Telekabel - Good Quality Service?
This Customer Says NO!
Deutsch Version Hier
- As many people know, Telekabel offers four main services,
Cable TV, Priority Telekom, Chello, and in partnership with ONE,
a mobile phone service. What many people do not know is that for
some people, that service is less than satisfactory. Less than
satisfactory, in my case, is something of an understatement.
Appalling, unfriendly, unreliable, occasionally unavailable,
damage left in my apartment, and with broken promises to fix
these problems is more how I would describe it.
- My original connection request included
Priority Telekom, Chello, and a mobile phone with ONE. As a
result of the problems with the installation, Priority Telekom,
and Chello, I never took a mobile phone with ONE. I now have a
mobile with Maxmobil, and because of the problems of Chello,
have reestablished an internet connection with my old service
provider at onlineloop.
- I have made complaints to Telekabel about these problems,
including sending a letter to Telekabel management two months
ago. To date, the most Telekabel has done is make promises to
fix these problems. Nothing more has been done, and the problems
remain. The worst Telekabel has done is refuse to do anything
and try to put the responsibility of these problems on to me,
including the phone, all because I, as many others, choose to
use Linux on my computer (look near the end of this page for
some information about Linux vs. Windows).
- As a result of Telekabel's refusal to do anything to fix
these problems, I have refused to pay any bills from them (would
you pay for a service that doesn't work?). That has now
escalated with them threatening to cut off their "service"
to me. Update: Telekabel has cut off the service and
threatened legal action without any effort to address the
problems or fix the damage left behind. Check the updates at the
end of this page.
- I am putting up this page because of Telekabel's actions
towards me. I have no idea how many will read this, if anyone
will read this, but maybe the threat of some publicity might
force Telekabel to fix the continuing problems I have with their
service, and to make them change their current position on me.
- Installation - Sloppy, Unprofessional, And Unrepaired Damage
The installation of Telekabel requires a new cable to be run
into the flat (apartment, flat will be used from here on). A
hole already existed for cables to come into my flat and I
expected that this hole would be used to run the new cable into
my flat. That was not done, and a new hole was drilled without
asking or notifying me that it would be done. That new hole was
drilled in a place where the cable stands out very clearly, and
in the process of drilling that hole, the installers damaged the
inner wall of my flat, leaving a large hole there and a mess of
wall fragments on the floor. They made no effort to clean the
mess up, and did not fix the damage they did to my wall. I had
to clean the wall fragments myself, and to date, I have had no
time to fix the hole that was made in my wall. They also did not
pin the cable, but left it to hang right over the entrance to my
flat. The following photo shows that.
- During the installation they also used my ladder. When they
left, they did not bring my ladder back to me, but left it
outside where someone else could have very easily taken it. I
had to go and find where it had been left and bring it back
myself. After all this, the phone and Chello internet
connections didn't work at all.
- The following day, a technician came to my flat to fix the
connection problems. Although he did get these working, they
have not worked reliably, and there are times when the phone, or
Chello, or both do not work at all.
- The Phone With Telekabel's "Priority
The phone service I have with Priority Telekom, although
sometimes working quite satisfactorily, has often had
- Sometimes No Phone Numbers Exits, Not Even
There has been many times when I have dialled a valid number,
usually friends, and got the three tone "you have dialled a
wrong number" anthem. Repeat attempts give the same result,
even when making absolutely sure I dial the correct number.
There have also been times when I have got a recorded message
saying "an error has occurred, please dial again"
(such error messages exist only in Microsoft systems). I have
also had friends tell me they have tried to call me and had the
same problem. They get the three tone anthem that they have
dialled a wrong number, but they definitely have dialled the
correct number. For them too, repeat attempts give the same
- Broken Or Completely Lost Voice, Lost
Connections, And No Service At All
On the phone calls that are successfully connected, sometimes
the voice of either me, the person I am calling, or both, is
broken up. We can only hear parts of words, or when it gets bad,
only parts of sentences. Several times, the phone call had to be
abandoned because one or both of us couldn't hear each other at
- During some calls, even the ones that seem to have no
trouble at all, the connection has simply been lost even though
neither side hang up. Although this is known to very
occasionally happen in most phone systems, it has happened more
often in the Priority Telekom system than I would consider
- There was even one time when there was no service at all.
There was no dial tone, no possibility to call in or out, and no
explanation for this behaviour.
- Chello - Unreliable, Sometimes Unavailable, Junk Data, And
Chello, like Priority Telekom, does sometimes work,
and when it works it can work quite well too. At other times
however, it varies from slow, to intermittently unavailable, to
completely unavailable. Junk data is also a concern, as
is emails being lost, delayed, or deleted messages coming back
weeks after deletion.
- As a capable network engineer and system administrator, I
have the skills to analyse these problems and find, at least in
part, where they are.
- Chello's Less Than Satisfactory Availability
And Lack Of Performance
- My connection with Chello has often shown reliability
problems. It has been quite normal for me to get "network
errors" or "no route to host" errors, or some
other odd little errors. There has also been times when there is
simply no network available at all. When these errors have
occurred, I have often immediately tried to trace where the
problem comes from. That has almost always been one of the
computers in Chello's network. "Ping" and "traceroute"
often show one of the routers in Chello giving very bad response
times, or completely failing to respond at all. In such a
closely connected network, such delays and non responses clearly
indicate problems with the router/s in question. It is not
uncommon for the router to which I am connected to itself show
multiple timeouts when I do this analysis.
- At other times when the network is working, it
can show severe performance problems. While this problem occurs
mostly during the afternoon and evening, it also occurs at other
times when there should be almost no one using the
- The often severe performance problems during the afternoon
and evening shows clearly, and without doubt, that Telekabel
does not have anything near the capacity they should have to
handle the number of users of the network.
- That lack of capacity aside, there have also been times,
particularly late at night, where there have also been severe
performance problems. It has not been uncommon for the network
to become slower, eventually reaching a state where less then
1Kb per second is coming through the network, or the network
simply dies all together. This situation has lasted at times for
up to several hours. Considering that such problems have
occurred after midnight, when most people are in bed, there is
clearly some kind of problem in the network. Even allowing for
the work that has to be occasionally carried out on the network
at that time, the occurrence of this performance death is too
- Through careful analysis of my computer, I have been able to
completely rule out any hardware or configuration problems on my
computer. As I said, I am a system administrator and such
analysis is part of my job.
- Junk Data - Masses Of Unstoppable Garbage
The one thing that has continued without a break is
the constant "junk data" that is coming to my computer
from Chello's network. Most of this data is the Microsoft
Windows Netbios lookup, which is totally unnecessary for a Linux
computer. A significant portion of the remaining data is simply
uninterpretable. This data not only comes from the subnet I am
connected to, it also comes from completely different netblocks.
This data comes in usually at around 1 to 6Kb per second,
but on rare occasions I have seen as much as 30Kb per second
coming through. Here is a small
sample. This sample is the junk data that arrived at my
computer over a period of only one second, taken while I have
been writing this page.
- Almost none (ie: less than 0.01%) of this data is relevant
to my computer, and in the sample taken none of the data was
relevant to my computer. This data does however consume a
considerable portion of the available bandwidth I have, further
slowing my network connection. It also consumes processor time
on my computer because it has to be interpreted, and that slows
other processes on my computer down.
- One remedy to this junk data problem, proposed by Telekabel,
was absolutely ridiculous. They suggested I buy another computer
to set up as a firewall and use that computer to filter the junk
data so I didn't see it any more. Such a suggestion is idiotic
and does nothing to stop the junk data.
- Email - The Cases Of Vanishing Emails, The
Returning Deleted Emails, And The Data Format Errors
Email, as with everything I have with Telekabel, sometimes works
quite satisfactorily. At other times however, Chello's email
server's behaviour defies explanation.
- Some time ago I discovered that the email system at Chello
is occasionally causing emails sent to me to simply vanish.
People have sent me emails, although I have never seen these
mails. Given that I have no SPAM filter, and no entries in any
kill lists, such a problem can only be caused by the email
server that Chello is using. There has also been emails that I
have sent that have themselves simply vanished. Again, clearly
after my investigations, this can only be caused by the email
server that Chello is using.
- More recently, I have been receiving a large number of very
old emails which I had deleted from Chello's email server long
ago. These deleted emails have simply come back and there is
again no explanation for this behaviour. I have also been
receiving emails that were sent to me weeks earlier. That is the
emails were sent, but I did not receive them for up to several
weeks. They seem to have become "lost" somewhere in
Chello's email server.
- Another problem with the email system from
Chello is that sometimes I have tried to send email through
Chello and the mail has been returned to me because of a "data
format error". There is no explanation for this error, and
sending the identical mail a few minutes later is completed
apparently without difficulty. Here
is a copy of two such error reports, although I have deleted
the email and IP addresses. So far this error has occurred four
- Telekabel Support - Not Really
As I stated at the start of this page, I have called Telekabel
support several times because of the problems I was having. Each
phone call has ended with me getting nowhere. The attitude of
Telekabel is that because I use Linux, all problems I have with
my Chello connection are mine. As I also said earlier, I am an
experienced System Administrator, and therefore have the skills
to analyse problems like the ones I have had. This fact has been
completely ignored by Telekabel, and I have even had the feeling
that they simply resent and don't want to know that I do know
what I am doing and talking about. I have analysed every
component of my computer and phone that I possibly can and come
to the definite conclusion that the problems I am experiencing
are not caused by any equipment I have.
- One particular call to support was nothing short of
insulting. After telling them of the continuing problems I was
having, they said simply that because I was using Linux and not
Windows, all problems, Chello and Priority Telekom, are mine and
that nothing would be done by Telekabel to fix them. The fact
that both Chello and Priority Telekom are showing significant
problems clearly indicates that the problems are not caused by
me and are totally outside my control. They are the
responsibility of Telekabel.
- My last call to support was on the 4th of November 2000. I
had to make that call using my Maxmobile phone because there was
again no phone or internet service available in my flat. That
phone call lasted about 15 minutes where I was transferred four
times without having a very simple question answered. The fourth
time I was transferred, I simply hang up because I had had
enough of being handed off from one place to the next, and
paying for that on my mobile phone. The final area I was
transferred to appears to have been for people that are not
customers of Telekabel since I was getting the recorded message
of if I was interested in one of the products of Telekabel. That
was the point at which I hung up.
- A Formal Complaint To Management
After that phone call, I immediately wrote a formal
complaint to Telekabel Austria Management, giving
information on what problems I had, and on what had happened
since. That complaint included the above photo of the
installation work that was done in my flat.
- About one week later I received a phone call on my Maxmobil
mobile phone from a man called Huber. That call was in response
to my letter. Huber set an appointment with me to come to my
flat to "fix the hole, pin that cable up, and do a full
examination of my computer". He rang me on the evening of
the appointment and said was unable to meet that appointment
because of other work during the day taking longer than planned.
During that phone call, I told him that now that I knew someone
was working on the problems, and that everything would be fixed,
it was no longer so bad and that if it took an extra week to get
everything right then that was no problem. At least someone was
now actually working on it and I knew that everything would be
taken care of properly.
- At the end of that phone call, Huber promised me he would
call again the following week to make another appointment to
come to my flat and fix everything. That phone call never came.
I still have problems with my connections with Chello and
Priority Telekom, and it seems clear that Telekabel has little,
if any interest in fixing the problems that I have been left
- There has recently been a slight improvement in the maximum
transfer rate of Chello, and also a slight improvement in
Chello's availability, however the reliability is still
unacceptable. There has been no improvement in the Priority
- How It Stands Now (as at
From about the third week onwards from when I first
had Telekabel installed, I reconnected with my old Internet
Service Provider onlineloop.
Onlineloop is a Linux system and has proven fully reliable
throughout the entire time. I have often rerouted "on the
fly" through onlineloop because the service from Chello
wasn't working. All DNS lookups and all email continues through
onlineloop for me because it works without fault there.
- More recently, I took a mobile phone service with Maxmobil.
Such a move became necessary because I needed to be able to make
phone calls, and people need to be able to reach me. That
service has also proven fully reliable and I have found myself
often making and receiving calls on that phone simply because it
works properly and Priority Telekom doesn't.
- As I said at the start, Telekabel has threatened to cut my
services off because of my not paying for what they have given
me. Given the problems I have had, I think I am justified in not
paying for their service. The fact is the service only half
works, and no reasonable person is going to pay for something
that only half works.
- Telekabel's most recent action was to stop me
from making phone calls from the phone service the gave me.
Given that most of my calls have been made from my Maxmobil
mobile phone for some time now, this action makes little
difference to me. At present, people can still
theoretically call me on my Priority Telekom line, although even
yesterday (25/12), one friend tried to call me on that line and
got the three tone wrong number anthem. She was later able to
get through with no problem.
- If Telekabel does completely cut off Chello and Priority
Telekom, it will make little difference to me. Their service has
been bad enough that such a move would in fact bring an
improvement in the overall quality of phone and internet service
I have in my flat. Having only onlineloop and Maxmobil, both of
which work, will bring about a welcome change in that
reliability. Regardless of their actions, I will not be paying
for what they have given me so far. No reasonable person pays
for a service with so many problems.
- I have given Telekabel every chance to do something about
the problems I have had with their service. They have done
nothing to fix the problems, and have made empty promises to fix
everything. The next step is in the hands of Telekabel.
- Update (9 January 2001)
Telekabel sent me a letter, dated 20
December 2000, but received 8 January 2001. In that letter they
stated that their reminders for payment remained unconsidered
(note the complaint letter I sent in on the 4th of November),
and that I am unconditionally bound to pay their bills. They
also threatened that if I didn't pay, they would take leagal
action against me to get that money, including the costs of that
legal action, and that paying would save me the costs of a new
installation. I sent a reply to that threat today which you can
- Update (31 January 2001)
Telekabel sent Huber to me today to fix the damage that was left
in my flat. Although he did fix the damage and pin the cable up,
he was very unpolite and insisted that there was no problem with
the connection I had.
- When he came to my flat, he said that he was
tempted to simply take all of the equipment with him and leave
me with nothing at all. I said absolutely nothing to this and
just looked at him. It did become clear to him that I was not
going to give that permission. He then said that he thought I
was out to make money from this, to which I simply looked at him
again without answering, merely raising my eyebrows. After that,
he looked around my entrance room and said he thinks I have a
"lousy" flat. My answer was the same as for the
previous comments. Besides, lets see him find a 75m2
category A flat for 1700 Schillings per month! For
what I have, most people pay upwards of 8000 Schillings per
month, and yes, the flat is in reasonably good condition too.
Additionally, I would like to know how I can make money out of
this fisaco since I don't see how that is possible.
- He then set about repairing the damage left behind, although
the cable was left in the hole made during the previous
installation with the excuse that it didn't fit in the hole that
was already previously there. His repair work of the hole was also
somwhat shabby, as this photo shows.
Throughout the 2 1/2 hours his
work lasted, he commented that he thought there was no problem
with the connection.
- He also said to me at one point "do you know what the
problem is? The problem is Linux". I responded that Linux
has a proven track record of its reliability and stability and
that I have never had a problem with my connection with
onlineloop. He responded "Linux lets you see everything
that's going on. Thats what the problem with Linux is". For
me, I like to know what's going on, and I think most other
people do too. It is being able to see what is going on and
being able to analyse that information, visible with Linux, that
has allowed me to prove that the problems do lie with Telekabel.
This is something they do not like nor appreciate since they
have an image to maintain and don't like having a customer tell
them so conclusively that the problems are theirs and not the
fault of the customer.
- He also asked why I went to so much trouble to put these
pages up. My answer is simple - Telekabel has shown no interest
in fixing the problems they have left me, so therefore perhaps
the threat of some publicity might force them to do something. I
also want other people to know what has happened to me with
Telekabel so that these people can see what Telekabel is like
and what Telekabel does.
- After completing his work, he took a report of what he had
done, and noted the problems I was having, including taking a
look at and getting me to explain to him a small portion of the
log files I had from Chello. I showed him the Class A network
that was there, plus a different sample of the junk data I was
seeing. Although the log files were too large for him to take
with him, I do make those files fully available to the Chello
network administrators for examination.
- Update (12 February 2001)
So far, I have had no response at all from Telekabel. They have
however, on about the 3rd of February, deleted all email
accounts from the Chello mail server. Chello has also been
completely cut off, so now I have only onlineloop, although I
had already been using onlineloop exclusively for a long time.
Onlineloop is, as always, performing without fault, as is my
phone service with Maxmobil. Curiously enough, these pages are
still here at the chello members web server, although I do
wonder how much longer they will stay given the position I have
- Update (23 February 2001)
Telekabel has still not done anything to address the open
issues. They have completely cut off all service and it is clear
to me that they don't care and don't want to do anything to fix
the problems that I have had with their service.
- I now see little chance that these issues will come to a
amicable conclusion, and believe that it will be settled in
court. Should Telekabel take that step, I am willing and fully
prepared to fight them there. I will also take the issue to the
media since Telekabel so obviously doesn't care about providing
a reasonable quality of service, and only cares about getting
money out of customers regardless of how bad their service is.
- As has always previously been, the next step is up to
- Items Of Interest:
Windows vs. Linux and UNIX
Junk Data Sample
(same link as in text)
Data Format Errors
(same link as in text)
Second Complaint Letter