August 3, 2007

A Day Out Of The House, Courtesy Of Comcast

I'm enjoying the relaxations of our local Panera restaurant and its free wi-fi service, courtesy of an area-wide disruption of service at Comcast. Today marks the first full month that I've had with Comcast's Triple Play, and until about 6:30 this morning, I was pretty satisfied with the switch.

Comcast had a couple of advantages. It could provide much faster Internet access and it saved me $60 a month over my combined Qwest and DirectTV bills. The picture isn't quite as crisp as with DirectTV, but I love the free on-demand video. The internet speed went from 500K to 6M, and it allowed me to finally start streaming video on my computer. (Before that, YouTube was a rare indulgence.)

Unfortunately, when something goes wrong, it really goes wrong with Comcast. The only problem before today was a bad TV box, which they replaced in two days with no fuss. Today, though, both the phone and the Internet service has gone completely out -- and that means I can't work from home, not even using my cell-phone backup for Internet access.

There's nothing wrong with an occasional day out of the office. However, I'm hoping that it remains occasional.

UPDATE 11:21 AM: Back home and the outage has been repaired. No word on the cause, but it may flake out again. If so, I already have a backup plan for today's CQ Radio show.


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Comments (4)

Posted by Ray | August 3, 2007 4:09 PM

I also use Comcast and I have been experiencing connection problems for over a month now. The problem first appeared with the TV boxes. Comcast replaced the cable coming into my house and that fixed that particular problem. Now my Internet access has been very intermittent. The problem seems to be affecting my entire neighborhood.

Part of the problem, it seems, is the age of the main cables being used by Comcast. These cables were first installed in my neighborhood over twenty years ago, back when the system was owned by Rogers Cable. Coaxial cables begin to experience significant signal loss and interference as the cables age. The shielding within the cable will start breaking and stray signals will infiltrate the line. Signal boosters will not help much as they also will amplify the offending signals. The problems worsen as the temperature increases and the cables begin to expand due to the heat.

I have discussed this with a Comcast representative and they have replied that they "inherited" the infrastructure and there is little they can do. I don't think this is true as they BOUGHT the system, they didn't inherit it, and they can replace the main cables that are experiencing problems due to age. These old main cables need to be replaced yet Comcast doesn't seem to be willing to spend the money this would require. I pay a lot for the service Comcast provides and it is very annoying that Comcast doesn't seem to care that the service they supply is terrible. If this keeps up, I may switch to Dish and DSL.

Posted by April | August 3, 2007 6:42 PM

We also have Comcast Triple Play here in Hoston. It just switched over from Time Warner. Since the switch I have been very displeased with their service. You are right that when something goes wrong, it really goes wrong. Our phone and internet have gone down with disturbing frequency. Hopefully this passes and your service will not have the same problems.

Posted by Lisa | August 4, 2007 7:03 AM

I have had comcast triple play for 2 years here in Pittsburgh, PA. Very few problems until the last few months. My phone will go out for days and recently all 3 (cable , phone and internet) have been going out simultaneously. The maddening part is that comcast keeps telling me that the wiring inside my house is the problem! and it just magically starts working again! I just wish they would be honest with me.

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