Comcast Already Sucking

Local technical mailing lists have been filled with the anger of Adelphia — now Comcast — cable modem users who have found that they simply can’t view some websites. Comcast has had a routing problem since about the 17th of last month. They’ve been telling callers that the difficulty is with the Comcast network, not with individual computers or connections, and is affecting the entire area. Brian McNeill talked to Comcast for the Daily Progress, and they told him:

Lisa Altman, a Comcast spokeswoman, said the Philadelphia-based company has received only a handful of complaints from the Charlottesville area.

“We do have a very limited number of customers that are experiencing some issues and we’re working around the clock to resolve the issues,” Altman said.


Altman declined to say precisely how many complaints Comcast has received.

So they’re both incompetent and liars. If you’re a Comcast customer, consider registering your complaint with them at 888-683-1000.

Better yet, vote with your wallet. The two most popular alternatives are the Waynesboro-based Ntelos (nee CFW) and Embarq (nee Sprint). I’m a big Ntelos fan, particularly because they know they can’t get away with pulling a Comcast, what with being local.

21 thoughts on “Comcast Already Sucking”

  1. I cannot possibly rant against Sprint enough. I don’t know if the name change did them any good, but I had absolutely horrible DSL service with them, they managed to knock out my existing phone line and the resolution was “ok, it should be back up in a couple days”.

    DSL service dropped constantly, lost packets all over the place. I haven’t had the problems with Comcast, but choosing between Sprint and Comcast was like choosing which way you want to kill yourself. Neither are great, but at least Comcast didn’t knock out my phone lines, and didn’t have to ship me 3 modems before I finally got one that worked.

  2. I’m with you. Sprint (Embarq) is a terrible, terrible company. The only significant disappointment in living out where I live (the Southwest Mountains, in the Cash’s Corner area) is that I can’t get Ntelos DSL service or their wireless service. Ntelos is a great company — I have nothing but good stories about them. Sprint? The stories are all bad.

  3. My service was having trouble until roughly this morning. The difficulty is that, unless you know for a fact that there are more people with the problem, then level 1 tech support will probably not classify you properly. I thought my problem was a router (because when I connected my computer directly to the cable modem, I could get through). It wasn’t until the Neon Guild thread that I realized that it was a series of bad gateways, and they switching to my computer merely changed the MAC address, which caused me to go to a new gateway, which happened to work.

    Therefore, mine would not have been listed as one of the problems connecting.

  4. I had a lot of problems some time ago with Sprint DSL at my office downtown, but I got the latest Embarq DSL/Sat TV/landline deal and, with the exception of the first night, everything has worked pretty well. The savings over cable modem/cable service/land phone (if you are a dinosaur) are significant–we’re paying half what we used to pay, for significantly more TV options. The DSL is noticeably slower than cable internet, but I think the savings are worth it. And, the Embarq people have been very helpful with some billing problems we have encountered, and they have been very courteous. As much as I wanted to dislike Embarq, they’ve been okay. Of course, as I write this, my wife is dealing with getting bills emailed to us, and they hung up on her. Lovely.

  5. I’m glad to hear good things about Ntelos / the Clifton Forge Waynesboro Phone Company. My experiences were worse, but that was years ago when they had a small “tech support” office which was really just staffed by phone company people who had no idea about the internet, and one woman there is particular liked to get my goat. I guess I shouldn’t have barraged her with questions about the DNS!

    Every one of these companies has one customer will never go back. Best Buy anyone? But I’m glad to hear Ntelos is usually a reasonable choice.

    I’ve had few problems with Embarq from a technical point of view. We moved the DSL from one phone number to another and that made the old DSL modem useless. The person at tech support just walked me through her manual, but it was a pretty good manual. Turns out you can telnet into the modem and change its settings to work. Some of their info was wrong, but after an hour or so I had a working setup.

    Normal Embarq DSL is pretty slow. You can buy the faster service and it is faster. (Used to be they were the same I think!)

    I’m on the CVEC (co-op) for electricity, and supposedly we will get Broadband over Powerline eventually, and it’s a lot cheaper than satellite. They have a grant left over from Franklin D. Roosevelt to pay for it, seems. So far it’s just in Colleen or somewhere, and the roll-out is way behind schedule, but this is pretty new stuff, and I don’t know if they’ve really fixed the problem of interfering with radio signals.

    I have an idea I might be able to reach the Ntelos wireless internet system, but I’ve heard you cannot get them to let you try it out unless they are very sure you will get the signal. Their map is more optimistic than their actual sales people, who demand to know if you have a clear view of the mountain with the antenna.

  6. I was afraid to post about Comcast when the announcement was made. I had to deal with them in Boston for years and it was a constant headache.

    Good luck, all. You’ll get to know their answering system fairly well in the next few months.

  7. I do hate Sprint for long-distance, but I was forced to go with them for DSL/local/long-distance when I moved out of Ntelos’s bailiwick–and I haven’t really had significant problems with the DSL, either before or after Embarq took over. They seem not as great as Ntelos was (which we had before we moved) but not a train-wreck either.


  8. Comcast’s customer service is waaaaaaaaaaaaaay worse than Adelphia’s was, and that’s really saying something. Adelphia’s call center was among the worse, but it was relatively easy to talk to a real live human being who could actually do something to resolve a problem. It seems that Comcast’s reps aren’t able to do much more than the standard things.

    Two days ago I paid my bill by phone (because they stopped taking payments on Adelphia’s site and despite a promise of having that capability by November 8 are still not accepting them on Comcast’s site), and Comcast hit my card with the payment twice. Now we’re in dispute mode, which is ridiculous.

    It amazes me that Adelphia offered online billing and payment, and Comcast is offering neither. That’s not rocket surgery – it’s an extremely simple and basic process (particularly for somebody as ginormous as Comcast), and they can’t get it right. That’s not comforting, to tell you the truth. Also not comforting is that I submitted an email to them over a week ago asking about online bill payment and haven’t heard back yet.

    But at least I know we’ll be paying considerably more $ for the same actual service and less effective customer service. Weeeeeeeeeee!

    Isn’t Cable TV one of those so-called utilities that is regulated to some extent by the City and County? Doesn’t the local government have to grant the franchise or something? Not that there’s any cable company out there that doesn’t have truly crappy service, but they’re using a public utility right-of-way to carry their lines. Is there anything anybody can do to inform/pressure local government to light a fire under them?

  9. Yea, it all started Thursday, November 16 at 5:30 AM. It has caused me and my business much pain and nashing of teeth. I’ve spent at least 15 hours on tech support with Adelphia/Comcast starting at 8:00AM that morning and finally yelled enough to be put in touch with their “Senior Technician” and had to explain to them that it was a router issue on their end (had to send them traceroutes using different Adelphia IP addresses I had access to) after 3 different level 1 techs tried to tell me it was my problem, and that they were no longer supporting business static IPs.

    I have not been able to get a final answer on the Static IP issue, but I really hope that is not the case. I need redundant internet access, do not want to pay T1 rates, and don’t want dual DSL because if the copper lines go, both of those go.

    Anyway, just thought I would vent my story as well. I wish cable companies could not have monopolies. Wouldn’t it be great if TCI, Comcast, and two or three others all had to fight for our business?

    By the way, does anyone have experience with Ntelos dedicated business service (Fractional T1s)? I might have actually had my fill of embarq and Adelphia if I could be assured the dedicated circuit would actually be any better. I’m jaded jaded jaded at this point.

  10. So they’re both incompetent and liars. If you’re a Comcast customer, consider registering your complaint with them at 888-683-1000.

    Yep that’s about the sum of it.

    The incompetent part (at least the tech support part) is most likely due to the fact that the customer service/tech support people for these companies are underpaid and under trained people working for slimy independent subcontractors who get chewed out (the employees) daily by their bosses over their call stat’s.

  11. I had the same problem and then I went down and switched out my old modem (motorola) for the new RCA. It solved the problem.
    And my average download speed increased from 3mb to 4mb.

    Run down and change your modem

  12. Well, looks like it is finally fixed, at least for the time being for me as well. I still have the motorola. We pay for the premium business line and I tested at 5.5 down and 850 up this evening. It’s suppose to be 6 down and 1.5 up, and those numbers tonight were the best I’ve gotten. Perhaps things are looking up???? Lets cross our fingers.

  13. I’ve had rural (White Hall) DSL service with Sprint/Embarq for a couple of years. There were some startup problems, but in recent months there have been very few outages or other serious issues apart from some minor-to-moderate DNS lookup slowness that seems to have been resolved. When I called tech support I got people who knew their stuff and were responsive (haven’t called since the renaming, though). One thing to be aware of with Embarq, however, is that they are not renewing their contract with Earthlink to provide Internet accounts after it expires next year, and how that will affect customers is a question mark.

  14. Our connection started working miraculously the day of the article.

    Anyhow, I spent time every day reading through the threads at and it seems the problem seems to involve subnets, gateways, and routing. Folks were having luck spoofing their router’s MAC addy with a machine which would get routed through better gateways. Sometimes this was just a laptop or desk machine, sometimes the MAC addy for a gaming console.

    We tried portable broadband two years ago. We have a direct line of site to the towers south of town and the connectivity was iffy.

    I don’t want to switch to DSL until I can get comparable speeds for the same price as cable. I also really don’t relish the idea of crawling under the house with the cave crickets while running new lines (the 50-year old lines are a bit . . . antiquated).

    This latest snafu was just ridiculous, though. And I was really upset at the inability to even REACH customer service. I frequently called in and plodded through the phone system only to be told they were too busy to take the call, which was then disconnected.

  15. I was having Internet woes stemming from November as well, but a day after Waldo posted this article, everything’s up and running again. Thanks, Waldo!

    I’m still having trouble figuring out who to pay for Internet. As noted above, Adelphia ceased their online bill payment in October, and I can’t create a user account on Comcast’s site yet because I don’t have a Comcast account number yet. I just tried calling the Adelphia customer service line, which took me over to Comcast’s system, and I was disconnected from the billing line *twice*. It’s not like I want to pay or be on the phone in the first place, so I gave up.

    Let’s just say I don’t look forward to this new relationship with Comcast — they’re craptastic.

  16. I was having Internet woes stemming from November as well, but a day after Waldo posted this article, everything’s up and running again. Thanks, Waldo!

    No problem. :) It’s kind of like — and I’m sure you’ve had the experience, Chris — when people have me look at their broken computers and *poof* they’re just fine.

    Let’s just say I don’t look forward to this new relationship with Comcast — they’re craptastic.

    Not craptastic — Comcastic. Though they’re synonyms, so either will do. :)

  17. Thanks for covering this. I was pretty sure it was a Comcast problem, but now I’m sure.

    Things seem to have smoothed out for me now. But I dread the future.

  18. I have used Sprint/Embarq for years for my home phone and have not had any problems.
    I use ntelos for my Internet connection(dial-up) and it has been fine. I do know that about 2 years ago when I got my computer and was looking for an Internet provider everyone I asked said whatever you do, don’t get AOL. So their reputaion is none to good.
    Since I only have a TV so I can use my DVD/VCR player I can’t speak about that. I did think Adelphia was pricey when I inquired once. And figuringI probably wouldnt watch that much TV, what with my Web surfing, DVDS,CDs etc I opted not to spend the money.

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