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Comcast Customers Buy $35 Usage Cap Insurance, Report “Unlimited” is Slower Than Ever

Phillip Dampier December 28, 2015 Broadband Speed, Comcast/Xfinity, Competition, Consumer News, Data Caps, Online Video 6 Comments

comcast cartoonStop the Cap! has received a growing number of complaints from Comcast customers in Georgia who are paying the cable company an extra $35 a month to get back unlimited Internet access that is performing worse than ever before for online video streaming.

J.J. LaFrantz in North Druid Hills reports his Internet speed for streaming videos dropped from 60Mbps under Comcast’s usage cap regime to less than 20Mbps after agreeing to pay for Comcast’s unlimited use insurance plan.

“Right after I paid The Great Satan their extortion to get unlimited service back, my Internet speeds dropped,” LaFrantz tells Stop the Cap!

LaFrantz has been in touch with Comcast several times about the speed degradation, with each representative providing a different excuse:

It’s the cable modem. “Comcast loves to blame customer-owned equipment for Internet problems, urging the unknowing to pay endless rental fees for Comcast equipment that supposedly fixes everything,” said LaFrantz.

It’s the holidays. “With the kids home from school, apparently Comcast cannot manage to handle the strain, or so they seem to suggest,” said LaFrantz.

It’s everyone but Comcast. “If their speed test performs adequately enough for them, it is no longer their problem, it is yours.”

Mysteriously, after Comcast “reprogrammed” his cable modem, his speed returned to normal.

Jakfrist posted a similar complaint on Reddit after he signed up for Comcast’s $35 insurance plan:

The speed test shows slower than I am paying for but still a reasonable speed but videos that previously started instantly are now saying I have to wait an hour to start so it can buffer out (iTunes Movies on AppleTV).

Like LaFrantz, a call to Comcast eventually led to the company reprogramming Jakfrist’s modem, which also made the video streaming issues disappear:

How much will your next broadband bill be?

How much will your next broadband bill be?

After calling Comcast the first guy had no clue what I was talking about and I got escalated to another guy. The new guy tried to tell me that it was because I was using my own modem and it would be resolved if I used their modem.

I explained that I had opened a terminal window and was running a ping to google, Ookla (the speed test org), Bing, Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes. The only two experiencing issues / delays were iTunes and Netflix so my modem appears to be fine. They also asked if I had tried their video streaming service to see if it was slow as well. I just kinda laughed and said no thanks.

He asked me how old my modem was and tried to convince me my modem was bad again and all would be solved if I just leased a modem from them. I insisted my modem was fine that it doesn’t choose to filter out video content. He then told me that they would send a tech out to look at it.

I insisted that everything inside my house was fine and if they wanted to send someone out to check the things outside my house that would be fine but I wasn’t going to take a day off of work to have someone take a look at something I know is set up correctly.

He sighed deeply and said that he would see if he could update some settings in my modem. All the sudden my speed test went from 20Mbps to 60Mbps.

I ran the test on Netflix and told him even with the 60Mbps I was still only pulling 720p on Netflix and iTunes was even worse. He put me on hold for a couple minutes and reset my modem again and afterwards Netflix and iTunes seem to be functioning perfectly.

Customers not paying Comcast the extra $35 a month to rid themselves of usage caps are not getting off scot-free either.

cap comcastJeff Wemberly reports his Comcast usage meter is recording unprecedented levels of usage he has never seen on his broadband account before the caps.

“We were well aware of Comcast’s new 300GB usage cap and began closely monitoring how we use our broadband service,” Wemberly writes. “We even have the kids streaming 100-150GB of streaming videos from a grandfathered Verizon Wireless unlimited data/hotspot account every month instead of using Comcast (serves Verizon right for jacking the price up – now we’re going to use it until we drop). We have three years of usage data from our router and we were certain we’d be using no more than 225GB a month after making that change.”

Instead, starting the same month Comcast’s cap went into effect, their reported usage more than doubled.

“Their meter is absolute bull—- reporting more than 700GB of usage every month starting after the caps went into effect,” Wemberly writes. “They aren’t just putting their finger on the scale, they are sitting on it!

Wemberly’s router reported the expected usage drop, with the family turning in 217GB of usage in November and 189GB so far this month. But Comcast’s meter reports 711GB in November and 748GB so far this month.

“We started getting the usage warning 11 days into November and 14 days in December,” Wemberly tells Stop the Cap! “It recorded 63GB of usage on Dec. 19, a day the family was out Christmas shopping. If someone was into our Wi-Fi, the router would have reported it. It doesn’t.”

Next month, Wemberly expects to begin getting bills that run $80 higher after Comcast’s overlimit fee grace period ends. Comcast told him its meter cannot possibly be inaccurate.

“You are forced to pay the extra $35 so you don’t have to pay $80,” Wemberly said. “The Gambino crime family must be kicking themselves wasting time with loan sharking and shakedowns. They should have learned from Comcast and extorted people legally with data caps.”

Wemberly intends to say goodbye to Comcast when AT&T’s U-verse with GigaPower arrives in his neighborhood.

“Paying AT&T $70 a month is cheap compared to Comcast’s endless greed,” Wemberly said. “We can’t wait to cancel.”

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6 years ago

I’ve had TWC installed as a new account numerous times around my city. It always functions superbly for 24 hours after installation. After that, the provider pushes the regular profile onto the modem instead of the diagnostic one. Whenever you have a tech out to fix things, they switch you to the diagnostic profile for a day or so too. It’s blatant cheating. DSL(like uverse) providers do the same thing. You get the same “regular” profile no matter what the condition of your line is. I’m of the opinion that if they’re going to rate-limit our connections, they ought to… Read more »

6 years ago

The following assumes a person is an internet-only customer, who likes streaming online video, with no other Comcast services (and is really ticked off). If you are paying for double or triple plays with Comcast, you are just totally screwed to begin with so this won’t help much. You are already a lost soul, get your life in order and then come back to this guide. If you have a viable alternative for internet-only with no caps, cancel Comcast and tell them why. Switch to the alternative, even if it is much slower. Yes, even if it is DSL. There… Read more »

6 years ago
Reply to  SmilingBob

Nice tips, Bob. I have a different perspective though. I don’t feel like letting my provider change my habits and expectations. That is the path to sheepdom in my opinion. My provider should keep up with it’s customers, and the changing ways we use our service. If it can’t perform to expectations, it ought to have a better excuse than that some kid down the street is stealin mah Internets by downloading movies. Regarding choosing a service tier that impacts the provider the most; I feel that the best way to measure the price of network service is to divide… Read more »

6 years ago

I also hate the idea of my ISP forcing me to change my internet behavior, but until we get some type of relief from the BS data capping, I don’t see much choice in the matter. Except for what I outlined above, ofcourse! And sharing the connection with neighbors to split the cost (connection + unlimited data extortion fee) is certainly a viable option, although the end users would have to be somewhat savvy to setup repeaters (depending on distance). Plenty of guides on the interwebs for that though. Having options is a great thing – just a little imagination… Read more »

6 years ago

ECONOMY PLUS. Please substitute for PERFORMANCE PLUS (does not exist) in the pontification above. My lack of sleep, coffee (and whiskey) contributed to my above-normal brain fog this morning, thanks.

6 years ago

I am leasing a new apartment in GA in a couple of days. Xfinity seemed to have a slightly better deal than Charter. 75Mbps vs 60Mbps and a few more channels for the same price. I thought to check the data cap issue before ordering. I found it at https://www.xfinity.com/support/articles/data-usage-trials-find-area Sure enough, my zip code was there. The good news is that Comcast does have competition in the area, so I’ll be ordering from Charter. So if you are ordering a new plan, that’s where you can go to check instead of trying to dig it out of Comcast’s fine… Read more »

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