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AT&T vs. Charter

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AT&T vs. Charter

Postby Fat.The.Gangster » Mon Sep 10, 2007 8:52 pm

After a cursory and unsuccessful search of this forum, and repetitious reading of corporate websites, I thought I would solicit opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of AT&T vs. Charter as it relates to bundled services. I have read awful posts on this board regarding Charter and its business practices and other posts on AT&T that offer faint praise. As such, I am wondering: who provides the best bundled services for internet (DSL) phone (landline) and television (cable vs. satellite). Any thoughts?
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Postby beenie » Mon Sep 10, 2007 9:59 pm

The first thing you want to do is make sure both companies are able to provide all services where you are. I'm just on the border of Madison and Fitchburg, and AT&T can't provide DSL where I live.

The only problem I've had with Charter is that our internet was pretty slow for a few weeks when we moved here, but it's been fine since then. I know a lot of people in the Madison area absolutely loathe Charter, but I really don't have anything bad to say. I have all three services and - with the exception of the aforementioned internet latency - have had good luck with everything.

Not totally what you were looking for, but good luck!
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Postby Nick Berigan » Mon Sep 10, 2007 10:22 pm

I compare my own (few month) experience with ATT dsl to the experience of some at-home workers that my organization supports who use Charter.

Zero interruptions in my ATT service and a pretty steady stream of complaints about interruptions and service from the Charter user base.

Now if I could just get ATT to present bill information in an intelligible fashion...
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Postby punkarchivist » Tue Sep 11, 2007 1:53 am

This is hard, because you have so few choices for high speed internet and cable here, so you're stuck with them by default. They both really suck, but my own personal experiences have proved Charter to actually suck much more than AT&T.

I used to rely on free dial-up from the UW, but had to scramble once I got out of grad school. I'd never had DSL or broadband service, so I thought I'd go for one of those bundles through Charter, since I already had cable with them. Ordering the bundle (which also included phone service), created a total clusterfuck of problems that I had to sort out for weeks. They sent a tech over to hook up my broadband, and he was totally blunted up; didn't seem interested in answering my questions, and couldn't even find the right wiring to mess with. When he finally got the thing hooked up, I couldn't get a signal. He said my wiring was old, and that I'd have to reschedule an appointment to get that redone (and at my own cost, although he didn't know what it would be, and was not interested in helping me figure that out.) I called the 800 number to investigate. The customer service person I got wouldn't give me a straight answer, and seemed to suggest that I still may not be able to get a signal even with new wiring.

After trying to talk with someone else again and getting the run around, I was pretty irritated. I had also done some research and found out that their phone service is shitty and unreliable, according to other customers. So I called them up and canceled the order for the package, and emphasized I wanted to go back to the services I had before I even ordered this damn package (just the digital cable). The next day I woke up and had no cable.

I called again even more irritated, and was told "Oh, you canceled your services yesterday." "No!" I said, "I cancelled my bundle order. I asked to keep the digital cable!" They refused to admit that they had made an error, and said they could send a tech to turn it back on in about a week. Huh?? I'd have to pay a reconnection fee too. I tried to talk to other customer service people and got the same song and dance.

When the tech came to hook it back up, it was the same blunted up guy who was here before. I told him the story, and he really couldn't give a crap. I would have gladly told Charter to get bent years ago, but my landlord will not allow us to install a satellite dish on our roof (and due to our location in town, they can't install it anywhere else)....so in order to have cable, we have to put up with this sort of unprofessional behavior. Charter is simply the worst cable service provider I've ever had to deal with. I think most of their call centers are located in other countries as well. I've had some trouble explaining myself to their operators on many occasions.

I have AT&T for phone service, so I just ordered their cheapest DSL package. They send you either a modem or modem + access point, and you get a $50 rebate. This makes the end cost either free or like $20-30. They send you a self-install kit, which was nice. They actually provide very little support or instructions for installing the service on a Mac, so I kind of had to stumble through it on my own, but it wasn't hard. I've only had a couple service interruptions that I can even remember over the past year. Once it was off about half the day, and they gave me a credit when I called to complain. I've found that their customer service will respond with credits if you're at all threatening. I think they are a little more worried about their customer base eroding than Charter is.

Their packages aren't bad, but I can't remember the prices off the top of my head. I have the phone plan where you get unlimited nationwide/local calling, and the cheapest (and slowest, although it works great by my standards) DSL service. I pay maybe $60-65 a month, total. They have packages with phone + DSL + satellite service that seem very reasonable, so you might be able to save quite a bit.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:36 am

Do you want to give more $$ to the shitty customer service company, or the one that hands over all your digital communication to the federal government?
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Postby DMeister » Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:52 am

I want more blunted up techs.
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Postby fisticuffs » Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:53 am

Both are ridiculously huge companies who staff robots who know nothing about customer service. Trying to resolve any problem with either of them is impossible.
We've had problems with our Charter cable (Internet works F*cking great)since we moved in 3 months ago. since day 1 we've had the problem. I've been on the phone with them 7 times. had 4 people come out and not fix the problem. All 4 times they say someone will be out the next day. never happens. our service order is marked as complete and the next week I have to call again.
So thats 1 problem.
The other is getting compensated for this crap. It hasnt worked so I havent paid a dime yet. I got the billing department on the phone and the robot on the other end tells me they can offer a $20 credit on my account. This is on $300 worth of cable that hasnt worked right for 1 minute. I get a manager on the phone. now I get a $31.59 credit on my account. This is the number the computer spits out crediting me for the exact parts of the service that isnt working properly from the time I made the first call. Not from the time it was activitaed from the time I called. All well and good but what about the 4 afternoons I took off to meet the cable guy. What about the hours on the phone. What about just plain shitty service. I work for a company that has humans who have brains and who like to keep there customers. These guys at Charter in management have to at least have a Bachelors right?
It comes down to the structure of the business and from the top Charter has decided customer service is something you write into the code of your billing software.
AT&T BTW just as bad when it comes to human interaction. If you have problems there will be no going outside the box to fix them. Everything is black and white.
I've got another story about them it involves me being "marked for life" because they screwed up and had to refund me just to re-charge me for the service I requested. Apparently you only get one refund ever even though I was immediately charged more.
WTF
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Postby fisticuffs » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:09 am

Oh and the only reason I didn't tell Charter where to stick and call and get dish after all this is Dish blows. The Charter service I feel is just a lot better. Internet has been great and 5mbs. DSL can't touch it and the DVR box is great (when it works). Dish and DSL make you sign a two year contract and buy the equipment. My girl has it and I hate it.
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Postby jammybastard » Tue Sep 11, 2007 10:52 am

fisticuffs wrote:Oh and the only reason I didn't tell Charter where to stick and call and get dish after all this is Dish blows. The Charter service I feel is just a lot better. Internet has been great and 5mbs. DSL can't touch it and the DVR box is great (when it works). Dish and DSL make you sign a two year contract and buy the equipment. My girl has it and I hate it.


Ya gotta roll the way I do...

Charter for internet, Dish for tv.
Just got the 722DVR. Bee knees.
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Postby juanton » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:04 am

I'm digging my switch to Dish too. If you can get over not knowing where channels are at first, it rocks.
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Postby eriedasch » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:14 am

punkarchivist wrote:This is hard, because you have so few choices for high speed internet and cable here, so you're stuck with them by default.

There is TDS Metrocom / Telecom. They have some special offers on Dish Network going on. Not saying they are any better than AT&T or Charter but they are another option to consider if you are fed up with the big border-line monopolies.
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Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Sep 11, 2007 11:27 am

Does anyone know why Time Warner doesn't have a digital presence in Wisconsin other than the Fox River Valley and Milwaukee?
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