I just moved back to Philadelphia and needed to get some internet. I wanted FIOS, but unfortunately it isn’t yet available in my neighborhood (Comcast just lost the fight to keep FIOS out of Philadelphia). Until then, I settled on Comcast.
The tech arrived promptly on last Monday morning. He was a new guy, but seemed pretty settled in and got to work quickly.
We hooked the modem directly into my MacBook Pro to perform the setup. I had a feeling this would be a problem since I would be using my Airport Extreme, but he didn’t seem to modem/internet savvy, so I just went with it.
My internet was turned on with only a small hitch and the tech went on to his next job. Total time: ~1 hour. Not too shabby. I was feeling good about Comcast.
All I had to do now was plug the ethernet cable into my Airport and I was done.
Not so fast.
I restarted the modem, no-go.
I restarted the AE, no-go.
After a few more restarts and I decided to call Comcast. A few tests and modem resets proved unhelpful. After that, the customer service rep ran out of ideas. Not long after I was disconnected.
Not a good start.
So I dialed back, got in touch with a new rep rather quickly. Unfortunately, she immediately told me they don’t support routers and to contact my router manufacturer. Nice.
I think it is a little ridiculous for any ISP to say they “don’t support routers”. The whole business of an ISP is to deliver bytes from the internet to your browser.
Most households now have multiple computers. This is double true for homes with broadband.
If you are in the internet business, you can’t escape routers. It is just a cop out and blaming other company’s hardware does not especially endear you to your customers.
The cost to having support reps Google a router manual is almost assuredly offset by the amount of good will you bank from solvinf your customer’s problems.
Now what? Well I started with Google, but nothing useful popped up in any of my searches.
Eventually, I remembered the Comcast twitter handle: @comcastcares.
Over the course of the afternoon I communicated with both Frank Eliason and William Gerth. They were extremely helpful. Frank even called me in between meetings to help troubleshoot my problem.
Shamefully, I must admit that a simple reset of my Airport Extreme fixed the problem instantly.
Setting aside my personal failures in diagnosing my own network issues, I must say I was actually quite impressed with the help I received.
With all of the criticism that Comcast receives on the internet, I was admittedly surprised.
My only hesitation in crowning Comcast “King of ISPs” is the nagging question of: “What if I didn’t use Twitter?”
I would still be in the dark, at least internet wise. I would probably be incredibly upset. Not even Comcast’s own customer service reps pointed me to Twitter. I barely remember gleaning it from some obscure tweets a month or two ago.
I’m sure the company doesn’t want CSRs pushing every difficult question to the Twitter crew, but hopefully they can get the word out a little better.
Even with that, I want reiterate that I indeed had an overall positive experience with my Comcast installation.
Comcast is actively working to improve their image with customers, and it is working.