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ComCast strikes again...

Several weeks ago, I got a notice from ComCast that my modem was out of date and they’d send me a new one for no additional charge if I’d just go online and order it. Great! Yippeee! I love new toys.

Well…I went to the page and typically it wasn’t clear what or how I was supposed to go about getting this wonder. So: Chat time. Nevermind they’ve got my flipping records in front of them, this dodo kept trying to make my request for the modem they’d offered me into an upgrade to a telephone service. DUH! What part of TV/Internet/Phone bundle don’t you get? Just send me the flipping modem already! I finally get through to her that I can connect the stupid cords myself and refuse to pay another $15 for somebody to come out and do it for me (what part of FREE doesn’t compute, ComCast?) and the order is placed.

Six weeks they said it would take for it to get here. Oh. OK. I’m kinda busyand not feeling well anyway…next thing I know, it arrives on my doorstep. Sheesh. I really don’t want to do network stuff with half a brain and that half on cold meds, so…heck, I have a month before I have to return the other. I’ll wait til I’m over the worst of the flu.

Last week, I decided to do the deed. I replaced the old cable from the wall with the new one, just because I’d started having all kinds of ghosty problems with the old modem and since they sent me shiny new cable… Why not? Perhaps had I considered the gymnastics involved in the operation, I’d have gone with the old cable, but I persevered. I plugged everything in as per instructions (and common sense) and then, as directed by the instructions, I opened up my browser to activate. That seemed kinda weird to me, since in order to get online the modem had to be activated, but, I tried it. Not surprisingly to me at the time, this didn’t work. So…no phone. Grabbing cell, I call the activation number. I asked about the online activation and how that was supposed to work and got lots of hemming and hawing and no answer. We’re now about an hour and a half into this. We move on to activation.

For the next hour, she tries to activate the internet access. It reads as activated on her end, but nothing in the house can reach the internet, no even a direct connect to the modem. We try restarts and reboots and different computers…nothing works. The sequence of events gets confusing, but the upshot is, she has my home phone and my cell phone. Eventually, my cell phone goes dead. Typically, it hadn’t warned me it was running out of juice. I run to get the charger. Plug in…and wait. No call back. Half an hour, no call back. I try redialing the number she called in on and get some idiot in bounced checks who can’t get it through his head that what I’m trying to do is get a modem activated and give me the number to get back to the right department. No, he keeps asking me about my check.

So, I hang up and go back to the actual activation page. Call again, and go through the same damned thing. We can get the telephone to function, but no internet access. Again, she says the internet shows as activated, but I can’t get out. After another hour and my asking about a different modem over and over, she finally explains that if it’s any sort of software or advanced trouble shooting, she can’t do that. She’s just simple activation (so why didn’t someone say this two hours ago?) and connects me to the tech department. AGAIN we got through the same activation garbage and then he begins running more checks. He leaves the phone silent for some time as he goes and runs these “checks”, comes back briefly. Does a reboot that loses the telephone, calls me back on my cell. That connection gets lost…and he never calls me back. Or maybe at that point we were on the land line and it went dead and he didn’t call me back on the cell. I honestly don’t really remember. But now I have the techline number. So…I call that number and try to get the person who answers to connect me back to “Paul” (Yeah, right.) HE keeps trying to start all over, and I begin saying…with decibel rising…that he’s not going to run checks. He’s either going to get me to Paul or his supervisor. He keeps saying “Let me see what I can do” and I keep saying “Get me a supervisor.”

I avoided cursing. I don’t really know how. By this time, it’s time for dinner. I started right after lunch. But I finally get a supervisor, who blithely comes back and says “I’ve check into it and the problem is, your internet hasn’t been activated.” I come back with “Three different people have activated itΒ  over and over and over and it never works. THE MODEM IS DEAD I NEED A NEW ONE.” Still, she insists on going through the whole activation process and finally sees it switch from activated to not activated and admits the thing’s a dud.

Now we have to REactivate the old modem so we have internet and phone while waiting for the expletive deleted new modem. We do that, I get online, the phone works and she promises me I’ll have a modem, sans wireless, in a few days and she’s going to wave the shipping charges! HOW SWEET! Give me an effing break. After over six hours that could have been avoided by the first person saying “we’ve got a problem with this modem” she’s going to wave the shipping charges on something they offered for free in the first place. I’ve now lost a day of work that was designated for getting books up on B&N, my office is a mess, the chair is out in the living room (it’s not easy to extricate it) and I’ve got another day of this lurking on the horizon.

So…Monday, the new modem comes in. I open it…and it’s the same flipping modem, complete with built-in wireless. Yippee.

5AM Tuesday, hoping to have internet by the time CJC gets up, change out the modem, open the browser and Oh, look! There’s the activation page! So that’s how it’s supposed to work. I put in my account info, and get a screen that lists both modems, the new one and the dead one, with little “activate yes/no” toggles. I flip the toggle on the “Yes” for the new one, hit “activate now” … and get some stupid popup that says “are you sure you don’t want to activate both? If yes, click here and we’ll bookmark this page and move on with activation. Ok. Fine. I click the button…and it takes me back to the page. And nothing happens on the modem. I’m familiar with activation now…gawd am I familiar with it…and the lights should go out and restart. I wait. Nothing happens. I try again, thinking I’ve mistaken how the yes/no toggles are supposed to work…maybe they’re defaulted to “on” so I switch the yes and no…and get the same nothing result. Finally, I gird my loins and hit the “chat” button.

After a bit of nardy fardling around, we did get it activated, and it really went pretty smoothly. Seems to be working well. She set it to “bridge” so I can use my proven router. Yippeee. I also discover that, contrary to what all the other activation people said, there IS a way for ME to set it to bridge by going to this page:


Which I haven’t tried yet, but this is a good thing because if you have to reset the modem, it goes back to its default wifi.

I also discovered that they supposedly give price breaks to people who have been with them for a long time…but you have to call and ask for it. How sweet is that? I’ve got the number. Haven’t called yet.

So…right at the tail end of this, CJC gets up…thanks to the test call the tech made to our land line (sorry CJ!) I thank the tech for her help and figure we’re all set. Log off the chat session…and now it was time to get the router working.

OMG. More headaches. I reset the router, plugged the modem into the router, plugged the router into the computer…and no internet. All the lights on the router were green, but there was no internet access. I have no idea why. I plugged the modem back into the computer and after a couple of computer restarts got back up online (the modem’s inbuilt wifi, even when set to bridge, is a serious pain in the communication butt) and went to see what I needed to do to get it talking to another modem. By everything I saw, it should have just worked. I should have been able to get up online to the Linksys admin page and sync the modem…but it didn’t work, no matter how many powerups and restarts I did in what order. But Linksys has a “Connect” software that came with the router (the disk has long since vanished because I’ve always gone online to do it myself). I hunted it down, installed it…and the router is now working like a champ again, with no need to change all our codes.

But the fact that I couldn’t get the internet by a simple hardwire through the router still bugs me. I’m betting it’s one more thing ComCast has done to try to force you to use their equipment. I’ve tried to find an option online for a modem that will work to replace their equipment, and everything I see indicates you simply can’t do it. Not that you shouldn’t be able to but ComCast refuses to activate and if they don’t activate you’re pretty much hosed. It’s not an equipment incompatibility, it’s a policy. If anyone has successfully used their own modem, I’d sure love to know what it is and how they got it to work.

15 comments to ComCast strikes again…

  • If I had had to go through this I probably would still be working off dial-up. Me I’ll just stick with my MacBook.
    Toes crossed that all continues to run smoothly and give yourself a little break and get fully better.

  • Given my last round of nonsense with ComCast, I’d say you’re better having a tech come out and asking him/her questions, than to try to do it over the phone. My experience was also that they do their best to pick you up, turn you upside down, and shake liberally until any lose coins, paper money, and plastic cards fall out of your pockets, so they can charge you for whatever they think of.

    Their phone people are usually friendly enough, and sound bright enough, and their in-person techs are apparently pretty skilled, but yes, their system is designed to be hard to navigate and harder to accomplish something, for us mere mortals, and by the way, surely we forgot to charge you for something, are you sure you don’t need something we’re already charging you for?

    I wonder if they know a bloke on Persephone, name of Badger.

    Back before ComCast took over the city from Time-Warner Cable, the situation wasn’t much better either, and ugh, AT&T…. Though I have AT&T for my cell phone and iPad, so….

    Yeah, I hear ya, Jane. This stuff ain’t fer sissies.

    I laughed at someone who wanted me to go for paperless billing and account view over the web. Sure, I’m OK with wanting to see my account online, but no, I want an actual paper copy of my bill mailed to me, and bank statements. What happens to that wonderful internet service after a major hurricane hits? (Major as in like Ike or Katrina.) Answer: You lose electricity for days, maybe weeks. After Ike, I had to pay month-end bills for utilities and services I wasn’t getting and wouldn’t get for another week or more past that. I understood that. But it sure was “exciting” (not in a good way) to wonder if what I estimated my bank balance still was actually matched the real balance. The person who asked me about signing up for paperless billing must have forgotten she went through Ike too….

    We are still in the early days before ultra-fast web access is a universal utility service, easy whether wired or wireless. When or if we get to the point where absolutely everyone can have it, regardless of income, then we’re still in this mess of robber baron fiefdoms, brought on by relaxing regulations, de-monopolizing for competition, but not providing for fair and universal utility access for everyone, like the mail or like phone service used to be. Phone service wasn’t free, but it was available and easy for nearly everyone to get.

    From what I hear, most European countries have a lot more sensible fast wired and wireless internet access, and Europeans are aghast at how things like phone and cable and internet are done in the US. — There’s nothing wrong with our technology levels. It’s infrastructure and the ways companies and governing bodies are allowed (not) to work that cause the baloney we deal with over here. Foreign versus domestic is an issue unto itself, which wanders into other topics instead of the blog post. (I think goods, especially high tech goods, should be produced within one’s own country as much as possible. I’m also in favor of trading with other countries, because it’s one of the best ways to promote trade, travel, people in both countries getting to know each other, and it promotes alliances and friendly relations.)

    In summary: Phooey, utility service, internet service included, is generally made into a huge mess, when it should not be. It is not a good sign when you get the feeling you know more about the subject than the phone support person.

    :hugs: Jane. The holidays are really close. Don’t let the wacky pplz get your goat. — I’m not sure what’s so good about that goat, but apparently, if someone gets it, you really like goats and want another…. πŸ˜†

  • ^ IN the above, that should be, “any loose coins” and not “lose coins,” which is what happens to you after someone takes your coins, you’ve lost them. I do know the difference, but the browser’s spellchecker has lately insisted it must stay on, despite my say-so against auto-incorrect.

    • Heh heh…they wanted to charge me through the nose for the tech to come out to install the “free” upgrade, which is why I opted to self installation. After a day on the phone, it would have been cheaper, but only because they wouldn’t admit the damned equipment was junk in the first hour. Grrrr…..

  • Walt

    The “free” modem I got from my ISP–who shall remain nameless, but whose initials are COX–was free by way of multiple rebate coupon forms, each a mile long, asking for personal information and for this and that to be cut or copied from the modem box or invoices, and each with a clause that while you could jump through all these hoops and send in the forms, buying your own stamps, they were not in any way obligated to send you any money.

    Sadly, due to the extreme lack of competition in broadband, I’m still with them.

    • It’s never really “free” because you rent the darned thing, which is why I objected to paying to have it installed, which would have saved me all the above. Grrrr….Really ticks me off that from what I’m reading on the internet, you can’t just buy your own modem and use it, not because of compatibility but because ComCast won’t activate it on their end. Double Grrrrr…..

    • Walt

      I do own the modem. I pay (through the nose) for the Internet service, but I own the modem, should any alternate ISP arise.

      • Sheesh…But it was one of theirs that they “gave” you through rebates? I see all these cable modems available for sale on Amazon and such and wonder who’s using them. *eyes flick right and left….*

    • chondrite

      Oy vey! We are going through the same thing, only different πŸ™‚ at our house. We had to ‘upgrade’ our bandwidth, which incidentally lost our grandfathered in static IPs, because they were changing all the available packages. We recently had to swap out our cable box which died, and the new one required an external switch because our ancient TV doesn’t do hi-def. Naturally, the first switch malfunctioned, requiring yet another trip to the far side of the island and another wait for a replacement. Now the universal cable remote is showing signs of senility…

      • Sometimes I just want to throw the lot out into the pond…but that would kill the fishies. And I hate to admit, I can’t imagine living w/o my TV and internet. ARGH!!!!

        Was The President’s Analyst ahead of it’s time or what?

  • ready4more

    Walt, We too must dip from the COX well, but fortunately I think they are slightly less internet restricted than ComCast. bcs is correct in his lament about the cable utilities and satellite dish companies are just as bad.
    My proposal: Give each cable company five years of a patrons account charges to pay for “infrastructure” then phase out over an additional three years charges for internet. All telephone charges go to a centrally established account that then pays for phone infrastructure. Telephone and internet should not be held hostage by all the fly-by-night and Snidely Whiplash corporations presently in the market. I can see paying for cable or satellite television. (We can only receive one cable network over the air, so cable or satellite is the only means to receive tv other than streaming video.) We understand that more tv channels costs more, and we can do without if that is the only way to make a budget work, but internet and telephone to a fixed location should be at minimum cost as it makes living safer and prepares people for the jobs of the future.

  • WOL

    I hear you. Loud and clear. I just got off the phone with ATT. For over two months, now, they’ve been sending out humpty gazillion emails saying they’re monkeying with how their email works and you need to run this updater program. Ran it. On all five accounts. This morning, I try to download my email and all five accounts error out. I call ATT. About halfway through their speech wreck system, I get disconnected. I call back. Wade through the whole phone tree and finally get an email techistani. Oh, we changed things again yesterday and you need to run the email updater program again. So I run it again. On all five accounts. No soap. I go to the ATT website and double check that all my settings are what they say they’re supposed to be. On all five accounts. (In the process, I note that if I had signed on with them after June of 2011, ATT.net is the only way I could get my email, as their server will not play with any other email client. I’ve had my email account for 12 years now.) I call back, wade through the phone tree again and get another techistani who tells me that because I want to use Windows Live Mail so I can download and keep My emails on MY computer instead of having to manage my email through their servers — which won’t work with Mail Washer — I’ll have to call Microsoft, and they charge by the hour to help you fix stuff. They’ll give me the number. I hit the roof. I inform said techistani that I pay an arm and two legs for their service and I’m not going to pay Microsoft to make WLM play nice with ATT’s email server, I want to speak with your supervisor. Thankfully I have an earpiece I can connect to my cordless phone so I can type with two hands and talk on the phone at the same time, because when the supervisor finally came on the phone, it took her another half hour to get things working, and she had to remotely connect to my computer to do it. It took me less than five minutes to make the same changes to Mail Washer on all five accounts (Mail Washer is a great antispam program BTW that allows you to bounce emails, in effect telling who ever sent it that they’ve sent it to an invalid email address. It’s cut my spam down from a gush to a mere trickle.) I won’t even go into what it took to set my mom’s new modem up, starting with sending her a new modem, charging her $99 for it and it was defective . . . But, these are the same people who after two service calls to my house told me that because their brand new box put out an anemic and crappy WIFI signal that dropped out five feet from the box (the box they were replacing put out a WIFI signal I could pick up anywhere in the house, until it died), I would have to BUY A ROUTER TO BOOST THE SIGNAL AND MAKE THEIR EQUIPMENT WORK! The third tech actually had more sense than God gave a doorknob, figured out that a neighbor’s WIFI was on a competing wave length and drowning mine out, found out what signal the neighbor was using and installed the right brand of box.

    I absolutely refuse to use ATT’s email servers (or anybody else’s) as my email client. Having to use a web browser to access my email is a pain in the butt, I don’t need or want all their little news services and shopping services, bells, lights, whistles and whatnot, all of which are designed for keeping track of where I go and what I do on the internet so they can sell the data to marketing firms, and I’m not really happy with storing my emails where the National Furtive Agency can hack through their server security like it doesn’t exist, and browse through all my emails at their leisure. I want MY emails on My computer. (If the National Furtive Agency thinks it has to know my business, the more hoops they have to jump through to access it, the better.) (cue sound of obnoxious damn yappy little dog barking yappy and obnoxious barks hysterically)

  • WOL

    Oh, and did I mention that I had to get up at “Oh God-thirty” to be at the dentist’s office by 8 oclock, and that I was having to do all this with half my face numb?

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