Home » Comcast » Recent Articles:

Vague “Hardware Issue” Caused Nationwide Comcast Outage Tuesday

Phillip Dampier October 12, 2016 Comcast/Xfinity, Consumer News No Comments

Comcast-LogoA significant number of Comcast customers were without broadband, phone, and internet service for several hours Tuesday morning because of what the company called a “hardware issue.”

“Early yesterday morning, our engineers detected a hardware issue that impacted voice, video and Internet services for a subset of customers across the country for several hours,” Comcast said, in a statement. “During this time, customers also may have had difficulty reaching us by phone. Our engineers quickly identified and resolved the issue, and services have returned to normal. We appreciate our customers’ patience as we worked to fix this and are sorry that we inconvenienced them.”

Major parts of Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland were without service until 10:30am ET.

Comcast Paying Record $2.3 Million Fine for Being Comcastic to Customers

Phillip Dampier October 11, 2016 Comcast/Xfinity, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't No Comments

comcastComcast will forfeit $2.3 million to settle a nationwide investigation into the company’s negative option billing practices — charging customers for services and equipment they declined or never requested.

The fine from the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau is the largest penalty ever assessed against a cable operator, and comes with a requirement that going forward, Comcast get clear consent from customers approving any future products or services that could impact their cable bill.

The FCC, in a news release, compared Comcast’s actions to “cramming” unauthorized/fraudulent charges on telephone bills and said FCC rules specifically prohibited cable providers from charging customers for services or equipment they did not request.

“It is basic that a cable bill should include charges only for services and equipment ordered by the customer—nothing more and nothing less,” said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the Enforcement Bureau. “We expect all cable and phone companies to take responsibility for the accuracy of their bills and to ensure their customers have authorized any charges.”

comcastThe FCC was showered with complaints for years about Comcast’s allegedly unethical business practices of billing for customer-owned modems, modems that were returned, unwanted premium channels, extra set-top boxes and DVRs. Many complainants accused Comcast of sending equipment or adding services even when those customers specifically declined them. Others discovered they were being billed for equipment they did not request, never received, or returned previously.

The FCC found consumers were inconvenienced and spent “significant time and energy” attempting to prove their case to get the unauthorized charges removed from current and past bills.

Under a consent agreement with Comcast, the company must  implement a five-year compliance plan.

“Specifically, Comcast will adopt processes and procedures designed to obtain affirmative informed consent from customers prior to charging them for any new services or equipment,” the FCC news release stated. “Comcast will also send customers an order confirmation separate from any other bill, clearly and conspicuously describing newly added products and their associated charges. Further, Comcast will offer to customers, at no cost, the ability to block the addition of new services or equipment to their accounts. In addition, the settlement requires Comcast to implement a detailed program for redressing disputed charges in a standardized and expedient fashion, and limits adverse action (such as referring an account to collections or suspending service) while a disputed charge is being investigated.”

A Comcast spokesperson denied the FCC’s accusations and called reports of erroneous billing “isolated errors” that resulted from “employee error” and “customer confusion.”

“We have been working very hard on improving the experience of our customers in all respects and are laser-focused on this,” Comcast said in a statement. “We acknowledge that, in the past, our customer service should have been better and our bills clearer, and that customers have at times been unnecessarily frustrated or confused. That’s why we had already put in place many improvements to do better for our customers even before the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau started this investigation almost two years ago. The changes the bureau asked us to make were in most cases changes we had already committed to make, and many were already well underway or in our work plan to implement in the near future.”

Comcast Getting Into the Wireless Mobile Business; Relies on Wi-Fi, Verizon Wireless

(Image courtesy: FCC.com)

(Image courtesy: FCC.com)

Comcast is getting into the wireless mobile business.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts made the surprise announcement at this morning’s Goldman Sachs Communacopia investor conference, telling attendees Comcast will offer service beginning in mid-2017.

Roberts added the service will depend heavily on Comcast’s installed base of 15 million Wi-Fi hotspots, mostly from cable modem/gateways already installed in customer homes. When away from a hotspot, Comcast’s cellular service will depend on Verizon Wireless.

The deal with Verizon Wireless was expected, because Comcast has maintained an agreement with Verizon since 2011 that allows both companies to sell each other’s services to consumers. The agreement allows Comcast to obtain service from Verizon Wireless at fixed wholesale prices.

That means Comcast can introduce its wireless service without having to build wireless infrastructure like cell towers.

“We believe there will be a big payback with reduced churn, more [customer] stickiness and better satisfaction,” Roberts said.

Comcast will continue the cable industry’s tradition of not directly competing with other cable operators and will not accept customers outside of an existing Comcast service area. Comcast will likely offer the service in a bundle with other services. This will result in a quad-play package for Comcast, bundling cable TV, internet, phone, and cellular service.

Roberts did not talk about pricing.

Cable Industry Declares War on Set-Top Box Compromise They Lobbied For

The cable industry prepares for war over a watered-down set-top box reform proposal many companies initially supported.

The cable industry prepares for war over a watered-down set-top box reform proposal many companies initially supported.

You can’t please cable companies any of the time.

After months of an intense lobbying effort to kill Federal Communications Commission Chairman Thomas Wheeler’s set-top box reform proposal that would have created an open standard allowing manufacturers to compete for your box needs, the cable industry has declared war on the watered-down compromise released last week that many cable operators lobbied for as a suitable alternative.

“While we appreciate that Chairman Wheeler has abandoned his discredited proposal to break apart cable and satellite services, his latest tortured approach is equally flawed,” said Comcast’s vice president of government communications Sena Fitzmaurice in a statement. “He claims that his new proposal builds on the marketplace success of apps, but in reality, it would stop the apps revolution dead in its tracks by imposing an overly complicated government licensing regime and heavy-handed regulation in a fast-moving technological space. The Chairman’s new proposal also violates the Communications Act and exceeds the FCC’s authority.”

That’s a veiled threat Comcast may take the FCC to court if they proceed with the watered down reform policy now advocated by Chairman Wheeler.

Charter Communications, newly enlarged with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in its family, also issued a statement claiming the FCC will ruin everything:

cable-box“Enabling consumers to use apps instead of set-top boxes may be a valid goal, but the marketplace is already delivering on the goal without overreaching government intervention. The FCC’s mandate threatens to bog down with regulations and bureaucracy the entire TV app market that consumers are increasingly looking to for innovation, choice and competition.”

Sensing blood in the regulatory waters, the pile on from Congress and programmers that depend on their relationships with large cable operators was inevitable and quick:

The top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee said Monday that he is doubtful.



“While I commend Chairman Wheeler for working to solve this difficult issue, I’m concerned that this latest proposal will not work, particularly when it comes to licensing,” Rep. Frank Pallone (N.J.) said in a statement. “Ultimately, I’m skeptical that the revised plan will benefit consumers.”

Comcast Criticized for Cutting Off Local Live Weather Reports During Indiana Tornado Outbreak

tornadoIndiana residents are fuming at Comcast for cutting off vital local weather information as tornado warnings were issued, replacing live forecasters with a static blue screen.

Comcast viewers were forced off local TV stations and locked out of their cable boxes, according to an investigation by WRTV in Indianapolis. Instead of getting live reports including storm tracks, Comcast viewers found a blue screen with a basic tornado warning scrolling across it. The message stayed on screen between 90 seconds to more than three minutes, and on one day alone Comcast locked viewers out of local storm reports 24 times during the tornado outbreak.

Comcast blamed the interruptions on its outdated infrastructure in the Indianapolis area.

The company said it is required to deliver the emergency alert messages, but critics complain Comcast can manage this without cutting off local stations’ live reporting.

“In many markets we have the technology in place to not override a particular broadcaster with a priority EAS alert,” a Comcast spokesperson told WRTV. “We are currently working on getting this capability on all platforms in every market.”

WRTV confirmed Indianapolis isn’t one of those markets and Comcast wasn’t talking when asked when the EAS improvements would reach Indianapolis.

Other providers didn’t experience any problems. Bright House delivers warnings without interrupting the picture on the underlying channel. AT&T said the same was true with U-verse.

WRTV in Indianapolis says Comcast locked viewers out of important live tornado outbreak coverage, giving them a blue screen instead. (2:22)

36 New Schools Join Xfinity on Campus Program; Now Includes Cloud DVR

Phillip Dampier August 31, 2016 Comcast/Xfinity, Consumer News, Online Video No Comments

Comcast has expanded its online video service Xfinity on Campus to 36 new schools, allowing college students who live on campus to watch live and on-demand TV at no cost.


The cable operator pitches the service to universities that are trying to move away from traditional coaxial cable networks and get cable TV wiring out of the dorms. Comcast’s program is essentially an investment for the future. Students exposed to Comcast’s cable TV service might become accustomed to having it, increasing the possibility they will stay with Comcast after they graduate.

Participating colleges set up a Metro Ethernet connection to the Comcast network and agree to support both an on-campus network that can support IPTV and a joint authentication solution that allows students access to the service by logging into their university accounts. The service is only available over the college’s campus network.

Comcast claims the service requires little or no equipment and students use their own devices — IPTV-ready televisions, as well as PC’s, notebooks, tablets, and smartphones to access the content.

New this year is free cloud DVR service, letting each student record up to 20 shows to view later. Comcast has also consolidated the on-campus service with traditional on-demand viewing available to all Comcast customers through the Xfinity TV app.

Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Customers Can Keep Wi-Fi Roaming

cablewifiComcast has confirmed new Altice USA and Charter Communications customers that used to subscribe to Cablevision, Time Warner Cable, and Bright House Networks will be able to continue accessing the free nationwide Cable WiFi roaming service, even though Altice and Charter are not members of the consortium that runs it.

“The Cable WiFi consortium remains in place following the recent merger and acquisitions activity,” a Comcast spokesperson told FierceCable. “Subscribers of each [company] that were previously entitled to use the CableWiFi hotspots continue to enjoy access. Access points that were made available by each [affected cable operator] continue to provide CableWiFi service.”

The network allows any Comcast, Cablevision/Altice USA, Charter/Time Warner Cable, Charter/Bright House Networks, and Cox Communications broadband customer to access a network of 500,000 nationwide Wi-Fi hotspots run by the five cable operators. Customers will know if they are in range of a hotspot by finding CableWiFi as an available connection. Broadband subscribers can log in using the same credentials they use when logging into their cable operator’s website.

It is unknown if Charter Communications or Altice USA will join the consortium directly, which would expand the network to cover legacy Charter customers and those signed up with Suddenlink, another Altice-owned operator.

Comcast Backs Off Charging Customers Double for Gigabit Speed in Chicago

comcast gigabitTo be a Google Fiber city or not to be a Google Fiber city. It could make a big difference to your wallet if Comcast upgrades broadband speeds in your neighborhood before Google Fiber finally arrives in your “fiberhood.”

When Comcast first announced a major trial of DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit broadband service in Chicago, it confirmed it would cost $139.95 a month — double the price Comcast charges customers in cities where Google Fiber has expressed an interest in providing gigabit service as well. With Chicago nowhere on the Google Fiber upgrade list, it seemed Comcast was prepared to prove the point that competition can really make a difference in broadband pricing, at least until stories appeared headlining Comcast’s pricing policies. Within hours, Comcast “clarified” it was prepared to sell gigabit service in Chicago for $70 a month as well, with a three-year contract.

“We are now able to deliver gigabit speeds over the existing lines that already reach millions of homes in the Chicago area,” Comcast spokesman Jack Segal told the Chicago Tribune. “This is a major step in the evolution of high-speed broadband.”

This is not Comcast bringing a new fiber line to your home or business. This is gigabit download speed over Comcast’s current cable/fiber network — the same one that delivers your current broadband service. DOCSIS 3.1 allows Comcast to bond additional channels together to boost speeds, at least on the downstream side. This technology will not deliver gigabit speed in both directions, at least for now. Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.1 gigabit plan delivers 1,000Mbps download speed, but just 35Mbps upstream. Customers looking for something faster can pay dramatically more for Comcast’s Gigabit Pro fiber to the home service, offering 2,000Mbps speeds. But it will cost up to $1,000 to install and is priced at $300 a month with a two-year contract.

Comcast’s 1TB usage cap (with up to $200 in overlimit fees) will apply to Comcast’s DOCSIS 3.1 plans, unless you opt for unlimited service… for another $50 a month. Comcast gracefully includes unlimited with its Gigabit Pro service.

gigabit comcast

Chicago residents can sign up for either gigabit plan at www.xfinity.com/gig. A $50 installation fee applies and a service call is required. Customers signing up will need a new cable modem that supports DOCSIS 3.1, and there are only a handful on the market so far. Many more will be available in 2017.

Police Looking for Comcast Contractor That Ran Over Georgia Grandfather

Phillip Dampier August 22, 2016 Comcast/Xfinity, Public Policy & Gov't No Comments
This Comcast truck was involved in a hit and run accident that left a Georgia grandfather dead.

This Comcast truck was involved in a hit and run accident that left a Georgia grandfather dead.

Georgia police are looking for information about a Comcast contract driver they say may have intentionally run over an East Point grandfather.

Local police originally assumed the July 17 accident along Camp Creek Parkway that fatally injured 60-year-old Dewey Skidmore was a drunk-driving incident, but new surveillance footage showed the driver looking out the window of his Comcast truck as he hit Skidmore, who died of blunt force trauma to his chest.

“If you look at the video you can see that the driver is driving at a slow pace, [but] begins to speed up as he runs over the victim,” East Point police spokesman Capt. Cliff Chandler told WSB-TV in Atlanta.

Comcast quickly distanced itself from the crime and the contractor, but has so far not released the driver’s name or truck ID to police. The cable company claims the contractor is not connected with Comcast, even though surveillance footage shows the company’s logo on the side of the vehicle.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the victim’s family,” the company told the TV station in a news release. “We are cooperating with the police in their investigation of this incident, which we believe involved one of our contractors.”

Comcast claims its contractors are “thoroughly vetted,” but as we’ve reported for the last several years, some of Comcast’s “vetted” contractors have committed serious crimes, including rape and murder, while on service calls.

Skidmore’s family is upset that more than a month has passed without any leads in the case.

Wash. Attorney General: Comcast Broke the Law 1.8 Million Times

comcastWashington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a $100 million lawsuit today against Comcast Corporation in King County Superior Court, alleging the company’s own documents show a pattern of illegally deceiving customers to fatten their bottom line by tens of millions of dollars.

The lawsuit claims Comcast violated Washington’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA) at least 1.8 million times as the cable operator misrepresented what is covered under its “Service Protection Plan,” improperly charged customers service call fees when they should have been free, and violated customer privacy by engaging in improper credit screening.

At least 500,000 Washington residents are victims of Comcast’s deceptive acts, the lawsuit alleges.

“This case is a classic example of a big corporation deceiving its customers for financial gain,” Ferguson said. “I won’t allow Comcast to continue to put profits above customers — and the law.”



Comcast routinely claims its $4.99/mo “comprehensive” service plan covered the cost of all service calls, including those related to inside wiring, customer-owned equipment connected to Comcast services and on-site education about products. That is, unless a customer wanted the wiring hidden by installing it inside a wall, which the majority of customers want. A so-called “wall fish” is not covered by Comcast’s plan, even though 75% of the time, Comcast representatives told state investigators the plan did cover all inside wiring.

It turns out many other things are not covered by Comcast’s “comprehensive” plan, including consumer-owned equipment troubleshooting and repairs involving cable jumpers, splitters, and other types of connectors. Some customers were billed for an entire service call if an excluded item happened to be checked by a Comcast technician. Ferguson claims Comcast does all it can to keep the fine print revealing the exclusions away from customers. Comcast does not offer customers enrolling in the plan a printed terms and conditions brochure or point to one on its website. Customers must dig around Comcast’s website to find the terms on their own. Just enrolling in the plan automatically gives Comcast a customer’s consent to whatever terms and conditions are in effect at the time.

Comcast also has a habit of charging Washington customers for trouble-related service calls that should have been free, the lawsuit alleges.

Comcast’s so-called “Customer Guarantee” promises that the company “won’t charge you for a service visit that results from a Comcast equipment or network problem.” Comcast discloses no limitations on this guarantee. But state investigators discovered Comcast routinely charged thousands of customers for service calls involving Comcast’s own equipment or service problems. Customers were also billed for service calls involving defective Comcast-supplied HDMI and component cables, cable cards, and installations of drop amplifiers, commonly installed to resolve a signal problem when Comcast’s network is not functioning properly.

long distance billComcast allegedly facilitated the service call charges until approximately June 2015 by encouraging technicians to use a service call “fix code” that permitted Comcast to “add service charges to a normally not charged fix code.” That allowed technicians to properly track Comcast’s own network troubles yet still charge customers to roll a truck to their home, even when the service call should have been free.

Finally, as many as 6,000 Washington residents saw their credit scores drop after Comcast engaged in improper credit screening, causing a “hard pull” on credit reports which can negatively impact credit scores, at least temporarily.

Comcast requires an equipment deposit, but it is usually waived for customers with an adequate credit score. But the AG’s office uncovered at least 6,000 occasions where customers paid an equipment deposit, despite their high credit score. Ferguson’s office claims this indicates either:

  • customers “opted out” of a credit check and paid the deposit instead to avoid a credit score hit appearing on their credit report, only to have Comcast run one anyway; or
  • customers were forced to pay the deposit despite their high credit score, contrary to Comcast’s policy.

The case is the first in the nation of this size and scope, and comes after Ferguson spent more than a year trying to work with Comcast. Ferguson said he was not satisfied with Comcast’s response and filed the lawsuit.

For violating Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, the Attorney General’s Office is seeking:

  • More than $73 million in restitution to pay back Service Protection Plan subscriber payments;
  • Full restitution for all service calls that applied an improper resolution code, estimated to be at least $1 million;
  • Removing improper credit checks from the credit reports of more than 6,000 customers;
  • Up to $2,000 per violation of the Consumer Protection Act; and
  • Broad injunctive relief, including requiring Comcast to clearly disclose the limitations of its Service Protection Plan in advertising and through its representatives, correct improper service codes that should not be chargeable and implement a compliance procedure for improper customer credit checks.

Search This Site:


Recent Comments:

  • Gregory Blajian: We were not Charter, gave up Comcast TV and phone to save money. Before we cancelled we were paying Comcast $250+/mo now we give them $57/mo for broad...
  • mike b: Still our best hope. Trump sure as hell isn't going to put someone in place who's willing to promote consumer-friendly practices....
  • John: Count me as one of those in Texas who dropped all services but Internet. I was an existing triple play customer under a current package price that st...
  • James R Curry: They're slowly expanding to cover most of those 7 cities, but they have sign-up windows. If you're not in your sign-up window then you can't get serv...
  • SAL-e: “Nearly everyone on the list is part of the Clinton campaign’s network of tech advisers, which helped draft the Democratic nominee’s tech policy platf...
  • Steve P.: Can someone explain Google Fiber to me? Don't they cover a small portion of 7 cities? About a fraction of 1% of the country, and not showing any signs...
  • Josh: Wow, that's nuts. If I lived in a Time-Warner area, that those copy restrictions *ALONE* would make me dump their service. I'm not trying to do any...
  • Dan: They need to bite the bullet, hire Amdocs to gut their ordering platform and copper facilities lookup tools, hire ATG to fix online ordering *after* A...
  • xnappo: Interesting view point SAL-e - one I have heard many times, but still thanks for the input....
  • SAL-e: "... I am paying their salary ..." No. You don't pay their salaries. The commissioners of the FCC are appointed bureaucrats by US president and appro...
  • Berfunkle: I wouldn't mind OTA 4K television. Where else are you going to get 4K content? The cable cos? LOL They don't even provide 1080P! It's a hassle and c...
  • xnappo: It is well within the FCC's charter, and since I am paying their salary I would like them to do their job :)...

Your Account: