Following major internet outage,red-faced Cogeco gives $440,000 Net rebates : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Red-faced Cogeco gives $440,000 Net rebates

HAMILTON - Cogeco Cable will cough up $440,000 in credits to customers in the Oakville-Hamilton-Niagara corridor following a serious failure in its high-speed Internet service.

And U.S.-based Excite@Home, which provides the service in conjunction with Cogeco, has announced plans to build a new data centre in Canada to head off such failures and cope with the ``astounding'' growth in Internet use in this country.

That rapid growth and a software failure are the culprits blamed for the shutdown, for which Excite@Home is taking full responsibility.

The problem began Tuesday evening and was finally sorted out between 11 p.m Wednesday and 3 a.m yesterday. Service was down anywhere from 24 to 32 hours.

Tom McCutcheon, vice-president of marketing and communications for Cogeco, said yesterday the problem affected between one-third and one-half of 44,000 area customers, mostly in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville and Niagara.

Even though the problem stemmed from Excite@Home ``obviously people contract with us. If it's their problem, it's our problem. So we are going to be proactively issuing a credit in the amount for $10 for all customers, even those who may not have experienced problems.''

He said the last time Cogeco offered a widespread credit was during the severe ice storms in Eastern Ontario, although the problem was caused by downed hydro lines.

Customers note that the service has been down for sustained periods in the past, but McCutcheon said that in this instance Cogeco was able to quantify the problem and the cause.

Such mea culpas are rare in the business world. But the virtually unprecedented reaction by both Cogeco and Excite@Home appears to reflect not just an attempt at damage control, but an effort to provide a clear signal to subscribers that they are serious about solving ongoing consumer concerns.

Torstar News Service

-- Carl Jenkins (, February 25, 2000

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