Parts of Burleson Heights and Burleson-Parker neighborhoods had cable outages on Thursday and Friday, requiring work crews to come out twice on Friday.
Problems began with cable TV’s sound dropping out and images freezing and pixelating. By the time a crew came two days later, service was completely out. Many Time Warner Cable (TWC) subscribers had no TV, Internet broadband or phone service.
The image and sound problems that first indicated trouble this week were similar to problems in 2011, when crews had to replace worn wiring and equipment along much of Princeton Drive. Over time connections loosen, wires are damaged by repeated splicing, and equipment gets weathered and water-damaged.
This week’s outage was related to a node that delivers cable signals to the entire neighborhood. The outage was repaired at about 8:30 a.m. Friday, but service went out again. TWC was not aware of the issue, even though 16 percent of cable boxes were offline just after 5 p.m. Another crew arrived around 7 p.m. and discovered that the node had burned out.
How TWC works
TWC has some ways to find out about problems:
- The company monitors the network, scanning areas every three hours to identify outages. A service blackout will show up on the network, but image or sound problems will not.
- Customers report issues. Each is handled as a problem at one address unless a cluster of reports prompts TWC to look for an area-wide problem.
When you have cable problems, the standard protocol is for a rep to tell you to reboot your cable box or modem and, if problems continue, schedule a visit with a technician at your home. This week, the earliest appointments were six days out. That’s not reasonable when problems affect several homes or when home-based businesses lack phone or Internet service.
How to get results
Reboot. Unplug the cable box for several seconds, then plug it back in. Wait until the clock appears on the display before you turn it on. Sometimes that fixes a problem.
Talk to your neighbors. If rebooting doesn’t help, the problem might not be confined to your house. Knock on doors or use our neighborhood message boards. Make note of addresses, if possible, that have cable problems.
Contact TWC. Call 485-5555, send an e-mail or chat online. Put up with long hold times if you have to. Tell them rebooting hasn’t helped, but go ahead and reboot or set up a service call — it’s a start. With online chats or e-mails, you have a written record of what you tell the company.
Ask about outages. The rep should be able to check the signal strength at your house and neighborhood. Tell TWC there’s an area-wide problem, such as the 2800 block of your street. If 4 percent of cable boxes or broadband modems in an area are offline, it’s considered an outage.
Ask for a supervisor. Residents who have been on the reboot/appointment carousel have had better luck when they talk to a manager. Don’t blame the service reps — they’re following procedures, and might not have authority to look deeper.
Ask for a credit for your days without service. Our area has 96 cable subscribers, meaning TWC gets up to $12,000 in monthly revenue from our neighborhood. Think how much it’s worth to them if everyone demands a credit for the days they have problems or have to wait for a service call. At some point, it becomes worth it to just replace their worn-out equipment.
Ask to be notified as the situation changes. A technician can call to verify service is up again after repairs.
Tell neighbors to contact TWC. It often takes reports from several customers for TWC to take notice. Let your neighbors know that waiting for the cable to clear up or hoping someone else will call is less likely get results.
Let us know what’s worked for you. You can submit a comment below.