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While Verizon has been essentially kicking Sandy victims to the curb, Comcast says it's taking great lengths to get them up and running again. As we've been discussing
, Verizon has been going up and down the coast telling Sandy victims who've been waiting seven months for repairs that they'll never see their DSL lines restored. In their place Verizon is giving them Voice Link, a service that connects home phones to the Verizon Wireless network, but suffers from glitches, doesn't offer data connectivity, and lacks some basic features like named callerID.
In contrast, Comcast issued a press statement today
that highlights a very different strategy in Sandy-devastated areas. According to Comcast, they just got done upgrading 144 miles of infrastructure along the Jersey shore, renovated all local service centers while increasing staff and hours of availability, added 170 technicians to support the region, and are putting these customers first in line for new features like Comcast's new gateway
"We know that Hurricane Sandy complicated life for millions of people, and many of our employees and facilities were affected by the storm," said LeAnn Talbot , senior vice president of Comcast's Freedom Region. "We were here for the Jersey Shore during and immediately after Sandy, we have been here to support since then and will remain as a partner tomorrow and beyond as people and communities work to rebuild."
In contrast, Verizon has been telling a lot of Sandy customers in New York and New Jersey they'll never see a working POTS or DSL line again, and as I exclusively reported this week they're about to bring that bad news to large parts of Sandy-impacted Pennsylvania
. Users there are quickly realizing that heavily-capped wireless is not a substitute for an uncapped fixed residential line.
It appears that Comcast is killing off its Skype service for set top boxes just a year after unveiling it. In May of last year Comcast launched the product offering
, which for an extra $10 a month allowed users to video chat -- if
users subscribe to the Comcast triple play of Digital Starter TV (or above) with HD service, Performance Internet (or above) and Unlimited Voice service.
directs our attention to the fact that for the first time, a Comcast user has been sued three different times for one download of an animated film. "Plaintiffs technical monitoring personnel failed to notice the repeat entries of the identical IP address after sorting and filtering and filed 3 different federal lawsuits," the John Doe writes in his own defense. "This calls into question their accuracy in managing their cases properly." Torrent Freak
and the plaintiff speculate that he was sued three times in the hopes nobody would notice, thereby increasing the chance of getting a subpoena from at least one of the three Judges. Instead, all three cases landed on the desk of one Judge.
Comcast told one DC-area grandmother that she could no longer be a Comcast Internet Voice subscriber after she cast an immense amount of votes for an "American Idol" contestant. According to local DC Fox affiliate Fox 5
, Comcast sent the notification after the woman called the "American Idol" hotline "several hundred times in an hour." The 72-year-old woman was confused by the termination letter because Comcast advertises its Digital Voice service as unlimited, a word that generally means the exact opposite in telecommunications markets. After the letter was publicized, Comcast claimed the termination notice was sent in error but reiterated their right to warn or terminate excessive voice users.
The Supreme Court this week ruled for Comcast in a case that was levied against the company alleging they'd intentionally created a monopoly in the Philadelphia area -- then jacked up prices to punitive levels (we've been talking about the case since it was filed in 2003
). According to the decision
(pdf), the ruling fell along the usual 5-4 partisan lines.
Comcast VP of public policy Rebecca Arbogast informed attendees of a Free State Foundation conference this week that the "alleged failing and falling state of U.S. broadband" is "based on misunderstood and misused statistics." According to Arbogast, the claim that the United States is 22nd in broadband is effectively a lie, used by critics to unfairly attack what is secretly a top ranked broadband infrastructure. Arbogast went on to argue that comparing the United States to markets in Asia is "silly at best" and that those criticizing United States broadband are just engaging in "hand wringing
(Arbogast said) the absolute price of broadband was essentially flat while speeds increase 900%. She pointed out that over the same time the cost of college has increased 72%.
Comcast today stated that customers in California will now be seeing some of the speed upgrades we've been seeing deployed elsewhere
around the country at no extra cost. Specifically, Comcast's Blast tier is going from 25/4 Mbps to 50/10 Mbps, their Extreme tier will be going from 50/10 Mbps to 105/20, and their Performance tier will be going from 12/2 Mbps to 25/5 Mbps for all users. The Comcast press release
lists a handful of communities that won't be getting the upgrades until later on this summer -- because you were bad I'm guessing. An insider tells me that the 12/2 Mbps to 25/4 is running behind the other upgrades for many users, who'll see that specific bump in April.
A reliable source at Comcast has provided me with the March launch schedule for the company's speed increases that have been slowly deploying nationwide. As noted last month
, Comcast's Blast tier is going from 25/4 Mbps to 50/10 Mbps, their Extreme tier will be going from 50/10 Mbps to 105/20, and their Performance tier will be going from 12/2 Mbps to 25/4 Mbps for all users.
Comcast has now put information on their implementation of six strikes online
. According to the nation's largest broadband company, their version of the program will involve a persistent nagging pop up that continues to alert the user after the fourth warning.
Despite the faster speeds now being pushed through fiber and DOCSIS 3.0, there's many users who continue to suffer from the inability to quickly and consistently stream YouTube videos. Spend a few minutes in any of our forums and you'll find this is a universal problem with many carriers, including AT&T U-Verse
, Verizon FiOS
and Time Warner Cable
After several significant delays, the entertainment industry and most of the nation's largest ISPs are set to launch their "six strikes" graduated response anti-piracy efforts starting today. Sources familiar with the plan timetable have told both Daily Dot
and Torrent Freak
that six strikes starts today, and a new Center for Copyright Information website
run by the entertainment industry appears to have been freshly launched for the occasion (see new video, below).
A month or so ago Time Warner Cable proudly proclaimed that the company would be banning some
gun ads, specifically "ads showing semi-automatic weapons and guns pointed at people." As I noted at the time
, it was unclear if the company had ever run any of this type of ad in the first place. Now Comcast has taken things one step further by banning ads for all gun stores. Angry gun shops tell ABC News
the ban is "a direct infringement on our constitutional rights," while Comcast says it's becoming standard practice. "Consistent with long standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward," said the company. "This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations."
Back in 2011 the FCC began collecting real-world user broadband data from customized routers, then issuing reports on which ISPs were failing to deliver advertised speeds. It's one of the few FCC policies in recent years that has truly paid dividends for consumers. story continues..
A Comcast insider has provided me with documentation stating Comcast is going to start charging XFINITY Voice users for device backup batteries. The documentation suggests that the new policy will go into effect starting February 26. story continues..
A very reliable source inside Comcast tells me that the new speeds being seen by many of our users in the Northeast
should be appearing for the rest of you in March. Last summer an anonymous tipster sent a leaked screenshot
of what would ultimately be Comcast's new speed offerings.
Comcast's fourth quarter earnings
indicate that the cable company almost managed to not
lose video subscribers on the quarter, but still shed 7,000 anyway. CEO Brian Roberts points out that the company would have gained subscribers for the first time in many years if not for superstorm Sandy, also noting that Comcast has improved on its video subscriber losses for nine consecutive quarters. Comcast also said that they added 341,000 broadband subscribers and 168,000 voice customers for totals of 19.36 million and 9.95 million, respectively. Comcast posted a profit of $1.52 billion on revenues of $15.94 billion.
After acquiring a majority stake in NBC Universal for a deal worth $13.8 billion back in 2009
, Comcast this afternoon announced they'd be buying GE's remainder share of NBC for an additional $16.9 billion. According to a Comcast press release
, Comcast will also be buying the NBC/GE properties at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, as well as CNBC's headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ for around $1.4 billion. "Our decision to acquire GE's ownership is driven by our sense of optimism for the future prospects of NBCUniversal and our desire to capture future value that we hope to create for our shareholders," Brian Roberts said in a statement.
Comcast has finally launched a security suite for smartphones and tablets after testing the service since 2009. According to a company press release
, Xfinity customers can now download a free app called Constant Guard Mobile that will protect users from phishing attacks and fraudulent websites. The company also offers desktop users a version of Constant Guard
made by Norton. Whether you really think you need your cable company to provide mobile device security, or whether you want yet another large company fiddling with your private data -- is of course up to the individual. We'd be interested in hearing Comcast user impressions of the app in the comment section below.
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Recent news contributorsKarl Bode , telcodad