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RCN CABLE page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

Reviews:
bullet 365 reviews (189 good) (85 bad)
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Review by hepcat1 See Profile

  • Location: Chicago,Cook,IL
  • Cost: $42 per month
Good "Least expensive option in my area"
Bad "Frequent connection loss, VERY slow downloads most of the time"
Overall "They've gone from great to garbage in the last 6 months...AVOID"
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(ratings below consensus)

I got RCN when I first moved to the Rogers Park area of Chicago because it was the least expensive ISP for cable modem at that time. For the first 4 years, they were absolutely outstanding. Service, support, customer relations...all A+.

However, starting about 6 months ago, they've gone from king of the hill to utter crap. My outtages are like clockwork, my speeds WILDLY vary (although they weigh heavily in on the GODAWFUL SLOW side), and support (since it's been moved OUT of chicago for chicago customers) is completely unable to help other than sending out techs (which are ALWAYS going to take at least a week to two weeks....ALWAYS!).

I would HIGHLY recommend rethinking your choices if you decide to go with RCN at this point. They've gone WAY downhill and just can't be considered a reliable provider.

member for 10.7 years, 0 visits, last login: 10.7 years ago
lodged 10.7 years ago

Comments:

Review by GS3 See Profile

  • Location: New York,New York,NY
  • Cost: $80 per month
Good "High Speed is as it says. 3.0 - 5.0 Download and up to 800 on Upload"
Bad "Representatives are not reliable. Charge a little xtra for cable channels. Not Time Warner."
Overall "I prefer Time Warner when it comes to Digital Cable. I prefer RCN for High Speed (Mach 3 & 5)"
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(ratings match consensus)

Time Warner provided reliable customer service. I had no problems with their cable and internet access. for $100 monthly, I was able to get Digital Cable with 5 premmium channels and high speed. Here lies my problem... I play Xbox Live. My Upload speeds were capped at 300. I host games on Recon and everyne can tell u, if you wanna host a full room of 12-16, you need the upload speed. So, I went to RCN. I don't need a cable box to see main channels like ESPN, YES, MTV, VH1 and every other channel. Only if I wanted HBO, MAX and the rest would I need need a box. Saves rental fees. The High Speed for RCN is SUPERB right now. I am hosting full rooms. Bringing in the MAX. If you play Xbox Live or even PS2 online, you definitely need more upload speed if u have to host. Another thing too which RCN and many other ISP's won't be able to tell u is that u need to have the right cable modem in order to take full advantage of your high speed service. Took me 1 year to figure out why my connection was capped on my Xbox Live when it wasn't on my computer. Problem is, the newer cable modems that RCN and Time Warner provide u with do not work well with the Xbox Live service and PS2 Online. It is because they don't transfer the UDP packets as fast or even not at all with the newer modems. Don't know why. Maybe it's their (XBOX & PS2) service. Anyway, the older modems they had works better. These are the 2 cable modems that work well. TOSHIBA PCX 2200 and the Motorola Surfboard 4200. I had the Toshiba 2600 and my connection on Xbox Live was capped at 300. When I bought the Toshiba 2200, I was in heaven. I live in the heart of Manhattan too. THE MAJOR PROBLEM I HAVE WITH RCN RIGHT NOW IS THE FACT THAT I HAD TO PAY A TRUCK ROLLING FEE OF $49 FOR THESE DUDES TO COME TO MY HOUSE, USE MY PHONE AND TELL THEM MY MAC ADDRESS AND MY SERIAL NUMBER. HOW SHITTY IS THAT? That's my problem with them. That's where they are a bad company. If I didn't want that upload for my xbox live, I would have told them to shove it up their asses. There you have it.

member for 10.9 years, 71 visits, last login: 5.5 years ago
lodged 10.7 years ago

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Review by blargh0 See Profile

  • Location: West Newton,Middlesex,MA
  • Cost: $94 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
Good "Great upload speeds, good bundle, fast when it's working"
Bad "Modem resyncs during heavy usage, things went FUBAR after it rained"
Overall "A love/ hate relationship"
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(ratings match consensus)

I switched to RCN cable 1 month after I moved to a new house. Following a tedious ordeal with Verizon DSL that featured me qualifying for 1.5M / 378k @ 11k feet then getting provisioned for 768k / 128k @ 18k feet and fiknally realistically getting 200k / 100k speeds @ 22k feet, I cancelled my 4 year stay with them and signed up for the Essentials CPI package with RCN (phone, internet and cable).

Setup was lengthy but pleasant. The installer was very informal and friendly and was finished in 1.5 hours. The first week of RCN cable was great-- I was constantly getting around 300k/s downloads with an unfathomed 80k/s uploads. Gaming was smooth as I saw pings of 50 (to and from the server) on east coast servers with no packet loss (Verizon DSL was better at Central/ European servers though due to more extensive routing). Slowdowns occured expectantly at evenings but the speeds were still more than fast enough for me.

Everything u-turned last Friday immediately as it started to rain heavily. The internet became unbearingly slow with downloads of only 20k/s and 50% packet loss in games. I ran a line-quality test and the results were rather shoddy:

»/quality/nil/1 ··· /1433673

My docsdiag readout at that time was:

System up time = 0 days 00h 01m 05.00s
Downstream channel ID = 1
Downstream channel frequency = 735000000 Hz
Downstream received signal power = -0.3 dBmV
Upstream channel ID = 1
Upstream channel frequency = 24816000 Hz
QoS max upstream bandwidth = 800000 bps
QoS max downstream bandwidth = 3200000 bps
SigQu: Signal to Noise Ratio = 27.9 dB
Cable modem status = Operational
Upstream transmit signal power = 31.7 dBmV
Date and Time = 2004-06-26,18:12:49.0
Configuration filename = default.cm

I noticed the signal power and SNR was abit off so I went into my basement and directly connected the incoming cable line to the modem. My speeds doubled and packet loss was only at 5%-20%.

The next day, I went out and purchased a bi-directional amplifier ($32 @ Radioshack). Immediately after installation, my speeds were back to 300k/s downloads and packet loss was reduced to around 5%-15%. Now, my docsdiag readout was:

System up time = 0 days 05h 06m 52.00s
Downstream channel ID = 1
Downstream channel frequency = 735000000 Hz
Downstream received signal power = 14.5 dBmV
Upstream channel ID = 1
Upstream channel frequency = 24816000 Hz
QoS max upstream bandwidth = 800000 bps
QoS max downstream bandwidth = 3200000 bps
SigQu: Signal to Noise Ratio = 30.8 dB
Cable modem status = Operational
Upstream transmit signal power = 33.2 dBmV
Date and Time = 2004-06-27,17:40:16.0
Configuration filename = default.cm

Nevertheless, problems remained as the modem kept resetting after heavy bandwidth usage (downloads and gaming) some packet loss and net congestion still occured (as seen in another line-test):

»/quality/nil/1 ··· /1434020

I decided to thus call RCN. After 30 minutes of troubleshooting with a tech, he put in a trouble ticket to the guys at networking. I guess I didn't receive the infamous rude treatments others have reported here at BBR as my tech was respectful and understanding. I'll update my situation if anything changes but for now, I'll give RCN a passing grade.

UPDATE: PL is now virtually gone and the tech service was absolutely fantastic. Downloads are now back at 300k/s and there are no more random disconnects.
My scores are adjusted to now reflect that.

However, there is a problem with RCN's dns servers. Websites load incredibly slow and some sites do not resolve at all. I just switched to a public DNS server and everything is smooth running again.

member for 14.1 years, 1119 visits, last login: 7.1 years ago
lodged 10.7 years ago

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Review by marc_rcn See Profile

  • Location: Arlington,Middlesex,MA
  • Cost: $218 per month
  • Install: about 7 days
Good "Great tech support"
Bad "Took a while to get everything running (in 1998)"
Overall "Great value"
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I've been with RCN for nearly 5 years - phone for 7, cable & hi-speed for 5.

They have been great - minimal problems, and when I have needed tech support, they've been great. The speeds are regularly 2x what I experienced with MediaOne (provider that I switched from).


member for 13.3 years, 180 visits, last login: 3 years ago
lodged 10.7 years ago

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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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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 11 years, 13 visits, last login: 4.6 years ago
lodged 11 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"
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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 11 years, 8 visits, last login: 10.9 years ago
lodged 11 years ago

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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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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 11 years, 2 visits, last login: 11 years ago
lodged 11 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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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 11.1 years, 21 visits, last login: 6 years ago
lodged 11 years ago

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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 12.5 years, 9 visits, last login: 10.6 years ago
lodged 11 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 13.1 years, 1221 visits, last login: 122 days ago
updated 11 years ago

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