How to Fail at Everything Internet – A Comcast Tale

This post represents the culmination of over a month of testing, hours or phone calls, twitter conversations, installations, and e-mails all in trying to work with Comcast to resolve an issue with my newly installed Gigabit Internet. It is incredulous to think any company would make it this difficult for someone to give them money each month! It is not 100% narrative, and at times could seem scattered, but I have done my best to document the incredulous experience which I can only describe as being foul and shameful. If Comcast has been trying to improve their abysmal customer service, they are failing. This is an example of such a failure…

Technicolor TC4400 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem

For years we had fiber from our local/rural phone company. Unfortunately, they went thru a tumultuous time a few months ago when their GPON cards began failing left & right, bringing my connection down for days on end. I bit the bullet and bought a DOCSIS 3.0 Cable Modem from Amazon and self activated 150 meg XFINITY Internet. Soon after (probably less than 2 weeks) I found XFINITY Gigabit was available and ordered it for install.  We had XFINITY Gigabit installed on June 14. It is a Coax service, and their technician provided us with a Technicolor TC4400 DOCSIS 3.1 Modem.

It is worth noting, the Technicolor modem (at least the ones from Comcast) do not show the event log page, you can’t see what’s going on at boot or provision, what boot file is assigned, etc.

Unfortunately, several days after installation the modem went into “walled garden” status. This means it wasn’t recognized or considered activated (usually the case) by Comcast’s systems. It’s what you see when you buy a modem from Amazon or BestBuy and bring it home to self activate. The technician who installed our service was able to return and resolve this. When he arrived, I was already on the phone with Comcast’s Executive Relations team as their support team didn’t know the difference of gigaBIT versus gigaBYTE, let alone that it was a residential high speed internet service offered by Comcast/XFINITY. It was during this call with their Executive Resolutions team I was informed the following:

“The modem I was trying to use is incompatible with the Gigabit service and they audited/removed it from my account.”

This explains it being in walled garden. Of course, this isn’t the case, the modem is fully compatible with the service. And that modem was issued to me by a tech. A major part of this issue being able to continue for as long as it has is the non-education of Comcast agents. They haven’t had enough experience to even know what it is, let alone to troubleshoot it. It’s not your average DOCSIS 3.0 configuration. This is partly because Comcast hasn’t launched DOCSIS 3.1 everywhere, en masse.

My XFINITY Gigabit Internet Service went into walled garden again on 19th and 22nd,. I called Comcast, of course, as I was frustrated. Each time they would only tell me they are sorry, unsure of the cause, and replace the bootfile on my modem.

Exhausted by incompetence, I opened a complaint with the FCC, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (the Florida Cable Franchise Authority) and Attorney General. Complaints regarding accounts in  my area seem to go to an office in South Florida, Fort Lauderdale/Boynton Beach area. I am experienced in working with their team and expected working with a professional from their office. Remember how wrong we were to go to that planet in Prometheus? How wrong we were to bring that microorganism back to life in the film LIFE? That’s how wrong I was in expecting decency from a Comcast employee.

What happens next may be shocking, but it’s true, it’s not exaggerated, hyperbole, or made up. 

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