Comcast Internet Problem: Part II

Tonight, after phoning up Comcast business support for the third time in five hours on the same issue, I came to blows with the CSR. The promised technician had not yet arrived, and I was getting more than impatient.

My connection kept going up and down, but by the time I was able to speak with someone in the support department, everything was fine again. “Well, sir, we’re not showing any problems with your connection right now.” Yes, it’s fine right now – but not when I try to open up more than one Internet app. I was even having issues with Vonage and Skype…

“Well, sir, we can’t be responsible for programs that we do not officially supp…”

Whoa, whoa, whoa – WAIT A MINUTE! I interrupted him, loudly. I’ve been using Skype and Vonage and streaming live video and doing all sorts of wacky things across my home network and never had an issue I wasn’t expecting to experience. Vonage wasn’t the problem. Skype wasn’t the problem. My browser wasn’t the problem. The Netgear gateway router that Comcast gave me was the problem.

I told him everything that I had tried, including connecting Windows XP, Windows Vista, and OS X directly to the router – with the same results. He kept coming back to the position that there was no problem on his end. He was feeling a bit threatened, I think, when he asserted that if the deployed serviceperson did not discover that Comcast was to blame for this problem, I would be receiving a bill for that time – and that I should not be shocked if that should happen.

If all else fails: blame the user.

Dude. That’s not the way to treat a customer, business class or otherwise – especially on the first day of their new service. I’m not claiming that the customer is always right, but when that customer gives you more than enough troubleshooting information that you promptly ignore…?

Just before Midnight, someone finally showed up on my doorstep. He was in good spirits and was genuinely friendly – my ideal serviceperson. We walked to “home network central” and switched out the Netgear router for an SMC one. After that, he volunteered that the Netgears were absolute junk and that Comcast wasn’t listening to him or the other technicians about the problem.

Comcast knowingly gave me a crappy experience. Comcastic, indeed.

So far, the SMC router has been working quite well (only a couple of random IRC disconnections, but nothing major). I’ve run speed tests and can tell you that throughput has improved on a massive scale. But the best part of this entire situation is twofold:

  • The most recent technician who installed the SMC router gave me his direct number without me asking for it – and you bet I’ll be giving him a call whenever something seems wonky on the network beyond my walls.
  • If you searched the Web for Comcast router problems – or Comcast Netgear problems – you’ll have likely discovered a solution in this post: AVOID USING THEM. I had plenty of discussions tonight to underscore my belief that some of these ISP-serviced modems cannot handle home network traffic very well at all.

Here’s to hoping that tomorrow will be a faster day…