Thursday, January 8, 2009

heres some words from Daniel Alexander


Don’t worry, it gets worse. Comcast is geared to collecting personal information about their clients such that they can force more and more ads upon you. They monitor your usage of both your TV watching and your web usage. When I was paying for their service they also installed spyware on your computer to search your hard drives and report back to their servers. I had to reinstall my system to get rid of it. Never install any software they give you. There is no reason that you need to install anything on your computer. You can set up a connection to their service without installing anything (even if they tell you that you must install it, IT’S A LIE—they just want to dump a bunch of spyware on your computer).

Eventually, as you start to use bandwidth Comcast will threaten you. It won’t be their tech support or customer service that threatens you (they will be clueless as usual). Rather, Comcast has this branch of “Secrete police” that monitor your usage and if you use” too much” bandwidth they will start threatening you and will cancel your service. However, since Comcast sells their service by claiming to be an unlimited usage service (which is exactly what the person told me when signed up) it gets you interested in arguing the point with them. Don’t do it!!! Just cancel their service and save yourself the headache (they will boot you anyways so save yourself the frustration). Here, I can tell you how that conversation would go. “You are using too much bandwidth, but since we have no limit on bandwidth usage we can’t tell you how much is too much, but you are still using too much, and we can’t even tell you how much you are using since that would imply that we have a some limit on usage which we do not, so you either use less or we will cancel your service, but we can’t tell you how much less to use because we don’t have any such limit on usage, but you are still using too much…and 1+1=5 and snails can fly and the moon is made of cheese and the Earth is flat and is at the center of the Universe…etc”. There, now you know what you are in for. Save yourself the frustration and cancel their service if you ever get this group of idiot “Secrete Police” on your case.

You know it is unbelievably stupid of them to do this. What they are doing is targeting the top 10% (or so) of their power user clients. But that group is the group that most people go to when they want computer advice. And that group is the group that knows how to get the word out how much they hate Comcast. I have gotten over 30 people to dump Comcast directly, and I take every effort to post informed messages about how bad a company they are on the web and elsewhere. And I’m just one of the many power users that they got mad. So, it just doesn’t make any sense for them to be such jerks about this. Even if you completely ignore the sheer idiocy of their reasoning (“We have no usage limit, but don’t go over our usage limit or we will cancel you”).

As far as the quality of their service is concerned I was quite disappointed. Because they are so geared to pushing advertisements upon their clients they intrude upon you by monitor your usage of their service (for advertisement reasons). Ok, I figured I could live with that, but what irked me was that they put up ads every time I changed channels and that slowed down my channel changing to about 2-3 seconds per channel. It was crazy. It would take me an hour to surf around to find something good to watch and by the time I decided what I wanted to watch, it was over. It was so painful that I disconnected my cable box and just watched the analog signal (and I don’t even know if you can do that anymore). I didn’t get all the channels, but at least it didn’t take me all day to find something to watch. Plus the picture was never clear. It was a bit grainy, but more importantly you would get these blocks popping up frequently and sometimes the picture would freeze though the sound was still coming through.

Oh, and what started me ranting again was that I sent an email to a friend that still has Comcast (FIOS not available in his area yet) and I got it bounced back saying that it is spam. But when I went to their website (as the bounce told me) to try to get my IP off the block list they asked me for all sorts of personal information that they could not possible need. Now if it was any other company I would suspect that they are just trying to resolve the problem, but since it is Comcast I suspect that they are trying to compile information about the clients of other providers (like FIOS). You get a bounced email and you go to the Comcast site and you give them all your personal information so they can then target you for their advertisements. I have to hand it to them they know how to squeeze every bit of information out of not only their clients, but also the clients of other providers. Still, I took the opportunity to send them a message thanking them for alerting me to a friend of mine that I have not yet gotten to dump Comcast. Of course that particular friend has no other choice as of yet, but it reminds me to check to see if any new choices exist. So, in a sense this bounce of my email is helpful to me. It’s just one more person that I might directly help out by getting them to dump Comcast.

I could go on about their service and billing problems, but you all seem to know about those. I’m just giving you the additional problems that you might not know about (like the idiot “Secrete Police”). Luckily for me FIOS became available in my area just as the Comcast “Secrete Police” were cutting off my service. I don’t like Verizon much as a company, but so far FIOS has be pretty great. I get a constant download speed of 19.7mbps where I would be lucky to get a fluctuating 5mbps from Comcast, my FIOS upload speeds are better than that (and Comcast’s upload speeds were less then 700kbps—very slow). My TV looks like I bought a new one. The picture is so much better then Comcast and I have no problems with it at all. My phone is about the same, but I had a different phone company that charged me a lot so I saved a lot switching mainly due to the phone (I save over $130 a month switching to the FIOS package). There are probably cheaper and better phone providers, but not by much so I am happy about that. I get unlimited calling throughout the U.S. (so no more long distance carrier like I used to have, thus the savings).

I have some other horror stories related to the initial installation (drilling holes in my house other then the spot I told them too, I had to drill my own hole after they left and run the wire into my basement where I already had all the cable wires connected up, instead they drilled holes around my house and ran wires up the outside site walls, it was ugly, but more importantly I told them not to do it and they did it anyways) and related to billing when I cancelled their service (they billed me for stuff I never had and didn’t cancel the service when I asked them too and a mess of other things that made me quite angry). Still, I will leave that for another day.

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