This is a rather extensive and angry review of Cal.NET. The company has since restructured, please visit their entry to learn more, or visit other reviews and comments of the company prior to their 2008 change and merger .

A Cal.NET [MDL] review

I am writing this because I've had huge problems with this company, nearly every sort imaginable. As this was not a unique experience, and there were so many issues, I feel it's definitely relevant and long enough to stand alone. I lived with 4 other guys in Glacier Point Apartments for the 03-04 year. At the time, there was no real internet options there. There was Satellite DSL (too expensive), dial-up (for 5 gamers?), and Cal.NET. Cal.NET at the time had some sort of deal with the apartment complex. Upon moving in you get flyers and praise, and they tell you it's basically DSL. Cal.NET flyer said it was "MDSL", and that it was just as fast as normal DSL. They also had a lot of information about how local is better, and they're much faster then other large companies that don't care. So let me try to break it down piece by piece, because there are a lot of them:

The service itself

It had a max download speed of 550kbs....definitely not on par with broadband. Upload of 128kbs. They have three plans, all have limited bandwidth. The largest plan was $65.00 a month, with a 30 gigabyte cap. They had a website where you could monitor your bandwidth. The website actually went down for three months and they refused to fix it. They also charge $5 per gig overages selectively. But I'll get into that later.

Here's the huge problem: As it was the only internet option, they knew students would be forced to use it, and they really capitalized on it: They refuse to provide service to routers. They say it's because if something goes wrong with the router (hardware problem), they can't be liable to fix it. This is total bullshit. Instead, they want every single person in the apartment to buy the service for themselves. This means for my apartment, they wanted to do 5 installations (see below) and 5 plans. Tragically, a lot of people did do this, such as our neighbors. We refused and tried to get the router option to work. But, it's not like broadband, where you can plug a comp in and go go go. The service has to be activated. It's meant for 1 computers mac address, and you have to 'activate' it on that computer. Once you activate it on one computer, you change the cord to go to only 1 computer through the router, and 'transfer' it and reactivate. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The girls below us couldn't transfer it through and spent a month or two switching cords for internet. But if you ever have a tech problem (see below), they use the router as a huge defense. In their defense, a few of the techs they send out are nice guys and offer to help you do it as long as you don't mention it.


Cal.NET advertised real quick and cheap installation. It costs $120 to have them come to install it. It also was not quick. For the girls living below us, they cancelled their install appointment 3 times (the day of) and it took over three weeks. Most other services (such as Comcast cable and SBC dsl offer free or reduced installs/equipment as part of a promotion. And as said above, they want to do an installation per person per apartment.


This was also a huge issue, with every apartment we knew. Cal.NET has a pretty unique system. They take your credit card number, and never ever talk to you again. They refuse to provide any sort of paper proof. This means you do not get a bill in the mail, you do not get an emailed bill. They bill on random days in the first 2 weeks of a month. Your credit card statement is the only proof you have paid. And it doesn't tell you what for. It will just say CALIFORNIA NETWORKING or CAL.NET SERVICES or something similar (It's been a while). And due to the overages fee, you would get billed random amounts. This was a real issue, and I'm still not sure it was legal the way they did it.

Occasionally, like to the girls below, they forgot to bill a month. Promptly the next month, they billed double and a half. After trying to call a million times in complaint, the extra half was ...accidentally typoed. They had a lot of typos. We got charged 4 different months for overages ($5) when our total usage was 29.4 something gigs of bandwidth. Oops!

I called numerous times to complain about our internet being out for hours and hours and days at a time (diff section). I would demand some sort of refund. When you go four days a week without internet, and they blame PGE for power outages, that's just lame. They 'forget' to credit you the money.

Now, their billing staff is impossible to reach. At the time, it was Trish, who worked 3 days a week, apparently at random. My apartment, the girls below, and the people across all had a helluva time reaching Trish. For NEVER answers their phones (except Chris in tech support).

ONLY once did they call me. They told my my CC was messed up and not legitimate number and to give a new number. I told them they were incorrect, and that it's the same CC . They said no, this cc never worked, and that there might be a fee for this 'problem'. I said what the bullshit, screw you (if only I had..). So I said I don't care, did you even try it again, maybe you typed the number in wrong. 'No, she didn't, she did it twice and its not wrong.' "Well, if its wrong, how come you've charged it for the last 5 months?" So she finally tried it again and found out whoops, the number is legit and she just sucks!. But it was a miracle; we had never heard of them actually calling someone.

Usually, you leave message after message. When wa supposed to charge me 47 something, they charged me 65. I told them this, and they told me I was wrong. I took my credit card statement in as proof. They....said it was wrong? And told me to take it up with Visa? I started to complain and then they said basically, ok, maybe we messed up, we'll credit you next month. Like I said above, they had a lot of issues. And a lot of the same ones repeated.

Actual service

Horrible. There were constant outages, to ridiculous proportions. I think in January, it was out for 2 whole weeks. Tech support blames routers. Some of them said it was PGE's fault, because the power went out a lot. Thy charge money to come out and look at it, so we refused. Basically, there was a ton of downtime. Billing on that end said they shouldn't have to credit money, because we don't charge PGE for power outages, so why should they refund our money when they're out? Tech support was usually really hard to reach. In fact, despite being the ISP of Davis supposedly, their tech support office is out in Placerville. When you call the Davis office, the # they give you is for their Placerville branch. After months of dealing with him, I grudgingly ended up liking Chris. He eventually caved and started actually trying to help. Usually, the other guys say unplug from router, plug into computer, renew ipconfig stuff, and turn the bridge on and off. Anytime an issue: reset the computer and unplug the bridge. Ugh. Right..

Their bandwidth site went down for some few months. We got a 300 dollar bill one month for supposedly downloading some huge amount of stuff (the first month it went down!) I doubt it, it's total bullshit, I calculated it would have taken 16 days (24/7) at the maximum download speed (550kbs) to download that much in a month, but I couldn't fight it, and we ended up paying it. The site was up the first two weeks, and we were only at like 10 gigs or so. and there was really no way any one of us would have dl'd that much. Ugh I'm frustrated just thinking about it.


They have (had) horrible reviews on all the and Here's an example of one of these reviews. (Not written by anyone I know.) Wow, scroll down further and you'll see a guy and all his info....apparently he had 50% downtime. Looking at this now (vs 2 years ago), it seems there's a lot less negative reports. I can't even find the company on now, when before there were a whole bunch.

At the time, the better business bureau website page about it had said that they contacted the company for basic info, but did not receive a response. We actually tried to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but Cal.NET didn't answer a letter we sent and we weren't too sure of the process. Need a letter back and forth or something.

There's a lot more stuff, but really, this was just the tip of the iceberg. Just a few comments per section, horribly ranted and pseudo-organized. Like I said, this was not unique to my apartment. This wasn't a single bad experience. The apartment below us, the apartment next to us, and a bunch of other people we spoke with in the complex.

Just the forcing every student to pay a $120 install and have 4 or 5 separate internet connections per apartment is a shady monopoly style crap. I'm glad Comcast came to West Davis, I wish went out of business. It was shortly after comcast came that they redid their website and started offering actual internet services.

Anyway, they were horrible in pretty much every single detail you could imagine. It was also a huge factor in our decision to leave that apartment complex. We just couldn't deal constantly with Cal.NET twice a week. It was honestly, the worst company I've ever imagined possible.