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Thread: Charter Pipeline Blows

  1. #1

    Angry Charter Pipeline Blows

    For the last few days I've been getting speeds slower than a 28.8 dialup. Charter (through HSA) says they are aware of the problem, but have no idea when it may be fixed. They believe it is being caused by so many new users signing up & now there is not enough bandwidth to go around. Great planning guys, same excuse AOL used a few years ago when they went to flat-rate plans.

    IDIOTS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. #2


    Where are you located?

  3. #3


    smyrna, georgia

  4. #4


    You ain't lying there.
    Smryna is arguably the worst charter site in the country. It has had slow speeds like that for about a week, hopefully it will get fixed soon.

  5. #5


    I am with charter in Rosemount, MN and I have to agree. For a long while the service was pitiful. I believe they used to have a one or two T1's for the entire area, and it sucked. About 2 months ago I noticed things improving and also noticed this: (

    I get a steady 450-475kbit/sec now. I am signed up for 500 but decided to count my blessings instead of filing additional complaints.

  6. #6
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Dec 1999

    Thumbs down

    I too am located not far from symarna ga, and have charter through hsa. Yep they suck the big one! We 2 have only a t1, server. my suggestion to anyone loking at cable access through charter, look at all your options. my dl speeds are hardly better than isdn, and the uploads are worse! at present i have no other real options, but hopefully soon i will. people at work are aware of my time and actions spent on the internet(work at the largest employer in the area)and i tellem what i told you!

  7. #7


    Im using charter in Wisconsin and i got the same bull ****!
    Im not even getting half of my modems capacity!

  8. #8



    At 4AM there shouldn't be a lot of people trying to share my bandwidth, but whadda ya know, the connection STILL SUCKS !!!

    According to CNET's bandwidth meter:

    You 49.4 kbps

    Charter Pipeline, getting worse every day.

    (Paul Allen must be so proud)

  9. #9


    I will probobly get it for this ,but. In defense of HSA, we have very little to do with what goes on in your area. Especially,in the arena of things such as which type of routers they use(UBR's , Com controllers etc.), how many T1 or T3 lines are availible,or whether they want to lay new cable or improve the quality of what is already exsisting,and whether they oversell the area.
    I hate when I look at my phone and I see a Georgia area code, because I know what's next. Beleive me the techs at HSA don't like the situation any more than you do. I wish they would just stop all servivce in that area until they can get there stuff together. Definetly,tired of getting yelled at by people from Georgia, who think it's HSA'a fault that there service blows. It's not, it is a local charter problem. Soon to be fixed I hope.

  10. #10

    Thumbs up


    Trust me, I know it's not HSA's fault. In HSA's defense, 99% of the time that I call (and there've been many many calls) you guys have been very helpful.

    Before Charter bought the local cable company last year, it was basically a family-run company that had no clue what they were doing. I can only imagine the condition/quality of the lines.

    According to the local guy I talked to, they are getting a few more T1 lines by Monday, so it should hopefully make a big difference. I'll believe it when I see it.

  11. #11


    I am in Smyrna and am having the exact same problems, particularly the last few days. I find it fitting that I have a "COM21" modem because I'm getting about 21kbs. I'm wondering why in the hell I ever dropped a reliable 56k Earthlink dial-up that cost $19.95/month for an unreliable Charter Pipeline connection that has been getting speeds in the ballpark of 28.8k and frequently just hangs completely and can't even finish loading a page (all this for only $34.95/month!). Granted I am typing this at 9PM during some peak usage time (having waited 30-60 seconds for each page on this site to load), but like Lizard_boy I have also been on around 4-5AM this weekend and still had pretty horrible speeds.

    Rosco - Is there anything we can do to pressure Charter to fix this mess? Do all the technical support calls just go to HSA? I was going to wait until tomorrow to call to see if it got any better, and I'm going to keep calling and harassing someone until things hopefully improve.

  12. #12



    Whenever you call HSA to report a problem make sure you get a ticket #. Then call their Billing office at 800-569-6088. I got a partial credit last month b/c I had so many problems. I damn well better get a free month after all the **** that has gone on this month.

    I think Charter will finally take some action when HSA is forced to issue credits/refunds to enough people.

    (Paul Allen, your company blows)

  13. #13
    A Victim



    I don't think it's the local lines to blame, as one thing Charter did do is replace almost all of the cabling in this area (Morristown, TN) when they first purchased the system.

    Now the local configuration... That might leave much to be desired.

    Last year about this time, all of this area was without email for over a week. Tech support said that the email server had coughed up a hard drive. Ok.. A: A week to get a new hard drive in and up?? Ever hear of FedEx? B: Ever hear of redundant hardware? RAID, at least?? Email contiunes to be spotty. May Allah have mercy on their business customers..

    Bandwidth hasn't been too much of a problem, but one thing I've noticed: Ping times have been creeping up. Quake III servers that were averaging < 100ms pings are now > 100ms, and usually closer to 150. What's really funny is that HSA has gotten into running game servers! Check out It's really, REALLY bad when your ping times to your own ISP's game servers suck (200+ms)... Seems like if they were really interested in attracting the gaming community, they would do everything in their power to make their cable modem service have the lowest overall pings to everywhere. I'm sure the improvements to the network that would help ping times would also help the other users on the system, too..

    Another thing they're doing which is really annoying is very poor upstream content caching. I can go to a frequently updated web site, and get yesterday's version. Then, click on Refresh, and get todays. Shut down the browser, clear the browser cache, reboot the system, and then visit the site again, and get yesterday's version, AGAIN. It also can screw with access to some web sites and services, as the IP address that you are apparently accessing the web site from can suddenly report as being that of the cache server. Hotmail is one that is like this. If your IP address changes while logged into hotmail, it will force you to give your password again. Some forms of secure online ordering are sensitive to this, as well.. Irritating. They should turn the cache servers into clustered backup units for the email service...

    Oh, and tech support.. Well, while there may be one or two that have a clue, if you want a new definition of silence simply listen hard after you tell them that you're running NT. (I can only imagine the effect of telling them that I'm running a Linux box..) Also, I'd love to see the dart board they use to pick what excuse for piss-poor service quality they use on each call.

    Please, please, please let someone come in with DSL.

  14. #14


    You guys should move to Pasadena, CA.. I know some people there with Charter Pipeline connections, they get sub 20ms pings to game servers this side of Texas, and frequently exceed their caps by a small amount

  15. #15


    To answer some of your questions.

    Firstly, people need to understand HSA relationship to it's partner cable companies. We service, approxmatley,a dozen different cable providers throughout the U.S., from Alaska to Mass.And we are not the local cable providers,I repeat we are not the local providers.
    Our services consist of Tech support on a resedential and commercial level, and a Network Operations Center, for specific areas. And yes all tech support,for Smryna comes through HSA, as far as I know.Then usaully back to Smyrna.
    As far as Smryna is concerned here are two suggestions.
    1.)Put pressure on your local office to make the proper adjustments,to get the servivce up and running properly. Call them ,write letters, threaten lawsuits, that type of stuff.
    2.)Call tech support and ask for the E-mail
    for the complaints office with HSA. I am not posting it here, for good reason. Hopefully, if they get enough complaints someone higher up will take a bit more notice.

    Now to Morristown.
    This weekend they were adding in some extra Comcontrollers down there, so service may have been down for some.But it is a positive move inthe right direction, to account for the growing number of users.
    Secondly, that is not a game server for HSA, but for a local cable operator called based out of ST. Mary's,MD. Therefore,considering the distance, the priority given to ping packets by routers, and the traffic on the east coast, especaiily the D.C and Baltimore area. 200m/s pings ain't to bad.
    Furthermore, I agree, that the Caching sytem used, by some is less than desirable. Causing many problems, that are sometimes generally attributed to browser errors.

    Finally, Mr.Victim, it is true not all techs have a firm grasp on the in's and out's and subtle problems of the many Windows Operating Systems, but most have a basic understanding which is all that you need 90% of the time when configuring TCP/IP stacks and re-installing NIC cards. But that is not a good reason to ride everybody out,because of the service a few.It is a tough job to sit there seven hours a day and listen to MCSE's Sytems Admin,and Linux Specialists call and tell me about there honorifics and certifications. But can't seem to get there TCP/IP stack in order. So,since your so damn bright,Capt Red hat,and know how everything should run,set-up your own DNS server and then you won't have to use there's. You'll get better pings.

  16. #16


    I Live in CT and my pings are always in the 20s and always get as little more in speed then what i am paying for....move here or ca

  17. #17

    Thumbs down

    I called the good folks at HSA this afternoon, gave them the # off my modem, and they ran some sort of diagnostic and confirmed that my problems are "at the server"... Of course, I already knew that before I called since the pings to my internet gateway are horrendous... Usually in the neighborhood of 100-150ms, and that's just the first hop! I'm getting lost packets like crazy, too. I'm not sure if there are any tweaks that could improve the performance under these types of horrible server conditions, but I don't even know if it's worth the bother.

    Any other disgruntled Smyrna-ites have any suggestions on what to do? The guy at HSA said "they're working on the server problems" but couldn't give me any sort of ETA for completion... I guess I'll keep calling and harassing the local office, too, but I don't know how long I can stand it. I just gave up last night and dialed in via NetZero. I hope everyone else in Smyrna enjoyed all that extra bandwidth I freed up for ya! (groan)

  18. #18
    A Victim



    Actually, I do appreciate what it can be like to try to interface the general public with anything remotely smelling of technology. I do it daily. (And, if you haven't seen it, go to . I think you'll like it..)


    When two different techs, at two different times, tell me "We don't support using NT with our service. Only Windows 95 or 98.", then what am I to think?

    Or, when I call to see what might be the ETA for a return of service, when the Com21 is flashing that wonderful green/amber combo that means the RF connection has gone bye-bye, the tech wants to review my NIC bindings??

    Or, you call tech support, and they give you the "reason" for the latest problem. Just curious, you call back, get a different tech, and get a different, unrelated "reason". (And yes, folks, I do such things as call for a second guess, er, opinion. This is East TN we're talking about, so if your net connection is out, the only hope is that there's something on the tube that doesn't suck horribly.. Unless you really like being out in 90/90 weather..)

    Maybe I've just been unfortunate in who I've wound up talking to in the past.

    But, when I called this past weekend to ask why things were moving at a snail's pace, and the reason I'm given is that "About half of the upstream connections have been severed".. (The tech even suggested that some hard lines might have been cut...)

    Now, you're saying it was most likely due to upgrades. (Which sounds much more probable..)


    I'm just reporting it as it's happened with me. Others' mileage may vary. Not to be taken internally.. (Though the ones guilty may find it gets under their skins..)

    The key thing is that there are serious problems with the service, and it seems that the left hand and the right hand aren't really on speaking terms. I HAVE had some positive experiences in dealing with Charter's tech support. But, the negative has far and away outstripped the positive. Plus, there's the consideration that I shouldn't have need to call in the first place. If tech support isn't the place I should be calling, then give me the number for whoever it is I SHOULD be calling. But, I think I do have the right number..

    Don't mis-understand. There's NOTHING wrong with admitting that you don't know something. I can respect someone that says "I don't know." No problemo. I refuse to tolerate BS, though. A straight answer, even if it is "I don't know" is MUCH more preferrable to trying to blow smoke up my backside. One of my "positive" experiences with tech support involved a three hour call for an attempted NIC changeout. We didn't get things resolved, but the tech supervisor that I eventually wound up talking to was direct and honest about things. To have someone say "That shouldn't do that. We have some serious problems to fix. I'll contact the appropriate people." is so refreshing.

    It's VERY curious that the places that seem to be in the worst shape (Morristown and Smyrna) just happen to be places that don't have anything in the way of COMPETITION for broadband access. I've got friends that have Charter's service in Knoxville and Johnson City, and they haven't had a problem yet. (Hell, I'll be unable to even access Charter's own web site, and they'll be hitting web sites around the world..) You'd think that Charter would have more problems meeting the demands in what are, for this area, major metropolitan areas, than in little ol' Morristown. Of course, being the much more developed areas that they are, the choices are much more robust than "it's Charter or dialup". Hmm.. Since the City has a word or two when it comes to the Franchise... Maybe this is something I should be bringing up at my next City Council meeting. Morristown just reciently laid down the law with United Cities Gas for their lack of service to the customer. Maybe the small towns such as Morristown, Smyrna, and the one mentioned in Wisconson need to start communicating. Carrots haven't been working, so it's time for the stick. These areas, with their complete lack of competing broadband providers, have to be nothing but gravy for HSA.

    More curious: After asking Charter TV what the deal was, they said that their only involvement was to provide the cable over which the service was piped. HSA is, according to them, the ones that take care of everything else. Which is the reason why I can't pay my Charter Pipeline bill at my Charter Cable office. The Pipeline people aren't even in the same building with the TV people...

    From HSA's website (

    HSA: Exurban Experts

    High Speed Access Corp.'s business model enables cable operators to completely and cost-effectively outsource the services required to provide high-speed and dial-up Internet access to residential and commercial end users.

    We bring the following benefits to exurban cable providers:

    True end-to-end solution

    HSA is the only provider in this market that directs and manages all aspects of its Internet access system. Other providers' services begin with the network operating system and end at the local loop, where the cable operator must assume the burden for local content, sales, help desk and billing. (See illustration.) With HSA, the local cable partners' only responsibilities are to provide space in the headend for HSA equipment, access to the necessary bandwidth to provide services and maintenance of the integrity and performance of the cable plant.

    Speed to market

    HSA's service can be launched and running in as little as 90 days after signing, with minimal effort by the cable operator. This can happen only because HSA controls the technology as well as the marketing and operations of its Internet service on a local basis.

    New revenue stream with minimal investment

    Cable partners gain a new revenue stream through sharing the revenues generated from monthly subscription fees paid by the end user. That puts the onus on HSA to provide a service that is attractive to both cable partners and end users.

    In addition to splitting monthly fees with the cable partner, HSA offers incremental revenue opportunities from local content provided through its services. These include non-cable services such as residential Internet access through dial-up technologies, as well as commercial Internet access; revenues that HSA also shares with cable partners. HSA also anticipates revenue streams from future broadband services, such as Internet telephony services, video conferencing, home alarm, childcare and utility monitoring, local and community-based e-commerce and interactive video games.

    Flexible design, proven technology and growth path

    HSA offers a flexible, scalable network design that optimizes performance to the end user while achieving operating cost efficiencies. The company provides high-speed access by first connecting end users through HSA's cable headend to the cable or telephone infrastructure. It then connects through high-speed data lines provided by local exchange carriers to backbone facilities provided by UUNet and others, which connect HSA systems to the Internet.

    Because HSA does not require the cable operator to upgrade its system to two-way capability, it can deploy one-way broadband access to some communities sooner than many of its competitors. HSA's services may serve as an impetus for a cable operator to upgrade its system to two-way capability, which could have other benefits for the operator, such as the ability to provide other valuable services, such as interactive program guides, impulse pay-per-view, video-on-demand and telephony.

    Onsite and national end user marketing

    Unlike major competitors, HSA assumes primary responsibility for selling its services to end users. Its dedicated national marketing effort includes development of sales and marketing materials, database market analytics, direct mail and centralized telemarketing. HSA typically maintains a local manager and sales staff in each service area to focus on commercial sales and to coordinate with corporate-level residential sales and marketing programs. Working closely with the partnering cable operator, HSA presents a comprehensive marketing plan to customize the message for each community. It creates and implements a detailed series of steps to develop community awareness of the new offering and educate cable customers on order entry, customer service, capabilities and options.

    In summary, HSA's full turnkey solution represents a business model that is uniquely responsive to exurban cable providers. Contact us to collaborate with you.

    High Speed Access Provides
    What Exurban Cable Operators Need

    Cable Operators Need
    HSA Provides

    Capital source
    Completely outsourced solution with no capital investment required for operator

    Upgrade to two-way
    Flexibility to deliver service under a one-way or two-way scenario

    Technical expertise
    Configuration of the entire system, ongoing network monitoring and help desk

    Internet marketing support
    All the marketing, both onsite and national

    Customer service/billing
    24/7 customer service/billing

    Community-focused content

    Sales expertise
    Dedicated on-site sales staff

    SO, which is it?? HSA doesn't do end to end, or do they? If not, then this is false advertising. Don't try to pass the buck.

    Oh, and by the way..

    If you're going to assign me rank, then it would be more appropriate to make that Staff Seargeant Red Hat. (USAF. And the same Purple Heart that gave me the promotion points to make Staff Seargeant in my first enlistment also happened to make it my ONLY enlistment.)

  19. #19


    Victim... You're right about there being no competition to HSA in my area, but hopefully it won't last too long. BellSouth is supposed to have DSL to us in the next month or two, so I'll definitely be re-evaluating Charter!

    As for the "small towns unite" thing... I'd be glad to join in any sort of effort to light a fire under Charter/HSA's ass, but FYI Smyrna isn't really a small town. I wouldn't be surprised if you haven't heard of it (I hadn't before I moved here), but believe it or not it's actually a suburb of Atlanta! I live right outside the NW of the city less than 5 minutes from Atlanta city lines and about 15 minutes from downtown!

    Maybe one of the technical geniuses at Charter helped Smyrna build their killer web page.

    [This message has been edited by brassmonkey (edited 09-21-2000).]

  20. #20
    A Victim


    Maybe the lack of competition is the key..

    When people are treated poorly by a business, they will generally just take their business elsewhere if there is a choice in the matter. After a while, the company that's been mistreating their customers will suddenly find themselves out of business. Only when the people do not have a viable choice will you hear an outcry against the company.

    Morristown and Smyrna are somewhat similar. Both, while not exactly Podunk, weren't quite large enough to recieve BellSouth's (and others') attentions with respect to DSL coverage in the first go. Both are on the "when we get around to it" list. I hope they get to you soon. I've been told it's going to be sometime next year for us here. Maybe. There are also a few other providers that have made noises about offering DSL in the Morristown area in the next few months. So there is some hope.

    But, for now..

    Here I sit, and Email is hammered, yet again.

    The net connection is hammered, too.. It takes 60 to 90 seconds for the next page to start to load.


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