Wednesday, February 28, 2007

February 28, 2007

As of this morning we're a Comcast free household. Yesterday Dish Network came in and installed their dish on our roof, installed their DVR and with local channels and we're paying only $39 /month locked in for 18 months. Oh and we have the American top 100 package. Has everything we really enjoy including Sci-Fi, Disney, Nick, Food Network and so on.

At least it's cheaper and crystal clear compared to the static and snow we enjoyed with Comcast. I'm only sorry we couldn't have the dish placed so it was viewed from the street. I'd love each Comcast truck going by to look up and see Dish on the roof.

We were planning on replacing our TV this year because we thought it was going out. It never occurred to me it was the cable service. So we're looking at purchasing an HDTV next year and taking our $1800 (for the new TV) to the bank. I'm thinking the prices should be much better by 2008 (still a little pricy)

I'm amazed Comcast won't terminate the cable service. My wife was told the soonest they can come by to disconnect us is March 13th and they will need to bill us for the next two weeks. The only thing they are willing to do is suggest we may be able to get a credit for the next two weeks but so far have been unwilling to put that in writing.

I beg to differ. The pro-rated bill will be sent to the Attorney General's office and a suit for fraud filed if this happens. We've already called them 3 times just today to terminate the service and send either a fax or email to verify we're free and clear. The next call will be to the FCC as they regulate Cable and Telephone.

We always paid in advance every month for about 4 years. We're paid up until today and I'm unwilling to renew the monthly contract with them for any portion of March. I am under no obligation to continue the service. It feels like I'm dealing with AOL or something (I've heard the stories). We can't get HSI from them and can't get rid of Cable! Incredible!

My wife was very amusing today. When she was transferred to their cancellation department, the first words out of her mouth was "You're Fired!" (apologizes to Donald Trump). She couldn't resist. I only wish I was at home to hear the conversation.

DSL is now available in my neighborhood as of this morning. My wife spoke with a Qwest tech checking out the DSLAM yesterday. He was performing the final checks when she caught him. We signed up for the 7 Meg DSL service. It will cost $15 for the line and $22 for Xmission (the ISP). Again cheaper and faster than my old Comcast HSI service. I've had dozens of people in my neighborhood asking when this will be available. Guess Comcast will have plenty of bandwidth in our area to spare :-)

Utopia is still on my target for the long run. After my comments on the 20th to the City Council, I learned there were financial roadblocks to making this happen. After speaking with several people outside the City Council Chambers, I understand Qwest, Comcast and other's heavily lobbied the Utah Legislature years ago to pass a bill that prevents public funds to be used for projects such as this. The bill has a sunset provision set for June 2007. Roger Black (the COO of Utopia) was at the West Jordan City Council meeting that day and explained this a little more. I am very appreciative of his insight and experience.

So it seems I'll be back online next Monday. The DSL modem has been ordered and this time we're going for a business account and will be running a web server to share family photos. I figure I can do that now. In two years I should be ready to test code and move my wife's business to the Internet. Comcast was right. We do want to move the business to the Internet. They were just two years too early.

One more note, it seems there are many people here in Utah who have seen the FOX13 and KUTV/Gephardt spots and passed the word along. I've received emails and calls from journalists in California, Florida, Massachusetts and recently Georgia. I appreciate the opportunity to interview with them and provide my analysis of Comcast's statement describing what the top .01% are consuming monthly (13 million emails a month? come on. Nobody talks like that). I've only asked to be made aware when they publish their article as I'd like a copy to share.

That's it for now. I've heard rumblings of a class action lawsuit and would interested in learning more. While technically it may be legal for Comcast to terminate services according to their fuzzy Acceptable Use policy, I doubt a Judge would accept a one sided contract with undisclosed terms to stand up in court.

13 comments:

C-LEVEL TECH said...

Congratulations Frank!!! Oh man this is great. I hope your town kicks Comcast right out.
As of today I received a call back from Carolyn asking me some more questions about the whole Comcast fiasco. Again I re-interated to her what I used my account for and that I WAS NOT and NEVER have run a server nor did hosting of any kind, nor did I run any file sharing or Bittorrent type of client. I also told her that even if I did, any ISP (including Comcast) they are simply the conduit not the internet police. They don't monitor what you are looking at or going to. I also made it clear to her to let me know when that article is published because I want to see it so we'll see how this goes.
In the meantime as soon as I get my spring break I'm going to post a follow-up video of the Comcast bullshit AND will keep the pressure up against them. I'm not going away on this issue and I agree 100% on something that you said in this post as well as DS' blog:
"While technically it may be legal for Comcast to terminate services according to their fuzzy Acceptable Use policy, I doubt a Judge would accept a one sided contract with undisclosed terms to stand up in court", That is a class-action lawsuit just waiting to happen and I for one am waiting for that day bud. I'd like to see Brian Roberts and his big-wig lawyers face a crowd of angry former HSI subscribers and a judge throw the book at him.

C-LEVEL TECH said...

Also, I forgot to tell you. Verizon is moving into my area of North Attleboro and have begun to lay down the fiber. 20 MB speed, imagine that. So long Comcrap.

u235sentinel said...

Congratulations Frank!!! Oh man this is great. I hope your town kicks Comcast right out.

I doubt Comcast will ever go completely however I was amazed how many people in my neighborhood were unwilling to sign up with Comcast for Cable or Internet. Seems they knew something I didn't. I was surprised how strongly they felt against the company.

Last Sunday after Church my wife and I were leaving the chapel when a few dozen Church members surrounded us and pelted us with questions. They saw FOX and Gephardt TV spots and were naturally curious what was going on. Seems our story isn't unusual. I'll post a couple of them on the blog in a couple days. I'm trying to make sure I have it accurate. That way another Comcast Admin in their forums can wipe it aside (again) and claim it's not accurate without anything to back that up.

This is why I have been keeping good notes. If this ever went to court, I will submit my journal records. It's a good thing I keep this thing :-)

Also, I forgot to tell you. Verizon is moving into my area of North Attleboro and have begun to lay down the fiber. 20 MB speed, imagine that. So long Comcrap.

Congrats! It will be a few years before we see anything like that around here. I'm trying to find out more about the bill restricting public funds for projects such as Utopia. I've heard from two people now it's to die in June this year. I plan on making sure that happens.

This game Comcast is playing with it's customers needs to be exposed and the legislature needs to understand this is why we need fiber to the house. We need to start catching to up countries like Korea and Europe.

C-LEVEL TECH said...

I firmly believe that we have a duty and responsibility to tell people about what Comcast is doing. I'm not saying that they will ever go away, but we need to defang them from wanting to be the next MA BELL.

C-LEVEL TECH said...

Hi Frank, I wante dto let you know that I was contacted back by the EFF and unfortunately they can't help us citing the TOS but I did however point out to them that the contract and the AUP are quite fuzzy and someone needs to look at that much further.

PC said...

Congrats Frank... Glad to hear that your wife has "fired" comcast :-D
I hope more people will do the same..

Joel said...

Here is one "plausible" explanation of the reason you were cut off.
Your mac address from your cable modem was cloned and used by another user. This is completely possible, and would explain the excessive usage. It is like when someone steals your cable television, only you get blamed and not the offending party.
Comcast uses hubs for every community. Each community has many users/modems. If someone were able to get a list of everyone's mac address, they could change their modem address to spoof themselves to look like they are you.
So any traffic that they were recieving/sending would look like it had come from you.
This is desirable to hackers due to the ability to "uncap" their modem with an altered config file. This allows them to receive unlimited bandwidth, and you look like you are downloading HUGE amounts of data.
What's more, Comcast has no way of knowing that this is happening, since the hub shows the correct mac addresses connected.
I have recently changed to Comcast (DSL may be in my near future though), and am afraid of this happening to me. Luckily, there are only a few people on my hub, so there is little chance of a hack, but the threat is still there, and still undetectable.

xela730 said...

I was beginning to think I was the only that got screwed by Comcast. What boggles my mind is how they get away with such blatant deception and trickery. I was charged a full year for a digital box I didn’t even have! Comcast customer service had record of the date I exchanged the box for a DVR, but couldn’t find it in the inventory. I’d have to prove I returned it to stop the monthly charges. Comcast had lost their own equipment and was now asking me to prove I didn’t have it. Two managers (and one hour) later they finally agreed to stop charging me for the box and credit my account. Three weeks later my bill arrives. Guess what? I’m still being charged for the disappearing box! So I immediately called Comcast and canceled both the internet and TV service over the phone. I then drove to my local Comcast office to return the DVR and cable modem. I settled my bill, pocketed my receipts, and walked out promising myself I’d never be a Comcast sucker again. Boy it felt good! Oh yeah, my wife took digital photos of the whole exchange. But after all that I still wasn’t free. I received yet another Comcast bill! I was shaken to my very core and feeling like I might do someone harm. So I thought I better I ask my wife if she would be kind enough to inquire as to why the Comcast account was still active. She called and was told that technically we were still receiving basic cable and it wouldn’t be completely disconnected for another four days. She hung up and told me the bad news. At that very moment realized what Comcastic really means.
But things are so much better now. I called AT&T and signed up for Yahoo DSL and DISH Network. Sure the DSL is a little slower than my old cable modem, but it’s plenty fast enough for most users, and it’s great deal at $19.99 a month. DISH Network flat out crushes Comcast on all levels; content, picture quality, and customer service. If you have an HDTV you’ll love the 20+ HD stations DISH offers.
There is something really weird about the things Comcast does to its customers. They act like they’re invulnerable to any oversight or public outcry. I don’t get the feeling they’ll be changing their ways anytime soon… I had to get out… Fast!

elGatoUSA said...

Thank you for sticking up for your rights! I was a Roadrunner subscriber, when Comcast took over they doubled the rate, reduced the speed, and would not allow the e-mail names to remain.

Qwest advertises 'high-speed' DSL connectivity up to 1.5KBS. My average connect speed is 285KBS. When I tried to solicit help, I was told that up to meant up to under conditions that they would not define.

Bryan Seitz said...

I'd just like to let you guys know that I live in Sterling, VA and I got a call today regarding my usage of 240G down last month. I also have a verizon DSL backup and am either going to upgrade to comcast business as I like the speeds or just cancel them and keep the DSL until FIOS arrives. (Which is around the corner) Comcast is getting a lot of bad press from this and they deserve it, I'm not paying $70/mo for a service I can't even use.

u235sentinel said...

I'd just like to let you guys know that I live in Sterling, VA and I got a call today regarding my usage of 240G down last month. I also have a verizon DSL backup and am either going to upgrade to comcast business as I like the speeds or just cancel them and keep the DSL until FIOS arrives. (Which is around the corner)

The business upgrade I understand gives more bandwidth and speed however when I asked months ago what those limits were can you guess what they told me?

That's right, "unlimited use for a flat monthly fee.." Personally I'd go with Verizon's DSL then switch to FioS. I don't believe Comcast is terribly interested in clarifying what their HSI customers really have purchased.

I'm curious if they will let you stay with them after upgrading your account. If so then you will be the second person I've met who received "The Call" and survived.

Comcast is getting a lot of bad press from this and they deserve it, I'm not paying $70/mo for a service I can't even use.

Agreed. Depending on the service you purchased (6/8/10 Meg pipe), you still can't use more than 8 or 10% of the service. Something is VERY wrong if you can't fully use the service you purchased.

I'm sorry the company is getting bad press but that's a problem they will have to come to terms with. Many including myself have been deceived thinking they had purchased a specific service from Comcast. Since this isn't true I've been encouraging people to speak up. It's the only way this is going to be resolved.

Dameion said...

It's Slumcastic Glad to see some one kicking a slumloards booty

Mustikos said...

Ya, cRapcast has been annoying me for years... promise me things and then change the deal on the bill.. noticed I've been being charged $15.50 for a dvr which was supposed to be free, apparently was for a few months, but it was in no contract and was promised by a manager to make up for some b.s. an a-hole salesperson put me through... never ends.. down with these big, corrupt giant a holes!