I recently relocated from Grafton, Mass out to Waltham, Mass to be closer to my office and to the Boston area in general. The move was what I expected it would be - long and tiring, but I am rewarded daily with a brilliant 2 mile commute (down from the previous distance of 33 miles each way). As per the normal routine when moving, I had to hook up my utilities before I headed east. NStar for electric was a snap, Keyspan for gas was simple and then came (queue screeching brake, skipping record player, breaking glass sounds...etc) the cable hookup. Unlike in Grafton where Charter was the only choice, Waltham offered a choice between the giant company with a horrible reputation (Comcast) and the slightly less giant company with the slightly less horrible reputation and slightly better prices (RCN). For these reasons I chose RCN.
Let me just say that assuming that what I have heard about Comcast is true, that it is the worst out there, I really feel awful for Comcast customers. I really can't imagine anyone being worse than RCN. They are just deplorable.
I have lived long enough and moved enough to know that the standards by which one judges cable company customer service are completely different than that by which you judge say, the electric company. Let's say that you receive a level of service from the electric company that might make you want to sue said electric company and vow to move to a water wheel powered home. This same level of service coming from your local cable provider would generally be looked at as relatively decent. You would probably leave feeling ok. A friend of mine likened dealing with the cable companies to being date raped. His point was, that although it is totally dirty and wrong, you somewhat feel responsible for inviting them into your home to begin with and quite often you just deal with it and move on. A harsh analogy I know, but it fits surprisingly well here.
Without going into all of the boring details of why RCN sucks so badly, my point is as follows. We need far more competition in the cable industry. And we as customers need to fight back where and when we can, and choose alternatives in hopes that these companies will improve their service if they begin to lose customers. Companies like RCN don't need to provide good service, they just need to be slightly less shitty than the other guy (when there is another guy). The cable companies can mistreat you because they know your options to go elsewhere are limited, and in some cases don't even exist. Exercise the other options when they are out there. Don't sit and deal with bad service.