Glen Bisogno, director of area operations for Mediacom, met with Ocean View residents last week to speak about the cable provider’s work in the community and address citizens’ concerns.
“Our network is as reliable as any of our other providers and certainly as any of our competitors,” said Bisogno.
Bisogno, who is a Fenwick Island resident, said that he is a Comcast customer for cable TV, but also deals with outages frequently.
He noted that in Ocean View, 42 percent of outages are caused by commercial power interruptions, with 33 percent caused by trucks hitting poles or contractors digging.
“The rest is oddball things. Our equipment fails, just like your laptop might fail or TV might fail. Our equipment fails too. It has a failure rate. It lasts seven to 15 years and somewhere in there it will fail.”
Bisogno said that Mediacom is currently working to improve disruptions in service through developing a redundant fiber path and battery backup.
“We’re basically paying to duplicate our network. So we’re paying for two different paths going two different routes and that’s at least how we can cut down on how often and how prolonged outages are,” he explained. Adding, “the only failure we can’t control is commercial power failure. This area for us has been plagued… what we’re doing is deploying battery backup and hoping that we can hit the key source spots.”
In the last 12 months, Bisogno said that Mediacom invested $301,000 in the town, through installing new Internet equipment to improve speed, including 3.7 miles of new fiber and coaxial cable and a new battery backup power supply. He added that Mediacom’s operating expenses for the town of Ocean View, alone, costs $2.7 million, through a combination of programming, pole rentals and road maintenance.
“We’re not just a user. We don’t just take revenue from the town, we have invested heavily.”
According to Bisogno, Mediacom has been working to improve service availability to its customers, by holding service appointments seven days a week, 11 hours each day.
Citizens voice service disappointment
Resident Steve Samanski, a graphic designer who works from his home office, said that since he’s moved to the area, he’s noticed a wide shift in signal availability, which greatly hinders his ability to work.
“I’ve noticed the level of Internet service that I’m getting varies greatly... I can’t have that, it’s not good for me,” he said. “I know you don’t have big outages a lot, but I can guarantee your service is down in my house at least once a day... I don’t care if I’m missing a baseball game or a boxing game. But when it comes to my business, I’m very serious about that. It means a lot to me. It’s my livelihood.”
He added that the customer service was greatly lacking, not only at the Dagsboro office, but at the company’s call centers as well.
“Last week, when we were down for four hours I had to get documents to a client. I called you to see what was going on and I got a recording saying that there were excessive calls coming in, and to call back later. To me, as a paying client, I don’t want to be told to call back. I want some sort of explanation or even the opportunity to leave a message,” he said, noting he eventually had to drive to Starbucks in Rehoboth to get internet access.
Resident Jim Carr said that he also had customer service issues with the cable provider.
“I want to voice my complete dissatisfaction with the service,” said Carr, who stated that representatives at the Dagsboro office refused to provide him with written documentation of when his home experienced outages, after being told to go there by the company’s two call centers.
“When I went up there I was threatened to be arrested by the girl who was dealing with me. I have never in my life been treated like that and I want to tell you, I’m one upset individual. It’s the way I was treated as an individual by your company that upsets more than anything else. I want to know why you can’t call into your office. I’ve never heard of a business that won’t accept incoming phone calls.”
Carr said that if he had been able to call ahead to the Dagsboro office, he would not have spent the time, money, gas and energy it took to go to the office, only to be turned down.
“You got a problem here with the way you’re treating your customers. You have an internal problem with the way information is being dispersed to the customers.”
Bisogno said that he was sorry Carr had had such a negative experience. He noted that Mediacom operates three call centers, which have approximately one representative for 1,500 to 3,000 customers and it would be impossible to operate efficiently taking incoming calls.
“There was a disconnect,” said Bisogno of Carr’s experience. “The call center failed... we failed because you left very upset with us. So I have a lot to work on.”
Resident Terry Watson said that he has been a Mediacom customer for three years and is extremely dissatisfied with the customer service.
“It is absolutely the most God-awful thing in the world. I have probably called your office 100 times in the past two years,” he said. “I’ve been hung up on, I’ve been lied to, I’ve been down in Florida, I’ve been all over the place. If I’ve got a resolution in 10 percent of my calls, it’d be a miracle.”
Watson asked Bisogno what Mediacom is doing to improve its customer service.
“We have increased our call center staff in the last year. We’ve added probably about 10 percent more staff,” responded Bisogno. “They get a lot of training.”
Resident Elaine Birkmyer asked if the town could bring in a competing cable company.
“Can we get somebody else to put a bid in?” she asked.
Mayor Gordon Wood said that the possibilities are slim, as the cable company would have to make a large investment to install new cables to run into the town.
Ocean View is currently negotiating its franchise agreement with Mediacom, joining with Bethany Beach, Millville and South Bethany.
For those who are interested in reaching Bisogno regarding their Mediacom cable concerns, he can be emailed at email@example.com.