Could LTE Bury The Dinosaur Cable Coax?


I'm enjoying surfing the net on my home computer at speeds upwards of 28Mb/s. It's fantastic. I never thought I'd be enjoying such high speeds.

To my surprise, the Mediacom company is offering 2 packages that are even faster that what I currently have: a 50Mb/s Ultra, and 105Mb/s Ultra Plus.

That's insanely fast, as far as I'm concerned. Just a few years ago, the techie prognostocators said we'd never see Internet speeds of even 50Mb/s like Europe, because the US is too spread out and we don't have a majority dense tightly packed city population like they do with a great copper wire network.

But as awesome as it sounds to surf at 105Mb/s on your home computer with Mediacom, they might be obsolete within a couple of years. Chances are, they are topped out on how far they can go with increases in speed packages.

To get the Ultra Plus 105Mb/s package, Mediacom had to do a lot of hardware upgrades to their network. They worked hard on updating modems, switches, and the fiber optic lines. But they also had to find a source of available bandwidth to run the data.

From what I know, I believe this came from decomissioning 2 different sets of available bandwidth from their analog television channel offerings. They had to trade out the use of those frequencies, and add them to the existing 2 frequency ranges that they were already using in order to create the 105Mb/s package. Each range has a capability of pumping out roughly 25Mb/s of data.

Long story short, it looks like they are topped out. All the while, the big mobile network providers are rolling out LTE (Long Term Evolution) 4G service across the nation, with no wires, providing download speeds as high as 54Mb/s. Which do you think has the most capability for expansion? The topped-out big fat wire from the cable service provider, or the wireless LTE network?

Things will get interesting once we see the full rollout of LTE service right here in my home town. Once AT&T (my provider) tweaks the system and can reproduce the super high speeds that we already have in St. Louis and Kansas City, I might run out of reasons for keeping my cable modem.

The only stumbling block will be data charges. Can a mobile service provider dole out enough data for download at a reasonable price that can compete with the cable company? Right now, the answer is no.

Even at the lowest level for Mediacom, called "Launch", you get 150Gb of total data to download for your 3Mb/s service. Each package increases the amount you can download for the month, ending at 999Gb with Ultra Plus.

As we know, the cell service providers like capping us greedy data downloaders off at 250mb, 3Gb, and 5Gb. That pales in comparison. This could be the saving grace for Mediacom's high speed cable internet service... for now.

Carlton Flowers
Data Hog


Mediacom - Great Customer Service But One Achilles Heel


I am writing this blog post from my smartphone. Why? It's because my cable internet service provided by Mediacom is down.

I don't knock Mediacom, though. High speed cable internet service is not something guaranteed by the Bill Of Rights. There's no way a company can promise uninterrupted internet service.

But the friendly folks at Mediacom have not solved one critical aspect of their service - timeliness of responding to customer outages.

I have stuck with Mediacom over the years, and have preferred it over slower DSL serivce. But even though the DSL in our area is not capable of pumping out mega-fast data througputs, it was more dependable.

For whatever reason, the Mediacom cable internet infrastructure is seriously sensitive. It doesn't take much to knock out the signal.

While we can't control the reason for outages, you would expect the service provider to do the best they can in getting techs to fix the problem.

But in my experience with Mediacom over the past ten years, the average time of response when my service is interrupted for whatever reason has been one to three weeks.

While the company provides excellent customer service, in my opinion, response time is an area that they have a huge opportunity for improvement.

The most glaring evidence of this is shown when you compare the time it takes for an install versus the response time for a service tech. New installs can be taken care of in a matter of days.

But the reason for this, I am led to believe, is that the company utilizes contract workers to help them with new installs. Employees cover service calls.

I have had the most outstanding Mediacom employees come to the rescue when my cable internet is botched up. But their excellent work is overshadowed by the length of time you've got to wait for them to shuffle through the cue.

When you call with a problem, the answer you get from the toll free customer service line is usually, "the earliest we can get a service tech out to your house is 2 weeks from today".

If you have a customer who is depending heavliy on their internet access for business purposes, or for taking collegiate courses online, a two-week wait just doesn't sit well.

Sure, you can always go to McDonald's or Panara Bread and use their free WiFi, so it isn't life or death. But I am not convinced that the company has made the effort to truly improve upon this problem.

Opinions about Mediacom Cable vary from person to person. I still happen to be a fan of theirs. But their reputation for quality of service provided could go from average to great if they made the firm decision to improve in this area.

Burn the boats, Mediacom, and don't look back. Take this issue head on, and get it solved. If you do, the arrival of LTE won't shake your customer base.

What are your opinions about Mediacom, CenturyLink, or other high speed internet service providers? What do you see in the future for internet access? Will the wires survive, or will the wireless rise?

Carlton Flowers
Wired Up Geek