The cable guy’s secrets: Technician claiming to work for Time Warner Cable is telling all on Reddit

Just like the Batmobile.
Just like the Batmobile.
Image: Reuters/Sam Mircovich
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Someone claiming to be a Time Warner Cable technician is spilling secrets on Reddit.

Time Warner Cable, the second-largest provider of TV and internet service in the United States, told Quartz that it is looking into the postings. “We’re not able to verify if this person is actually a current or former employee,” a spokesman said.

Reddit user cableguy_the started an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) thread, posting photos of his ID badge and uniform as purported proof of his job. His answers to the questions coming in are extremely candid. Here are some highlights (typos preserved).

On Comcast’s pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable:

We want the merger because the current group in charge is the worst in recent history. A lot of people getting fired due to impossible metrics. All the power has been given to customer service reps and stripped from the people who actually visit the houses and fix problems . It’s a mess and the company is being run like shit IMHO [in my humble opinion].

On the tension between technicians and customer service representatives:

Yea customer service reps and techs are fighting a war that no one sees. We hate them, they hate us. They tell customers the problem is the equipment when it almost never is. We tell customers to just ignore what the guy on the phone says because chances are very good, he has never wired a house, hung a drop or fixed cable.

On what’s really wrong with your connection:

Don’t believe 50% of what the rep on the phone tells you. Just schedule the tech. Let him work. He’s done this before. The rep just answers phones. It’s almost NEVER the equipment causing the issue.

On the secret to getting better help:

When a tech arrives ,ask for his supervisors number. Tell him its not to burn him but to escalate an issue. He might call his sup to make sure its cool but that will help.

On what’s preventing faster internet download speeds:

Honestly, basic analog cable. It takes up sooo much bandwidth . 1 channel per frequency vs bonding multiple frequencies to deliver 8 channels for a downstream and 4 for an upstream . Once we go 100% digital tv.. Internet will get faster. Also congestion. If you live around a college it’s the worst . Grandma might use her 15 meg for email and browsing but young Johnny college kid sucks up the bandwidth in the area using netflix and torrenting and gaming. Yet they pay the same. IMHO what would fix this is capping data and giving everyone uncapped speed.

On why splitting your cable connection is a bad idea:

Putting in a splitter to simply attenuate the signal is really dumb we actually have things called attenuators that do this without adding unnecessary splitter. But it is true that too much signal is just as bad as not enough we call that distortion

On whether this Reddit AMA will cost him his job:

I might be fired depending on who catches me. I might also get a bonus its so hard to tell with the way this company is currently structured.

On how Wi-Fi signals are unreliable, and can be vanquished by doors and walls:

Yes very true. Plaster walls especially.Solid wood doors, being in a basement when the router is on the second floor or vice versa. Wifi is a fickle beast.

On your “broken” cable modem:

Yea I hear this a lot. I would say in a given year I would say 5% of the modems I swapped were actually faulty. We do a lot of dog and pony show and just swap it anyway. The problem is almost always not equipment related. Modems either work or they don’t. There is so little in between. They are very simple devices. I have show customers using my own laptop everything working just fine, then switch back to their equipment and everything goes to shit. They still demand a new modem..Its insanity.