Robson Ranch
Computer Club
04/08/04 Meeting

As many of you know by now, Grande Communications acquired Advantex Communications in October 2003.

Tonight's meeting was all about giving the new management team from Advantex Communications, soon to be Grande Communications a chance to try and explain the problems we've been experiencing with their service and to let us know what they are doing to resolve them. It also gave them a chance to explain the improvements being made to the services they provide.

Presenting at our meeting were the General Manager of the Dallas Market - J Findley, Director of Field Operations, Brandy Adams and Sr. Manager for Retail Sales - Jonathan Baker.

They provided us with a handout introducing Grande Communications and the changes to their service offerings they will be bringing to Robson Ranch.

You can read about the company at their web site:

The highlights of the changes are as follows:

Extended Customer Care Hours
  • M-F 8-7
  • Sat 8-5
  • On June 6th, 24-hour trouble support

New Billing Capabilities

  • One bill for all services
  • Grande to Grande Network
  • Unlimited Long Distance Calling for $20

Launch of Digital Cable

  • Added City of Denton Public, Educational, Government (PEG) access to Channel 12
  • Digital Cable coming in July 2004
  • Over 300 channels of programming
  • HDTV coming by year end

High Speed Data Changes

  • Double and Triple Play customers will now receive 1.5Mbps download speed
  • Dial-up customers rate reduced to $10
  • New 384k package for $29.95
  • Customers currently receiving 768k download for $49.95 will be doubled to 1.5Mbps

During the Q&A session many of the complaints residents have had with the existing service were addressed. The following are excerpts from that session.

All long distance phone calls between Grande customers will be treated as local calls.

Grande Communications will provide limited port filtering and DNS Block List support for inbound e-mail to help protect their customers from known virus' and spammers. You may find that some gaming and other applications will require additional configuration to get them to work. You may also find that some people can't send you e-mail if they are using one of the known security-violating e-mail providers.

Grande Communications is now using a new type of modem for DSL that provides the PPPoE software internally.

In response to the more technical problems being experienced, J Findley stated that Brandy Adams will bring a team out to prove out their equipment at no charge should you continue to experience problems.

You can change your e-mail over to from at any time. Eventually, you will be required to do this, but it is at least a year away. They will support your old address so you won't lose e-mail during the transition.

A new combined billing system will be in place starting June 6th. You may elect to have all charges on your credit card or use auto-draft on your checking account.

New service levels for DSL will take effect April 15th.

International Long Distance pricing is being examined to insure competitiveness.

There is a 20MB size limit on e-mail attachments

E-mail bulk mailing is limited to 100 addresses.

Grande also has DVR devices available for rent. - 800 minutes of recording and includes HDTV capability.

IC TV - read e-mail, order pizza, etc.

Digital boxes cost Grande $220, DVR is $520 - $4.95 a month to rent the digital box and $9/month to rent the DVR

The local calling areas were set long ago and are not something that Grande Communications can remedy. If you are affected by these limitations, the unlimited long-distance for $20/month would seem to be a good deal. Update: J Findley will get with the regulatory department to explore if there are any options.

Grande Communications Internet packages offer more than 1 e-mail address per account.

In addition to the problems listed above, Grande Communications has been working with various residents to answer other questions:

A potential vendor has been identified for providing Doppler radar feed. Grande will be working with them to try and provide this service when digital cable is launched.

Grande will provide manuals for e-mail as they transition from Advantex. Instructional guides are available now on the web site.

Several complaints were raised regarding delays in delivery of mail. Grande has not been able to replicate the problem as yet and will continue to monitor the situation.

Several modems have been exchanged for newer models.

Grande technicians have also been out to fix several configuration issues that don't appear to have had anything to do with their service.

Grande Communications is eager to assist you in resolving your technical difficulties. If however, there is an area where they cannot assist you, please bring it to the attention of your Computer Club. There are an amazing number of geeks in our community that may be able to help you. This is not limited to computer-related problems. A number of the members are experienced in working with telephone and video equipment as well.