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WOW! Internet Problems Continue in SE Michigan

WOW! Internet Problems Continue in SE Michigan

(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 8, 2021)

Ferndale, MI – Children struggling to learn virtually and grown-ups working from home are among those experiencing ongoing interruptions in WOW! Internet service that seem to have begun following a widespread outage on March 3 which left users without service for much of the morning.

A statement from WOW! explained the initial outage:

“Early in the morning of Wednesday, March 3, WOW! Experienced a service outage impacting customers in the northern Detroit suburbs, including the Royal Oak area. We alerted customers with posts to our website, wowway.com, and to our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

“We know how critical WOW!’s services are, especially during this time as so many are working and learning from home. WOW!’s engineers worked as quickly as possible to resolve the issue and services were restored for most customers at approximately noon local time. A complete analysis of the circumstances leading to the outage is being performed and protections will be put in place to mitigate a recurrence.

“Because we value our customers and this outage was in complete opposition to our desire to deliver the WOW! experience to our customers by being reliable and easy to do business with, we will add a one-time credit to an upcoming bill for those customers who were impacted.”

However, that wasn’t the end of the problems.  As of Monday, customers in several SE Oakland cities reported that their service was repeatedly cutting out while in use.  Community Facebook groups have been abuzz with complaints.  Those calling into WOW! get a voice message stating there are no known problems in the area.

Ryan Meray, proprietor of C! Tech Solutions, has been fielding customer calls for the past few days, as well as trying to get answers from the internet provider. “I wish I knew the exact cause of this, so I could approximate how long it might take WOW! to fix it,” said Meray. “We know what is happening though – frequent instances of high to complete packet loss, sometimes as often as 3-5 times an hour, lasting less than a minute typically. Long enough to interrupt downloads, cause Zoom calls to be cut off, disconnect VPN service, end VOIP phone calls – in other words, to utterly disrupt the ability of folks using remote learning and remote work to function reliably.”

Meray put out a survey which garnered over 200 results, with almost 90 percent reporting ongoing issues. “The survey results show the greatest concentration of problems in the cities surrounding Royal Oak in the Southeast corner of Oakland County,” Meray said. “I’ve even heard there are similar problems happening in their Chicago service area.” He noted that most survey respondents had gone through troubleshooting steps without success, including calling WOW, having a refresh signal sent to their modem, and power cycling their networking equipment.

In a message to WOW! Meray wrote “You have an obligation to your customers to disclose planned maintenance like this in a timely manner, alert your support staff, and, when something goes wrong, require accountability from your engineers and communication to your customers about what went wrong.”

Jamie Mayer, a spokesperson for WOW! Told Oakland County Times “We have not experienced an outage after last Wednesday’s. We have contacted our engineering and NOC teams to confirm this and learned we are seeing some unrelated, intermittent issues for a small group of customers in the same area. Those issues are being resolved as soon as possible as they occur.”

When pressed about the fact that so many customers continue having problems, Mayer said he would send more information when he has it, which has not yet happened.

This story will be updated more information becomes available.

The data collected by C! Tech Solutions showing the users with ongoing intermittent problems (red pins) and the few that are not experiencing any issues (green pins). Click to view this map in full screen.

 

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