Thought I would share some of the more fun stories of me and Comcast Business. One of my jobs entails maintaining the IT infrastructure of a building that was originally all for one company, but has now become rental space for several other businesses.

Some of these companies have to comply with HIPA, some PCI, and some moved existing Comcast contracts from their previous office space. As such there are about eight Comcast modems in operation in the building running on eight separate networks and what appears to be two source cables coming in from the pole.

I deal with Comcast nearly every other week in one capacity or another, and have for the past eight or so years with how tenants come and go. Here’s what happened over the last couple of years:

The radio station

Comcast had been called out to install a business class service for an audio editing company that sits in our building. The company wanted the cable modem in their offices so that if anything happened, which frequently does, they’d be able to start diagnostics without having to walk 450 feet to a different floor and then mess with their cable modem on the cable modem pile.

The preinstaller came, put tags on two coax lines, and left. The installer came the next day and those lines were dead. Nothing that had been tagged was passing signal from one point to another. He saw another line, tested it, no signal detected, cut it, connected it to one of the lines that the preinstaller had worked out, and fired up the cable modem.

Now, that cable that was cut he detected no signal on was connected to a satellite dish (15 footer I’m guessing.) That satellite dish was connected to a radio station that rents out space in our building. That radio station suddenly found they were down and suddenly defaulting on advertising contracts as there was no backup.

They called it the $100,000 cable cut. Whether that’s an exaggeration, I don’t know. If the electrical closet Comcast is running several lines through is open the station manager makes sure he’s there now. Evidently they also took them down again, but I missed that story.

Yes, we can do that

Another company in the building was having problems with their Vonage system and decided to go with Comcast for four “analog” lines. The person made sure that the sales rep knew there was going to be a 300 foot run through ceiling tile made ending up dropping into an office where their cable modem and phone line box were to be installed.

I get a four hour window that I sit in the office and wait. Ever since the radio station incident (and two others,) I’m on site watching everything at all times. The preinstaller never shows. Several calls are made and the sales guy eventually gets back that they did a remote test on one of the modems in the building and determined there was no need to send the preinstaller/wiring guy as it had enough signal.

The installer shows up, no wiring has been done, and has to do it himself. Of course there’s not enough signal when you run 300 more feet of coax, which requires a special splitter box be put in one of the electrical closets.

Putting that new splitter in means three companies suddenly find themselves without internet during hours they were using it. The total downtime was somewhere under 20 minutes, during which I got to hear about how a $veryexpensive an hour voiceover session was currently on forced hold.

Yes, we can do that redux

Same situation except that it’s two weeks later and the people have ordered a TV and the office is up a floor. Preinstaller never shows. Installer comes and plunks the Arris box a floor and a half away near where the cable comes in, is asked where the cable outlet is for the TV box they were going to install. Oh, it’s 300 feet away? Nope, not going to run it.

Oh someone had the exact same setup last week and they ran it? You can contact the office.

They left telling the customer they were responsible for running the line themselves.

Which was totally not what was discussed, promised, or even in keeping with what had happened the week before.

The offsite

XfinityMy house is a dumping ground for backups. As we’ve grown data, it’s become more and more a situation where I absolutely need to have all the VMs synced to my house in the event of a disaster (which we’ve had before). We chose Comcast Business because that was all that was offered at my house with a reasonable speed, unlimited, and Google Fiber won’t give even a ballpark for when they’re turning up.

I talk to the sales guy, mention that the place is already wired for business (it was up until two years ago,) he says he’ll note that. Install scheduler calls me and I tell him that there’s no need for a preinstall because there’s already a cable modem there and it was already wired for business.

He says they’re required to do the preinstall survey. I block off half of my Saturday and about an hour into the window the installer shows up and sits in my front yard on the phone for twenty minutes before coming in. He looks at the Comcast line coming in, says we’re good to go if another cable modem is working, and leaves without touching anything. I mean he literally looks at the line. Nothing attached to it, never touched it.

Two days later the installer show up, comes in for a bit, then I see him on his phone in the driveway. After a bit goes by (20+ minutes) I go out to check and make sure things are ok or if there’s something wrong with the line.

He responded to me saying he’d come with everything he needed except a cable modem (the only thing he actually needed,) so now we were waiting for another tech who was currently on an install to get done and drop off a cable modem with us. Another twenty or so go by and another XFinity van shows up, they give him a modem or two and off they go.

Two hours into what should have been a 15 minute install and test the thing is up and running.

The IP tango

One of our renters used our internet and one of our IPs as their primary for their exchange server. They had to physically disconnect from our network for PCI compliance if I remember correctly and told their sales rep that. They also asked what they should do about that IP address since they were using it/could they keep it?

Sales rep assured them they could keep the IP address.

There was no way they were getting that IP address.

The IP address in question was on our block and could not be separated out to a different cable modem without extensive routing, bill credits to us, etc. Not that we were being petty, but it was our block of sequential addresses and they wanted one in the center of the block moved. Not possible without a higher tier network operator doing some major routing changes.

Let’s take down the building

Back in the days when a preinstaller actually showed and we only had five companies with a cable modem in the building, a preinstaller came and saw there were not enough places to plug things in so he decided to put everything on a larger splitter.

I was at lunch.

After the fifth call about the building’s internet being down I headed back (five calls came in the course of two minutes,) when I got back in my company was back up and the preinstaller had left.

Unfortunately two other companies were down. One that he’d just yanked an ethernet cable out of by accident, and one that there was nothing obviously wrong with it, but it had factory reset somehow.

They got in touch with the pre installer and had him turn around and come back.

He told me he didn’t know how to warn all the companies in the building that their internet was going down so he just did it. I mentioned he could have 1) called me, 2) gone to the front desk and had them tell people, 3) profit.

It took about 40 more minutes to get the people back up that had reset as their modem had to be reprovisioned.

The preacher

An installer came for an easy one. All he had to do was plug in a coax to a splitter that had space, plug in the modem, and then plug in an ethernet cable that was marked “use this one Comcast.” – this should have been a twenty minute install with the provisioning/update.

I made sure he was set and wandered off. A couple of hours go by and I figure he’s been gone for a while at this point so I head to lunch only to see an XFinity truck still in the parking lot. I turned around and went to the cable point of access area and heard him on the phone talking about love.

Specifically love as a virtue and the different types of love one can have for one another and a couple of bible verses I recognized.

I crept out backwards.

I’m not sure how long he was there or who he was talking to.

I’m living here now

A tenant moved out and evidently rather than dropping off the cable modem for a return paid to have it picked up. I was told as I entered the building that Comcast was there to get a cable modem and already on the floor.

I went up as I figured perhaps I should be there since there were infinite possibilities for screwing things up by unplugging the wrong thing and when I got there the rep already had it removed and in a bag and was on the phone and it did not sound like he was talkig to Comcast.

I left, came back twenty minutes later and the rep was still on the phone.

Repeat a couple more times.

Now the rep was on the phone and food had appeared.

He left after being there for about two and a half hours.

What did we learn?

The cable line entry to the building is now in a lockable room. The room was constructed around it (and a phone system,) and has a door that auto locks. They can’t get into that room without someone watching now to ensure that they don’t disconnect the entire building, cut the clearly marked satellite line again, or use the empty floor to just hang out all day and talk to their friends.