It started with a simple question on the Pemberton Buy and Sell Facebook page, but soon grew into a swelling chorus of frustration.
"One guy was asking how people's Internet was, and all of a sudden there was over 300 comments," said Peter Wortman, Pemberton resident and longtime Shaw customer.
As it turned out, there were a lot of Pembertonians having trouble with their Shaw Internet connection speeds.
And so the Pemberton vs. Shaw Facebook group was born — 95 members strong as of March 31.
"All of us are just fed up," said Wortman, the group's creator.
"I'm paying $70 a month plus tax for basically next to nothing."
Wortman said he's been a Shaw customer for going on five years and has never had any issues with connection speed until the past month.
But now he's lucky if he can even load a webpage to search for solutions to his problem.
"Basically we're all getting the run around, and a lot of us are sick and tired of it," he said. "You can't Netflix, you can't YouTube. Even just surfing pages, the loading takes forever, and half the time we can't even get a speed-reading. It's past the point of frustration."
The problem, as Wortman said he's been told by Shaw, is that the packages are oversold.
"Basically there's more customers than they can handle," he said. "I mean, they know there's a problem and they're doing nothing, but yet they're still signing up new customers."
Reached for comment, Shaw's VP of external affairs Chethan Lakshman said that Shaw is working towards a solution.
"We have seen a sharp rise in network usage recent months, with the additional demand impacting the quality of our services," Lakshman said in an email.
"We're doing everything we can to ensure our customers are given the best and most consistent Internet experience possible, and are working on all solutions available to us. Most immediately, we are working with all affected customers on a one-on-one basis to right-size them on Internet plans that accurately match their usage. We are working with any new customers to ensure they have the right Internet plan for their needs."
Lakshman and Shaw encourage all affected customers to call customer support at 1-888-472-2222 or visit www.shaw.ca/pemberton for more information.
"Our engineering team is working on longer-term solutions to further improve network issues, and while we can't provide specifics at this time, we will be communicating developments through our community website at www.shaw.ca/pemberton," Lakshman said.
But to those Pembertonians left disconnected from the online world, the fix may not come soon enough.
The possibility of a class-action lawsuit has been mentioned more than once.
"People are getting more and more angry... It's been going on about a month now, and every time you phone you get a different answer," Wortman said.
"Every Shaw customer in Pemberton is getting next to no service. It's 2015. We need the Internet."
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