Yes another post about their recent email--but you might like to read this chat to learn even more deception

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  • Updated 8 months ago
  • (Edited)

 

I too am a long time customer--actually 12 years dating back to the old Wildblue days. I too received the email about while my speed may be 25, I can expect it to be higher or lower. I didn't think much of it until I started seeing my speeds drop really low in the evening and decided to test. Like you, I am lucky to go over 1 mbps. So I contact them. Two separate chats. I've only posted some parts you might find interesting:

First, in response to the changes they made to throttle us down:

):You are right. It should not have been offered to everyone at the same time before it was tested. That is why the new Unlimited plans are only offered in limited areas while and your is one of them. 


(8:34:01PM):You have the option to stay on your current plan, change to a new data plan, or we can disconnect the service. 


.

And then when I started another chat because I thought about what they weren't telling me, read on. Basically, they are saying you can upgrade to the next plan and they won't guarantee anything will be better.



Agent



Bronze 14 has 40 GB

Silver 25 has 60 GB

Gold 50 100 GB

9:24:31 PM

Me

so what happens after those caps of "priority data"?

9:24:54 PM

Agent



Platinum has 150 GB

9:24:57 PM

Agent

You still have internet access just speeds will be slower

9:25:20 PM

Me

explain slower

9:25:31 PM

how much slower???

9:25:37 PM

Agent



Usually during the evening between 5pm and 12am it will be slower the speeds can vary

9:26:16 PM

Me

come on. How much slower? I am getting less than 2mbps on a 25MB plan right now. Is that what I should expect?

9:27:02 PM

THAT IS A LOT LOT LOT SLOWER

9:27:20 PM

Agent



Sorry don't have the exact speeds depends on the usage patterns in your general area



We cannot guarantee the service performance will change.





It can vary it will be less the priority speeds

9:34:50 PM

Me

Will they drop to 2 MBPS OR LESS? Or will they be 15 or 10 or 25 or what?

9:35:05 PM

You are an internet provider.You have this information.

9:35:17 PM


Or who in your company can provide this information?

9:35:52 PM

Agent



Sorry Nancy Like I said it can vary depends on the usage patterns in your general area.

9:36:06 PM

Me

Who can answer what my usage patterns are in my area?

9:36:27 PM



Sorry we don't have the exact usage for your area Nancy.

9:36:58 PM

Me

No one in your company has this information? Beyond customer service?

9:37:22 PM

Agent



No ma'am it can vary there is no set speeds

9:37:36 PM

Me

OK. I know someone must know this, but let's move on. Will my latency improve or decline when I am onpriority data?

9:38:15 PM

Agent



Yes it can decline just according to how congested the network is.

9:38:54 PM

Me

so it can be worse than I am already receiving, even on a new premium plan even during my priority data period?

9:39:43 PM

Agent



We cannot guarantee the service performance will change once you change your plan.

9:40:12 PM

Most of our service plans support fast speeds across all hours of the day

9:41:22 PM

Me

So basically you will be charging $50 more and guaranteeing nothing better than I have right now if I go with your Gold or Platinum program.

9:41:36 PM



If that is the plan you are looking to change to.

9:42:37 PM

Me

So that is a yes? I will pay$150 for gold or $200 for Platinum and you are saying I will be guaranteed nothing better if I change to one of those?

9:43:29 PM





Sorry we cannot guarantee it will be better.



I was pretty irate following this chat. I asked repeatedly to escalate. They finally got on a supervisor who, like the other robots, pasted the same text over and over and over again. And to think I would not have even known this had I not reached back out with my big aha questions. 

I thought I had a good plan with ViaSat and would have stayed on a long time. I don't really know what other options I have, but I am going to start looking all over again. It's sad. Why do technology companies have to be such <removed Profanity>


They admit to making an error and then they come back and screw us all over. Maybe they need some competency and accountability.
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Nancy Wegner

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  • burned

Posted 8 months ago

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Nancy Wegner

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I should have also noted the plans they were selling me:

*Unlimited Bronze 12 for $70 per
month, streaming at LD quality - 360p and speeds up to 12 Mbps download. Best
for small screens - phones/tablets.

 

*Unlimited Silver 25 for $100
per month, streaming at 480p and speeds up to 25 Mbps download. Best for medium
screens like tablets and laptops or computer monitors.

 

*Unlimited Gold 30 for $150 per
month, streaming at 720p and speeds up to 30 Mbps download. Best for larger
screens like TVs.

 

*Unlimited Platinum 100 for $200
per month, streaming at 1080p and speeds up to 100 Mbps download. 

 
And their caps:

<Agent>

Bronze 14 has 40 GB

Silver 25 has 60 GB

Gold 50 100 GB

9:24:31 PM

Me

so what happens after those
caps of "priority data"?

9:24:54 PM

<Agent>

Platinum has 150 GB


But again, not sure it even matters since they won't guarantee speeds at all!!
(Edited)
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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If they are offering you 'unlimited' plans, i think they are the ones being throttled, along with Freedom. The change they made is very noticeable on the Freedom plan, honestly, 24/7, with it being worse starting at 4p ET.

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Bev, Champion

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Even corporate cannot tell you exact speeds at any given time in the future. Today at 4 PM there might be 1-% of the people on your bean online so it will be faster, tomorrow 99% of them might be online at 4 PM so, it will be dramatically slower.

What you're asking would require the representative to be a fool proof psychic that knew when every single person on your beam was going to be online in the future, then yes, he/she could tell you which days would be slower and which would be faster.

No one knows that so, the best they can tell you is that it depends on the utilization of your beam at any given time. You don't even know the exact time you will be online say 194 days from today.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Honestly, you have to take anything a chat rep tells you with a grain of salt.
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Chat is a great tool to not have to worry about calling in. I would recommend it for customers like myself that really dislike the phone.  With that said it is a front line agent like on the phone. They will most likely be correct on most things but if you're asking about something that they probably wouldn't have the answers for I'd certainly take it with a grain of salt. I'm still recoiling from all the information people hounded them over with Viasat-2 last year and the weird replies. 
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Bradley

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All Nancy was asking was if she switched and paid more would ViaSat guarantee better speeds. Or would they simply take more money for two years and do the same thing to her new plan? We know the answer to this. It’s all about getting more money from current subscribers while remaining flat with residential subscribers. The CEO said so himself, as if that was something to be proud of doing.


It’s a legitimate question, but obviously they aren’t going to answer it to your satisfaction. Make your decisions based on the company strategy. Now if the CEO had said he wanted to see each subscriber get more value for their money to grow the residential side, I’d argue differently. Why anyone defends this is beyond me.
(Edited)
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Chuck Mayo

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would they simply take more money for two years and do the same thing to her new plan?
They don't have to wait two years. I had to sign a new 2-year contract when I upgraded to silver unlimited in January of 2018, but only got one year of decent service before they pulled this stunt. So why would I upgrade again knowing they'll cripple any plan, any time it suits them?
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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You are exactly right Bradley. Viasat realized at some point in the last few years residential satellite growth had reached its peak. An investor service even affirmed this.


So Viasat had to change its strategy to get more money out of existing subs, and even announced they were not going to report subscriber numbers as an indicator of how their service was doing. Instead, they started report revenue off subscribers.


Of course this is all smoke and mirrors stuff. To maintain and increase a steady revenue stream that grows, they announced new plans in the 2nd half of 2018. They were attractive plans, and it got people to subscribe spending more $$$.


Now, about 18 months later, the revenue stream has gotten stagnant again. What to do? Modify those old plans and encourage people to upgrade again and/or move to Viasat-2, to increase revenue while the subscriber base remains stagnant.


At this point, it is all a shell game. If customers stand firm and not upgrade or dump the service, Viasat will then make other changes in plans an effort to increase revenue.


Once there is an earnings call where the revenue remained flat or decreased, then the real panic will set in. But by then, I suspect they will sell off the residential part of their business to Hughesnet. Look to Sirius and XM radio for evidence of this


There can be only one.
(Edited)
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Bradley

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Highlander!
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Casual Observer

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You've frequently suggested Viasat will sell off residential to Hughesnet.

How do you envision that actually happening - selling dedicated bandwidth on Viasat's birds to Hughesnet?

Just curious, really - if not, where does Hughesnet get the bandwidth to support those subscribers.

Other?

I think it would be more probable that Viasat just shutdown residential services and use that bandwidth on more profitable ventures (commercial and government). Hughesnet could just wait it out and eventually all those subscribers would come a running if lacking other alternatives.

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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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I think they will sell space off their satellites. I just dont think residential service is in their five year plan.

As for waiting until they shut it down, that doesn't make financial sense. Sell off the customers and get $$$$$ for it. After all Viasat us going to focus on areas where competition is less and growth is more (Mexico, overseas, in the air, etc.). Hughesnet will buy because then they will have a captive audience (not everybody can get wireless) and increase revenues.

It is what I would do, and I didnt even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
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Casual Observer

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That only makes sense if the capacity goes with them. I don't see that happening it has more value to them for commercial, government, community wifi. I do stay at Holiday Inn Express - I'm frugal, not cheap.

FWIW, VSAT up 12.86% yesterday since the conference call - you should really read that transcript. But I still wouldn't buy ;)
(Edited)
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Bradley

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Most likely scenario is to sell of all legacy satellites once the ViaSat 3 constellation goes live. Allot some time for airlines and government agencies using the legacy satellites to upgrade over to the new birds. Sell the residential subscriber base along with the aging satellites to another company.

There is a difference between what’s good for a stock short term and what’s good for residential subscribers. ViaSat itself is sitting pretty till other technologies overtake it in the next 3-5 years. Sears was the retail giant for a while too....
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Casual Observer

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The current fleet exists to get them to the Viasat-3 constellation. Already the 1st Viasat-3 bird is now more likely in 2021 with minor delays already encountered. Perhaps we've forgotten the Viasat-2 delays already.

Selling now or before then would indeed be short term thinking. Until that Viasat-3 constellation is in place, the aging birds serve a very useful purpose - generating a steady stream of residential revenue that is not as subject to the whims and fancies of cyclical commercial and more important government business. By that time at least two of those those birds will be approaching or at their expected ends of lifetime. Not to say that they may not exceed the original estimates. Let me know who's going to buy them then, I see a good short sale opportunity.

When I worked at Martin Marietta in the 80s they had a division called Martin Marietta Aggregates. It's now called Martin Marietta Materials. At an employee meeting I once asked why Martin Marietta was in the "aggregates" business (as in cement and gravel at the time). I was young and naive once. The answer was that "you may have noticed our government contracts have slowed recently. We don't have that problem with aggregates and it keeps the money flowing when revenues from the government dry up until they rebound. That's the same reason the division yo worked in is in the commercial software business - it paid the bills more consistently. But we'd really rather selling military equipment like rockets and missiles." - you see we were useful idiots. 

I suspect much the same can be said of Viasat's residential business - it steadily helps pay the bills - but I could be wrong and if Viasat is only thinking 3 -5 years out then they are indeed shortsighted.
(Edited)
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Brad, Viasat Employee

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Just to make a note here. 99.9% of the time if someone posts a chat log we will remove it. It's not that we're "hiding anything" but a copy/pasted chat can contain information that involves personal and private information based on an individual account.. Also those are very long to read and come off spam-y. 

Since this was posted and discussed I have left left most of the relevant parts in the original post but I did remove the Agent's name (privacy concerns for the safety of our agents. I think most of you like us or hate us are cool on here but the internet is dark and full of terrors....and lunatics)

I would recommend anyone reading this and for future reference that if you have a Chat that you question the responses given or anything like that to please forward it to viasatlistens@viasat.com but please don't post the chat log on the forum. It's a violation of our forum rules regarding personal information. 

Now to address the original post's concerns:  Unfortunately a lot of the earlier replies are correct in that neither the agent nor someone in corporate like myself can guarantee a speed. Simply put (policy update not withstanding) that a great number of things can affect your speeds such as weather, equipment, wiring, signal, servers, uplink centers, etc.  Anyone and this applies to ALL internet providers that "guarantee" a speed are either lying or making a guess. 

With that said, if you were to change plans you most likely will see better speeds as those plans are not affected by the policy change.
(Edited)
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Bradley

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It appears that ViaSat is might be pursuing the old “buy a gig of priority data for x dollars” and see those speeds return.

The whole business strategy is to squeeze the current customer base for more money.

Step one- get everyone on lower data threshold plans (coercion will work, right?)

Step two- promise faster speeds for the lower data plans

Step three- wait a month or so and slow Liberty Pass speeds down below most people’s pain threshold

Step four- sell them priority data by the gig
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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Not like we haven't been here before. You did leave off promising the moon and the stars with Viasat 3.
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Bradley

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If residential services are offered on ViaSat 3’s constellation, I hope that expectations are tempered by management this time.

Many of us have less service quality now that before ViaSat 2. Even with antenna issues, they seem to still be pushing customers in that direction (they did wait to push hard until after the insurance settlement).

Won’t bother me personally since I’ll be long done with ViaSat by then, but for kicks and giggles I may check in to see if people can get consistent prime time speeds above 1Mbps on all beams lol.
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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Bradley - You funny.
(Edited)
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Spinninghorse, Champion

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Thanks, Brad. Always appreciate your input.  Now to go ask a question about Liberty plans and those on Beam 329.