Back in September I wrote my first complaint here about our internet service from Mid-Hudson Cablevision (MHC).1 The situation with our internet service has only gotten worse. I wrote a letter to the President of MHC in December. This elicited a call from a higher level technician who told me that he had looked at my account and “made some changes” that should improve the service level. Since then, I have had times where I quite literally counted “1 Mississippi 2 Mississippi” between the click of the mouse and any response from the target server.
So, I dug into the situation and continued to gather data and more information about what constitutes good internet service. Turns out that download speed is only a part of the story. In my case the “latency” – that’s the response time to get a target server to respond to a request for a page or other information – is also critical. In addition, latency has great effects on services like Skype.
The upshot is that the latency (ping) for service at my house over the last month has been running nearly 2,000 milliseconds, and, for the entire period I have been testing since August 2009, the latency averages 568 milliseconds.2 As MHC’s own technicians have said, and is widely cited in discussions about latency on cable internet systems, latency should be below 100 milliseconds and excellent is 25 milliseconds.
To add to the insults the advertised download speeds of 5 MB/s are still a distant dream and recently the upload speeds, typically 10% or so of the download speeds, have barely gotten over 0.05 MB/s.
MHC amazingly has now begun to offer:
“DOUBLE YOUR SPEED for only $ 5.00 more per month (up to 10 MB*)”
“TRIPLE YOUR SPEED for only $ 10.00 more per month (up to 15 MB*)”
PT Barnum would love these offers.
So, where does this leave me. Given the monopoly status of MHC, I am not holding out much hope for some miraculous cure. Internet service is a cash cow for cable companies. It operates over the same infrastructure as their TV services so it only requires the head end equipment necessary to connect to a trunk and manage the distribution of services. MHC has taken a futher step to insure the cash cow. They only offer internet service bundled with a cable TV service. Some deal!
i am now searching around in the state county and local governments for some agency and/or some politician interested in this issue. I am sure that I will return to this topic soon.