I’m been with Comcast for broadband service since before Comcast was Comcast. I signed up with @Home, which got bought by AT&T, which sold out to Comcast. Most of the time it was pretty good, but in the last three months, Comcast has upgraded my neighborhood to digital cable. The good news is that the piss-poor TV reception has crystallized. The bad news is that the internet service drops out for, like, two minutes at a time without warning, and quite a bit late at night.
Being a loyal customer, I’ve always tried to be understanding. Delivering this technology is an inexact science, computers are sometimes hard to control, yadda yadda. We’ve had three different servicemen come out on five or six different occasions. We’ve had the pole tested and the quality of the line checked. We’ve had the modem replaced. We’ve changed our router. We’ve discussed the wiring in the walls. We’ve called in to check to see if there are outages in our area, and we’ve even been grateful to hear an honest assessment that the South San Francisco digital cable rollout has been full of problems and they’re working to fix them. But after ten weeks of being a loyal and respectful customer, the answer is clear: Comcast can’t deliver high-speed internet to my apartment reliably. When it works, it’s very fast, especially to West Coast servers. “When it works” is also a mystery.
So, fuck it. Sorry, I can’t sit around and wait any longer while Comcast figures it out. Kat’s a freelancer who needs an always-on connection that truly is always on, not just on most of the time. I’m tired of playing Xbox 360 (you know, as part of my job as well as my entertainment) and suddenly being booted off because something somewhere farted. Ditto for playing WoW and CoV, running with a party of people and suddenly losing connection to the server. And when I call up a web forum, I just want it to be there long enough to let me type my thoughts and hit reply without the connection disappearing.
After seven years, I’m going with RCN. New year, new ISP. I know the previous tenants had RCN because our jacks had to be rewired. The price is about the same and they advertise 10Mbit down and 800 up–which is 2.5 times faster upload than Comcast is even claiming to give me. And if I had to guess, I’d say they’re going to roll out 20/2 service in my area before too long.
I asked my friend Thomas, an RCN customer, about his history of outages, and he did admit that his connection went down for 20 minutes once…over the last three years. Yeah? Sold. I just hope the recent change in ownership I’ve heard about doesn’t sink every good thing I’ve heard.
Oh, happy new year and all that.