This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 22, 2011 12:43 PM. The previous post in this blog was Speaking of nuclear waste.... The next post in this blog is Rip City. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Have you noticed how hard Comcast and its Xfinity brand are saturation-bombing our consumer consciousness these days? We noticed the other night that our favorite weekend sports wrap-up show on KGW-TV is suddenly being called the Xfinity something-or-other. Hey, they own the network now -- what did you expect? And the old Hollywood Video store at the corner of Sandy and Fremont now has Xfinity plastered all over it.

Xfinity sounds kinda creepy, doesn't it? Like a science fiction novel from 1970 or so. "How long will the plutonium contamination last, Captain?" "Xfinity, Corporal."

Here at blog headquarters, our Comcast experience hasn't been so uplifting of late. We pay these guys $10 extra every month on top of their normal internet charges, for something they call "blast" service, but our connection speed was more like "cough." After a while, it was not just slow, but intermittent. We tried the usual tricks -- reset the modem, reset the router, yada yada, but the craptastic problems persisted. With some trepidation, we picked up the phone for some customer support.

The first time we did this, it was late at night, and we got a gal in India whose best advice to us was to "delete kookies." The next time, they sent out a guy who asked us if the service was running fine at that moment, which it was. With that, he shrugged, climbed around on the outside of the house for a few minutes, and left; about an hour later, the 'net was down again. The third time, we decided in mid-phone-call with the Comcast guy to give things a chance to straighten themselves out.

Through all of these phone calls, of course, we were being bombarded with robotic sales pitches. Even when you knew the codes in advance and pushed all the right buttons to talk to a human being, it always took three minutes or more to get through to a person. "Did you know you can save money by bundling your internet service with your phone service?" Get out da way, lady. Even the live tech support people felt compelled to try to sell you something before they let you hang up.

On call no. 4, we finally got someone on the phone who sounded quite knowledgeable and interested. He told us that he could see that our modem, rented from Comcast, was the likely culprit. It was old, tired, and not responding properly to the Comcast guy's remote tests. And so finally, a couple of days later, we got a different technician out to the house, with this in his hand:

By golly, it's a Ubee D3.0. It's running a whole lot better than the clunky old RCA thingy he took out of here. The intertubes are now plenty fast. Nice to be getting what we're paying for, finally.

Comments (17)

Were you charged for the new modem, Jack? Might be worth a look if it's not too spendy.

Just an FYI, you can probably buy either that modem or a comparable one for less than $100 rather than being charged a "rental fee" ( I beleive that's around 6.95-ish a month)... I had my own "facepalm" moment awhile back when I realized that I had paid about 3x the worth of my modem over the last four years... just food for thought.

I was surprised to learn that modems just wear out after awhile. We replaced one of ours and it made all the difference in terms of performance. Too bad they jerked you around for so long before you happened to finally talk to someone who knew what they were doing.

The whole "Xfinity" thing is because Comcast's name is so bad that they are attempting to Worldcom it - change the name in order to ditch the bad rep.

It isn't working.

Similar to my experience several years ago with US Worst - kept losing phone service - seemed like the line would short out. Finally, after about two years, a technician came out and replaced the outside phone line, which had large holes in the covering, probably chewed by squirrels or birds. And, they changed their name, too!

It's too bad that name QWorst never caught on like the name US Worst. It's not quite as catchy, plus landlines have been replaced by cellphones and Crapcast/Xfinicky.

Gad. At least you got a new modem out of them. You are doing better than most people.

delete kookies

Bad advice - if you did that, no one would be able to comment here! ;-)

BTW: Dan's advice is good; looks like you have just a standard cable modem without telephony/tv attributes. Your standard cable modems are pretty inexpensive these days.

Ahh comcast's good ol RCA (Thompson) modems. They don't replace them unless they're about dead or just finally not dealing well with the new data standards (aka upgraded speed).

I once went down to the local office to get a new modem as I was having connection issues, especially since the current one was not compatible with the new docsis 2.0 tech required for faster speeds. Something that comcast had been bombarding its customers about online, mailers and tv ads at the time.

The customer service gal started out with the "it might be your home connection/wires/outside box, we can send a tech out!". No, I just want a new modem first, if its still a problem, I'll call in a tech. Then it was: "Oh no I have that older RCA modem and I get the new speeds!". No dear, you do not. That modem model was at that point 6-7+ years old tech. I was about ready to just cancel service in anger but she relented (and her eyes glossed over) when I quoted her the docsis 2.0 requirements and their own literature and pointed to the box for my old modem that listed "DOCSIS 1.0 compliant!". New modem worked better although I'd also wager there was a problem with the hub my house was connected to. Oh and of course I had to call in to comcast's tech support line after the fact to get the modem provisioned (allowed on their network). God forbid they do that at their office before I took the new one home.

Anyway, comcast has jacked up the modem rental rate to $7 now. If you're not moving and staying with them for the next 1+ years, I'd go buy a motorola cable modem for $100. Its $84/yr to rent one and it really guarantees no better connection and they won't let you blame it on their modem at first anyway.

Here's a little bit of interesting information I didn't know. A month ago I called Comcast regarding some questions I had and ended up talking to a very nice service rep who shared the following: since I also have digital voice service the voice modem just happens to have along with 2 phone jacks a internet jack on the back that can be used for internet connection plus a USB. So if you toss the internet modem and hookup to the voice modem there is no need to purchase/rent the internet only modem.

Speaking of buying a modem, does anyone recommend one from Comcrap's (err xfinity) list?


Using Speedtest.net on my '7Mb' DSL from Quest (or whatever) results: 6Mb download, 0.75Mb upload. I'm seriously curious how that compares to ComFinity to the X power?

Be glad you're not getting DSL Service from Verizon. We had it in our last home in East County and it was a periodic PITA. Not to mention it required a special connection and was often slow.
In contrast, we have basice AT&T DSL here in Nevada; and it's not only several times faster, but the modem and setup was easy - and it costs less too!

Hi there,

I apologize for the troubles that you had with your Internet service, and I am glad that they have been resolved. If you need any further assistance please feel free to send us an email. We are happy to help and want to make sure you are satisfied. Have a great day!

Best regards,
National Customer Operations

It's too bad that name QWorst never caught on like the name US Worst. It's not quite as catchy, plus landlines have been replaced by cellphones and Crapcast/Xfinicky.

No, the new name is "20th Century ChainLink" (Qwest is being acquired by CenturyLink).

As much as I hate them, I'm waiting for Verizon and AT&T to start slapping Comcast around with 4G wireless.

I've had the opportunity to test the VzW 4G LTE, it does about 14Mbps down and 4Mbps up. All they need to do is stop gouging for the service and they could eat Comcast.

PJ, motorola "surfboards" (I think the 6120 is the newest one) are usually the recommended one.

Try DSLreports.com for reviews and advice. Very good site for broadband/isp issues.

Clicky Web Analytics