Sunday, March 18, 2007

March 20, 2007

It seems the issue of Comcast disconnecting it's Internet customers is popping up nearly every week. The latest in a post from JT Rockville, The Register has picked up the story. JT Rockville also found a very amusing commercial from Southwestern Bell which had me in stitches.

Sounds like there are some who are getting the message. I do wonder though. The Register article mentioned they wonder why DSL providers aren't working hard to capitalize on this problem with Comcast. I'm guessing they may be. I find it very interesting that DSL is available in my area about 6 weeks after Comcast disconnected us. Quite the coincidence wouldn't you say :-)

One more thing. I'm encouraging everyone to check out this web site for Net Neutrality. It won't help people with being disconnected by Comcast however in my research I've seen this pop up frequently. Net Neutrality as I understand it will prevent a company (such as Comcast) from picking who they want over their pipes and who they don't want. Choosing Google over MSN Search vs. altavista and so on.

Common carriers shouldn't be able to pick who get's service over their lines. It ensures that the public can view the smallest blog just as easily as the largest Web site. I encourage everybody to check it out. You should have a choice over which web sites you wish to visit.

Monday, March 12, 2007

March 12, 2007

Today the Boston Globe published an article on Comcast terminating HSI services. It was good to see other's are coming forward about this. I guess the company has changed their policy of not terminating customers who exceed their undisclosed limits. FYI, Comcast will always have a top .01% :-)

BTW, this issue isn't going away anytime soon. As much as I don't care for Bill Gates, he does make some insightful comments about the Internet and what we can expect from the future. From the article:

The Internet is set to revolutionize television within five years, due to an explosion of online video content and the merging of PCs and TV sets, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said recently;


At the 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates said, "I'm stunned how people aren't seeing that with TV, in five years from now, people will laugh at what we've had," he told business leaders and politicians The rise of high-speed Internet and the popularity of video sites has already led to a worldwide decline in the number hours spent by young people in front of a TV set.

I've recently learned another resident just a few doors down has been disconnected by Comcast for "using the internet too much". She received the call from Comcast's abuse department threatening to disconnect her broadband service if usage wasn't drastically reduced. Comcast however was (again) unwilling to say exactly what acceptable use is.

Rather than guess what was acceptable, she decided that if it was such a problem that Comcast needed to threaten termination, she decided to cancel her broadband on the spot. She mentioned that her kids did use the Internet heavily. The funny thing about this is the abuse rep began to backpeddle saying they didn't need to terminate HSI, only use it less. So now they are without HSI however she began asking for details about DSL. Personally after a week I'm surprised to see very little difference in performance. I'm making a point of telling everyone about Qwest DSL.

Came across this article recently. A fellow blogger determined if you use only 7% of your connection you can be terminated.

Here is a very interesting article on public ownership of a fiber infrastructure. A pdf copy of their report is available.

This is where we are going as a society. Public Libraries are getting into these services and companies are bringing TV from all over the world steaming to your home.

Finally, from the Boston Globe article:

"Legitimately, everybody's going to be a bandwidth hog sooner or later, because that's what the Internet is, going forward," said Linda Sherry of Consumer Action.

Seems this is how .01% got into trouble with Comcast. We simply got there first :D

Seems slashdot is now running with the Boston Globe story . I'm pleased to see the word is seriously getting out as people have the right to know they didn't purchase "Unlimited Use for a flat monthly fee".

Thursday, March 8, 2007

March 8, 2007

It looks like Comcast came over this past weekend and disconnected the Cable TV. A flyer was left on my door to notify us. Oh and it was dated 3/1/2007. I guess they got the hint that I was serious. Still no word if they will charge us till March 13th and give us a credit. The way these guys have treated us I wouldn't be surprised to see a bill. I'll post a scan of the flyer soon and any future bills I receive (I said I keep everything didn't I ::grinz::).

Here's something else of amusement. This last week I've received 3 phone calls from Comcast Customer Service asking if I'd like to take a survey of my satisfaction with Comcast after our last phone call. I said sure. They asked how I would rate them, blah blah blah.

Got to a question about how do I like my Comcast service. I said "Great, we disconnected you guys a week ago and it's awesome to be a Comcast free house!". She asked what we are doing for service now. I said "We went to one of your competitors and are much happier thanks". She said "oh, well have a good day" then hung up after that :-)

The last call was around 6:30 last night and lasted a few minutes. At least they are calling me less these days. We've received several calls already but at least they are slowing down now.

I've asked Comcast several times over the last two months to be put on a DNC list but I guess they don't honor it. I think I'll start recording my conversations with them and post them here for fun. We've been thinking about creating several YouTube videos. We'll see. I've learned Utah has no notification requirement. So I'm kinda hoping they call again. I could really have fun with this.

When I picked up the Comcast flyer on my door I noticed something else. A flyer from Qwest advertising DSL is now available in our area and a number to call. I'm encouraging everyone in my neighborhood to "Hang up on Comcast" and go DSL. Already many have asked about my experience with Comcast and have stated they are switching. Customer Service means more to people than the fake "unlimited use for a flat monthly fee" advertisement.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

March 5, 2007

Still no word regarding Comcast charging us for services we don't want and haven't used for the last week. Last I heard, we'll get a credit for the next two weeks however they won't say that in writing. I guess they are careful with doing that these days. Might explain why they no longer send letters for customers using the Internet too much. I received a screen shot of the order from the Comcast rep. It's interesting to see the Business account mentioned as a "downgrade". It does show we tried. I received this screen shot from Sue at Comcast. Instead of showing the credit and 0 balance we received this. We'll see what happens. I'm amazed at the games this company plays.

The business account was on for about 10 minutes. I'm also surprised the replacement of our Cable Modem in November wasn't in the history. We had an outage in September which is reflected in the history then nothing until January 19th. What's really interesting is multiple calls to Comcast in December are not in the history. Fortunately I keep records. Notice the call from (801) 485-0500 on December 13th in my phone records below. That's an incoming call from a Comcast CSR I spoke to 30 minutes earlier (8:13am). According to the CSR, all calls to Utah are trunked through this number. This is why he told us to ignore the call. Apparently he didn't know the Abuse Department doesn't go through this trunk. You see an 856 number when they call. Somebody should teach what unlimited means. If they tell you to ignore it, don't believe them as they are clueless. So here is part of my phone record:

DSL will be installed March 5th. I'm looking forward to it. Oh and yes I've modified my firewall to include monitoring among other things now. I've decided to go with MRTS and some perl scripts I wrote for some detailed reporting and am working on a PHP tool to provide me with some pretty graphs. Not like I'll really need it since Xmission provides every DSL and Utopia customer with a web page displaying their usage. Still, it will be nice to have my own records even though I trust Xmission. I had them for years over ISDN before Comcast.

Friday we dropped off the Cable Modem. I was somewhat surprised to see how many people were there returning equipment. Despite my opinion of the company, I didn't expect to see the lobby full of people lining up (we went to the Murray building). Most were cable modems, some DVR's and a few VoiP phones. Of course there were people paying bills or doing other things. I couldn't resist asking why people were leaving Comcast.

There were a variety of reasons. Most were simply tired of Comcast's poor customer service and have switched to either DirectTV or Dish. A few received "The Call" and were very upset with Comcast's new "Customer Service" (Abuse Department). It was amusing how frequently this is happening here in Utah. When I spoke with an Xmission Sales rep about upgrading to DSL, we briefly spoke about Comcast. Seems sales is hearing more and more people are being dropped.

While chatting with other satisfied ex-Comcast customers, I learned many had heard of Utopia however they "thought" Utopia provided the services or that cities had to maintain the infrastructure. I straightened them out of course. Utopia is a lot like DSL. You can snap in different providers through DSL lines. Also, the infrastructure is maintained by Utopia and can be used by other companies to provide services. Heck, even Comcast or Qwest could join Utopia and provide services through Utopia's superior infrastructure if desired.

The last week at work I can't go anywhere without someone saying they saw me on FOX or Gephardt. Most are amazed. Many are switching now to DSL or Utopia citing they want to know what they purchased. A few even said they were afraid to use their Internet for fear of being disconnected. I've been recommending dumeter or RRDtool lately. Even sent a note to dumeter with my story. I figure they might want to know how much their tool would have helped had I heard of it just a month earlier.

A final note. Just received a link to check out from a blog poster. Very insightful . The title is "Comcast -- The Worst Company in America". Go figure.