Just because you pay for a certain internet speed doesn’t mean you get it all the time. That’s just a sad fact of life: those speeds are an “up to” promise, not a “minimum guarantee” promise. But just how often is a lapse below a certain threshold acceptable? And given that internet speeds are variable, how would you make sure your provider knows?
One Comcast customer, fed up with his own internet speeds dropping below the 150 Mbps he pays for, set up a bot to help draw attention to these lapses. As he described in a post on Reddit, the bot, @a_comcast_user, automatically sends a tweet to Comcast’s official handle whenever his speed drops too far.
As he describes it, he’s got a Raspberry Pi — a small, cheap, customizable computer, basically — hooked up to his connection. Every hour, it runs a series of speed tests and stores that data. When the speed is below 50 Mbps, his setup activates a Twitter bot that tweets at Comcast: “Hey @Comcast, why is my internet speed [speed] when I pay for 150down/10up in Washington DC? @ComcastCares @Xfinity #comcast #speedtest”
As he writes in his Reddit post, “Comcast has noticed and every time I tweet they will reply asking for my account number and address… usually hours after the speeds have returned to normal values.” The customer has declined to identify himself to Comcast, however, saying that, “I do not want to be singled out as a customer; all their customers deserve the speeds they advertise.”
Looking at a long-term graph of the data the consumer has collected, it seems that on the whole, his speeds are pretty consistent… but when they drop, they drop far, leading to the spikes that trigger his bot to annoy Comcast on his behalf.
Depending on which section of Washington, DC the Reddit user lives in, he may or may not have any non-Comcast competition to switch to at his address. RCN does offer a 155 Mbps option inside of DC, but they don’t serve all residents.
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