Windstream updated its network to produce greater speeds and better connectivity for its customers in the Vandalia area, according to a corporate spokesman.
Both network speeds and connectivity have been an issue for Windstream customers, but Windstream Spokesman Scott Morris said the problem should now be fixed. Windstream’s update increased the bandwidth circuit from Vandalia’s central office to the World Wide Web.
“We’ve implemented a network upgrade to increase the bandwidth and produce higher speeds,” Morris said.
“Essentially what we’ve done is provide a bigger pipe that will transmit data faster, more efficiently, and more reliably.”
Windstream customer David Kurz said he’s experienced problems with network speeds, outages, and getting the runaround from Windstream representatives.
He’s been a Windstream customer since the company came to Vandalia. He works in the IT Department of Green Supply in Vandalia.
At home, Kurz and his family rely on the internet as a primary source of entertainment instead of cable or satellite service providers.
Kurz pays for six megabytes per second (Mbps) of service. Until recently, he received only one megabyte or less.
He uses Internet speed checkers like speedtest.net and speakeasy.net to asses his actual download speeds.
“It’s the same thing everyday,” Kurz said. “In the morning it’s faster, and in the evening its slow.”
“If you went to a grocery store and asked for six pounds of deli meat and they handed you one pound, you would be upset,” he said.
Kurz said a lot of people are unaware of the connection speeds they get and what speeds they actually should expect.
“I just feel like people are getting ripped off, and they don’t even know it,” he said.
Kurz said unless somebody explains the issue, because the technical nature of the problem, people don’t know what they paying for.
He said he’s been reporting the problem to Windstream since July 2 with numerous follow-up calls.
Windstream has reduced his bill at times, “which is good they’re willing to do that,” Kurz said.
Despite the speed issues, he said Windstream failed to give any specifics toward fixing the problem.
“They say they know about the issue and have sent the information to the engineering department, but they won’t give an estimated time line for correcting the problem,” Kurz said.
“I’m not trying to make enemies or make somebody look bad, but I feel like I’m being cheated, and other people are being cheated and don’t even know about it,” he said.
“Another thing that’s frustrating about this is the lack of options,” he said.
“I would say that any business has the same problems.”
Jim Elzea of Elzea Realty said he was told that 3 Mbps of broadband service would cover his daily needs, so he went with the plan.
Elzea used speedtest.windstream.net to check his Internet speeds at the office after witnessing the amount of time it took to update Garmin GPS maps; five hours. A Garmin representative told Elzea that the download should take a matter of minutes.
Elzea found he had only been receiving around 2 Mbps of service or less from Windstream. He began calling Windstream and logging his actual speeds, but received the same runaround as Kurz.
He said Windstream should have the capacity to provide the service for which customers are paying, and provide updates according to that capacity.
“You should get what you pay for,” Elzea said. “Service should be good for the whole town.”
He said recently his speeds have jumped to acceptable levels of 3 mbps or slightly higher — what he pays for — since the upgrade.
Windstream Spokesman Scott Morris said the company made the upgrade “at the network level,” and “most folks will be taken care of through this.”
He said the upgrade has been in the works for several months.
“These things take time to implement,” he said.
For Internet outages, Morris said he only found two that could be identified as a network problem since July.
He said other outages were due to non-network issues such as wiring and faulty computer settings at a customer’s home or office.
With the upgrade, Morris said data should be transferred faster, more efficiently, and more reliably.
He said individual customers could have issues separate from the network.
“That’s not something we can fix,” Morris said. “If you’re still having an issue, call tech support.”
Some customers may need to power cycle their modem, but they should not push reset — just unplug the modem and plug it back in.
“We appreciate our customers patience,” Morris said. “We’re always working on the network.
“It’s a constant work in progress,” he said.
Kurz said he has noticed a change.
He now gets between 2 megabytes per second and 3-and-a-half megabytes per second.
“I’m still not getting full speed, but it is definitely much better,” he said.