Technology

The TekSavvy Nightmare Scenario

About three months ago, I switched my Internet service from Rogers to TekSavvy. While the quality of my service with Rogers was just fine, it was an easy decision to make: TekSavvy leases Rogers’ cable lines, and offers dramatically higher monthly bandwidth (300GB vs 95), for a lower price.

The switchover to the new service took about five weeks, owing primarily to the fact that I owned my cable modem (Rogers required you to buy a modem for their “Extreme” service a few years back). Once the switch was complete, Rogers could take anywhere from 20 minutes to 48 hours to release their hold on my cable modem, and let TekSavvy assign me an IP address. Yes, of course it ended up being 48 hours, without Internet.

Last Tuesday, my Internet went down. I called TekSavvy and was told that Rogers’ local DHCP server for TekSavvy users was having a problem, and several other users in my area were also down. My ticket was filed, and I was told that Rogers could take up to 48 hours to respond. Two full days.

So I waited till Thursday before calling them back. Right away I was greeted with an automated response: cable service was down for Pickering, Ajax and Whitby. Most of Durham Region, for TekSavvy anyway, was without service.

As it happened, I was going away for the weekend to New York City. But while I was there, I continued to check on my network remotely. By my calculations, it didn’t come back online until sometime Sunday afternoon. A good six days without Internet.

Now, this may come off as sounding like the lead headline in First World Problems Magazine (featuring “OMG! I Broke a Nail!” and “They Ran Out Of Mayo And My Club Sandwich Sucks!), but as a work-and-live-at-home hermit, the Interwebz are important to me. So bear with me here.

My first question here is, who’s to blame?

TekSavvy called me today and asked if my Internet was okay. That was kind, and it was good to speak to someone, as I was planning to call them myself tomorrow for an explanation. The woman who called had no information other than what I’d already been told, and that it was essentially Rogers’ fault. Also, my account will be credited for the time I didn’t have the Internet.

But assuming we take them at their word (and I’ve no reason not to), am I satisfied to leave it at this? Apparently not. Because while this may be Rogers’ fault, there’s clearly something deeply broken here. In the ten-plus years I’ve been a Rogers customer, I can count my total downtime in hours, not days. And now, in the first months of my time with TekSavvy, I’m down for most of a week. It might be an unfortunate coincidence, but to date I’m not at all convinced that this won’t happen again.

Aside from a followup call from TekSavvy, I have no information from the company as to what happened, and what is being done to assure me that future incidents will not occur. They have no blog, no Twitter presence, in fact little to no outreach to their general customers at all, from what I can see.

All the nerds I know in the Toronto area are big TekSavvy fans. But when things go wrong, what can the company do about it? They seem to be at the mercy of Rogers. And I can’t help but think that Rogers is going to no effort to help us out.

I don’t know about the nature of Rogers’ agreement with TekSavvy, but it clearly doesn’t put support very high on the list. And while I would love to stay with TekSavvy, if this turns out to be the start of a trend, I’m going to have no choice but to return to Rogers, where having the Internet is more important than having meager bandwidth caps.

So if you’re out there, TekSavvy, this message is for you: figure out your problems with Rogers, yes. But also be more open to your customers about what’s going on. Internet isn’t a “nice to have”; it’s a utility that I rely on. Start acting like it, because I’m another outage away from switching back.