Hotwire Communications Fails

It has been about a month since Hotwire Communications came to install their new service in our house in Boca Falls. We are finally throwing in the towel and having DirecTV reinstalled.
For past blog posts on Hotwire in Boca Falls, please see:
Hotwire Communications Problems; Hotwire Problems Continue; Hotwire Communications Update
We have had problems with the service almost every day. The problems ranged from brief glitches in the picture to the service not working at all. Hotwire staff have been to our house roughly 10 times. On at least two occasions they were in our house for hours, disrupting our lives.
Sometimes their efforts would result in brief improvements. On other occasions it would be worse after they left. At one point we were told the problem was in their central equipment and that was then fixed. The problems continued. Every day I hear from more residents unhappy with them.
I have requested a technical explanation, and the response has been silence. At this point we have the opinion that Hotwire Communications is not only incompetent but dishonest.
On the technical side, consider this 2008 Motorola press release. It indicates that Hotwire would be using Motorola equipment for the network and the home. I don’t know what they’re using at the center of their network, but the equipment in our home is not Motorola. We have a router from Alcatel/Lucent and a switch from “Trendnet”. Our set top box is branded ADB.
One theory as to why it works so poorly is that Hotwire chose to use cheap equipment. Another theory is that the whole idea of IPTV (internet protocol television) is fundamentally flawed. More likely we’re somewhere in the middle – that IPTV is difficult to deliver well, and Hotwire is not competent to do it well.
For an interesting if somewhat dated reference, consider this (pdf): Stephen Davies: Secrets to Successful IPTV Deployment
I love this quote from it:

We may never know why the Hotwire Communications setup in Boca Falls has failed. But we do know it has failed. The dishonesty comes from their failure to let us know ahead of time that we’re their guinea pigs. If they had been honest about that up front, our HOA might not have fallen for it.

Hotwire in Boca Falls – Update

Latest Update as of May 7: Hotwire Fails
Here’s more on the problems with the new video service in Boca Falls:
I heard from Hotwire today that they did an equipment upgrade last night. They are monitoring the situation to see how it is working.
Last night (before the latest upgrade) we continued to experience glitches. It was not as bad as before but still substantial. Our main TV worked, but it displayed “artifacts” roughly once every 2-5 minutes. Another TV stopped working and we had to reboot the box twice to get it working again.
As of early this afternoon it appears to be working better but in the past good moments like this have been followed by more troubles. We will see.
We also continue to hear more complaints from other residents of Boca Falls unhappy with the video quality.
For past articles, see:
Hotwire Communications in Boca Falls
and
Hotwire Communications – Problems Continue

Groupon Fraud in Boca Raton

I received an e-mail with a Groupon deal to see a golf tournament, the Allianz Championship at Broken Sound. The deal is misleading, and arguably fraudulent. Why? Here’s the language from the Groupon page:
For $51, you get a golf package for one (an $85 value), which includes:

  • General admission to tournament starting at 9 a.m.
  • Admission to the Grapes on the Green party, starting at 3 p.m. across from the 18th green
  • Commemorative wine glass
  • Lanyard

The interesting part is that the deal includes “General admission”.
I do enjoy golf, this is quite close to my house, and I’ve never seen a tournament. So I went to the tournament website to learn more. I wondered what other kinds of deals there were so I went to the Allianz Championship tickets page.
General admission to the tournament is FREE:
Good Any Day Grounds Ticket – Free Admission
No Ticket Required
What you’re really getting for the Groupon, the $85 value they reference, is admission to the:

3rd Annual Golf & Wine Experience $85
Saturday, February 11 3pm-6pm

Is this an example of Groupon fraud? You be the judge.