Sunday, October 28, 2007

Comcast Sucks

I just don't get it - why spend millions of dollars a year on television marketing and print if you are going to alienate your users so badly.

Comcast is a cable provider here in the USA. Cable providers have had a really sweet deal for a number of years pretty much being a monopoly for high speed Internet. Although you can get 3mb dsl in a large percentage of the country once cable providers moved their services up to 8mb downloads it's pretty much the default choice. (eg I use Time Warner cable but my other option are Verizon dsl (and a few other dsl providers) no fios yet unfortunately :(

Because cable has this monopoly it was them or a lower speed dsl (of course that was until fios fiber and a few other options became available in the last few years).

So with these new options you think the cable companies would be trying to bend over backwards to win/keep their high speed customers, especially their savvy technically literate users as they are tending to pay for the faster tiers of service.

Well Comcast a few weeks ago decide to start blocking bit torrents.

A bit torrent is a way of downloading a single file from multiple locations at the same time eg, lets say I need to download a 100mb movie trailer - I download using bit torrent from 10 people at 10mbs each in 10 seconds rather than from 1 person at 10 mb in 100 seconds (or 1.5mins approx).

That's a simple example but you get the idea.

Yes a lot of people download pirate content using bit torrent but that's not the only use. Eg I can download asterisk updates using bit torrent or large development files or software updates etc.

Private people can also set up their own bit torrent servers to deliver their own private content to people they are working with etc.

You get the point - it's basically a very smart way of sharing files, any type of files. I mean you paid for that extra fast high speed bandwidth for a reason right?


So Comcast have bought some technology from a company called Sandvine. This company has a way of looking at your ISP traffic and working out when you are downloading bit torrent files - when they detect you doing this Comcast then 'throttle' your network to the point it looks like it's no longer working.

Whats worse is they have also been caught with their pants down (probably by internal staff who think it's a stupid idea in the first place) Dont you love the semi-lies and the selective 'wording' in that pr debacle.

Either way Comcast sucks and I hope all of their customers walk with their feet - even if just for a few months so that ISP's know they cant push us around.



  1. So if you love or hate Comcast and want to make sure the man at the top knows it, here's his contact info:

    Brian Roberts, CEO
    Comcast Corporate Office
    1500 Market Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19102

  2. I started a search for new ISPs after experiencing yet another problem with Comcast internet. After reading this blog I decided to send Mr. Roberts a goodbye email. :) Thank you for the contact info!

  3. I am moving to a new residence on August 3rd.  On July 21st I went online to move my service.  After going through most of the process I was told by the Comcast movers edge representative that I could not put in the transfer order because the current resident service had not been turned off yet.  Even though the current resident had put in a disconnect order in for the 25th I would have to wait until after the 25th.

    On July 27th I go back online and start the process all over again.  After repeating everything again because Comcast has no way to save the previous work I am told that I can not complete the order because I have a past due bill.  I am told as soon as I pay the bill they can process the order provided I have my payment conformation number.

    On July 28th I pay my bill and get the payment conformation number.  After paying my bill I again go online to transfer my service.  After going through the entire process a 3rd time I am told that they can not complete my order because I have to wait 24 to 48 hours after I make my payment for them to take my order. 

    Now I am upset because I pretty sure I will not get my service transfered on the day I need it transfered.  But I wait.

    On July 31 I go back online, fill out the transfer order and start chatting with the movers edge representative.  Just happens to be the same rep I chatted with on the 27th,  Emma Rosa, cbu34577, so I express that I was upset with her for telling me false information about my payment.  Her response was that she did not remember our conversation.  So we go through the entire process and she tells me that I can have my service transfered on the 3rd.  I double check with her and ask her to repeat the info and make sure that I can have my service turned on on the 3rd.  She says yes sir it will be done on the 3rd and I will send you a conformation email stating this.  I ask her when I would get the email and she says about 30 mins because she has to put all the information in it.  So I say ok and goodbye and go to spend time with my family.

    This morning I go to check my email and get the conformation email telling me that my new service will be turned on on the 6th.  Not the 3rd like I was told and confirmed. 

    Now I have to suffer with no phone, internet or TV because I was lied too by comcast CSRs.  All of this could have been avoided if the first CSR I had chatted with had told me about he past due bill and the 24 to 48 hour waiting period.  I could have paid the bill on the 22nd and transfered my service on the 27th with plenty of time to get an instillation slot on the 3rd.  But no, I have to suffer because Comcast does not properly train their workers.

    There is a way for comcast to make this right.  The place I am moving to has working service we know that as the previous service was just turned off.  I have a cable modem and I know how to attach the cable to it.  Comcast could be nice and program the MAC address of my modem into their database on the 3rd even though the tech won't be out for a few days.  Lets fact it the tech is going to check the line signal and then call back to the office and tell them to turn on my service.  I use Linux so there is no software to download or configure.  All they have to do to make this right is turn on my service on the third and then send out the tech to check everything on the 6th.  But NOOOO they will not do that.  I'm sorry sir we can not do that, the tech has to look at the lines and make sure the service that was working just 7 days before is still working.  The tech is not going to do anything but make a phone call.  I will have the modem hooked up and my computers hooked up before they get there.  Why can they not do that?  Because their procedures do not allow them too.  That is right, there is no physical reason why they can not turn on my service the day I was promised.  They will not do it because they do not have a procedure for fixing the problems that they created in the first place.

    So what has comcast done to make a very unhappy customer happy?  NOTHING, that is right they have done NOTHING except to say I'm sorry you have had so many problems.  They have it in their power to fix this and they will not... 

    YOU SUX COMCAST.....I will be posting this story every place on the internet that I can and any other outlet that will listen...
    P.S.  I called the comcast office to find out who I can lodge a complaint with about the lack of service I received from the CSR.  Well the supervisor at the local office just called me back to tell me there is no number or person to talk to.  That is right, if a comcast CSR does a crappy job there is nothing you can do.
    P.S.S.  I was also just informed by the supervisor that the CSR messed up my order and was going to charge me $52.50 for the Basic TV service that I have.  I am currently paying $14.95 for basic TV service and sure do not want to pay that increase so he fixed that.  And another thing is the CSR NEVER informed me about ANY instillation charge or the fact that I would have to pay my first months service up front when it was turned on.  So now not only am I not getting my service on the day I was confirmed to get but I have to pay up front and extra for the move.  Also if I had not called the office I would have been charged an extra $37.55 for a service I did not even order.
    I found out that I should have access to FIOS and wireless within 6 months and I will be telling comcast where they can put their service at that time....

  4. Wow if someone is prepared to sit down and put that much effort into a random blog post I dont hold out much hope once there is competition.

    I wonder if the USA government ever sits down to realise that the reason a lot of companies can get away with crappy service like this is because of functional monopolies.

    It costs the USA economy in frictional transaction costs not to have a completely open playing field.

    think about it.