Broadband

Poll: Which of your communications providers is the worst?

Those of us who live in the digital world are tethered to a set of communications providers. Which of yours is the worst? Take our poll.

Those of us who live in the digital world are tethered with a permanent IV to a set of communications providers, many of which do not have a strong reputation for customer service.

I hear complaints all the time from people who are fed up with their ISP, wireless carrier, or phone company and wish they had better options.

On Tuesday, Ryan Block, co-founder of gdgt, posted on Twitter: "Let's amend that old saying: The only things certain in life are death, taxes, and dissatisfaction with one's carrier or ISP."

It's one thing when your service goes out and you can't get online or can't get a good cellular signal. People are always going to be upset when they have a service outage. What makes it much worse is that, all too often, communications companies show little sense of urgency or responsibility for outages and customer problems.

In addition to outages, communcations companies also draw the ire of customers by locking people into long-term contracts, hitting people with hidden fees, and taking too long to fix problems.

Obviously, I don't want to paint with too broad of a brush. There are people who are very happy with their communications providers, and there are a few providers that offer decent customer service. The real test is when you run into service outages or issues with your bill, for example. How well does your provider respond?

With that in mind, we'd like to know which one of your communications providers is the worst to deal with. We realize that for many of you, your cable company and your ISP are now the same company, for example. So, when you're answering this poll, simply select the category that best describes the way you think about the company that comes to mind. Also, please post your horror stories (and excellent service stories) in the discussion.

About

Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

11 comments
Toolman57
Toolman57

Cricket Broadband I get 1-15 kbs at BEST Worse than dialup.

dhuscha
dhuscha

I had to say ISP with my experience with them so far. In our main office we have Eduro Internet, which ever since we moved have had nothing but trouble. Either our connection would drop and they would take hours just to respond to me. Speed constantly dropping with no explanation but a promise that it will improve. So I finally got sick of it and pushed for us to switch ISP's. We are awaiting our Comcast service to be installed which we have in our one remote office and have had no trouble with. I wish Verizon would finally bring there FIOS network here, cause I would ahve chose them instead. We have there service in our Baltimore office to upgrade from another horrible ISP(Mellenium, horrible customer service and constant outages). The speed there is amazing and has not gone out since it was installed. I have never had problems either personal or business with there customer service in many years of being a customer.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...Cable Guy. Actually, the portrayal by Jim Carrey is probably preferable to the actual numnuts that pass as 'Cable Technicians' nowadays. "Our Triple Play Package---it's Crumcastic!!" Like Palmetto said, unfortunately, these companies have monopolies in the areas they serve. No true competition = no incentive/need for improvement.

Wild Card
Wild Card

Our ISP, cable and phone are one in the same here. I just chose ISP for simplicity. They are the most inept and greedy people on the planet. A big problem is they have a monopoly here. There are no other alternatives and they know it. Here are a few examples of what they do to irritate me. 1. We had a fiber line lose connectivity between two of our facilities. Call was made at 8:00AM. At 1:00PM someone finally came to the one building to check the router settings. Everything was ok. At the same time another team was at the other building checking that router. Again all was well. They told me that I had to call the cable company as it wasn't an ISP problem. Keep in mind they are the same company. I may have gotten a little belligerent because they ended up calling the cable. 2:30PM everything was up and running again. 2. Our Internet connection was 10M because of old equipment. We were retiring one of our Cisco routers, so they suggested to use it to make our Internet 100M. All I had to do was drop it off at their office and they would configure it. They showed up, hooked it up and jsut left. It didn't work. It ended up slowing everything down worse. We called them; they told us it was not their problem because it was our equipment. That was 3 days of headaches just to get that resolved. 3. This one is the biggie. They used to be responsible for all our remote sites. We have been trying to take them over and put our own equipment in for the past three years. They are pulling the old cell phone trick. It will cost to give us all the configs than to just let them keep control of it.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Many (most?) of us don't have any choice in phone or cable companies. When the only option is to do without, you accept the service levels or disconnect.

jsaubert
jsaubert

While they can all be equally horrifying I find that it is the dealing with "combination service" providers that end up giving me the most headaches. You know the ones that handle your cable and Internet and home phone and whatever else. Call and try to cancel or change one service but not the others? Good luck.

tom.marsh
tom.marsh

If you want help getting your WAN up and running with your own equipment, please contact me on private message here, or via my web-site at www.tommarsh.net/contact. More than likely we don't need the cable company's router configuration to make your router work: I've setup more than a lot of Cisco routers and this should be a cinch.

crazycalrn
crazycalrn

An idiot took out our cable box with a car. Don't ask how, it's a good 5 feet away from the road, but . . . It happened only hours before the "Holy War" football rivalry game between the two big colleges here. They came out immediately and ran a line above ground to the house so we could still get the game. Pretty cool, but not really safe or aesthetically pleasing to leave long term. We also just happened to be having a back yard wedding the next evening, so they came back later that evening. They buried the cable, replaced the box, and made it look good as new in time for us to set up the decorations. While I hate them for costing way too much, but only option I have, I still thought that was pretty good customer service.

Geek Gurl
Geek Gurl

you've had to deal with British Telecomm. We have several remote locations all over the world and the worst one to deal with is BT. They're a monopoly and they know it. It takes them no less than five business days to do anything at all. We recently switched our E-1 in London to another provider; however they are still the LEC. Someday...

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

I have 20-30 remote offices all with either DSL or cable internet. Intermittent outages, modems requiring reboots, etc. Customer service is typically pretty good but cable is too pricey compared to DSL. In a business environment with few employees, DSL is plenty fast enough.

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