Action 9

Consumers complain of internet struggles when managing work and school from home

Internet speed complaints are far more serious now as families struggle to work and go to school at home.

Action 9 found some consumers pay premium prices but still can’t do their jobs or attend classes because of slow-motion connections.

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It’s another school day at home. Jaqueline Guzman says all five of her children are struggling with their online classes.

“Right now, my kids are actively failing in school and behind on work because of the ongoing issue with Spectrum,” Guzman said.

She says the premium speed internet she pays for can’t handle all the laptops her children need several hours a day. Some days, they have no Wi-Fi at all.

“With no connectivity and everyday being marked absent,” Guzman said.

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She says Spectrum sent repair crews multiple times and speeds improved, at times.

“It’s working here and there, but it’s pretty much like a band aid,” Guzman said.

“This was download 0.8 and upload 0.0. Not a good day,” said Marty Clement.

He showed Todd Ulrich his internet speed tests since March. Many days he’s not getting the higher speed premium service he pays for each month.

“It just failed miserably for us. t just failed miserably,” Clement said.

Typical internet complaints had involved frequent speed bumps when streaming movies or playing games.

That all changed in March, when so many people had to work at home and share internet access with students attending virtual classes. The sudden crush left many customers frustrated by slower speeds and spot outages. There’s been major network improvements since, but Action 9 found customers still paying high speed premiums for services not delivered.

Every weekday is a challenge at Clement’s house.

“What do you have to do for your wife’s work, and daughter’s school?” Ulrich asked.

“Every day they have to leave the house to go get internet so she can do work and my daughter can do school,” Clement replied.

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He complained to his provider, Century Link, and techs made several repairs, but he says modest improvements didn’t restore full service.

“So, they struggle, struggle to get us what we paid for. I feel cheated to be honest with you,” Clement said.

“You really should be getting some kind of credit,” said internet expert Tommy Orndorf with Bayshore Interactive.

Orndorf says during peak times, internet speeds can slow but even then, you should be getting 50 to 60 percent of service.

Consumers can document the problem with a new internet speed test app offered by the FCC. Then consumers can use that information and complain to their provider.

“If you bring this to their attention once or twice after a tech comes out to your home, they usually give you a credit, that’s what we’ve seen they will issue credits,” Orndorf said.

A manager at Spectrum told Ulrich, the company worked to fix Bermudez' internet speed issues from the beginning. And speeds are now within boundaries, but there could be problems with the school laptops

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CenturyLink said it’s working to resolve remaining issues at Clement’s home.

“It is pretty upsetting actually,” Clement said.

Send internet complaints to the FCC. Experts recommend considering a fiber internet option if it’s available for your home, that can deliver high speed service, even during peak times.

Todd Ulrich

Todd Ulrich,

I am WFTV's Action 9 Reporter.

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