"You're Switching My Apartment to Comcast? I'm Moving Out"

The recent FCC regulations that banned apartment buildings from foisting certain providers on helpless tenants doesn’t seem to be helping one PCWorld blogger:

Last week the apartment complex I live in near Greenbelt, Maryland, sent a letter stating that starting January 1, 2008, Comcast will be the only Internet service available for residents. That’s reason enough for me to move.

You might have heard that Comcast’s customer service is so low that the publishers of dictionaries are trying to think up new words to describe it. Abysmal is too kindhearted a way to describe it.

Yes, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) here in the United States recently outlawed apartment complexes entering into single source contracts like this — which force a particular vendor on apartment residents. But I don’t hold out much hope that the FCC is going to come to my rescue.

Publishers of dictionaries aren’t the only people trying to think of new words to describe Comcast’s customer service. We invented one once, back when we were living in Chicago. “Fuckwiched.”

“Fuckwiched” is when Comcast misses 5 straight appointments then on the 6th one, you catch the tech sitting in your alley where he thinks you can’t see him, eating a sandwich and leaving a message on your cellphone telling you that he’s sorry you weren’t home.


You’re Switching My Apartment to Comcast? I’m Moving Out
[PC World]
(Photo:Tyler Durden’s Imaginary Friend)

Comments

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  1. Parting says:

    Cool new word ;)

  2. theninjasquad says:

    Could he not get DSL instead?

  3. Fuckwiched… gotta remember that one.

  4. @theninjasquad: Sigh… what you and other persons don’t seem to get is that not all of us have DSL or Fiber available to us. Let me lay out my options to you while I reside in Pikesville, Maryland (Baltimore County): Comcast and Dial-up. There are my options. My solution? Wireless Bridge to WRT54G DMZ’d at the neighbors router (with permission). I think I’ll keep Comcast on that 10 foot pole.

  5. ianmac47 says:

    Surely reporting your leasing company to FCC could be a whole lot of fun in and of itself.

  6. DjDynasty says:

    I call comcast employees fucktards

  7. sleze69 says:

    I think they just invited that word in this article. Google searching for fuckwich turns up nothing.

  8. Myotheralt says:

    Does anyone know if Mediacom does anything similar? I am moving to the Quad Cities (about 2 hours west of Chicago) my choices are Mediacom or ATT dsl, reportedly up to 10Mbit down

  9. Finder says:

    Ah…urbandictionary…how I love thee.

    [www.urbandictionary.com]

  10. trillium says:

    Papa Midnight – fellow Marylander same situation. I reign form the booming metropolis of Elkton, MD and have two options for internet access.. “Comcast” and “dial up”… I deal with the “fucwiches” because I have to. If I had any other option I’d jump ship in a heartbeat.

    I get a constant sob story from Verizon that FIOS is slated sometime in the future, yet all it takes is a stroll across the state line into DE to be standing on a fiber line.

  11. uricmu says:

    @Papa Midnight: I’m amazed that there are major areas that don’t have DSL service. (not talking about FIOS). Though I’m guessing that it could be down to the apartment building.

  12. ThatJoshGuy says:

    Sorry guys, don’t mean to say I told you so, but…

    The exclusive contract ruling is for multi-channel video provision, not internet or telephony. It’s a gift for the phone companies in general, even though in this case a cable guy got the best of it.

    The FCC is a little bit wacky these days. Reading the Copps/Adelstein dissenting press releases is the only fun I get out of them. In yesterday’s, they accused Chairman Martin of using ‘human shield’ tactics.

  13. scoosdad says:

    @uricmu: “I’m amazed that there are major areas that don’t have DSL service. (not talking about FIOS).”

    I live in a large city in the northeast served by Verizon, and I can’t get DSL. Reason? My phone service, along with that of several thousand of my neighbors, comes out to the neighborhood over fiber. If you’ve seen those boxes (usually light green, sometimes two-tone brown) sitting on a concrete pad by the side of the road, that’s one of those “fiber concentrators” that feeds my phone.

    Verizon’s lead tech for my section of the city told me after a failed DSL install attempt that the equipment in the boxes that supplies dialtone to all those houses from the fiber is not compatible with DSL….so even though I’m only about 1500 cable feet from the distribution box where the fiber comes into, DSL is not an option here.

  14. theblackdog says:

    Wow, I live in Greenbelt, I want to know which apt complex is pulling this stunt.

    For the record, Verizon is busy putting fiber in the ground so FIOS is coming, and I’m sure there will be stories of installers setting the historic townhouses here on fire soon enougn.

  15. efolgate says:

    I want to know why it’s perfectly okay for a cable company to have a monopoly over a certain area? Same goes for utilities. Why is there never another option other than the dish? I freakin’ hate comcast. we have them in Jacksonville, and their On-Demand features suck. Oh well

  16. BigNutty says:

    Screw them all. My wireless broadband card for my laptop works just fine, I have no phone land line, and I have no cable TV just because I refuse to give Comcast a dime.

  17. DallasDMD says:

    @efolgate: Logistical. Its not really feasable to have more than one cable company servicing the same set of coax.

    Now, here in Texas, we have all the choice in the world for electricity. Since anybody can generate power into the grid, you’re essentially just buying a share of some particular company’s generating capacity. Unfortunately, cable doesn’t work that way.

  18. swalve says:

    Seriously, what’s the deal? Comcast isn’t *that* bad. Seems like you’re trying to make yourself sound cool because you’re “in the club” of haters.

    Want better service? Pay for it. I’m sure the phone company will sell you a fractional T1 or something with nice defined service levels and plenty of customer service.

  19. GearheadGeek says:

    @DallasDMD: RE: TX deregulated electricity… we have all the choice in the world EXCEPT any that are at a decent rate. Having moved to the Megaloplex from central TX where the city-founded utilities charge somewhat reasonable rates, this last summer was quite a shocker and I spent some time going through the horrifically over-complicated information about providers to choose one with rates that were the least bad. Deregulation isn’t for consumers, it’s another one of Perry and the Shrub’s gifts to big business.

  20. FLConsumer says:

    @swalve: Yes, Comcast *IS* that bad! When I have to spend over 16 hours on the phone with Comcast tech support, schedule 9 service appointments for them to come out (3 of which they actually showed up to) just to have them come to the same conclusion that I had from day 1 — bad/flakey port at their headend, and this was all in the period of ONE month, yes, it’s that bad. Even worse is that this was with Comcast Commercial, not their residential service. I don’t think my problem ever would have been resolved if I was stuck with the regular residential channels. My time’s worth a hell of a lot more than to waste it like that. BTW, we did back-bill Comcast for my time and some of the outage time and they did indeed pay it. Of course, the extensive phone logs, ping logs, traceroute logs, and recordings (all 16+ hrs) of the phone calls were rather damning.

    @DallasDMD: Unfortunately there’s still a few things which mobile broadband won’t work for because of its latencey (VoIP for one), so it’s not the cure-all.

  21. FLConsumer says:

    @scoosdad: Ever thought of playing target practice with those boxes, btw? Not that I’d ever advocate such a thing.

  22. psm321 says:

    I just use comcast’s own word “comcastic” to describe their practices, albeit not in the way they intended :)

  23. BadBadKitty says:

    Smack middle of Okla City and no DSL available here either , though luckily i deal with Cox , theyve been out 4 times in the last month and seem to be pretty competent , However we passed a tax initiative a few years back and pay one of those mysterious phone bill fees for .. you guessed it .. for them to upgrade the existing phone lines to be DSL capable . in the last 3 places ive lived in 6 years not one had DSL available

  24. Zombietime says:

    I have comcast internet and never had any problems in years. If I do the cust. service is usually pretty good. I live in a small town though so maybe that’s the reason.

  25. JustAGuy2 says:

    Couple of things:

    1. As noted above, the FCC ruling has absolutely nothing to do with Internet, just TV.

    2. The FCC ruling in no way prohibits a building or complex owner from only allowing one provider onto the property – the new rules just say that, if Comcast and the building owner have a deal that says “Comcast will pay $100k/year to the building owner, and Comcast will be the only TV company allowed on the property,” the building owner can allow Verizon to install FiOS (or AT&T U-Verse, or DirecTV, or whatever) without Comcast being able to sue the building owner for breach of contract.

    At the end of the day, it’s still the owner’s building, and he gets to decide who wires it and runs services in it.

  26. hoo_foot says:

    @swalve: Clearly you’ve never experienced a similar situation to mine where my Comcast internet went out for two full weeks due to “maintenance.” That IS bad and was the last straw for me.

  27. scoosdad says:

    @FLConsumer: I sometimes think about the fact that this box that my service comes out of, sits about five feet off the edge of a busy road with no protection around it. It also sits in an area behind a shopping plaza where trailer trucks turn and back up, and where people cut through quickly to get out the back exits. Someone swerves and accidentally sideswipes this box, or a trash truck backs over it, and bam, thousands of people lose their phone service until it can be replaced and rewired. Course that could also happen when a telephone pole comes down somewhere too. You would think they’d at least have some kind of concrete barricade or heavy posts around it.

    I also drove past it one day and the doors of it were wide open, with no phone company tech in sight. Was like that for about a full day.

  28. coffee177 says:

    I also drove past it one day and the doors of it were wide open, with no phone company tech in sight. Was like that for about a full day.
    ———————————————

    The ones I see around my town have duct tape holding them together.

    When I used to live in an apartment complex about a year ago comcrap called and said that they would be doing an inspection of my apartment to verify my cable connection. In effect they were looking for those sharing cable I guess. They did this inspection to everyone at the complex. Not just me.

    Problem was, They told you that someone has to be home on a friday but gave not specific time. So, I got home from work around 5:30pm that friday to find that because they could not get access to my apartment they CUT my cable lines at the box and disconnected me!!

    Called them and they said they could send a tech out Monday. The whole weekend in an apartment with no cable, internet. We rented movies.

    comcrap is the worst business I have ever seen. I have dreamed of ways of getting back at them. But they are only dreams.

    Every dog has their day.

  29. Red_Eye says:

    Simple solution, pay for comcast business account and setup a WAP and offer to split the cost of the service with anyone living in the complex who is interested. Then the leasing agency wont get as big of a kickback. Remember a leasing company has only 2 reasons for this sort of thing and in my book only one is valid. 1) To prevent a million holes being drilled, trenches dug and additional DEMARC points for each tenant. 2) For the kickbacks.

  30. @efolgate: “I want to know why it’s perfectly okay for a cable company to have a monopoly over a certain area?”

    What DallasMD said. In places where competition in cable DID occur, typically rates went UP for both, not down, and one company was usually out of business within 24 months.

    I said this in another thread, but things-that-enter-your-house-on-wires (phone, cable, electricity) are more or less natural monopolies as long as one company owns the wires, because EITHER that company can price access so high no one else can enter the market OR they’re forced to price access so low it cripples their business. The actual competitors to things-that-enter-your-house-through-wires have been things-that-enter-your-house-through-air, like satellite and cell service. (And solar panels?)

    Nobody thinks its weird that things-that-enter-your-house-through-pipes (water, natural gas) are monopolies, but for some reason wires get people wound up.

  31. Javert says:

    I think that this may depend on where you are located. I live outside of Boston and Comcast has been pretty good. No service interruption and when my neighbor spliced my line, they cut the line (I did not know this or I would have done it) and did not charge me a service fee even though the problem was one with the wiring within my dwelling, not the outside line. For whatever reason, Comcast is not the root of all evil here.

  32. Skiffer says:

    @Red_Eye: I’ve had a couple arguments with people about whether or not sharing internet via wireless was illegal…

    They all usually agree that sharing cable is illegal, because you’re physically tapping into someone’s wire…

    But they think sharing internet via a wireless router is fine because…”it’s wireless”

    Anyone know what the actual policies are?

    BTW, would a business account have different TOS that would let you share?

  33. realwx says:

    I used to lived in an apartment complex in Owings Mills, MD (I think it was Falcon Crest) and they offered no other TV & Internet service except Comcast (they don’t allow satellite) and no other phone service except Verizon. It sucked.

  34. Dervish says:

    Every month, when I break out my budged spreadsheet, the cale bill gets labeled as “Comcrap.”

    With that said, we’ve never experienced the horrors of customer service detailed on this site. We’re just irritated at their crappy DVRs, and at the increase in prices/slight downtick in service since they came in and bought out Time Warner.

  35. revmatty says:

    There are a couple of reasons someone in a major metro area wouldn’t have access to DSL.

    I don’t recall the terminology entirely but if there’s a local loop in the line somewhere (e.g. lazy work by a lineman 20 years ago)between the C.O. and your location you are SOL.

    If you’re more than X feet from the C.O. (I seem to recall it being 18,000, but it could have improved since 1999/2000 when I worked for Rhythms).

    The aforementioned Fiber

    No space in your nearest C.O. for the equipment (read: we don’t think we can sell enough DSL in your are to put in the investment, usually happens in minority heavy neighborhoods).

  36. gingerCE says:

    While I am unimpressed with Comcast, I don’t think I’d move solely because it was my only internet option. That seems extreme.

  37. Munsoned says:

    FCC’s OTARD rules prohibit apartment complexes from banning (small) satellite dishes. (Same with homeowners associations I believe.) Does DirecTV or Dish offer Internet, or do they “bundle” with a phone company for DSL?

  38. hapless says:

    @jrstren:

    Satellite internet is widely available with the small dishes, but it’s both very expensive and rather slow.

  39. QWGHLM says:

    How long ago was the apartment-complex-cable-monopoly thing outlawed by the FCC? I just moved to a new building in Manhattan (midtown) and was told Time Warner was my only option.

    I’d been with RCN the previous year and they were a hell of a lot cheaper, but the rep told me RCN doesn’t have service “in my area,” and Verizon DSL said the same. How is it that one company can monopolize a building when they’re all charging for access to the same cable lines?

  40. MrEvil says:

    @realwx: Actually under Federal law a landlord or homeowner’s association or city ordinance cannot prevent you from having an antenna to send or receive radio signals. This includes HAM radio and Satellite dishes.

    HOWEVER, if you are on rented property and can’t get permission from the landlord to mount your antenna. You’re on your own as to finding a way to setup your dish so it does not permanently alter the structure. A friend of mine had Dish at his apartment that had a nice porch on his 2nd floor apartment with a clear view of the southern sky. We made a tripod and set the dish up on that. The landlord couldn’t say shit about it because we didn’t permanently alter the structure and the dish was confined to the private area of his apartment. He moved to another unit in the same complex that had a fenced in yard. We moved the tripod there and it worked great…and again the landlord tried to make him take it down. Until my friend printed out a copy of the law and shoved it in their face.

    We’re still trying to come up with a way to temporarily install a high mast to mount a Wi-Fi cantenna on so we can have a link between his apartment and my house (we’re only 5 blocks apart)

  41. JustAGuy2 says:

    @QWGHLM:

    Your building owners will decide who they let into the building to provide service. That means they can allow RCN, or Time Warner Cable, or both, or neither, at their discretion.

  42. ldavis480 says:

    I call them “Comscat”, since they are a major source of spam.

  43. @Papa Midnight: The vast majority of Glen Arm/Long Green has nothing but dial-up available to them. Hopefully this will change once we get new broadband census techniques in place.