Comcast LogoI just thought I’d share the month I had with Comcast. For the record I have Comcast business at work (IT manager,) and Xfinity something or other at home (also Comcast).

Based on my timesheet, call logs, mileage logs, and incident reports at work, here’s what has turned out to be an otherwise average month for me in my relations with Comcast.

This is an example of why so many people are desperate to get Google Fiber or anyone but Comcast. If your service works, good on ya.

Is there a point? Not really. It’s just sort of a depressing waiting game for Google Fiber, AT&T Gigasomething, etc as our current price and bandwidth options with any other ISP cost about $1400 a month vs Comcast’s $220.

The TV mess up

It starts last month, the Oregon Ducks were going to play and my wife wanted to watch the game as she’s an Oregon refugee. Should be no problem, I research and discover there’s absolutely no way to stream the game unless it’s part of your television provider’s package, so I made the mistake of calling Comcast to get the Pac-12 station (which broadcasts in glorious standard definition last I checked.)

The rep says that I need package so and so and it costs $4.99… I say go for it… PAC-12 doesn’t come in. I immediately know this is going to be trouble. Several rounds of troubleshooting and the rep gives up and escalates the case. During this time I’m told to reboot my cable box. It doesn’t come back on (due to a problem with the account? Bad box? Demons?). Great. Total time was 41 minutes and now I have no TV.

I make another call (as any time “escalations” gets mentioned nothing ever happens, I assume this is Comcast lingo for “we don’t know what’s wrong, give it a day and someone above my pay grade will fix it or it’ll work itself out”) rep two says after trying everything that there’s an outage in my area and that it should be resolved shortly. He says this strangely.

After having wasted 20 something minutes with him he pulled that outage card out and didn’t seem too convincing as I asked what exactly was out. I check the PAC-12 app thinking maybe I could stream the game, it says I’m not authorized. I should be authorized.

I get off the line, call one more time and just ask the next rep “is there an outage in my area?” she looks it up and says nope. I was pretty sure that was the case. I asked “is the PAC-12 channel on the lineup of what they added to my account?” the rep says “no, that’s a $12 premium addition and no idea why the first person added the $4.99 package as it’s not listed as one of the channels.” I’m informed that yes, I have just wasted an hour dealing with people who got nothing right. They remove the $4.99 package that didn’t include what I wanted.

The TV service is out for the rest of the day. I start getting emails several hours later indicating the services were turned on and off. The TV comes back sometime the next day. I made another call and sat on hold for about an hour (basically just left the phone in speakerphone and did other things.) Total time on this was about three hours.

Oh well, at least I have internet!

I blew through the internet!

So the question became how could I go through 300 gigabytes of data when I’m not doing anything. There’s no activity on the modem, my network router doesn’t report high bandwidth consumption, etc.

I got a popup somewhere about 50 gigabytes to the limit indicating I was nearing the end of my allotment. This was problematic as it was 11 days to the end of my data and… oh well, 9 or so gigs a day, how hard could that be?

Turns out pretty hard. I recorded two gigabytes of data used from the time I got that message to the time I was 51 gigabytes over the limit (so 101 gigabytes used.) Odd, my router was either lying to me or something was up.

I shot them a note asking whether someone could clone the MAC address of my phone’s WiFi and use it to connect to an XFinity hotspot/use my data. I’m still waiting for a response. Believe it or not, I don’t pirate hundreds of movies a month at my house (that’s what work internet is for!… kidding). There’s also so little I want to watch on Netflix that my streaming accounts for 10-15 gigs a month.

I download the XFinity data usage app the next month and start monitoring data usage from a source other than my router. It sits at 21 gigabytes used for about four days before I noticed the usage app wasn’t working. Closed it, opened it again, updated, but never updated without closing the program. Great job… great job…

I’ve been waiting for a response to whether someone could have cloned my MAC and is using someone’s XFinity WiFi under my account as Comcast has no data-usage-by-x reporting capabilities. All you’d need to do is set up a router calling it XFinityWiFi and record the MAC addresses of anyone who connects.

Would sure be nice to know if it’s coming from inside the house <eeek> – sadly they don’t seem to want to give me this info.

Goodbye work internet! (day 1)

I’m on call 24/7 and now that my office building is *my* office building, that means I have to come in if a client’s internet is shot and they’re getting it from the building. This happened on Saturday, October 3rd, and I called in to see if Comcast would kindly reset the modem remotely.

But they couldn’t… I jumped in on our backup internet connection and the Comcast unit just wasn’t talking to our router. The internet wasn’t talking to the Comcast router. It was dead from both sides. Time for a trip. They tell me they’ve got a tech scheduled for Monday but that there’ll be a call beforehand so if resetting the router fixes things, just cancel the tech.

Turns out the Tennessee Department of Transportation decided to destroy my path to work that day. TN has this project called the Big 8 or some such that seems to be designed to remove a bridge every time I have to go into work unexpectedly. This was no exception. Slightly over an hour later I’ve completed my 11 minute drive to work.

And the modem is suddenly working perfectly. While in the office I jump on another Comcast router (one of the tenants who doesn’t mind if I do this,) in the building and verify that there’ve been no issues. Left the tech dispatch open as I expected by Monday it would be dead again.

Slogged back to my house, this time my 11 minute drive only took 41 minutes.

This day was roughly two hours of driving to turn it off, then turn it back on again.

Goodbye work internet (day 2)

Packets are dropping at about 15%. It’s bad, but not terrible. I mean, it is terrible, but it seems to be workable. I decide against failing over to our T1s as they’re freaking T1s. Bonded together they’re about 3% of the speed of the Comcast connection we’ve got. Luckily it’s Sunday and there’s nobody in the building.

Hello Monday! (day 3)

Issues cleared up at 11pm last night, there’s no probems that I can tell. I never get a call from a tech so I assume that things are going ok and the problem has been addressed.

Yeah, that was a stupid assumption, but I’ve wasted five hours of my life on Comcast the past few days… I can dream.

Friday, 5:40pm (day 7)

I step back into my house and I’ve got alarms from work that it’s down again. Tried to make a call but Sprint was out in my neighborhood. Briefly considered using WiFi calling, but decided that since the building was abandoned when I left to ignore it until someone called me. Also Sprint’s WiFi calling had been abysmal at the house for an unrelated to Comcast reason.

Shot a Comcast rep an email, decided not to trudge out in the Friday rush hour to turn it off and on again.

The weekend was packet loss, nobody was complaining, I had other work to do.

Monday (Day 9)

There’s a Comcast installer in my building right after I poured myself a cup of coffee. He tells me he’s scheduled to come out and swap out a modem. I ask him for who, he doesn’t have any details. This is problematic since there are seven tenants with Comcast cable modems. We go and verify by MAC address which modem it is, and it’s mine.

I ask how he got this order… oh, the CSR I was dealing with scheduled it for the wrong Monday… facepalm. He evidently gets this a lot. Oh well, they only had business class wait an additional 168 hours to fix it… no big.

They swap the old modem out, new modem works equally as crappy. Testing at the pole indicates that it’s the connection that was befarged, and not the modem. He wonders how they missed that the signal to noise ratio was absurd and how anyone in the neighborhood is able to do anything. This will be the 22nd signal to noise ratio issue in seven years.

He calls it in and within an hour there’re Comcast pole people peopling the poles.

And fixed….. no

About an hour after the installer has left one of the other tenants in the building comes and asks when the internet is expected to be back up. They have their own Comcast connection unrelated to ours. Ours is working fine.

I poke around and discover their network cable has simply been removed from their modem and not placed back in. *sigh*

And fixed… no^2

Whatever temporary hope I had was dashed when the guy came back and gave me his personal cell and told me it’s going to happen again. The bucket trucks were too slow to respond. Something heated up and it’ll go out again when it cools down again.

Oh well, I’ve been here before. Every year. Every season change.

An average month

I’ll stress, this is an average month for my interactions with Comcast.

So, two hours of driving to turn work off and on again, three hours of dealing with home issues that the CSR created, twenty minutes working for a tenant to diagnose and fix the installer either accidentally unplugging a network connection or yanking it out causing me to have to intervene, and two hours of my being required to be onsite today to keep up with the Comcast installer.

I got an automated call a little while ago telling me that the problems with my home internet service will be corrected shortly… oh god… what are they doing there?