Charter Communications Internet Outage – My thoughts

If you are a Charter Communications Internet subscriber, then likely on Saturday your internet service was spotty at best, and most likely, completely down like everyone else.  As of this morning, Charter has officially stated on their Facebook page that there was an outage, and that services have been restored and they are continuing to monitor.  There is still no word yet as to what the root cause of the issue was.  Here are some thoughts I have about what happened.

First, even ISP’s are going to have outages.  It’s not a matter of if, but when and the sooner that people understand that the better.  However, what happened Saturday was so severe that even if you called their tech support phone number, you got a busy signal.  No automated phone system, or anything like that.  So lets keep things in perspective that whatever happened was major when the phones do not even work.

Having said that, the way Charter has handled this outage in terms of communications with it’s customers was without a doubt, terrible.  Several hours into it, there was nothing posted to their Twitter or Facebook accounts.  In fact it was not until 16 hours ago that they finally posted something to their Facebook page acknowledging an issue, though again, root cause has still not been posted.  Having worked in support for many years, nothing ticks off the public than the internet being down.  What will definitely make it worse is when there is no communication with the public to at least say, “Hey Houston, we have a problem.”

Even though they were having an internet outage, someone could have early on jumped onto their smartphone and posted just a quick blurb acknowledging a problem to at least let people know they are aware of it.  Instead we heard silence only interrupted by the constant busy signal that lasted, by my experience, for well over 10 hours this past Saturday.  This is not how you run a business.  Outages come and go and that’s the nature of IT.  However, closing off the lines of communications is never a good idea.  Social media outlets proved that with postings like, “Charter you suck!” type comments.

As stated already, Charter finally reported to the media that, “there were intermittent outages..”  This was, frankly, understating the issue, and thus, a lie.  Yes, I said it.  A lie.  Understating the situation for the purposes of damage control was and will forever be a form of lying, because it deceives people into thinking that the situation is not that bad, when in fact, it was a royal disaster Saturday.  Charter quite honestly should issue a credit to it’s customers simply due to the fact they did not communicate at all with those who pay their bills.

Finally I will say this about this outage, and any other outage of internet service.  While it can be incredibly frustrating, I am always amazed at the vitriol that I see come out of people, in the way of comments on social media, in such harsh fashion.  At the end of the day people, if the internet goes down for several hours, it’s not the end of humanity as we know it, so stop acting or reacting like it.  Go do something else like, I don’t know, talk to a real person instead of liking every status update from people you are barely friends with in real life, and people you probably cannot stand or will rarely, if ever, meet.

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