Cox is unreliable, unhelful, and stupid.

Posted by james on Dec. 31, 2008

We have Cox here at the house for Internet and TV, and Lauren's had it for the past 3 or 4 years. It's been ok, but lately we've been having problems with the internet cutting out randomly. It would appear to be really slow, since eventually pages would load. Looking at a ping log it was obvious that the signal was cutting out for about 10 seconds out of every minute or so. This would happen in episodes, so the internet would be fine all day, then this would start happening every minute for a half hour, then it'd be fine again.

First, I called Cox tech support to see if there were any issues in the area. The tech said no, no issues in the area and he could see that my modem had been online and fine for more than 30 days. This definitely wasn't true, since I'd been having trouble recently. I waited a few days, then called back because it kept happening. This time the tech said he could see on my modem's log that the signal was just barely adequate, and would gradually get worse until it reset. He said there's no reason the first tech shouldn't have seen it, it was right there. So the first tech lied to me... not good.

They sent out a tech to come to the house to try to fix it. He inspected everything, tested signals, and got them to boost the signals by enough to bring the modem within spec. It was working then, since it was not experiencing an episode at that moment. He left, and about 30 minutes later the same thing happened. I called back to Cox tech support, and they told me that a tech had looked it over, and that there didn't seem to be anything wrong with the modem, so it might be an issue with my router and they would not send someone out to check out. What a lame cop out! Especially in light of the fact that I can consistently ping the modem's internal IP, even when the dropouts are occurring, so that means my router is totally fine. The problem lies somewhere between the modem and anything outside the modem (even Cox's DHCP servers).

But they just wont send someone out to take a look, since they insist that it "could be your router". Lame.

Then recently I decided to try to work on a PVR (personal video recorder, like a DVR), and I wanted to hook up my computer to the firewire port on the DVR we rent from Cox. Normally all of the ports are disabled by Cox, but the firewire must be enabled:

According to the FCC's Rules, on page 50:
(4) Cable operators shall:
(i) Effective April 1, 2004, upon request of a customer,
replace any leased high definition set-top box, which does not
include a functional IEEE 1394 interface, with one that includes a
functional IEEE 1394 interface or upgrade the customer's set-top
box by download or other means to ensure that the IEEE 1394
interface is functional.
(ii) Effective July 1, 2005, include both a DVI or HDMI
interface and an IEEE 1394 interface on all high definition set-top
boxes acquired by a cable operator for distribution to customers.

So Cox is required by law to provide an HD box with a working firewire port. Seems pretty simple and straightforward. I plug my computer into Cox's DVR, and no firewire. So I call them up. I ask them if the firewire ports are enabled on the DVR (and spent a bit of time explaining what "firewire" and "IEEE1394" are, to tech support!). They say no, they're not enabled. So I ask them to exchange my DVR for one with firewire enabled. They say they can't, none of the ports are enabled. I tell them about the FCC ruling that states they are required by law to enable the firewire on request. And here's where the excuses start. I can't even remember all of them, they were such BS. "That rule must be new, I haven't heard anything about it." Nope, the first part was effective April 1, 2004. "We have an HDMI port, you can use that instead." Nope, I want a firewire port, since HDMI can't be connected to a computer, and it says specifically "both a DVI or HDMI interface and an IEEE 1394 interface". "Well, we must have some reason we don't have to conform to that law, so that must be why we don't do it. No, sorry, pulling fabricated nonsense out of your butt is not a valid reason (I didn't say this, but probably should have). In the end, the woman on the phone (a supervisor, since the original tech couldn't get past "What's a firewire?") simply told me that she wouldn't do it, that they didn't have to, and have a nice day *click*.

I'm done with Cox. Their tech support have been incompetent or belligerent 2 times too many, and even then my service was still having problems. Add on top of that the fact that we're paying them over $130/mo, for service that is flawed, and my mind was made up. I'm calling Cox tomorrow to cancel my service, since we already have something else in place...