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My ISP Hates Me


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#1 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 06:42 PM

My ISP here in North Carolina and the only one of two that offers decent speeds and unlimited data, is Suddenlink. They seem to hate me for some reason. I pay my bill on time every month faithfully but I guess that isn't enough.

This past holiday season, some clown from the company came by and literally cut the cable to me without anyone contacting me about it. After a lot of hassle on the phone, I got somebody out here who discovered this and explained to me that they were months behind on work orders and he thought whoever did this was just completing an old work order to cut the service after somebody moved out. I had moved in two months earlier and begun service immediately. This individual never thought to check and see if anyone new was living here and a customer. So I enjoyed the holiday weekend with no Internet and therefore I couldn't play with some new toys. I was not a happy camper.

Fast forward to today I wake up and discover my Internet is out yet again. I call tech support. They make me power cycle the modem. This of course, does not work. Then they want to send somebody to fix it. Per usual, I get the speech about how I did not opt to pay for insurance of their cable running in the crawl space under this duplex house which I don't own any more than the cable they want me to pay to insure. I inform them that this is a scam like they don't already know but I always let them off by stating that I know it isn't their doing personally. However, that does not make me happy about it nor willing to accept it. Either they fix my service at no cost to me or I switch to the other ISP.

Three phone calls later, I finally get to somebody who can do better than a visit this Sunday (it is Wednesday here as of this writing) that might be at my expense. The trick to this is just to cut through the call menus and go directly to the cancel service option. This always gets their attention and best results whatever they might be. Suddenly, it is possible for somebody to come here tomorrow between noon and 2 PM at no cost to me who will fix the issue. The issue once again, is that some idiot came along and for some reason disconnected both the line from the street and the line going inside the house and since I couldn't be sure in the messy tangle of wires which was what, I opted not to attempt a process of elimination myself. Naturally, they had no record of this just like last time.

On a bright note, they doubled my speed from 200 to 400 Mbps down and cut my bill by 15 bucks a month while they were at it. Apparently, my speed tier was now considered obsolete and I was going to lose unlimited data, not that anyone had informed me of this prior to my final call for action. When I asked why they don't communicate such things to customers I was told basically that it was too difficult for them to send out email. I am not making this up. Once again, truth is stranger than fiction.

So, I guess I'll see what tomorrow brings. I hope they finally get it right and I am planning to supervise and see to it they at least put the box cover on and seal it for a change because they never do this either. My wiring was hanging out in the storm during Hurricane Matthew last year. I took pics then and I did again now but when I ask where to send them nobody knows who at the company would care to see just how bad the techs they subcontract with out here are.

Check this out:

Posted Image

I am only here at the moment thanks to my trusty iPhone and its hotspot feature. I only have a very small amount of data on my plan though since I never use it. So, I will go spend more quality time with Batman tonight and maybe some with Oblivion too. I'm glad neither needs to be online or at least I hope they don't.

That sure is some nice, neat, high quality work in the open box above isn't it? You can't see it too well but there is a wasp nest behind the metal box with all the wires that I discovered in the nick of time. It is not there anymore. :)
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#2 Cougar

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Posted 30 August 2017 - 11:29 PM

Strange, where do you live in NC? I've never even heard of Suddenlink. I'm from Chapel Hill. My parents have Time Warner (now Spectrum I guess? I can't keep track) and have never had any problems. Perhaps they have a bandwidth cap, IDK--they'd never hit it.

Apparently Google Fiber is coming! CH and the Triangle. http://www.dailytarh...ll-and-carrboro

In general, cable companies do a terrible job about notifying you about anything except when your money is due. My Charter plan also became obsolete, and they never notified me, nor did they notify me ahead of time of two different price hikes.

#3 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 03:38 AM

Well, I guess customer service isn't all that important when there are generally only two players in any given area. When they both suck and you change one time you suddenly are out of options. So much for competition. I am in Tarboro which is the only place in this county I think that even has broadband. Our proximity to Rocky Mount probably helps our cause there I imagine. I hadn't heard of Suddenlink before moving here three years ago either. The competition is CenturyLink but my initial experience with them was not good in terms of business practices I wasn't willing to live with along with slower speeds and no unlimited data plan even available. So really, for me here it is Suddenlink or bust but I never let them know I think that. Once you are up and running with them, issues are minimal in my experience but the contractors they hire are worse than useless.

Oh, and that's nice to hear about Google fiber. I had read that a little while back and forgotten about it where it doesn't apply here but hopefully it is the start of much needed improvement and some real competition.
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#4 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 07:22 PM

It's too long to tell it all (even for me) so the short version is, a guy shows up late in the day. He walks around the house and back to his truck. I meet him there, thank him for coming and he tells me he hit some bump in the road a few streets away. He is concerned he may have lost some tools possibly as a result. So, he tells me he will be right back as he wants to go check and be sure he didn't lose anything on the road. I never see him again. No phone call, no nothing. I call Suddenlink multiple times with my tale of woe including this latest event. Naturally, nobody is able to contact this guy, his supervisor or anyone in the field. This like email, is too hard for them I guess.

The new deal is now Monday somebody will be here for sure and even stay to fix it. Somehow, I have my doubts. I think it is time to take matters into my own hands and just plug stuff in myself because even knowing nothing about the connections out there I am probably still miles ahead of these disorganized, incredibly inept clowns.

Wish me luck. Hopefully I don't find some new and exciting way to electrocute myself. It's been quite a while since I experienced the fun of 3-phase power coursing through my body. Maybe I should climb the pole and play with the squirrels and light myself up like they sometimes do. Maybe it would have a paradoxical effect and calm me down because I am about ready to kill the next individual from Suddenlink that I see.
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#5 Matt Diamond

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 08:42 PM

Quote

He walks around the house and back to his truck. I meet him there, thank him for coming and he tells me he hit some bump in the road a few streets away. He is concerned he may have lost some tools possibly as a result.

He scoped out the job before deciding that he might have lost some tools on the road?! What a load of horse manure. He was either a) looking to see if the job was worth his time without being too time consuming, or b) maybe he only knew how to do certain types of jobs and this wasn't one of them.

If you hadn't gone out to him he would have driven off hoping that you hadn't noticed he'd ever arrived.
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#6 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 09:24 PM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 31 August 2017 - 08:42 PM, said:

He scoped out the job before deciding that he might have lost some tools on the road?! What a load of horse manure. He was either a) looking to see if the job was worth his time without being too time consuming, or b) maybe he only knew how to do certain types of jobs and this wasn't one of them.

If you hadn't gone out to him he would have driven off hoping that you hadn't noticed he'd ever arrived.

Yeah, you are probably right. It wouldn't surprise me.

I just put in an online order for CenturyLink to replace these guys. That install is set for Wednesday of this coming week. Further homework revealed that CenturyLink's new excessive use policy does not kick in until you reach over a terabyte in one month. I use a lot of bandwidth but I've yet to use that much in any one month so I am fine with that. The speed is much slower (40 Mbps down) but at this point, if I can get a working, stable connection that isn't cut on me at random times by the company's unreachable contractors, good enough. I tend to download stuff at night while I sleep anyway so 40 is fine. Also, these guys are in the process of upgrading service to this area with multiple faster speed tiers so if I am happy with them I can probably upgrade in the not too distant future.
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#7 Tetsuya

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Posted 31 August 2017 - 10:13 PM

Cable/Internet provides in the US infuriate me.

Comcast slapped us with a 1TB cap in my area.  No warning, no nothing.  

Suspiciously, after i cut the cord and only used them for cable, dropping my bill from ~150$ a month to 80$ a month for 75Mbps down/12 up.  

We went to Sling for TV (and other streaming services like Netflix (infrequent) and the like).  

Even setting Sling to stream at 720p quality (which is still plenty good) we're averaging 800GB a month or more.  In June i went over the 1TB cap.  

Got threatened with a 10$/10GB charge, but they benificently waived that fee for the first overage.  

So.. cut the cord, but now Cable has a cap on it that makes streaming totally infeasible.  Imagine if i was streaming in 1080p.  Or 4k.  Id blow that 1TB in days.  

Oh, and if i want to upgrade to "unlimited data" - an extra 50$ a month.  Putting me at 130$ a month... +30$ for Sling.  

Or, more than i was paying.  

My rage is like the burning hot center of the sun.  

Or i could go to Business Class, pay 100$ a month for 50/10, but have unlimited.  

So, i feel your pain.  

Oh, and our cable goes out two or three times weekly (thankfully usually late at night when the only person using it is me since i have insomnia) for 20-30+ minutes.  They keep sending a guy out to check my signal and hardware (we use our own modem - best on the market that is compatible with their network - and router - Netgear Nighthawk, so i know damn well my hardware isn't the issue.  The guy the send out does everything he can - checks all the signal strengths - we've got the best signal in the neighborhood, since they ran a brand new line from the neighborhood node to us when they installed.  

He's 100% sure its the node infrastructure or the node itself is damaged.  Ive even watched him call his boss and try to get someone out to check the node.  

Never happens.  

I mean, i cant blame this guy, he's on the ball and always on time, (apparently because he lives in the next neighborhood down the road), and he's not responsible for/trained to work on/install the node stuff.  And its not like he hasn't TRIED.  

Oh, and you know what my other option for Broadband is?

I don't have one.  

Legalized local monopolies for the loss.

#8 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 03:06 AM

View PostDirtyHarry50, on 31 August 2017 - 09:24 PM, said:

I tend to download stuff at night while I sleep anyway so 40 is fine.

40 Mb/s is plenty. I mean, I used to get 6 Mb/s from my ADSL connection. In the download direction! Upload is like 0,5 Mb/s.
Currently my carrier lent me a 4G (or is that LTE) box, and I get 20 Mb/s download, nearly 1 Mb/s upload. Neat little thing, smaller than a cigarette pack, as fast as the best ADSL connections.
In 15 days I should finally get FTTH installed, up to 1 Gb/s download / 250 Mb/s upload. Now we're talking! Though I should get "only" 300-400 Mb/s since I'll use a PLC connection between the computers and the fiber box. I don't mind, it'll be so much better than 6 Mb/s!

#9 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 03:21 AM

View PostTetsuya, on 31 August 2017 - 10:13 PM, said:

Suspiciously, after i cut the cord and only used them for cable, dropping my bill from ~150$ a month to 80$ a month for 75Mbps down/12 up.  
...
Oh, and if i want to upgrade to "unlimited data" - an extra 50$ a month.  Putting me at 130$ a month... +30$ for Sling.  
These prices are insane. Here in France I pay €16/month for ADSL (no cap) + unlimited telephone. Soon I'll get 1 Gb/s fiber (no cap) + telephone + TV (except premium channels of course) for €31/month. (€1 = $1.19 currently.)

Quote

Oh, and you know what my other option for Broadband is?

I don't have one.

Not even ADSL? It's slower than cable but still loads better than 56K modems. :)
No LTE either?
Though if you need a good upload, these technologies aren't adequate.

#10 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 04:24 AM

It really is terrible in the US. The places I have lived and I think this is probably true in most of the nation, typically have two if that, in the way of ISPs with cable Internet. As a rule, they both suck wherever you go.

As Tetsuya was mentioning, in response to so many people ditching cable television and streaming the content they actually care to watch rather than subsidizing over 100+ channels we never watch nor want to as is always the case with cable, they now are implementing ways to screw us on the Internet billing to make up the loss. They are also in some cases now jumping on the streaming bandwagon with their own versions of Sling or whatever. I noticed CenturyLink offering me a free trial for a streaming television service. They are phasing out their Prism TV in the future even though they continue to promote and sell it as they transition to streaming. I was reading about this and them the other day. The article didn't say but I wondered if their plan is not to just go 100% streaming. Naturally, a teaser will be streaming bandwidth will not affect your capped limit which of course is not true with any competition. So you'll chew up tons of bandwidth streaming any competitor from Sling to Netflix to whatever but if you buy their streaming television service you won't. How convenient for them. How popsnizzlety for consumers. How typical of the way things work in this country.

At this point it is clear to see that the brief glory days of streaming are on the way out. Between jacked up Internet costs and fragmentation of the streaming marketplace it will cost us more not less pretty soon to have what we used to have. The best part of all of this is that aside of premium channels like HBO or Cinemax, we are still bombarded with commercials just like when broadcast television was all we had. So, they make all the ad revenue they ever did and then some and they charge us to watch it far more than it actually costs them. I will stop short of getting into the economics and inequality this results in but it is pretty obvious where once again the money flows up to.

I don't know what the answer is and I don't want to think about it really. I just try to navigate the shark infested waters the best I can like everybody else.

By the way, when I tried to get just Internet, of course the offer defaulted to Internet, Phone and TV bundled for a discount.  Take away the phone and bill goes down $30 so I guess that is what that costs. That doesn't seem like a good deal to me when Verizon cell service only runs me $50. a month roughly. The cheap television bundle with a bunch of useless channels adds in another 75 bucks but then later you learn that of course the Prism box runs another 10 bucks and you cannot buy your own box for that. Then there is taxes and fees. Included with fees are fees for sports network whether you care or not and some other thing I forget. By the time they are done nickel and diming you with various official sounding fees, they've managed to tack on another 5 to 10 bucks depending on your total package. Then there is the modem rental which does have one benefit. When the tech wants to blame your gear for a problem and drop your call like a hot potato, it sometimes helps to remind them it is their gear and they own any issues with it. One should not have to pay another 10 bucks a month to keep them from avoiding supporting you this way but that is the major benefit of it versus just buying a modem which is far, far cheaper over time. However, any problems and you can be sure you will hear about your modem, your router, your computer, the wireless, try ethernet, etc.

It is infuriating to the absolute max. I was ready to blow a gasket today after wasting another day of my life chasing these idiots to simply deliver what I am paying for and to stop disconnecting a paying customer. Even though I think no better of CenturyLink who I have had in the past, changing just to do it, feels good somehow. I was so mad earlier today I began thinking about only playing disc based games on console and screw patches, watching my DVDs and Bluerays, listening to my own local iTunes library and the hell with the damned internet. I can use that at the local library for free anytime. It is only a few blocks away from me. I really started to think about that. I thought about Thoreau and Walden and how I have become tethered to this crap that increasingly does not seem worth it to me. I grew up without the Internet and rather than simulate walking, I actually went outside and did it. I still do and it is good for the soul. I really wonder sometimes if the world is all that better or if we had it better years ago. It's a mixed bag to be sure.

By the way, it is going to run me 70 bucks a month for 40 Mbps down and no other services along with a 1 TB data cap. That is the complete bill with a modem. I am going to buy a modem sometime soon though and stop giving them money I should not be. It doesn't really matter owning one of theirs anyway. If they aren't incompetent to begin with, they are hamstrung as Tetsuya noted above when it comes to helping you many times anyway or you get some kid reading from a script who knows damned near nothing if it is not on that script. I think overall, nationwide, consumer evaluations of ISPs rarely even hit a 50% satisfaction rating. I would be very surprised if any of them do.
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#11 Matt Diamond

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 04:47 AM

I agree, 40 Mb/s is fine for most people. Fios switched me up from 25Mb/s to 50Mb/s at one point and I didn't really notice. (They did it after I unsuccessfully challenged an insulting modem fee, don't get me started on that, so I'm not entirely happy with them but the actual service has been good.)
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#12 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 05:35 AM

US ISPs sound like butwipes. This is far beyond what we experience here of bad things, IMHO.
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#13 Atticus

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 07:21 AM

Yeah, US cell and internet prices are awful (compared to Europe), and companies like Comcast abuse their monopoly powers all the time. :-( However, comparing prices with Europe isn't entirely fair--the U.S. is a huge @#$% landmass (just driving across Texas takes three weeks) that requires huge infrastructure. So part of the high costs required build out and support that network is reflected in consumer prices, unfortunately.

Regardless, your experience sounds infuriating, especially because of the lack of competition.
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#14 macdude22

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 07:45 AM

CenturyLink is the worst. nuff said.
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#15 Cougar

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 12:07 PM

View PostAtticus, on 01 September 2017 - 07:21 AM, said:

Yeah, US cell and internet prices are awful (compared to Europe), and companies like Comcast abuse their monopoly powers all the time. :-( However, comparing prices with Europe isn't entirely fair--the U.S. is a huge @#$% landmass (just driving across Texas takes three weeks) that requires huge infrastructure. So part of the high costs required build out and support that network is reflected in consumer prices, unfortunately.

Regardless, your experience sounds infuriating, especially because of the lack of competition.

I have heard that excuse before, but then you have places like Finland with even lower population density, and they manage not to suck. I think it can be ascribed entirely to the lack of competition.

#16 Tetsuya

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 04:16 PM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 01 September 2017 - 03:21 AM, said:

Not even ADSL? It's slower than cable but still loads better than 56K modems. :)
No LTE either?
Though if you need a good upload, these technologies aren't adequate.

I get good LTE signal, but there's no way i could use it for a home connection, especially not to stream live TV with Sling.  There's no such thing as a truly unlimited LTE plan here in the US.  

And no, im not close enough to a switching station for ADSL - have to be within 5 cable miles.  Im roughly six miles away.

#17 Tetsuya

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 04:30 PM

View PostAtticus, on 01 September 2017 - 07:21 AM, said:

Yeah, US cell and internet prices are awful (compared to Europe), and companies like Comcast abuse their monopoly powers all the time. :-( However, comparing prices with Europe isn't entirely fair--the U.S. is a huge @#$% landmass (just driving across Texas takes three weeks) that requires huge infrastructure. So part of the high costs required build out and support that network is reflected in consumer prices, unfortunately.

Regardless, your experience sounds infuriating, especially because of the lack of competition.

Problem is they wont even do the build-out.  

My in-laws live out in the country where the local township has mandated a 4-acre minimum lot size.  So, house density is low (by law).  No broadband company will run line to their house.  Ever.  

Theyve literally been told that by every company that operates nearby.  

Comcast makes ~15 billion in profit, but wont re-invest any of that in improved infrastructure, and instead adds data caps.  

There were technologies that could have brought at least "slow" broadband (5-7Mbps down, 2Mbps up) to every area with power lines (Broadband over power line) - a utility company down in Texas tested it in a "small" town of 60,000.  Worked great.  

Comcast and Brighthouse (at the time, forget what they call themselves now) took them to court and had them shut down because they weren't allowed to provide internet service.  Theyve similarly sued at least three different townships and cities who wanted to put in municipality-owned broadband for residents, and threatened to sue the township next to the one i live in (I live in MI, where my Uncle is the township supervisor of the next town over - essentialy the mayor) if they put in a municipal WiFi network just for the "downtown" area.  

Shortly after, Brighthouse's parent company bought the technology and buried it - mostly.  You can get powerline adapaters for your house based on the tech, but BBoPL?  Dead.  

There was a competing 4G technology to LTE that Sprint invested in early on - WiMAX - that had much better penetration of buildings and better distance from each tower but was significantly slower (capped out around 15Mbps at best) - but that would be PERFECT for "last mile" service to people like my in-laws.  Instead of running fiber to each house in a low density area, you run it to a central tower and give them a WiMax receiver.  

That tech is dead too.  Bought by Time Warner and forgotten.  Now, it was terrible for cell phones, but it has other uses.  But that would mean lower prices.  

Also, Until 2011, it was legal in the US for townships and other local governments to offer local monopolies to broadband carriers - basically, the intent of the law was that the towns would give the providers right-of-way, and offset buildout costs, but the provider would get a  local monopoly for their efforts.  The law was struck down in 2011, but it had been in place since the late 80s... (and is why in the township i live in, Comcast is the only provider other than the phone company IF you live close enough to the switching station for ADSL)... .so no new company is going to come in and lay entirely new infrastructure to compete with Comcast who already has all the customers in the area wrapped up.  

There was also an FCC complaint that went away under the new FCC chairman against Time Warner and Comcast colluding to split up areas so they wouldn't be competing with one another - like, Comcast literally sold a bunch of their  infrastructure in a certain portion of Michigan to Time Warner, and Time Warner sold some infrastructure to Comcast, so they would no longer be in the same areas.  

So they wouldn't have to compete.

#18 Frost

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 04:37 PM

Suddenlink is a bunch of frakking douche canoes. They keep raising my bill and randomly not giving me the speed tier I'm paying for, and they get away with it because where I am right now, I can get either gigabit from Suddenlink or slow-as-popsnizzle DSL from AT&T, so Suddenlink it is.

I think their entire business plan is setting up in areas where major telecoms don't have a competitive presence and then frakking people.

View PostAtticus, on 01 September 2017 - 07:21 AM, said:

Yeah, US cell and internet prices are awful (compared to Europe), and companies like Comcast abuse their monopoly powers all the time. :-( However, comparing prices with Europe isn't entirely fair--the U.S. is a huge @#$% landmass (just driving across Texas takes three weeks) that requires huge infrastructure. So part of the high costs required build out and support that network is reflected in consumer prices, unfortunately.

Regardless, your experience sounds infuriating, especially because of the lack of competition.

You must be one slow driver, I've done Houston to Kansas City and Houston to Cape Canaveral in one day before. :P

But yes, one thing people don't realize is US infrastructure ≠ European, or Japanese, or whatever infrastructure. Texas alone is larger than France, with a more decentralized population. Then you have another 49 states + territories to deal with. Covering the continental US is akin to providing infrastructure for one half of the moon, landmass-wise. That's a bit of a nightmare logistically.
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#19 DirtyHarry50

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 05:21 PM

View Postmacdude22, on 01 September 2017 - 07:45 AM, said:

CenturyLink is the worst. nuff said.

I thought so myself until I switched to Suddenlink who has managed to set the bar to about 20 feet underground. I basically can choose evil or even more evil but its all evil round these parts.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell

#20 DirtyHarry50

DirtyHarry50

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Posted 01 September 2017 - 05:31 PM

View PostFrost, on 01 September 2017 - 04:37 PM, said:

Suddenlink is a bunch of frakking douche canoes.

I think their entire business plan is setting up in areas where major telecoms don't have a competitive presence and then frakking people.

Good call on both accounts. I had to lol at both comments. I must be losing it. These raping bastards do this stuff, get away with it and for some reason I find myself laughing about the insanity of it all.
“The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” — Bertrand Russell