Unfortunately, I live in an area where the only broadband service provider is Comcast. So, I have Comcast.
Getting started with Comcast was as… Comcastic… as one would expect. Their website is not very clear on pricing. They show their 12-month pricing (i.e. the price new customers pay for the first 12 months) but hide the real price (i.e. the price you will pay after 12 months) in small font, and even then the price in that small font is not very clear. Their reps have no idea what the price will be after the 12 month period ends — I was quoted 3-4 different prices by different reps. Apparently, it “depends on the area” and no one really knows until my 12 month period is up.
They kept trying to sell me bundles that include 1,234,364,556,765,723,123 TV channels that I would never watch plus a home phone that I would never use. Eventually, I ended up simply closing chat because their rep doesn’t know what “no” means. (The only reason I opened chat was to try and get a real answer as to Internet price after 12 months.)
They insisted on charging me $10 for an ‘activation kit’ (a kit that contains Comcast modem, wires, manuals, directions to get started, etc.) which I did not need, as I was bringing my own modem and router. When I was asked why I needed the kit since I’m not using any of their equipment, I was told this is actually an activation fee (and the modem would be removed from the kit they would send). You know, the fee I need to pay to hookup my own modem, with my own two hands, go to Comcast’s website, and click a few buttons to activate my Internet. Having no choice, I obliged.
When we finally moved, I tried to setup my Internet connection… but to no avail. I called Comcast asking what is up and they told me that they cancelled my account (despite the fact that I had already paid for their activation kit). Why? Apparently I didn’t activate my Internet connection quickly enough. It appears that you have to activate your Comcast account within X amount of days after purchase (a couple of weeks had passed since I signed up for Comcast and when I was ready to activate our Internet connection). Requiring activation within a certain amount of days is reasonable. The only problem? No one bothered to tell me this fact and they had already taken my money.
After an annoying hour or two on the phone, I finally got them to reactivate my account. After the Internet was up, I looked for the activation kit they sent me, because I planned on using the coaxial cables that came with it (might as well, seeing as I paid $10 for it). Although Comcast showed the kit as delivered, I could not find it anywhere. Another talk with Comcast resulted in them refunding the $10 charge because, apparently, the $10 was indeed a charge for the activation kit (not an activation fee) and since I never got it, why pay $10 (ignoring the fact that I never needed it in the first place)?
A short while later, I looked up my Comcast bill to ensure everything, such as autopay, was setup correctly. I noticed an extra $6 charge on my bill — a ‘transfer fee’. Huh? A transfer fee for what? So I talked with Comcast and apparently that is a fee charged for existing Comcast customers when they move. Only problem? This was the first time we signed up with Comcast. After I explained this to the rep and she confirmed it, I was promised a refund of the $6… but on the next bill and not the currently unpaid one, for some reason.
Since then, I’ve had no correspondence with Comcast aside from using my Internet (which, by the way, has never hit the full speed they advertise). Fast forward to today, and I receive a message while surfing the Internet that we’ve apparently gone over our 350 GB data cap. At first I thought it was a popup advertisement, but then I realized it was not.
I was very surprised that we’ve passed the 350 GB as we do not torrent anything and there are only two Internet-using people in our home. As per Comcast, the data caps are set high enough to only affect the ‘worst offenders’ (e.g. torrenters) and not ‘normal’ users. Our internet usage is what I would definitely consider to be ‘normal’ — Netflix, surfing the web, checking email, gaming, etc. Yet, we have somehow managed to hit the 350 GB cap. Not only that, but apparently our data use has drastically increased over the past few months:
This apparent increase is despite the fact that we have not changed our Internet use behavior — it was before and continues to be fairly normal.
Because I do not trust Comcast to do their job properly, I am going to be monitoring our data use going forward to ensure what Comcast says is true, is actually true. However, the point of this post is not to claim Comcast is committing fraud (which, despite how pathetic they are, I doubt they would purposefully misreport data usage). The point of this post is to call bullshit on Comcast’s claim about data caps not affecting the average Comcast user.
In 1990 350 GB would have been considered extreme, but in today’s world? 350 GB is absolutely nothing. We’ve managed to pass 350 GB with ordinary behavior and with only two Internet users. To put it simply, data caps on wired networks are complete bullshit — evidence has shown network congestion is not a valid reason for data caps and data caps are just a way for Comcast to nickle and dime their customers. And without proper competition, it will continue like this: expensive, abusive, and subpar service.
We plan on moving soon. Safe to say, this time when we pick a place to live, we will factor the broadband provider into our decision of where to go. No, I am not kidding. Screw you, Comcast.