Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Mediacom Cable's restrictive internet data caps

As a long-time Mediacaom Cable customer (over ten years), I was disgusted to find out last Thursday via a browser injection notice that the company would be instituting data caps for their internet customers beginning September 7th. For the past many years I had been able to save money with Mediacom cable's internet access while still having reasonable fast cable internet speeds. To think that I was paying less than $30.00 per month for high speed internet access was quite the achievement given what some of Mediacom's faster speeds cost per month.

But, as I said, last week that all came to a screeching halt. With the new data cap for my lowest tier plan of 150 GB per month, Mediacom's high speed internet became useless to me. Being a Netflix user, that alone sucks up more than 1/30th of my data, on average, per day. Not to mention moving large files when I am freelancing at home and backing up my own websites and doing other web development work. And forget ever being able to work from home and avoiding my commute with the restrictive data caps in place.

Thus began my search. In the end I went with DSL at an identical speed I was receiving with cable and TV service from Dish Network at a significant savings over Mediacom Cable. What disgusted me the most was the slmost insulting way I was treated by the customer service representative at Mediacom when I called regarding their internet data cap. She offered me a 10% discount for six months on my television service and said the only way to increase my data cap was to pay an additional $20.00 per month to receive a 250 GB monthly data cap. When asked about a free increase to the higher data cap and, thus, a higher speed, her reply was a blunt "I can't do that, every customer is now under the terms of the data cap".

That last ditch effort for Mediacom to redeem themselves and their subsequent failure made my decision minutes later to call Dish Network that much easier. Apparently ten years as a customer, subject to ever-increasing monthly fees and less reliable service means nothing to a nationwide company.

As far as the Mediacom Cable company line goes, "only 3% of our cable internet customers will meet or exceed their data cap thresholds". Why, then, is everyone subjected to a seemingly arbitrary data cap? Why not, instead, address those who have what Mediacom Cable deems to be excessive cable internet usage? Why use fear of exceeding an arbitrary threshold to force customers into purchasing exceedingly expensive internet access packages?

The only logical answer is to avoid people from cutting the cable cord. If people continue to stream content from Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and other sources, cable television providers like Mediacom Cable stand to lose a significant portion of their income from essentially passing along television signals to subscribers. While there is even less overhead and potentially more profit to be made from internet access at any speed, if you can still walk that line where cable internet access is still only slightly less expensive than the bundled cost of TV and internet, traditional cable television providers like Mediacom Cable can continue to have immense profits and have virtual monopolies on service in the communities they "serve". In short, Mediacom Cable will continue to lose customers as they keep instituting restrictive policies like data caps with little notice filled with confusing language while their customer service team scrambles to find the correct answers. For a company who is in the communications industry, they have done a dreadful job of communicating the specifics of a data cap plan for internet access roleld out in relatively short order.

If there was ever a company to avoid, Mediacom Cable is that company.

No comments: