Cincinnati Bell FiOptics - a year later

We are coming up on a year since my original FiOptics install and I wanted to build another post around that. The FiOptics posts get a lot of traffic and we continue to receive comments on these posts regularly, even though the last post is dated February of this year.

Since that last post we have purchased a new condo in the Gateway Quarter and I was able to have my Cincinnati Bell FiOptics service transferred to our new place from Clifton. That in itself turned into a huge headache, but I think it was primary because it is a new service and at the time nobody had transferred their service before and the processes weren't 100% worked out. Anyway, after some headaches, mis-scheduled techs and confusion we got it moved and the tech they eventually sent out was a really good and really helpful getting things sorted out and had me back online in about 20 minutes.

Just as with our previous install, this one has been pretty rock solid. The internet rarely, if ever goes down, and if it does it is back up within minutes vs HOURS of downtime we quite often experienced with Time Warner Cable.

The internet is killer, 20Mb service and it screams. Everyone loves that part.

The part everyone continues to hate is the television service. The DVR GUI is still pretty buggy, even after some minor updates (it's maybe 10% less horrible than it was). The on-demand functionality continues to be a headache for most people. Ours works... sometimes, more than often requires a reboot and even then it's ungodly slow to load, if it loads.

I think the real issue is that most of us are coming from well developed and established television services. The DVRs from Time Warner and DIRECTV are well polished and mature products. On it's own, Cincinnati Bell's television service does the basics and does them well enough. We aren't in a walled garden though and when you come from a service on another provider that is polished and mature, that is where the CB stuff really looks bad. It's like going from your iPhone to a Motorola StarTac. Does it work? Sure. Does it do what is advertised? I suppose. How's it compare to that iPhone you had? It doesn't, and thats the problem here.

Because of some of my ranting on here and on Twitter I got a couple GUI/firmware and DVR hardware upgrades early, however at this point the software you have on your stuff is the same as mine and we all know it's not much of an upgrade. It did fix a few a few bugs that were pretty significant and I'm glad Cincinnati Bell was on that. The question though is what is next, because this service still is lacking when you start comparing it to the competition. From some recent comments it sounds like CB may be moving to Motorola DVRs, however I am assuming the software is more or less the same as the Cisco boxes.

Right now there's a debate in our condo building about this very topic and the solution some are looking at are DIRECTV. I'm not a fan of satellite dishes or having to swap services, but the DVR is really bugging people and they're getting tired of waiting. DIRECTV even has an iPhone app that lets you control it from anywhere. Very cool stuff.

I'd like to clarify that the problems with the Cincinnati Bell DVR is more than GUI deep. I was told a few stories by CB techs that people would cancel the service upon seeing the GUI because they thought it was ugly, or something along those lines. I think that's a rather idiotic thing to do without even trying it, as it's pretty much the same GUI as Time Warner had maybe 5 years ago. Could the GUI be better? Sure, but to me there are more serious problems with functionality, stability and usability that trump an ugly GUI. A few problems I've had lately are just the overall lag in moving between menu's and options. It used to be a whole lot worse, but it's 2010 and I think our expectations on anything digital are much much higher than they used to be. If Apple can squeeze everything an iPhone can do into a device the size of my palm, certainly a device as bit as a DVR can be faster and smoother and more reliable.

I really hope Cincinnati Bell is listening to its customers, reading the blog posts, the comments and various reviews. There's a lot of good feedback out there and based on my contact with Cincinnati Bell I'm sure they are doing just that. I just wonder what the next move is gonna look like for this service and if it will come in time for some of their customers.



crevopress said...

I know this is a comment to an older post... But was wondering if CB Fioptics will allow me to do what I currently have on DSL:

Static IP address
Ability to run a small email server and a website
Use my router

I pay $49 a month for 5Mbps w/static IP. Had to get them to setup the mail MX. CB considers this a "business" account. (It's been up and running for almost 10 years.)

So, can this done with Fioptics?

prolix21 said...

On Zoomtown, especially on older accounts, the availability of static IP service varied widely depending on what ISP you were with. I know at my company (we were one of the original Zoomtown providers) we offered them for both residential and business accounts. Everything now is through Fuse and I think they treat static IP's as a business account.

I'm checking with CB, but I believe that hold's true with FiOptics. There is a business version of it, one of my clients just had FiOptics with a static installed at their office. I'm not sure on pricing though, I think it all is done through business sales.

If I hear something different I'll post it.

prolix21 said...

I was wrong, they do offer static IP's for residential for an additional $10. ie. 10Mb is 39.99, Static IP is 49.99.

Pretty cool. Would be much better speeds than your DSL connection, both up and down.

Lydia Fleckenstein said...

for over a month now when I try to fast forward or reverse on my CB DVR the screen freezes up and has to catch up to the voice of the program I am trying to watch, I have complained about this when it first started and again after a month of no change, they tell me they were updating their system and came across a cliche but still have not fixed it, has anyone else had this problem??

ConcernedConsumerCorrected said...

We just switched to CB from Time Warner. I gotta say CB has potential, yet substance is lacking! If you add up all the nickel and dime extras you have to pay, to equal the bundle you/I switch from, really the savings are truely minimal(channel packages, long distance, and phone features). SERVICE... Internet does seem faster. I had 30/5, now have 20/5. I could not stream HDX videos on the thirty from Time Warner, and now have no trouble. The fact that every cable box, has an output for an eithernet port is just brilliant! Phone is about the same, except for the fact that I live in a 513 area code, and some phones I call, makes me dial 1-513 first. None of the phone service we became accustomed to were included(reveal, call block, three way, anonymous call rejection...etc. Very PETTY! Finally, TV? More like watching a DVD someone decided to skip across the sidewalk. However, it is only on the DVR. We have a 5 room setup, and the DVR is in my room. The other 4 TVs/ people don't complain and can't understand why I'm complaining. Well they don't have to watch my lag infested tv. They see how the recordings are, so they just watch live tv. However, I do not have that luxury. I love sports and have come to expect great quality with a DVR. I mean being able to skip commercials and only watching my favorite shows is pretty much expected! Not with Fioptics!! I already had someone come out and switch the box. He said what I was experiencing was awful, and was glad replacing my box made an improvement. Yet, when I quickly decided to start recording 2 shows and watch another. He couldn't wait to tell me, I was using too much bandwidth. He said yeah, 4 other TVs going and me recording all that(GET THIS), was just to much for the service to handle. Uh, can anyone explain why they are saying they offer DVR service capable of recording 3 shows at once. If he responds the bandwidth isn't compatible with what they offer shouldn't they be charged with false advertisement? Are they not telling me, the equipment they installed is really just for looks! The DVR service is continually lagging & freezing, like someone hits a pause button, then hits the mute button, when they unpause it. Real talk, it happens like every 10-20 seconds on avg, but can hit spurts where it will do this every 3seconds for a minute straight. I tried to cut out the recording, trying to watch my Red-legs, and/or ESPN, and what happens... It looks like I'm watching a movie reel that someone pranked by taking out 5 out of 10 frames. Someone try watching a reel that 5 frames have been removed from. Now I am that guy who listens to the ballgame on the radio, because I haven't seen a tv yet.(is this what the50's felt like)!? I obviously am extremely disgusted, to say the least! In conclusion, from what I've read on some message boards. This does happen to more than a few people. I think I'll be doing some rearrangements of my own. I've had this service 2 1/2 weeks and think, spending the $32 dollars on Tylenol and Asprin, instead of service... IS NOT WORTH THE HEADACHES! I personally think every house changing to a service that runs outside differently. Needs the inside of the house WIRED DIFFERENTLY! Yet, if they have to do that to even 1 of 4 houses. They wouldn't be able to lick there chops, while laughing at us because they made us believe, YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!!

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