Comcast Testing "Do-It-Yourself" Phone Install Kits

Let’s face it, you are probably smarter than your last Comcast technician—at least, you probably think you are.

Comcast’s new telephone self-install kit is for you, smarty pants. Comcast saves money, you save aggravation. (This is where you cross your fingers and pray that what we say is true.)

Comcast tentatively plans to charge customers $250 for three cordless phones that link to their cable modems. The total time from opening the box to getting a dial tone is 30 minutes or less, Avgiris said.

“It’s for the customer who says, `I want the service, and I want it now,”’ said Avgiris. Subscribers who want their wired phones to work still need a service call by a Comcast technician.

Let’s just hope it works. Install kits are being tested in San Francisco and are coming soon to Boston, Denver and Comcast’s home town of Philly.

Comcast Tests Do-It-Yourself Install Kits for Phones [Bloomberg]
(Photo:Spidra Webster)

Comments

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  1. Install it yourself and not have to worry about a Service Tech taking a week or longer to get out there (Plus all the hassles afterwards)? Sounds like a damn good deal to me. Oh wait, it’s Comcast we’re talking about here. Nevermind.

  2. hc5duke says:

    @Papa Midnight: True, they’ll probably find a way to f you in the a

  3. CharlieNme says:

    I believe that Papa Midnight has nailed Comcast right on the head! I worked for a previous cable company that was taken over by Comcast…what a mess..after 7 years with the previous cable co., great work record, I gave 2 week’s notice several months after Comcast took over..20 minutes later, I was ” free ” to go. Now I truly know how Comcast feels about their ” internal customers”! Who only knows how they feel about the paying ones!! Geesh!!!

  4. Maude Buttons says:

    The Comcast tech that came to my house over the weekend to install cable and wireless spent the majority of the time (4+ hours) shuffling his shoes across my carpet and hitting on the tech person who he had to call for back up.

    He’s 5’8″, ladies: and he’s single.

  5. Nick says:

    I’m guessing that $250 buys you a three pack of vTech cordless phones integrated into a voip box that would all cost you $100 if you bought it yourself.

  6. beyond says:

    So Comcast makes you do your own installation and charges you $250 for the privilege?

  7. Yankees368 says:

    Over here in NY with Cablevision, they come out in about 2 days and do a VERY FAST, hardwired install. Comcast just blows.

  8. nursetim says:

    30 minutes to dial tone? I had my Vonage up and running in 5 minutes. And they are charging $250 for this?

  9. playfulangel says:

    When are people going to realize that you get what you pay for…..you want a REAL phone jack with no chance of security breech by scanners…then have a REAL phone jack installed by a licensed low voltage contractor. I sure wouldn’t be caught giving my credit card info to someone over a cordless phone.

  10. Mayor McRib says:

    So does that mean I should give myself an 8 am to 4 pm window to let myself know when I will be coming to install my own phone?

  11. mtaylor924 says:

    @Mayor McRib: Even better – when you don’t show up, call them up and bitch about it until they discount your next month’s bill!

  12. killavanilla says:

    Um, yeah. I am smarter than the installer.
    And, apparently, also smarter than their support staff.
    I exchanged my comcast HD DVR for the new HD DVR. I followed the directions and still didn’t have any menu, guide, or DVR functionality after an hour. So I called support.
    The lady asked me if the HD DVR was supposed to provide me with tv guide options. I asked her how else it was supposed to work. She told me she would call me back. By the time she did, everything was working.

  13. mopar_man says:

    Thankfully I’m not a Comcast customer (nor do I plan on it in the future if I can help it) but from what I’ve read here, even the simplest-minded folks can probably get their service up and running faster than a Comcast “tech” can.

  14. 7livesleft says:

    Let’s see…

    The blue wire goes…here
    The green wires goes around this, like that…
    The purple wire goes to that tree…
    Uh…
    Do I cut the red wire with the orange stripe, or the orange wire with the red stripe?

  15. voteccow says:

    I can see the wait times increasing very soon at comcast’s call centers

  16. shiny says:

    I’m still with my POTS line but have been considering Comcast Voice for a while. What has been a large factor for Comcast over the third party VoIP services which lie on top of my already-existing internet has been the battery backup inside the Multimedia Terminal Adapter (MTA).

    I wonder if the self-install kit will come with one of those… if it does, and if self-install is as easy as it was when I self-installed my Comcast @Home service years ago, this might actually work for us — as long as I can still hook up a wired phoneset to the MTA if the lights go dark…

  17. GatorDrew says:

    Comcast is very interesting to say the least. When I moved to Atlanta, GA they first insisted that they come out to install the internet ($34.95) and my HD DVR ($29.99). I explained that I have my own cable modem, so there’s nothing to really install. So, I got this installation removed. I then asked how HARD it would be to install a HD DVR. They told me that they don’t offer the HD DVR at their “stores” for me to pick up, only the regular DVRs. So, I HAD to get them to come to my apartment to get it installed. They pretty much made it a mandatory fee.

    Want to know what else is hilarious? When I removed the internet installation, it came up as a “Change of Service” fee on my bill for $8.

    I called and commented… they lady was really nice and actually recommended a package that saved me a couple bucks. However, I still had to pay $30 for some guy to come over and plug in a couple wires.

  18. Ihatecomcast says:

    Im a Comcast customer right now. After having trouble with my TV cable being fuzzy and getting the run around I called to complain. I was told by comcast that a service technician would come out on a specific day so I took off work. The technician didnt show up at all. I called comcast they rescheduled but I had to wait till the next opening one week later so I watched fuzzyness for another week the same thing happened on my scheduled day. I called again to be told I would have to reschedule another week. I got mad and asked for an earlier day. The customer service person hung up on me I called back to complain they told me next week or nothing I still complained the service technician came out and fixed the problem at the box a squirel had made a nest in the connection box and chewed the wires a bit. At the end of the month I got my bill for the service with my name being replace with a foul obscenity I cannot mention here trust me its x-rated. I tried in vain for three months to get my name changed back to my real name only to be laughed at by all the comcast customer service reps I talked to. I had to drive down to my local service center and complain they laughed at me too but I got it changed. My only other choice is Verizon but they are no better they will charge you serious money to cancel their subscriptions when you have a contract when can we get rid of comcast and verizon please someone I want to subscribe to someone else. My name is hidden as im afraid comcast will mess with my subscription.

  19. Ihatecomcast says:

    Get vonage is cheaper and its not comcast. I have vonage right now the $15 plan (its limited to 500 minutes a month) its ok except when im downloading heavy then the people who call me cannot hear me at all.

  20. azntg says:

    Aww, where’s that “Have a Comcastic Day” picture?

  21. @Ihatecomcast: Still got to have internet one way or another.

  22. … And before you say get DSL or FiOS or something like that, some of us live in area’s where cable companies (or in this case, one company, Comcast) is the market monopoly.

  23. grizzman says:

    Wait, I have to pay them $250 AND use their phones?? That’s insane. Why can’t I use my own phone?

    I’ve had ATT Callvantage for 2 years now, and I installed it myself in about 10 minutes with their self install kit. I use my own phones. My cable phone modem has died twice in that time, and each time they mailed me a new one immediately, and a label to send the broken one back. Customer service has been great, and I pay about 35 bucks total each month for unlimited calling. Why would I waste my time with Comcast cable phone?

  24. uricmu says:

    I had Comcast for the past 4 years before moving out of their area and finding that there are worse companies out there.

    Anyway, I lived in one of the largest apartment buildings in my city (200+ units) that only allowed cable (no antennas, no dish). I was shocked to find out that every time I had to change my “programming ackage” (because they kept moving channels around and I changed my viewing habits over time), they actually needed to send a technician to the box. Yes. I had an HD box and rather than use some card or block it at the source, there was a technician climbing some tree to flip the switches for each of the 200 units.

    The dumbest part was that if you asked for a change, they always set it for a week ahead, even though they had a technician at the frigging pole every two days or so. Occasionally, they’d end up with several technicians waiting up to go on the same pole because each technician had a different work list.

    Ineffective, wasteful but who cares, they can just keep jacking up our cable pricing.

  25. redcapebluetights says:

    For those of you bashing Comcast. As an Employee, Customer Care Executive, I happen to know that not every area is as bad as you say it is. And this is merely a few people’s opinions. There are some areas that Comcast has taken over. The companies they took over for also let their systems go to ****. To the person who was let go, The standards for Comcast as a Whole Company are very high. I see you fail to mention what made you put in your notice, or how they mistreated you so badly.

    Now just like any other place you go you have bad managers with horrible employees. The area I work in happens to be one of the best areas for Comcast. And by the way…. There IS NO MONOPOLY anywhere. You can always switch to “Direcway” for Sattelite High Speed Internet or Dial Up or simply drive to your closest Krystal’s or local Hotel with a wireless connection on your laptop and get it for free. As far as TV service goes, theres the “Dish” also. Oh and my favorite is Get an ANTENNA!! Pardon me for sounding Condesending, but seriously to say there is a monopoly is just simply Un-True.

    Comcast has plenty of Competition. I also know that since our Call Center takes care of almost 65% of our state PLUS a few other areas, that must mean that We are doing something RIGHT! The fact that Comcast keeps growing obviously means we are doing Something Right as a Company.

    Remember how you treat others in the world is repaid to you 10 times over.

  26. BenMitchell says:

    HERE IS A TIP:

    You do not have to pay them to hook up your phone lines. If you want all of your hard-lines working:
    1) Disconnect you main line at the NID (the box outside of your house) You’ll see the disconnect line inside, older homes you might have to cut the hard line (be careful to only cut the one from your old POTS service provider)
    2) Take a phone line from the MTA (Digital Phone Modem) and run it into an open Phone outlet that is on the same line as the rest of your jacks (or use a splitter). If no line exists, running a new phone line is simple!! (Buy some cheap cat3 or cat5 cable / or grab some from the dumpster from a network cabling place (FREE) and run the cable all the way to your NID and the Connect the line going to your ATTIC to the the lines coming from your new phone line (recommend you use the blue – blue/white lines for your primary pair)
    3) Tell Comcastic to go stuff themselves you did the work yourself!

  27. killavanilla says:

    @redcapebluetights:
    Sure.
    Comcast is great. There aren’t massive, systemic problems. We are making it up.
    You think that because your call center takes calls for 65% of the state and a few other areas means you are doing something right? I think it means that Comcast believes they have enough employees to adequetly handle issues.
    But they don’t. Long hold times are standard. Clueless, script reading CSR’s who don’t understand basic functionality is also the standard. I called in about my new DVR not getting menu, info, or DVR functionality and the girl asked me if I thought that the new Motorola HD DVR was supposed to have a guide function. She put me on hold for 10 minutes, then asked if she could call me back.
    On top of that, Comcast farms its work out to contractors for installs and issues. They ask customers to stay home for 4 hour periods and sometimes the contractors just don’t show up. calls into Comcast result in excuses and an explanation that they have 48 hours to take care of the problem.
    My friend moved into a rehabbed multi-unit condo and had to wait 3 days for an installer to come and install cable and internet service. Comcast sent out a guy who didn’t know how to wire or set up a multi-unit building, wasting my friends day off of work. They scheduled a multi-unit tech for 3 days later, another day off. The tech never showed. A week later, the tech came out and couldn’t figure out what to do. It took them another week to get his cable and internet up and running. 2 and a half weeks for a basic cable/internet install. Three missed days of work for a guy who only gets paid when he shows up and who just took up a mortgage.
    He got a free month of service. Whoopee.
    Meanwhile, he’s had a tech out three times in 2 months after that because the signal was crap and his internet kept dropping off.
    Yeah. Comcast is GREAT.
    Perhaps thats only a Chicago issue, right?
    My folks live in the suburbs. They have the triple play. How wonderful it is for them to NOT have consistent phone service! They have had techs out to their house 10 times in the last 6 months to try and fix the problem.
    Plainly put, if you think everything is rosy with comcast, you are fooling yourself.
    But that’s typical of Comcast execs….

  28. theblackdog says:

    @redcapebluetights: You’ve got to be kidding me.

    I set up a service call to have Comcast turn on the cable in my new apartment, I was given a service window of 9 AM to 1 PM. By 2:30 PM I was calling Comcast asking where the tech was, the CSR said they would call me back. 3:30 PM I’m calling back again, and they’ll call me back. 4:30 PM I’m calling yet again, and finally they tell me the tech is on his way, and they’re going to compensate me $20 for my trouble. 5:30 PM the tech finally shows up and proceeds to try and charge me for two outlets to be activated, when there’s only one outlet in the house. I lost a whole day I could have been moving things from the old apartment to the new apartment because I had to wait for a tech who can’t make his service windows and an incompetent office who can’t be bothered to call me back.

    This and other stories of the way Comcast tried to overcharge me are why I’m switching to DSL when I move this weekend.

  29. Nately says:

    @redcapebluetights: “Pardon me for sounding Condesending, but seriously to say there is a monopoly is just simply Un-True.”

    Bull. Shit.

    There are many areas (including the city where I used to live) where Comcast is the only option for high-speed internet and cable TV. Stealing wi-fi or getting rabbit ears is not a viable alternative, so stop spouting that corporate nonsense.

  30. lcn1074 says:

    @ redcapebluetights
    see my letter to Comcast’s CEO. This is an entire company of people who have zero concern for their customers. How else do you explain it? I have yet to be offered any credits or even an apology for all the time I have wasted.

    Dear Mr. Roberts,

    The purpose of my e-mail to you this morning is quite simple. I would like to have Comcast television service installed at my home. Why am I writing to the CEO of a company for such a simple request? Why not call and schedule an appointment? Well, I’ve tried the traditional route, and quite frankly, I would like the service sometime before 2008 arrives. Please read below and let me know if you, as a consumer, would not be outraged. In case you do not have time to read through my entire Comcast nightmare, I have bolded the highlights.

    1)Took the day off of work to have services installed. Received a call that the tech fell off a ladder and my appointment would have to be rescheduled (why don’t you guys have a back-up plan? ) Guess what, if one of my co-workers is out sick we cover for them. Another company you might want to model yourselves after is UPS. If a UPS driver goes home sick in the middle of the day, one or several of the other drivers deliver the remaining packages.

    2) Was told that my appointment was rescheduled for the next day. This happened to be a Saturday. Sat around all day waiting for the tech to show. He doesn’t show. Call Comcast and they say I never had an appointment. So essentially, the customer service rep the day before lied to me so she could get me off the phone. They tell me no other techs are in the area, at which time I see a Comcast van driving through my parking lot. Talk about adding insult to injury.

    3)Finally a tech comes to my home the next day and installs half of what I asked for. He gives a lame excuse as to why he can’t finish the service and says someone will be back in touch about completing the service. Guess what, no one was back in touch. How suprising!

    4)Receive a bill from Comcast charging me for the services I did not receive.

    5) Call to find out why I am being charged for something I don’t have. Customer service executive (or whatever you guys like to call them) blames me for the charges, saying I signed off on them. First of all, I only signed off on the services I received (and I have a copy of the work order to prove it) Second, even if I did sign off on it, do you think your techs should be asking me to sign for services I didn’t receive?

    6) Try to set up an appointment to get the rest of the services. Customer service executive says she first needs to send a tech to the house to make sure I don’t already have the service. You guys are the crooks, not me, so don’t try to turn the tables. Anyway, it appears I need someone to make sure I don’t have the service in order to get the service installed (seems a little counterintuitive to me, but you guys are the experts) Also, this guy that is checking to make sure I don’t have the service, is not the same guy who can install the service, so I need two appointments for the same day. No problem, I have nothing better to do with my Labor Day weekend than wait for Comcast to show up (or not show up.) The rep says I have two appointments, one between 1pm-3pm, and the other between 3pm-5pm. 5pm comes and goes and no one from Comcast shows up or even has the courtesy to call.

    7) I call Comcast to see what’s going on and they say I never had the first appointment, and that the tech for the second appointment was still in the field. It is now 7pm and believe it or not, I had to leave my house. I know it’s hard to believe that people have other things to do but sit around and wait for your techs. I stayed on the phone with the customer service rep for at least 45 minutes while she attempted to get a hold of the tech, but she was unable to. At this point she asked if I would like to reschedule an appointment. I declined her offer because it is pointless. Why make an appointment when I’m told later that I never had one, or the tech never shows up.

    My question to you at this point is: How can I get the services I ordered? Can you guarantee that someone will come to install these services? Two pretty simple questions, but ones that Comcast has been unable to answer.

  31. Mary says:

    You know, I just recently had an insane dealing with Comcast, when all I wanted was to upgrade my services when I moved.

    I sat, every day, at work with the tv on behind me (I work in a waiting room) and every few minutes I’d have to listen to commercials saying it’s easy to upgrade, saying how great the triple play was, how I just needed to call 1-800-comcast. Yeah, that was great when they’d told me I had to call my local office, my HOA, and anybody but them. Then my local office told me twice I’d be called AS SOON AS the manager was off the phone with the customer she was talking to. Both times it was a day before I called back asking just how difficult that other customer was.

    Finally I called and said I’d find another way to get internet if I had to, despite being a loyal customer for two years. Suddenly they were friendly and called me back in a half hour. Then the tech didn’t show up until a half hour after the appointment window (after I called and pointed out that we had better things to do than wait on him).

    To his credit though, he was fantastic. When the phone wouldn’t work, he came back the next day as promised to bring another unit. He called ahead so we didn’t even have to stay home. I have no problems with the techs. I think their problems are firmly rooted in management and whoever tells the techs where to go and when. Every time myself or a friend has to deal with them, it’s a giant PITA until the guy gets there, and then there’s no problems.

    As for Comcast not having a monopoly. Well, sure, maybe I have other options. Except that my HOA declares what companies I use for what, and doesn’t allow satellite dishes because they’re unsightly. You win my account only because Verizon is worse at customer service. That’s it.

  32. lcn1074 says:

    @redcapebluetights
    Read my letter to Comcast’s CEO below. This is not a case of one or two “bad apples” I dealt with more than a dozen people during these transactions. How can so many people be so incompetent. The other posters are right, Comcast does have a monopoly in many places, and even where they don’t, their competition requires an ugly satellite dish (some condo associations don’t allow these), so your only option in Comcast. The worst thing is that Comcast has yet to resolve my problems, apologize, or offer any type of compensation for days wasted waiting for their pathetic asses.

    Dear Mr. Roberts,

    The purpose of my e-mail to you this morning is quite simple. I would like to have Comcast television service installed at my home. Why am I writing to the CEO of a company for such a simple request? Why not call and schedule an appointment? Well, I’ve tried the traditional route, and quite frankly, I would like the service sometime before 2008 arrives. Please read below and let me know if you, as a consumer, would not be outraged. In case you do not have time to read through my entire Comcast nightmare, I have bolded the highlights.

    1)Took the day off of work to have services installed. Received a call that the tech fell off a ladder and my appointment would have to be rescheduled (why don’t you guys have a back-up plan? ) Guess what, if one of my co-workers is out sick we cover for them. Another company you might want to model yourselves after is UPS. If a UPS driver goes home sick in the middle of the day, one or several of the other drivers deliver the remaining packages.)

    2) Was told that my appointment was rescheduled for the next day. This happened to be a Saturday. Sat around all day waiting for the tech to show. He doesn’t show. Call Comcast and they say I never had an appointment. So essentially, the customer service rep the day before lied to me so she could get me off the phone. They tell me no other techs are in the area, at which time I see a Comcast van driving through my parking lot. Talk about adding insult to injury.

    3)Finally a tech comes to my home the next day and installs half of what I asked for. He gives a lame excuse as to why he can’t finish the service and says someone will be back in touch about completing the service. Guess what, no one was back in touch. How surprising!

    4)Receive a bill from Comcast charging me for the services I did not receive.

    5) Call to find out why I am being charged for something I don’t have. Customer service executive (or whatever you guys like to call them) blames me for the charges, saying I signed off on them. First of all, I only signed off on the services I received (and I have a copy of the work order to prove it) Second, even if I did sign off on it, do you think your techs should be asking me to sign for services I didn’t receive?

    6) Try to set up an appointment to get the rest of the services. Customer service executive says she first needs to send a tech to the house to make sure I don’t already have the service. You guys are the crooks, not me, so don’t try to turn the tables. Anyway, it appears I need someone to make sure I don’t have the service in order to get the service installed (seems a little counterintuitive to me, but you guys are the experts) Also, this guy that is checking to make sure I don’t have the service, is not the same guy who can install the service, so I need two appointments for the same day. No problem, I have nothing better to do with my Labor Day weekend than wait for Comcast to show up (or not show up.) The rep says I have two appointments, one between 1pm-3pm, and the other between 3pm-5pm. 5pm comes and goes and no one from Comcast shows up or even has the courtesy to call.

    7) I call Comcast to see what’s going on and they say I never had the first appointment, and that the tech for the second appointment was still in the field. It is now 7pm and believe it or not, I had to leave my house. I know it’s hard to believe that people have other things to do but sit around and wait for your techs. I stayed on the phone with the customer service rep for at least 45 minutes while she attempted to get a hold of the tech, but she was unable to. At this point she asked if I would like to reschedule an appointment. I declined her offer because it is pointless. Why make an appointment when I’m told later that I never had one, or the tech never shows up.

    My question to you at this point is: How can I get the services I ordered? Can you guarantee that someone will come to install these services? Two pretty simple questions, but ones that Comcast has been unable to answer.

  33. killavanilla says:

    @lcn1074:
    Sounds like Comcast is truly the best provider out there!
    I think as a customer, you should be okay with the idea of being lied to, jerked around, having to take time off of work, be forced to stay in your home, AND still not have the service.
    I just don’t see what all the complaining is about?
    Don’t you like your home?
    ;-)

  34. lcn1074 says:

    The CEO simply ignored my e-mail. No surprise there. Obviously I didn’t expect his greatness to respond to me, a lowly customer, but you think he could have taken a second to forward it to his secretary so she could send me the standard “we apologize” template e-mail. But nothing! Looks like the “we don’t give a crap” Comcast attitude is firmly rooted at all levels of that company.

  35. Ihatecomcast says:

    @to the comcast rep this is exactly what im talking about your telling me to go with satelite if I dont like comcast thats no option its even worse. This is exactly the attitude we are all talking about you see this moron (redcapbluetights). By the way thats not the reason the stock price is up or down by the way its down way down 5 basis points since its high in january 07 because investors dont like the stock. If I had another option in my neighborhood believe I would switch in a second as I believe alot would also you better hope you never lose your monopoly or you will be out of a job.

  36. Ihatecomcast says:

    @lcn1025 LOL I also got a bill for a free install of my cable internet. Took me two months to finally get a credit. I love how they tell you over the phone the problem has been taken care of and next month you get the same bill with no fixes. Its like get them off the phone by telling they what the customer wants to hear maybe they will forget about it. Its this kind of mentality that makes people get a gun and get into serious trouble. If you knew you were going to die would you take some revenge on people who have messed with you over the years? Thats what comcast has to worry about its coming some day soon they are going to piss off the wrong person and its going to be a slaughter.

  37. Ihatecomcast says:

    @nately LOL thats so funny this comcast rep such an idiot coming on this forum and spouting that comcast monopoly crap like he could tell us things will be better if we just put up with the crap. Very funny. So far nobody believes him. As a financial advisor I have told all my clients to short the stock (comcast) and we have made alot of money watching the stock drop.

  38. janelle11485 says:

    Comcast shut off my cable internet and digital TV once… when they meant to shut off the neighbor’s… took them a week to come out and turn my service back on… and when I called to complain.. all the girl said was “You can write a letter”… they would NOT let me speak to a manager! Can we get a new conglomerate??