 years ago

Comments: