Tag Archives | Comcast

At Comcast, You’re Not Just a Valued Customer–You’re Also an Indentured Servant

My friends Ryan Block and Veronica Belmont decided to cancel their Comcast service and switch to Astound, a smaller cable company available here in the Bay Area. So they called Comcast–and talked to a rep whose job was clearly not to help them cancel but to prevent them from canceling.

Here’s audio of part of the conversation. If you’ve ever had to deal with a recalcitrant rep at a giant pseudo-monopoly, it’ll leave you speechless, but not surprised. (Ryan shares more details here.)

My blood boils just listening to this, but all through it, Ryan is remarkably calm. It’s all reminiscent of a famous 2006 encounter with AOL support which was remarkably similar, except that the customer was less serenely polite than Ryan.

Anyone want to make any guesses about how often encounters like this happen? Or whether they’ll be more or less common if Comcast’s merger with Time Warner Cable goes through?

As Dan Gillmor said on Twitter…

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Comcast Chat Transcription

I don’t doubt that there’s a human being providing customer support in this Comcast chat transcript–but that doesn’t make it any less weird and robotic-sounding. It’s also eerily similar to the tone of the chat-based service I’ve received from a bunch of major companies.


AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon May Start Punishing File Sharers

People who illegally download movies and music may soon face more than just empty threats from their Internet service providers.

Some of the largest ISPs in the United States are close to agreements with the entertainment industry to crack down on piracy with stiffer punishments, according to CNet. Repeat offenders could face throttled bandwidth speeds or limited access to the Internet, or they may have to attend programs to learn about the subtleties of copyright law.

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Comcast Plans to Offer Skype on TVs

I don’t know whether Comcast is afraid of Internet-connected TVs and set-top boxes, but that’s the way the cable company’s plans for Skype support look from here.

Comcast will bring Skype to customers on a trial basis in the coming months, All Things Digital’s Peter Kafka reports. The service will require an adaptor box, a high-quality video camera and special remote control that allows text input. It’s not clear how much the service will cost, if anything, and whether it’ll be available to cable customers, Internet subscribers or both. As Kafka notes, it’s certainly possible that Comcast could give the service away to platinum cable subscribers as a “please don’t cut the cord” incentive.

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No, Comcast Wasn’t Blocking Pirate Bay

The blogosphere was aflutter early this morning as a multitude of reports began to appear on Comcast subscribers’ troubles in accessing popular torrent site The Pirate Bay. Was this throttling redux? Had the company again put BitTorrent in its sights?

Not so fast there. Comcast’s network management policies do not allow for blocking, and the company blocks based on excessive bandwidth consumption rather than a particular protocol. I know a lot of you out there won’t believe that, but its the reasoning they’re giving.

In other words, Comcast did not block The Pirate Bay. Period.

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TiVo-Comcast Deal Puts On Demand on TiVo

I own a TiVo HD DVR and have Comcast cable. I’m mostly happy with the combination, except for one major gotcha: getting TiVo means giving up Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand service. But the two companies have struck a deal to add On Demand to TiVo–and for Comcast to lease TiVo boxes in some areas (starting with the San Francisco Bay Area) at no extra charge. Sounds like a win for everybody involved; tragically, though, it’s for the current TiVo Premiere model rather than my old HD.


Comcast Ultra-High Speed Internet Expands

Need really, really fast Internet? Comcast on Thursday bragged that its ‘Extreme 105’ ultra-high speed internet is now available in about 40 million homes across many major markets, or about 85 percent of their coverage area. For those geekier types who care, the service provides 105Mbps downstream and 10Mbps upstream.

It’s not cheap, though. It set you back $450 initially — that’s a $250 installation fee and then $200 per month for the service itself when it was first introduced last year. But for those speed hungry, Comcast is now offering it for $105 per month for a full year if ordered as part of their Triple Play offering.

You have to have a frame of reference to understand how fast this is: a high definition movie that would have taken an hour and a half on a standard cable connection now takes five minutes: an album from your favorite band that would have taken almost a minute before now takes only three seconds.

Don’t go all nuts though, as there still is a bandwidth cap. Comcast says connections would be throttled after 250GB of bandwidth, which while unfortunate begins to make sense at speeds like this. If everybody’s downloading high-definition movies at the same time, you’d have to think it would slow everybody down!