Why I’m Leaving My Cable Company
I was originally going to send this to Wave Broadband privately, but I’m not sure I see the value in doing so. Due to my business contract with them, I must provide written notice of my intent to cancel their service. I still have to do that, but I’ll leave the “why” out of that letter and let the court of public opinion hear my issues.
The reason I wish to terminate my agreement with the cable company is simple: DSL as offered by Qwest with qwest.net Internet Service is simply a better value for my needs.
Let’s start with price. If we are just talking bandwidth, Wave is currently a better deal. Qwest currently doesn’t offer the same speeds as Wave (or Comcast or most other cable companies). If my needs were only about bandwidth, I’d go with that in a heartbeat. Of course, Qwest isn’t standing still and there are wide reports of being able to get up to 7mb in just a couple of weeks. It’d be nice if I could get that, but I will still be happy if I can’t get more speed.
My needs are more than speed, it’s about static IPs. With Wave, it means I’m a business customer, and for them it means a contract. I don’t like or want a contract if I don’t have to have one. What’s even more annoying is that they require a 2 year agreement to get the best price, otherwise they charge you an extra $20 a month for a 1 year agreement. Technology can change quite a bit in 2 years time. I do not want to be locked into a price point and service level that doesn’t make sense down the road.
Wave recently changed speed tiers for business customers. Previously they had used the tiers offered by Chater Communications when they ran the cable company. Not only did Wave take a long time to offer faster speeds to the business customers, they pulled some bullshit whereby if I wanted to change to the new speeds (which were a lot cheaper as well), I basically had to pay the price difference for the remaining part of my contract UP FRONT IN ONE LUMP SUM. Okay, they were well within their right to do it, but it doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth about Wave as a company.
Let’s talk about their price for static IPs for a moment. They charge $15 for 1 static IP, $40 for 4 static IPs. For $15 thru Qwest.net, I get a block of 5 static IPs on a subnet. I can control the reverse DNS for these IPs via a web page, and I can put whatever host I want on each IP without having to call someone to change the MAC address. Less money and less hassle.
It is clear to me that Wave has more or less bolted on extra speeds and IP addresses to a consumer-level service. There has been little thought to providing business-level customer service. Back when Charter Communications owned the Port Orchard cable system, a business level customer could call into the Tier-2 support center. Tier-2 was trained in how to deal with business customers and were generally technically competent. The representatives may not have been able to directly address all of my issues, but they knew who to talk to to get the information I needed and get things done. This alone was worth the extra cost I was paying.
As a business customer with Wave, I call into the same helpdesk a residential customer calls into. While the representatives are pleasant and as helpful as the can be, they do not know how to deal with requests that are specific to my business account (i.e. Changing static IP information).
For reference, qwest.net’s helpdesk has always been helpful. Sometimes hold times can be high, but I’ve generally reached someone who can help me. I have some history with their helpdesk from the mid-1990s when I used ISDN and qwest.net was the best way to go. It’s nice to see at least that hasn’t changed.
In the final analysis, I think that Wave’s business-level offering is not worth the extra money versus paying Qwest for DSL service. It costs more and is more trouble for me. Qwest’s DSL is less hassle and less money.
It should be noted that even after I cancel my cable Internet contract in June, I will still have basic cable from them. They’ll still be getting $20 a month from me, but that’s it. If I could find a way to get basic cable some other way for about the same cost, I’d probably be willing to try that as well.