Consumerist And Comcast Bring Blogger A ‘January Miracle’ Of Fast Internet

For the first time in thirteen months, Andrea can do something that seemed impossible only a few weeks ago. She can surf over to YouTube, select a video, and have it play.For most people, this wouldn’t be all that amazing, but Andrea has been fighting with Comcast to get the fast data speeds that she was promised and that she needs to do her job. After a yearlong saga, how did she finally catch the attention of someone at Kabletown? Lots of blogging, a mention on Consumerist, and the heroic efforts of the Comcast Cares team.

In her final installment, she wrote:

I never thought this day would come, but I think, almost 13 months to the day since my internet problems started, that everything is finally resolved.

Part of me is afraid to say anything because I might jinx it. Another part of me doesn’t want to imply that Comcast is forgiven, because this situation should have been resolved a long time ago. But I can’t ignore the fact that I’ve had a working connection for a little over 48 hours now. A JANUARY MIRACLE!

How I Finally Got Someone to Listen

Last week I published yet another ranty post about the endless nature of my connection issues. Comcast actually has a team of people who troll Twitter for negative mentions and offer to “help” the angry people, but they stopped responding to me long ago when it became apparent that they couldn’t help me.

But then the Consumerist picked up my story and sent a flood of traffic here to the site. I started getting comments and emails and all kinds of crap from other disgruntled Comcast customers, people who wanted to try to help, a few trolls, and even a couple of Comcast employees acting as private citizens.

In the midst of all that, @ComcastMelissa was brave enough to try talking to me again on Twitter, even though our previous conversations didn’t go too well. I emailed her the long story of what’s been going on, and a few hours later I got a call from someone who actually knew what he was talking about. Which was a little scary because it’s been so long since I talked to anyone from Comcast who had a clue.

What Was Wrong

On a purely technical level, there were two separate issues that prevented my internet connection from working properly.

The local infrastructure. As I’ve mentioned a million times, the cable system where I live is very outdated. When my problems originally started, that was the cause. Technicians came to my house, found issues outside my home, and shrugged them off. Why? Because a tiny town like mine isn’t exactly earning a lot of revenue for Comcast. The techs knew that the equipment here wasn’t a priority.

In late December, the node in my neighborhood was replaced with a new one. This should have fixed the problem (and I believe it did, on some levels) but my speeds were still unusable during certain parts of the day. Not just slow, but completely unusable. And no one could figure out why. Which brings me to the other problem….

The blasted boot file on my modem. This could only happen to me. So every modem is assigned a configuration boot file by its ISP that tells it how to behave. And OF COURSE mine was set for the super low plan with crappy transfer speeds instead of the higher plan that I’ve been paying for. And in the hundreds of calls, visits, complaints, etc. no one ever bothered to check. Once that file was replaced with the correct one in Comcast’s system, my connection immediately started working properly again.

No one can tell me HOW that file got assigned to my modem, but here’s why we never caught it: Once the node was replaced, Comcast’s “executive care team” scheduled two different techs to come to my house and swap out the modem. But because they had done it so many times before, none of them actually tried it. I guess they just lied and said they did, which doesn’t surprise me. If they had hooked up a different modem, the problem would have been obvious.

So Now What?

Friday night I was able to go to YouTube, click a random video, and watch it. That shouldn’t be an amazing thing, but I literally cried because it’s been so long since I could do it. I was also able to work all weekend (since I’m so far behind I may never catch up, thanks to Comcast) and didn’t have any trouble transferring files.

Now I get to hold my breath and wait for the problems to come back. I hope not, but at this point it’s a reflex.

As I said before, it’s not like my service works and suddenly I love Comcast. I still hate them with a passion and can’t wait for the day that a competitor comes along. Their system is broken, most of their employees don’t know what they’re talking about, and I don’t even trust that my connection will still be working by the time this post publishes on Monday morning.

But right now it’s fine. For the first time in THIRTEEN MONTHS, it’s fine. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to accomplish some things before it craps out again. Have a great Monday!