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Six Month Rating

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Review by ricklg See Profile

  • Location: Laurel,Anne Arundel,MD
  • Cost: $141 per month (month by month)
  • Install: about 1 days
Good "Connection Speed, Reliability"
Bad "Tech Support"
Overall "Quite satisfied overall"
Pre Sales information:
Install Co-ordination:
Connection Reliability:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

Latest Review at the bottom.

6/15/2004 Original Review:

After having various dial up services since 1992 (remember Prodigy at 2400 bps?) I decided to try Comcast HSI. Dial up was OK, but I had seen what broadband was like at work. In February 2004 I saw the Best Buy offer for Comcast HSI at $19.99 for 3 months ($42.95 after), Motorola SB5100 (free with rebate), Comcast self install kit (free with rebate), and a $75 Best Buy Gift card. The gift card was good for a router and a few bucks more. This looked like a good deal so I took the plunge.

Self install was a snap (sort of). I already had Comcast Cable TV service so there was no need for a technician to come out. I spent about an hour cabling up and running the self install software. I ran the connection software and it wouldn't connect. I tried and tried. I finally called Comcast to register the modem MAC address. Best Buy supposedly registered the modem with Comcast when I bought it, but Comcast had no record of it. After a few calls to get the right MAC address installed and their database updated (twice!) everything worked fine. The Indian lady was very hard to understand tho. It was about 6 hours from opening the box to being on line.

The service is 3Mb down, 256Kb up. The DSLreports benchmark shows 3.1 Mb down, 240Kb up. This has been consistent for the 4 months I've had Comcast HSI. It is sometimes a bit pokey (down to 2Mb ), but I've also seen 4.7Mb at times. I've only been down 3 times in 4 months and one of those times was during a storm where I lost power for 6 hours. The other 2 times were 10 to 45 minutes long. My area is a new installation for Comcast HSI so my mileage may be different than yours.

Tech support is terrible if you don't have a configuration question. I tried the on line chat help to ask about a port 123 (network time) network routing problem. It had been working then it stopped after a month. The chat guy was nasty and clueless. I called the 800 number and the first person I talked to was pleasant, but clueless. Neither knew what I was talking about and assumed I was stupid. I got to the next support level and finally talked to a knowledgeable person. It shouldn't take 3 hours to find someone who understands your question.

Overall I'm quite satisfied. As long as my service remains reliable and I don't have to call tech support I'll be very happy. I have other broadband choices (Millennium Cable and Verizon DSL), but Comcast seems to be the best available. I'm still thinking about the price difference from ATT Worldnet dial up ($16.95/mo) and Comcast, but I think I'm hooked on broadband.

4/15/2005 Update:

After 1 year with Comcast I'm truly hooked on broadband. My service suffered during the October 2004 through January 2005 speed upgrade. There were speed and modem sync problems during that time. Since they announced the upgrade complete in January 2005 I have had nothing but good, reliable service. I now have 4000/384 service with the upgrade. Speed tests consistently show 3700/350 or better.

They have had several bad DNS outages in April 2005, but I put an alternate DNS address in the router and never noticed the problem.

I haven't had to call tech support in a while (thank goodness), but I assume it's as abysmal as ever. I would go with someone else with comparable service and good tech support, but they don't exist.

11/15/2005 Update:

I'm still very satisfied with my Comcast HSI service. The Summer speed upgrades went well. I have been consistently getting 6Mbit/s down and 350Kbits up since August.

I had to call customer service (sigh) in July when a thunderstorm knocked the cable out. I called and found out it was a big outage. Two days later I called again (service rep was surprised I was still out) and got a truck roll 2 days later. The technician was very accommodating and spent about an hour troubleshooting. He determined the problem was in the distribution system. He put in a work order, but he couldn't confirm a completion date. Sigh. Not his fault, that's just the way it works. Late the next day my Internet connection came up.

I was without Internet service for 5 days. I can't blame them for the thunderstorm, but anything past a day or two (especially when it's in their distribution system) seems grossly inefficient to me. This outage also affected my neighbors so I would have expected a bit more alacrity in their response.

Besides this act of God, the service has been reasonably solid with only 3 outages in the last 6 months that lasted about an hour each. I don't think this is too bad.

Although I can't complain about the Internet connection, the price is still a bit high. I'll consider going to Verizon FIOS if the price is right.

4/15/2007 Update:

I still can't complain. My ratings remain the same. Service since my last update has been pretty solid. Download speed is very close to the advertised 6 Mb/s and I'm seeing 640Kb/s upload with the upgrade a few months ago. Power Boost works fine. There were a couple of short down times, but I guess they have to do maintenance sometime They didn't bother me in any event.

I haven't needed to call them for anything recently, but my previous opinions about tech support remain. I'm still biased and they haven't done anything to change that. (Not necessarily their fault, but I still have a bad taste in my mouth.)

Verizon finally put a connection box in front of my house, so I'm definitely FIOS ready at the curb. Verizon prices are commensurate with Comcast prices so I'm not ready to explore new ground by changing (yet). It's good to know I have a viable alternative to Comcast if they get unreliable or more expensive than Verizon. Comcast is making waves about ditching analog cable. If they try to charge me for the digital TV box(es) that may be my clue to go FIOS. I'm hanging tough for now.

5/25/2008 Update:

My opinion remains unchanged. The network has been reliable except for when Mother Nature causes problems. These outages were taken care of quickly. I made 1 service call during the last rating period. I asked for a line tech and got an installer. When he got here he told me I should have asked for a line tech...sigh. I fixed the problem myself (corroded connector). The installer magnanimously said he wouldn't charge me.

I'm still quite satisfied although tech support still needs a lot of work (but you already knew that!)

3/27/2009 Update:

I'm still quite pleased with the Comcast service and reliability. My service was upgraded to 12Mbit/1Mbit in December with no price increase (still $42.95). This upgrade is working very well. I am still using my original SB5100 modem (I'm glad I didn't rent it!).

The 250GB cap doesn't affect me yet so there's no reason to complain. I am concerned that if I use more streaming video that this could be a problem in the future. I was lucky to not need to call tech support in the past year so I avoided that frustration.

I received a Christmas gift of an HD TV. This has got me thinking again. Comcast HD choices are severely limited in my area despite advertising to the contrary. So far it's OK, but my choice of TV providers could affect my choice of ISP.

10/28/2009 Update:

Comcast has been very reliable since the last update. Because I haven't needed to call customer support I'm still quite happy.

12/13/2010 Update:

The service has been very reliable since the last update with contracted download speeds (12 Mbit/sec) being available most of the time. In fact I've seen 25 Mbit/sec on some large downloads lasting 10 or 15 minutes. This is beyond Power Boost.

Another year has gone by where I didn't call their (still presumably) abysmal customer service. I've had no problems that required a call. They've trained me not to call...sigh. This has been to their detriment. I've been contemplating upgrading my TV service for the past year or so. I've been afraid to change something (billing and service) that is working. A decent web page that shows ALL the options would be nice though.

5/20/2011 Update:

I'm still quite satisfied with my Comcast Internet. I've had no need to call them for service recently although I've noted in just the past few days that my modem power levels are becoming marginal...sigh. I hope I don't have to try to explain this to whatever droid I get on the phone.

Alas and Hallelujah! Their website FINALLY had an entry for ordering an HDTV box without the $40 installation fee, the $30/hr charge, and the miscellaneous cat sitting fee (or whatever). They've trained me not to call so I didn't. I get the local stations' HDTV signals from the raw cable (that's what I usually watch) so I haven't missed much. Comcast missed the 2.5 years of the $10 HD fee because of their abysmal customer service and a web page that is only relevant to new subscribers.

I took the plunge and I'm anxiously awaiting my HD self install kit. I'm less anxiously awaiting my next bill which I assume will not be correct or at least not what I expected...sigh.

I've looked at FIOS (the fiber is in front of my house), but I still haven't seen a reason to switch. The prices are about the same and Comcast has been reliable. It's good to know that I have another choice should Comcast decide I don't matter any more. I've had Comcast (and its predecessor) for 19 years so inertia also figures in to any decision to change.

As a side note I'm still using my original SB5100 modem I got free (after rebate from Best Buy) in 2004. I've certainly got my money's worth out of this puppy While my current 12 Mbit/2 Mbit service doesn't require anything better I suspect I'll need to upgrade to a DOCSIS 3 modem sometime soon. Maybe I'll put a new modem on my Christmas list?

7/19/2011 Update:

I am still satisfied overall with Comcast (TV and Internet) although my experience with my new HD set top box (STB) shows customer service is still lacking. I received my new HD STB by mail on May 23. Plug it in and it works after a few hoops to jump through. Nope, DOA. It didn't work because it wasn't in their database. It took a week to figure this out. Eight calls over two weeks couldn't resolve the problem. The installer arrived on June 4, but was clueless about my problem. Luckily she had an HD STB. This one worked. I waited for my bill.

The June bill wasn't too far off given that I finally got a $25 credit for my trouble. They charged me for HD between May 20 and June 4 with 1 day credit for May 27. I'm guessing my 1 day credit was someones attempt to fix the billing problem, but didn't do it right. I had told them not to charge me for service not provided. OK, I would be arguing about $5 or so. Being afraid of the can of worms I might be opening I just paid the bill. I then anxiously awaited the July bill.

The July bill charged me for 2 STBs. I've never had more than one working at a time. I called, gave a one sentence description of my problem, and the lady agreed with me. She immediately credited my bill for the overcharge. I just about fell out of my chair! I now await the August bill...sigh.

I won't upgrade my opinion of Comcast's customer service based only on this one ray of light. Getting HD service to work was a nightmare of phone calls with no one really knowing what to do.

5/13/2013 Update:

Service is still good and reliable. The price went up $5 (Internet) since the last review. TV went up even more...sigh. I had my coax severed by Verizon Fios contractors in Nov 2011. I asked them if they cut my cable. "Oh no senor, we no cut cable." Crap! I called Comcast.

A total outage didn't impress them so I got someone 2 days later. They gave me the impression this was expedited from the run-of-mill outage. The technician saw the coax was buried about 6 inches below ground and was 20 years old. He told me that he'd schedule my cable for replacement in the spring (2012). HA! It never happened as I thought! Everything still works and I've had a speed increase or two. I'm up to 20mbit/s on the performance tier.

Overall I'm still satisfied with the company and the service it provides. Customer support probably still sucks, but I've been lucky not to need any recently.

7/23/2014 Update:

My service has been quite reliable since my last review, but then I haven't changed anything since the last review. I lost a few HD channels that were thrown in when I first got the HD set top box. I guess they figure that there are enough HD channels now so that I won't complain. Of course much that claims to be HD is not...sigh. It would take $20 more to get back the channels I lost--it ain't worth it!

I have a policy of making no changes with Comcast. Things tend to get screwed up and take a month or two to straighten out if I do something different. Sometimes I feel like being adventuresome and add service, but my previous experience tells me to leave well enough alone. I'll just read a book!

No real need to mention that the cost keeps going up. I AM pleased with the 25Mbit down and 5Mbit up increase. This is good enough for what I do (for now). Go back to my comments from 10 years ago where I thought that 3Mbit/256Kbit was just the greatest. I was happy with my 56Kbit modem in 1995. Times change and our habits evolve. In 1995 I couldn't buy much of anything on the Internet. Today I buy things that I COULD go down to the store for, but I don't.

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