Thursday, February 18, 2016

Comcast: Available? Nope $6,000 please


Comcast: Available? Nope $6,000  please



A little backstory on this situation. We live in Michigan, about 35 miles north of Detroit. We used to live in Warren and were able to get cable television but still had dial-up internet because it was 2000 when we moved and broadband hadn’t become popular yet. After our move, we continued to use dial-up while people on the nearest main road were able to get broadband internet as were people a street down the road. My parents inquired but there was no cable ran down our street so services weren’t available. All of our wires our underground as we live more in the country than the city but the city and grocery store aren’t far away from where we live. Fast forward to 2010 and beyond, 3G technology had expanded so we were using a Verizon MiFi card as our main connection, which had unlimited data. We hear great things about the LTE network so we upgrade the MiFi to 4G LTE, the speeds are great but there’s a data cap of 20GB a month and costs close to $100.00 a month, so every month we’re pushing up against that data cap and sometimes going over as much as 5GB because parents need the web for banking, brothers for homework and other stuff as my parents own a construction company. We eventually cancel the hotspot because it costs to much as my parents were cutting back on costs and use a hotspot from a phone when necessary, no streaming, no videos or anything that someone in this day and age would use for. Now into the present. It’s June 23, 2015 and the Township has a meeting with Comcast and residents about better expanding the cable infrastructures to the more rural parts of town. A few days later we get a letter from our neighbor who says Comcast will be contacting residents on our street the next week to see if they would be interested in providing service to residents. A week goes by and nobody contacts any of us, a month goes by and still nothing. It’s November and I’m at a neighbor’s house and she asked me whatever happened to Comcast and my response was nothing, they never contacted us. The timeline of events will be depicted below in an orderly fashion.

January 25, 2015: As I’m sick of tethering with my phone, for the hell of it I go on to Comcast’s website to see if service is available at my house, (I knew it wasn’t), low and behold it lets me get all the way to scheduling an install, at this point I stopped because I didn’t want to waste a technicians time when they have other things to do. I search the web for a construction manager’s email or phone number to no avail so I message Comcast on Facebook. This is my message: Comcast was supposed to call about the installation of service on our street back in July, it is now January and we have heard absolutely nothing. What can be done?



Later that day Comcast responds with: Thank you for reaching out. Would you please send me your street address? I can have someone check on this for you.

I respond with my address and explain that there are no lines on our street currently and that they would need to be ran.



January 27th, 2016: I ask if there is any update or steps I can take?

January 28th, 2016: Comcast Responds: Our engineers are still checking this out. Thanks for your patience. I’ll report back as I hear.

February 7th, 2016: I ask if there is any update.

February 8th, 2016: Comcast Responds: Sorry for the late response. I know this is still in discussion. Let me get some feedback and I will respond back. Thank you.



February 8th, 2016: I told the social media representative for Comcast that I received a letter in the mail from the construction department and thanked them for their time.

The same day I receive a letter that was dated February 1st, 2016. Comcast says that they have evaluated their cable facilities to the location of our home and that it is not serviceable at this time. They then go on to state that to bring service to my house that it will require underground construction, which I already knew. They will also need the necessary electronics, amplifiers and then they get into the cost. I knew it would be at least a grand or two but nowhere near $9,955.50 for the total construction costs with Comcast absorbing $4,000 of that cost which would leave me liable for paying $5,955.50 which is completely outrageous. Comcast wants me to invest in their infrastructure so they can charge me month to month for their service. The letter states that if I wish to continue with construction that I need to write a check payable to Comcast and that service will be available 60-90 days after the work is completed and that if I don’t wish to proceed with construction that there is no further action necessary on my part.



After reading this letter I was extremely disappointed, broadband internet is not even 600 feet away from me and got my hopes up that a more reasonable solution could come up with. I logged on to Broadbandmap.gov and it says that I should have a handful of providers as shown in the picture below:



Comcast says it should be available, AT&T is not available at my address and they were no help on the phone and any of the Hotspot cards are extremely limited in addition to having data caps. Satellite with very low data caps so ViaSat is out and wouldn’t be fast enough anyways. In the picture below I am the line just above 28 Mile Road:


We are the street just above the 28 Mile road writing that is covered in red and the guy on the corner of my street and 28 mile road is able to receive service because he has access to the telephone pole and we are roughly 600 feet away and they won’t extend the lines without outrageous construction costs.

February 14th, 2016: Fed up with Comcast and trying to figure out how to get the costs down, I send a complaint to the FCC about not being able to receive anything other than satellite or a Hotspot card and that Comcast would be the only provider on a street because nobody else is going to come in after them and take their customers

February 17th, 2016: I receive a phone call from Comcast but miss it because I was in the other room. I received an email from their Corporate Executive Customer Relations stating that they apologize that I had to escalate and want to make sure that all customer concerns, even though I’m not a customer are handled and receive a satisfactory response, I email her back and tell her any time is good to contact me.

February 18th, 2016: I receive a call in the morning and it’s the Customer Relations Executive and she explains to me that they surveyed our whole street but the cost for that would $34,000 but $10,000 for my house with my cost being $6,000 because it’s all underground. I tried explaining that $6,000 is a ridiculous amount of money for one family to pay for services and that they would be the only service on the street for the for seeable future and that they would love more customers but the costs don’t outweigh the benefits PR spin that companies seem to give when they just don’t want to do something. She tells me that the serviceability department will contact me to explain further. All the money customers pay Comcast for service and they want someone who wants their service to pay a hefty amount to invest in their infrastructure so they can provide service to 18 homes who would be paying them monthly. Imagine me going to a restaurant and them telling me I have to pay for their pots and pans before I receive service. Verizon doesn’t make me invest in their cell tower before I sign up for service with them. The whole experience has been frustrating with barely any help or real solution. There are also no fiber lines or Wireless Internet Service Providers in range. The Township is trying to figure out something but who knows how long that could take. I'm not against paying something for them to service our household but I was expecting a more reasonable amount the $6,000.


That is all until I hear from the serviceability department. Broadband is in my sights but yet so far away.

Update:
February 19th, 2016: I receive a call from the Comcast construction supervisor here in Michigan. He leaves me a voicemail that states they looked at providing service to our residence two different ways, one which would be providing it to me and my neighbor right next door which either we would be responsible for the $5955.50, which either we could pay by ourselves or split the cost with my neighbor to the south which would leave us at about $3,000.00 each. The total cost would be $10,000 total because they "might" have to add another fiber optic node apparently. He said might, which means Comcast is not even sure if they have to add another fiber optic node. The other way they could do it is providing service to the whole street with total construction costs being around $83,000 dollars or which the residents would be responsible for $37,000 to $47,000. Currently there are 7 houses interested which dividing by the high estimate of $47,000 would leave it just over $6700.00 a household which is still quite unattainable. I called the Comcast construction supervisor back and left him a voicemail to have him call me back at his earliest convenience but have not heard anything back.

FAQ:

Why now?

Answer: The world is becoming increasingly connected and more people are working at home. In order to take advantage of these new wonderful online services a stable broadband connection is necessary.

Why not satellite or DSL?

Answer: Satellite is extremely limited and not reliable enough, exams to be taken as I'm a college student and if the exams are interrupted I lose precious time and could lose my data altogether. AT&T actually told me they don't have a construction department and were no help at all. DSL or "UVERSE" isn't available in our area.

What about Wireless Internet Service Providers?
Answer: The closest tower is quite a few miles from us and aren't in range. This tower was put up a few years ago to address the problem of not having broadband.
What do you do for Internet?
Answer: Currently we tether we our phones and if something needs to be downloaded, I drive to a friends house in Lake Orion about 10 miles away where Comcast services his house.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below

2 comments:

  1. Maybe you could set up a wireless PTP link with your neighbor 600Ft away that has service

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. to make a long story short we don't get along with him and there is no line of sight to any of my neighbors who have service with a broadband provider

      Delete