RCN Cable – Why i hate them


RCN sent out 2 techs this time. After wasting 2 hours and them packing up to leave i connect the consumer modem and show them that all lights are green. They call in to activate it and it stops working. Another 45 minutes of both of them on the phone with other people and viola someone realizes my client ordered 60mbps service and the modems they brought and the one i picked up will only work with 20mpbs. So once the modem sees the 60mbps it must shut down. A “DOCSIS 3.0” modem is required for 60mbps. I quoted that because i had never heard of it before that moment. I googled it as soon as i got home and found an old DSLReports thread from late 2009 that referenced RCN as having announced it as part of their offerings.

This is why i don’t try and handle phone/cable/satellite anymore. I meet them and make them do their jobs. 5 years ago i would have attempted to handle all of the inside work myself. I got really tired of wasting hours and hours on things just like this.


I have installed AV gear for a living for the last 17 years so i get to deal with the phone company, the cable company, the satellite company and the occasional ‘boxed’ security company like ADT or Brinks frequently. So none of this is new to me. I decided to post about it to share my frequent frustration :). If i had to describe these companies with a single word it would be “criminal” or maybe “ridiculous”. They all suck. They have teams of untrained underpaid technicians who can’t get the job done because of their inability to schedule appointments correctly. Seriously.. when was the last time you told someone that you would meet with them between 10AM and 2PM? How do they get away with it you ask? Because people have no other choice. Their clients are hostages. Last year i posted about the DirecTV guy trying to sneak away. I thought that would be the craziest story until i met up with RCN.

Thursday December 16th 2010.

RCN is scheduled to install Cable boxes and Cable modem. Cable guy drops off cable boxes and plugs the cable modem in and leaves without testing it.

Friday December 17th 2010.

I show up and test the cable modem and find that it is not working. After troubleshooting i call RCN tech support and they schedule someone to come out Friday December 31st 2010.

Friday December 31st 2010.

RCN Technician

The RCN guy shows up today and walks into the clients unit and says “what am i here for?”. I said “to resolve the issue with the internet not working”. He responds with “the internet is not working either?”. I respond with “what do you mean ‘either'”? He responds with “let me take a look”.

He spends an hour testing cable signal and informs me that we need a “house amp” to solve the problem because the signal is “weak”. I tell him to go get one and he tells me he has to “go look at blue prints and find out where to install it”. He tells me he will call me back sometime today but he wont be returning. He never called me back. This is a typical cable guy tactic.

About 60 seconds after he walked out of the unit it dawned on me that this guy never touched the modem or PC. At that moment i realized that this guy was totally full of s#!7. I had my mind on mapping out the existing cabling in the clients new apartment and taking measurements for TV’s and cabinets for AV gear so my BS meter wasn’t engaged. At that point i drag the cable modem right to the network interface box with a direct cable connection to it and it wont connect. TIVO-Cable boxes work in every room though.

After talking with my boss we decide to pick up a cable modem locally. I install it. All lights are solid green. I get to an RCN page that asks me “do you want to use your own cable modem”. I click yes and i am asked for an account number and phone number. I enter the phone number but the account number appears to be missing digits based on the form input area. I call tech support and reach a woman from India.

RCN Tech Support

I give her clients phone number. She cant find the account.
I give her clients address. She cant find the account.
I give her clients name. She cant find the account.
I give her the mac address of the modem and she then is able to find all of the other information that she claimed wasn’t in the system.

She tells me that she cant add the new modem to the account unless i physically return the other modem. I explain to her why i have the new modem. I ask her if she can just click “yes he returned it” or whatever her screen is asking her and she says “no”. Her software wont let her add the new modem to the account unless the rules have been followed and someone somewhere else has scanned the old modem back into RCN’s possession.

Its 5PM now.. New Years eve.. I can get on the internet to the RCN page where i just have to add the new modem and it wont let me. Tech support wont do it. RCN cable guys have been out twice to install a cable modem for internet access and they haven’t been able to do it. I have gotten further than either one of their technicians and they still wont let me on the internet.

Then the lady asks me if i had the RCN provided wireless router connected. I said “no, i thought we would get the modem working first then i will deal with the wireless router”. Then she tells me “oh this will create more errors if you want to keep the wireless router. I will schedule a new support date for January 4th between 11-2”. At this point i am experiencing phone rage and hang up.

RCN Sucks

Tuesday January 4th 2010

I wait at the clients apartment between 11AM and 2 PM. At 2 PM i call RCN and i am told “the technician is running late on his last job but you are next on the list and he is on his way there”. At 3PM i call back because the technician has not shown up. I get a “all circuits are busy, please try your call later” message from RCN’s technical support number. I call back 4 more times and get the same message.

Then i called a different number i have for RCN and got right thru. I’m guessing that is a tactic they use to keep people from getting thru later in the day. After 35 minutes of automated nightmare phone system and being on hold i was connected to a woman in India. She tells me that the work order was closed at 2PM because no one was home. Really? Then why was i being told that the technician was on his way at 2PM? This is another cable guy tactic. It didn’t work today because i was in a building with a front desk and security at the freight elevator. He would have actually had to have gotten in to know whether or not i was there. No record of him being at the building means he didn’t show up.

RCN reschedule for their 4th appt tomorrow January 5th 2010. 20 days after the first visit. Luckily my client has the money to pay someone to sit at his house and wait for the cable guy. What the heck does everyone else do? After being frustrated and talking it over with my boss i was reminded why RCN and DirecTV and Comcast get away with this behavior. If a new company showed up tomorrow and had great service and never made anyone wait but had to charge $10 more per month… no one would use them. So we get what we deserve. The masses make the decisions and the rest of us who value quality and service have to suffer.

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