When Dalton Utilities rolled out its VidLink video service last fall, it said it was "an innovative next-generation video platform that will give users freedom and flexibility to view the content they love."
But some customers say the service lately has been a major headache.
"It seems to be constantly buffering," said Jim Young Jr. "You have to put your password in six or seven times a night. It won't accept your password, even if you are entering the correct password."
On the Daily Citizen-News' Facebook page, dozens of customers reported similar problems with the service, which is supposed to allow customers to stream video on the device of their choice and eliminate cable boxes.
"I would ask that you don't depend too heavily on social media-garnered feedback, as our extensive research on the posts to social media platforms has shown a disturbing number of false representations," said Kay Phillips, director of marketing and public relations for Dalton Utilities/OptiLink.
In an email to customers earlier this week, the utility apologized "for any frustrations you have experienced with VidLink." It said it will be refunding 25% of customers' VidLink bills.
"Our goal is to provide you with an innovative product that offers new features with the best functionality possible. We want you to know that reliability is still very much a top priority," the email said.
Phillips said "the issues of recent weeks are brand new issues, which are being diligently worked on to resolve. Ironically, the problems that are now being encountered by VidLink are a result of rapid growth/acceptance by other TV systems that have adopted our upstream provider, which is again testimony to the attractiveness of VidLink and its features."
The email said the utility will allow customers on its traditional cable system to keep that service "until we are confident all VidLink issues are resolved and the platform is stable enough to meet our expectations to deliver quality service to you."
Phillips said those "will remain on the legacy cable system temporarily, until we deem the challenges experienced with VidLink in the past few weeks are corrected, and that we can confidently offer the service that is up to the proven OptiLink standard."
Phillips said the cable service "is no longer supported by the vendors that provide the equipment. If we continue to operate our legacy system, there will eventually be failures we can’t repair. VidLink utilizes new, supported equipment and provides next-generation features that will never be available on our old system."
The email said the utility is upgrading VidLink's software and purchasing new equipment to improve service.