RCN DNS Redirect in Boston and How to Opt Out

A couple weeks ago, I noticed that whenever I mistyped a domain name, instead of getting a “Server not found” message or being redirected to Google, I was being redirected to a RCN search page. Not the end of the world, obviously, but still annoying.

I had heard about other ISPs utilizing DNS redirection or DNS hijacking on user accounts “as a service”, otherwise, I don’t know if I would have realized what had happened. I especially don’t remember RCN in Boston/Somerville informing me of this added benefit or telling me how to get rid of it. Google let me know that other folks have gotten their ISPs to remove the service by opting out, so I gave it a shot.

I looked everywhere in my account for an opt out before sending an email to RCN Customer Service. I would have called, but this post made me think I’d be better off emailing them and waiting for a reply instead of frustratingly trying to explain the problem up a chain of customer service representatives. RCN refers to this service as PaxFire, but I didn’t want to confuse things by using proper nouns. I sent the following email to around 10 in the evening:

It appears that DNS redirection was recently turned on on my account so that when entering text in the browser address bar if the text was not a website the page that loads is a RCN search page as opposed to Google. I would like to opt out of this service please.

By 11 the next morning, I had a response and solution:

…I reviewed your account and it needs to be updated. The PaxFire opt-out has been added to the account and in order to pull a non-PaxFire IP address, a good thing to try would be to power cycle the modem…Once complete, the PaxFire service should not be active on the Internet connection.

Another Somerville RCN user was also able to get the redirect removed by sending the above note to them, so it seems to work.

I had also mentioned my displeasure on Twitter and got a response there the next morning as well. The lesson? If you want good, quick customer service from RCN, email or Tweet at them instead of calling. Though, if they won’t fix your problem, it’s not going to be fun either way.

I hope I don’t get throttled for this.

RCN DNS Redirect in Boston and How to Opt Out

0 thoughts on “RCN DNS Redirect in Boston and How to Opt Out

  1. ajpikc says:

    Way back when I lived in a town served by RCN I hated their customer service. Finally I called their investor relations number and was directed to a man in “Executive Resolutions.”

    This man’s name was Bob, and when I asked him for things they magically happened instantly. For example, the customer service people would say “We don’t have the number for the dispatcher so we can’t expedite the service call.” Bob would say “What time do you want them to come by tonight?”

    It was glorious. I think Bob’s job is simply to handle people who get annoyed enough to call the RCN corporate office, so even if he doesn’t work there any more, try calling the investor relations line if you’re stuck on a lower rung of the customer service ladde


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