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Bait & Switch Broadband? Time Warner Cable Advertises 30/5Mbps for Austin Last Week, Delivers 20/2Mbps This Week

Phillip Dampier July 5, 2011 Broadband Speed, Consumer News, Time Warner Cable 14 Comments

Time Warner Cable customers in Austin, Tex. excited to learn DOCSIS 3 speed upgrades have finally arrived in the state capital are less than thrilled to learn the rug has been pulled out from under some of the high speeds the company was promising customers just one week earlier.

At issue is Road Runner Extreme, the DOCSIS 3 upgrade that delivers faster speeds at a “sweet spot” price of just $10 more than Road Runner Turbo.  In most Time Warner Cable markets, Road Runner Extreme delivers 30/5Mbps service, and so it was to be for Austin customers as well:

Captured from Time Warner Cable website - July 1, 2011 (click for screenshot of entire web page)

But Broadband Reports reader “SunnysGlimps,” who signed up for Extreme expecting those speeds, discovered “bait and switch” broadband instead, as the resulting speed test (and subsequent advertising) showed a much less impressive 20/2Mbps result.

“I was actually getting faster speeds with the Turbo then I am now with the capped Extreme package,” says Sunnysglimps. “My speed clearly hits a cap when it goes to 20/2Mbps on speedtest.net.”

This reader feels Time Warner Cable is engaged in false advertising in Austin.

“You cannot advertise 30/5Mbps, sell the service, charge more, and then change your advertising a few days later and say it won’t be what you just purchased.”

Captured from Time Warner Cable website - July 5, 2011 (click for screenshot of entire web page)

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Currently there are 14 comments on this Article:

  1. James R Curry says:

    Hmm. I’ve got the appointment for the DOCSIS 3.0 upgrade next week and have been promised 30/5 service from a retention specialist who claimed that 50/5 is unavailable.

    So 50/5 *is* available? And the step below is 20/2?

  2. James R Curry says:

    Update: Retention expert again confirmed 30/5 and claimed that my node has not been upgraded for 50/5. We’ll see what happens. (And I’ll permanently cancel service if this turns out to be inaccurate).

    • It sounds to me like there are upgrade issues going on in Austin. I have not seen any other market define a DOCSIS 3-upgraded Road Runner Extreme to just 20/2Mbps service. It almost seems like these are pre-DOCSIS 3 speeds.

      Why Austin is proving so troublesome is unknown to me, but I certainly would not pay ANY premium for 20/2 service over Road Runner Turbo, which includes the speedboost gimmick. For a lot of folks, that speed boost feature is more than sufficient for lots of web browsing and kick starting video content into the buffer.

      • James R Curry says:

        The original rep that I spoke to informed me that 50/5 is available but wanted to charge me the $40 to install a DOCSIS-3 modem. The retention guy waived the fee but told me that 50/5 wasn’t available at my node, promising 30/5 instead.

        I guess I’ll find out the truth on Wednesday when they come do the install.

  3. John says:

    Yeah it’s not Just Texas. It’s happening here in SC too. The site claims that it’s 30/5 service. Well I logged in to my My Services account and under my internet options it shows my RR Turbo as being 15/1 which is far from the truth. I have been running the sam knows broadband test now since December and my speed is the same as it has always been when it was advertised as up to 10Mbps. I get around 11.5 Mbps down and about 0.5 up.

  4. Josh says:

    Ive been told its always been 20/2 for RR Extreme. Even this which was April 11 says 20/2. The 2 up is the one reason why I am not getting the Extreme

    http://www.timewarnercable.com/MediaLibrary/4/149/Content%20Management/documents/pricing/austin.pdf

  5. Matt says:

    We just canceled our Time Warner, by accident (Time Warner’s fault) no less. We called to cancel our cable, and explicitly stated that we still want to keep our internet connection, but they canceled everything. We called to try to correct it, but they said they can’t send anyone out to reconnect it for 4 days. That’s far too long to have a mistake that they made fixed, especially when you’re a web developer and need to be connected to the internet for a living. We’re changing to another provider now.

    • Ian M. says:

      Matt, well next just go down to your local office, that’s what we did when we dropped cable, they also gave us a few weeks of free cable (it was a bug with their system), but she did fine on the other services. It may just be this office, but its so much better then calling them, as they are such a joke! Though we are having issues getting a tech out here to fix the aerial coaxial drop, as a tree fell on it, but that is a story for another day.

    • Frank says:

      Matt, what ISP did you end up switching to?

  6. James R Curry says:

    Yep, it was 20 down and 2 up after the install, so I called to cancel.

    After an hour and nine minutes on the phone with another retention agent, I finally have the 50 down and 5 up service that I was told was “unavailable” twice by the previous retention agent. Unbelievable.

    I’ve been credited $15 off my bill for 6 months with the promise of 6 months further if I call back when the first discount expires. I’ve also been given a one-time $30 bill credit for the inconvenience.

    I expressed my dissatisfaction with Time Warner Cable as a whole, to which the retention agent reminded me that if I receive a phone call for a customer satisfaction survey that I’m rating him personally and not Time Warner as a whole. He implored me to leave positive feedback.

    I just…. christ.

  7. James R Curry says:

    Best quote of the call: “You know, there are reports that speedtest.net infects your machine with viruses” — Time Warner Cable retention agent.

  8. Jason says:

    What a joke. Viruses!

    So you’re paying $100/month now (sans the supposed $15/month credit they’re going to give you)? Seems like TW won…

    FWIW, Grande has incredibly low pricing on their tiers (going all the way up to 110mbps). Not sure where it’s offered in Austin, but I’m going to keep them in mind when I look for a new apartment/house over the next few weeks.

  9. James R Curry says:

    I used to have Grande at my old apartment and was very happy with them. Sadly, the only choices at my new address are Time Warner and Grande.

    I’d feel cheated at having to upgrade to Wideband if that hadn’t been what I’d originally tried to do. The first retention expert that I spoke to told me that it was “unavailable” so sold me on the non-existent 30/5 instead.

    So I’m getting what I originally wanted when I called Time Warner over a week ago. 50/5 service for $100. Well, actually, for $83.

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