Coax cable problems

Occasionally, I run into a problem where the internet connection from the cable tv and internet company is not performing well or has frequent outages. I’ve found a few common causes for this problem.

Unfortunately, the technician that is sent by the cable company is rather clueless. All they do is replace a modem and run away, leaving you in a cloud of dust and confusion. After going through a couple of these “visits” or DIY modem replacements, we have to take a better look at the root of the problem. Often it turns out that the signal quality coming from the street is poor even before it comes into your home. In most places, the cable tv network is decades old, and the coax cable that comes down from the street to your home is no longer conducting a good quality signal.

Why Coaxial Cable Goes Bad:

  • Physical Damage (rodents, gardeners, construction)
  • Water intrusion
  • Heat damage
  • UV light degradation (white coax is only for inside!)
  • Connectors have gone bad or were poorly installed.

The cable company is responsible for the connection between your home and the street. Usually, the connection runs from a location near the outside electrical panel to the nearest utility pole.

Somehow, we need to convince the cable company to send out a technician to inspect the cable from the street to the house and replace it if needed. Keep a log of when the internet connection is poor and also make a note of the weather conditions. Keeping a log might help to find a pattern that could be related to the weather. For example, loose coax cable dangling from the pole might cause outages in windy conditions. If you feel adventurous, you could log into your cable modem and check the signal’s values that come into the modem. Further, you can go outside and inspect the coax cable from your home back to the nearest utility pole. Sometimes it is apparent that a rodent has chewed the cable or landscape maintenance has caused damage. Sometimes the coax cable is dangling unsupported from the utility pole. If you see any of this, take a picture and convince the cable company to install a new cable.

The Internet Service Provider (ISP) responsibility ends at the cable modem. Once they have established a good connection, we can take care of fast and reliable internet throughout your home or business.

PS This is written from the perspective of how most cable ISP’s work in the US

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That’s what I mentioned in my post

Certainly the technician is also to do this as part of their job.

I believe that the company’s responsibility ends at the junction going into the house, not at the modem inside the house. Or, perhaps better said, even though the company’s responsibility to find issues with service may extend all the way to the cable modem, their responsibility to repair issues ends at the cable junction to the house.

By example, we purchased a house where the prior owners had split the incoming cable feed at four or five different locations (to put cable lines to various rooms). Our initial TV connections were bad. My first step was to remove all splits and bring the internal line down to one run to the modem box. At that point, when we still had bad service, we called for tech support. They found that we had a bad cable junction at the pole outside the house.

In summary … When you have a service visit to install or repair your cable (TV/internet), you should always ask the technician to show the specs directly to the house connection versus those directly at the modem. Compare these specs to what is promised by your service plan. This report can help isolate issues external to the house (the company’s responsibility) versus those internal to the house (your responsibility). Whether the company is or is not responsible to repair things inside your house … that is likely detailed in your service plan.


You are right but recently they have been changing their service. For example COX cable in Santa Barbara no longer does this :frowning:

About a year ago I was having a lot of issue with my internet frequently dropping during they day. I work from home and a constant connection is required to access my work systems (work on a remote desktop). I called out the cable company to check to make sure everything was connected correctly. They went from the street all the way to my modem and found no issues. My understanding was it was an actual issue with the infrastructure in the area and the node having an issue that they didn’t feel was worth fixing.

At some point I stopped having the issues.

Translation: Someone upstream/downstream with higher authority raised a bigger fuss. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


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Unless you’re renting the modem from the cable company.

Ah yes. This makes sense. In my case, I had my own cable modem.