I’ve been informed of a discussion on DSLReports.com about Time-Warner Milwaukee/Roadrunner allegedly throttling users and flagging connections as abusive. The gist is that there may be limits in place that people are exceeding, so Time-Warner Milwaukee/Roadrunner, instead of informing the customer they’ve hit a limit, may be actively disrupting their connections to discourage their “heavy” usage.
Here is the response I posted to the DSLReports forum:
I’d really appreciate it if any Milwaukee-area TW/RR users (or any other TW/RR users elsewhere, if you’re having the same problems) would read about my issues with them here, in a lot greater detail:
and drop a comment; I’d like to collect as many data points as I can.
I’m tired of the BS of my cable modem constantly rebooting. I’ve been paying for their “premium” service for a long time, and getting no real use out of it. I snag a couple of TV shows here and there via BT, but that’s really it. Linux ISOs here and there, too, and some audio/video streaming, some remote-desktop stuff, and moving pictures around online. Nothing I’d personally call excessive; the connection’s supposed to be used, isn’t it?
Happens with wget/http. Happens with bittorrent. Happens with ftp/scp. Consistently, any sustained download trips my stuff up so badly that I’m forced to reset -everything-. Multiple times an hour. Sometimes _dozens_ of times an hour (sometimes every 1-2 minutes).
If all I’m doing is uploading, that often seems fine, but I still get random disconnects when there’s nothing in particular going on.
I can’t rely on my Vonage line to make/take phone calls. I can’t reliably get downloadable Tivo content or guide data. I can’t count on getting Windows updates, Linux updates, OSX updates… I can’t do any remote-support work. Can’t listen to podcasts or watch vidcasts. I’m sometimes be forced to relogin to ssh sessions dozens of times in a day. Online gaming? Forget about it!
You name it, connection-wise, and it usually sucks.
It’s been going on a long time. Everyone I’ve talked to (including 2nd and 3rd tier) denies there’s any flagging or throttling, and they’ve really gone out of their way in the past to blame everything but themselves for the problems…if/when I can get anyone at Time-Warner Milwaukee to reply at all in the first place. (I can’t.)
I have gotten tired of explaining the problem over and over and over again to first-level CS people. Techs to the house…are a joke. I’ve done plenty of pointless tests, logging, cablemodem swaps, spent time on the phone, written letters, and…. nothing. I’ve had a bright orange cable line across my lawn for more than a YEAR now when they spent hours here replacing everything all the way out to the pole (with no improvement).
The problem seemed to start in Dec 2006 (yes, 2006) when we got voluntarily bumped up to 8MBps “Turbo” service for an extra five bucks/month.
The problem seemed to go away last year finally around the time we got bumped up to 15MBps speeds.
The problem seems to have returned about 3-4 weeks ago now, and I’ve not identified any causes/changes. I know we’re also lucky to see 10MBps down for a few minutes at a time, if that, when the connection IS working and the cable modem’s not constantly rebooting.
Bottom line: the problem is not in my house, period.
If they’re messing with my connection, or if I’m somehow abusing their mysterious (and apparently ridiculous) limits, then just TELL me. I’m an adult. Give me the chance to drop the service and end a relationship they’ve apparently ALREADY decided isn’t working out for THEM, instead of, well, plainly and deliberately _stealing_ from me, taking money for service I’m paying for and not getting.
Messing with my connection is effectively ending our business relationship. And then continuing to pocket my money is somehow OK? No!
They’ve cost me a TON of money in wasted time alone…and it’s gotta stop.
Thanks for reading along and any assistance.
The real bottom line on this issue, for me, is this: I’m paying Time-Warner Milwaukee for a service (the “premium” version at that). I expect the provider to take my money and, in good faith, provide that service.
Service terms and conditions should be transparent. If a customer is violating some term or condition of that service, inform them so they can decide if another option is better. But don’t lie to them, and don’t steal from them.
Constantly disrupting a connection to modify a customer’s behavior is disturbing and disgusting. Treat your customers like adults, and let them opt out of a service and business relationship you’ve already effectively opted them out of on your end! Except for the taking-their-money-anyway part of the relationship, of course…
I’m not really your customer anymore at that point. I’m your hostage.
That’s it. Reputable businesses should not operate this way. Also, even if this isn’t technically illegal on Time-Warner’s part (I don’t know; I’m not a lawyer), it’s certainly still hugely unethical and deceptive, in my opinion. Time-Warner is making a fortune on their service offerings, by any reasonable accounting. Are they doing so by overcharging the bulk of their customers for their very minor use of the service, and severely interfering with anyone else that actually tries to use the service they’re sold? I think the answer to that is increasingly, obviously, yes.
Please share your stories and spread the word. This must stop.