Internet at home

I’m a usually very happy customer of Cablecom. They provide internet-over-tv-cable and as here in Switzerland, basically everyone has tv cable and because they provide nice pure ip addresses (no PPPoE stuff) and because when you are not trapped in the administrative trap, then it just works. Cablecom internet is never down, very speedy and usually I’m envied for my pings in online matches of whatever game.

All these are very good reasons to become a customer of Cablecom and depite of what you are going to read here shortly, I would probably still recommend them to other users – at least those with some technical background because, quite frankly, of all the ways to get broadband here in Switzerland, this one is the one that works the easiest and the most consistent.

But once you fall into the administrative trap, all hell breaks lose.

Here’s what happened to me (also, read my other post about Cablecom’s service):

Somewhere around the end of May I got a letter telling me that I would get sent a new cable modem. Once I’ve got that, I should give them a call so they can deactivate my old one. Also, if I don’t call, they’d automatically disable the old modem after a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, I never got that modem. I don’t know who’s to blame and I don’t care. Also, I could not have anticipated the story as it’s now unfolding because the letter clearly said that I’d get the modem at an unknown later date, so I wasn’t worried at the time.

At the beginning of June, I’ve noticed the network going down. Not used to that, especially not as it was down for a whole day, I called the hotline and told them that I suspected them of shutting of my service despite me not reciving the modem.

They’ve confirmed that and promised me to resend the modem. Re-enabling the old one was not possible they’ve told me futher on.

One week later – not having recived the modem – I’ve called again and they told me that the order was delayed due to some CRM software change at their end, but they’ve promised me to send it that week.

Another week passes. No modem. I call again and they tell me that the reporcessing of orders was delayed, but that I will get the modem that week for sure. Knowing that this probably won’t be the case, I’ve told them that I will be on vacation and that they should send it to my office address.

Another week passes and I go to vacation.

Another week passes and I call the office to ask if the modem (that was supposed to arrive two weeks ago the latest) has arrived. Of course it didn’t. What made me actually make the call was the fact that I’ve received a press release from Cablecom announcing more customers than ever – the irony of that bringing my memory back to the non-existing internet at my home.

So I called support again. They did notice that my order was late, but they had no idea why it was taking so long, there was no way of speeding it up and they had no idea when I would get the modem (keep in mind that I’m paying CHF 79/mt for not working internet access).

At this point I’ve had enough and I’ve called someone higher up I know working at Cablecom.

In the end, I was able to get internet access using that route, but it’s not entirely official and I still have not the slightest idea of when/if the problem with my actual account will ever be fixed.

Pathetic.

Still: If everything goes well, then you have nothing to fear. From a technical standpoint, Cablecom owns all other currently widely available methods for broadband internet access, so this is what I will be sticking with. Just be prepared for longer service intermissions once you fall into the administrative trap.

Living without internet at home

When your fuse box looks like the one on this photo and when your bedroom wall looks like this then you can be sure of one thing: You don’t have power.

What’s more interesting though is that for one time in my whole life, Cablecom did something right: Three months ago, I had them move my cable internet access from my old address to the new one by November, 15th

The problem is that you have to do this three months in advance and back then, I wasn’t sure how long the renovation of my bathroom was going to take. So I guessed.

Of course that guess turned out to be wrong: The bathroom, while making splendid progress, is still two weeks off from being completed.

But there was no way to explain that to Cablecom.

They successfully switched over my internet connection from my current flat to the new one where I don’t have my stuff, some essential parts of my furniture (like my bed), and even worse: No power, no water, no toilet (that is currently lying on the balcony waiting for the bathroom to be completed before they can replug it).

So for now, Internet is something I can only have at work.

The irony is that usually, Cablecom screws everything up you may want from them. Their internet access is flawless and always working, but whenever you have any administrative request, you can be sure that they screw up.

To underline this, I have two nice conversations with them:

Me: Why do I not get any bills from you? As much as I like not paying for your service, I’d hate you turning it off because I’m not paying for it. Please start sending me bills!

Them: What’s your customer ID?

Me: No Idea. But my name is Philip Hofstetter and I live at …

Them: Let me check…

Them: Are you sure that you are our customer? I can’t find you here…

Me: Totally sure. Yes.

Them: That just can’t be.

Me: And yet it is: As a matter of fact, I’m currently using the phone you have sent to me calling over your connection you provide me with and I’d really like to pay for.

Them: Sure?

That episode ended with me getting one hell of an envelope containing about 20 bills. I’m sure that had I not called, I would have been able to surf and phone for free, but I didn’t want to take the risk of ending up with no internet and no way of getting it back. Besides, not paying for a service used is unfair for both the provider and the other people who are forced to pay.

The other episode was shorter and happened to Ebi, a friend of mine:

Ebi: Hello, I have a question: What is my customer ID? My Name is xxx and I live in xxx

Them: No problem. Can I first have your customer ID though?

Other episodes turn around redundant modems being delivered, about accounts where multiple bills are sent for the same service, about not being able to fix an obvious defect at the in-house repeater or, a CHF 100’000+ water damage caused by them not sealing a pipe properly (their insurance payed for that of course).

Still: Their internet service is kick-ass! No downtime. Maximum speeds. No forced disconnection. No forced reverse proxy or other crap.

That’s why I prefer them to any ADSL provider out there.

It’s just ironic that a company this prone to screwing up administrative tasks actually does the right thing that one time where some delay would not have mattered – or would even have been preferred.

Well… at least I have one more reason to be looking forward to december now.