Optimum is not Optimal!

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[Howell, NJ]…  “F  r sc   e an     n     ars a   ath    rou     f     h, u   n  his  ont      , a    na  on, c      ed in l   r  , and dedicated        p   os    n  hat “all     a   c  at   equal” may seem like gibberish to you, but in reality, if Abraham Lincoln were giving his Gettysburg Address via a zoom conference from Howell today, this is close proximity to what we would get.  Why?  Because Optimum Online flat out is not delivering the internet nor cable TV we are paying for, or are promised.

If you live in Howell, you petty much have no options.  You can get Optimum or a satellite provider.  In some areas of the Township, such as Ramtown, Xfiniity, a superior provider might be available.  Superior is of course up to the person making a comparison, but not witnessing any issues with Comcast brand products – at least not to this magnitude, we’ll say this is a situation where the grass is greener on the other side.  For the most part, you’re stuck with Optimum.

As a Howell resident, one of the best resources for anything “Howell” related is the “Howell Happenings” Facebook page.  With a growing number of complaints around the Township concerning cable and internet, the moderators of Howell Happenings made the following post the other week:

“So there has been many complaints with Optimum/Altice services and at Tuesday’s council meeting I decided it was time to get answers.  Below is the question I wrote in being read on the record and their answers.  Seems council isn’t too happy either, especially Mayor Berger.  AND right now the town is in contract negotiations with Optimum which happens once every 10 years.  This is an issue we all need to continue to question to make sure these negotiations work for us.  Watch the video for more info.

https://youtu.be/1iwBzS_bwDU

https://www.facebook.com/HowellHappeningNJ/posts/3364796460256683

 

At the time of writing this article, there are over 130 negative comments to that post concerning people’s experiences with Optimum.  Surveying residents for more information, we obtained additional negative remarks from residents stating their discontent.


To summarize, here is a bulleted list of issues customers are complaining about:

  • Cable TV interruptions, in some cases daily.
  • Hardware issues, with Optimum provided wifi routers not giving a good signal.
  • Intermittent internet outages, poor connectivity, and poor speed.
  • Customer service call back lines, not calling back.
  • Technicians being unable to repair issues, blaming problems on “infrastructure.”
  • Cable and Internet delivery devices needing hard resets multiple times a day.
  • Changing the price on services on the regular/giving very preferential packages to new customers without helping existing ones.
  • Representatives & technicians are stating this is due to excessive use from COVID-19 related demand (which is false, these issues have been going on for years).
  • Many general customer service complaints.

The customer service complaints are nearly universal to everyone’s experiences.  Between discourteous representatives and also their obvious inability to offer any relief, people are frustrated.  Some residents have stated they made headway with their bills by calling the customer service retention line.  In my opinion, this is the clear cut problematic product of outsourcing representation out of the United States.

Altice, the parent company of Optimum is no stranger of hot water in New Jersey.  There is a legal battle between our Attorney General, Gurbir S. Grewal and Altice concerning unfair billing practices.  The latest documentation pointing to a case filed in the 3rd Circuit court appealing another decision on the same.  The text of this appeal filed in July of 2020 can be viewed HERE.

What does this mean for us?  What can we do?  First and foremost, raise awareness.

As one commenter in the Facebook threads noted, we can’t even turn to News 12 for a story, as the station is owned by Altice News.  Articles are now coming forward concerning this, bringing the matters front and center, such as those provided by:

Howell Patch – Twp Council Slams Internet Provider In Howell: ‘It Is Horrible’

And

Central Jersey dot Com – Howell officials want answers from Optimum after residents note issues with service

There very well might be a case here for Attorney General Grewal, and you can reach out to his office via this LINK.

The Office of Cable Television and Telecommunications within New Jersey should also be informed, and they can be reached via phone: 1-800-624-0331

On a local level, the Howell Mayor and Council is obviously aware of the problems.  Form the Central Jersey dot Com article we have:

Bonevich said Howell’s Information Technology Department should have its own complaint form on the municipal website so residents’ comments may be forwarded to the BPU…“That is the way to do it. Why depend on (Optimum)? Let us field the complaints and send it all in one shot,” the councilman said.  Berger supported the suggestion for a complaint form to be placed on Howell’s website.

Bonevich and Berger delivered and there is now a web form for residents to directly enter in their complaints about Optimum.  The web from can be found HERE.

In addition to filing complaints through the web form, reaching out to the entire council, Mayor included, would not be out of the question…Berger and Bonevich seem to be the only ones that expressed an interest on this subject and making things better for residents – the other members need to hear from the residents as well.  Post letters sent via USPS generally garner more attention from officials.  Or, consider calling the respective extensions and ask how and where correspondence should be directed.  Be respectful and polite, the council is on the side of the citizens.  The contact information for Howell’s council can be found HERE.

Or if you prefer, you can email the complete governing body here: governingbody@twp.howell.nj.us

And finally, in 2020, something that gets attention, is taking to twitter.  Tweet your complaints to:

@AlticeUSA and @OptimumHelp

How about some coverage from NJ 101.5 and Bill Spadea?

With contract negotiations coming up, one thing is for sure, Optimum needs to change or they need to go!

What to read more of John’s work or connect with him on social media?  Visit him on the web at www.johnpetrolino.com Instagram @jpetrolinoiii Twitter @johnpetrolino

 

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