Comcast sucks already?

At least I’m not alone in my frustrations. I am in Crozet. Comcast problems are being seen in Harrisonburg and Afton. I am able to reach some sites but not others. No pattern, completely arbitrary. Aargh. Thanks Comcast for the “smooth transition” from Adelphia. The HooK has some background on the switch.

Update 11-23-2006: The longer this goes on, the more I wonder why some sites are blocked/inaccessible and others are not. For instance, Rain City Guide is accessible at my office, my neighbor’s via Embarq DSL, but not at my house using Comcast/Adelphia.

Anybody have opinions on DSL offered by Embarq?

And it’s slow.

Update 11-26-2006: Mea culpa. I know better than this. I did tech support years and years ago. Removing my Airport Extreme from the equation fixed the problem. Now … to get a new router. Perhaps one of the new “Draft N” routers?

Update 11-29-2006: I don’t know what the problem is, but on Monday everything was fine. Yesterday, back to the same old problems. I am confounded. Nothing has changed on my end, yet problems persist. I know I am not the only one having problems, as people keep coming here via searches like this – adelphia comcast blocking website and charlottesville adelphia comcast internet problems.

Last Update – I promise! The HooK has a story today about Comcast, as does Cvillenews.

9 Days later, the DP confirms all of the above.

12/4/2006: After all the teeth-grinding and gnashing of teeth, one has to wonder if this is the type of situation that cries out for a corporate blog to answer these questions. Tier 1 tech support is laughable, and this seems like a perfect example of where a corporate blog would do well to respond directly to the customers, who have been talking about them.

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  1. Dan November 22, 2006 at 12:35

    I can’t comment on what DSL with embarq is like, but I can tell you what their service is like – terrible. I moved recently and wanted to switch over to embarq for phone/net/satelitte tv.
    First – services were all described and set up over the phone, including contract terms. They never sent me a contract to read, and they refused to do so.
    Second – they came out to set up the dish, but there weren’t sufficient lines of site on my property to get the satellite signal. I called that day and cancelled everything but the land line telephone. For the past 3 months, I have been receiving a bill for internet service. Each month I call, explain the situation and am promised that it is fixed. And each month, I get another bill with the charges on there. I have asked them each month to send me something in writing saying the accounting problem is fixed, but they refuse to do so.
    I realize this is only one person’s experience, but I have read of others having similar problems with embarq customer support. I am seriously considering cancelling my land line and using only my cell based soley on the experience that I have had with them.

  2. Sean November 29, 2006 at 19:16

    I’ve been seeing the same kind of thing. I swapped out the router, and now a different set of sites are not accessible. It seems they’ve introduced some equipment into their network that is not behaving nicely with routers.

  3. nobrainer November 29, 2006 at 20:20

    I’m in the same boat as Sean. Different routers have different problems. But having no router seems to work ok.

  4. Jim Duncan November 29, 2006 at 22:49

    How is this real estate related? I am asked by every one of my clients which is the most reliable/best broadband service available. It used to be Adelphia. No longer.

    Ok, for the sake of fleshing this out –

    After 14 minutes on the phone with a friendly tech support person, it apparently cannot be anything wrong with Adelphia/Comcasts’ service. We are all experiencing an odd set of coincidences.

    Let’s see – here is my setup – what are the similarities?

    Mac OSX 10.4.8
    Cable Modem model # SB5100
    Airport Extreme.

    Everything is peachy when connected directly to the cable modem. Not so much when the router is brought into the equation.

    nobrainer, Sean, finnegan – any commonalities? Could this be just an odd set of coincidences?

  5. TrvlnMn November 30, 2006 at 02:04

    Anybody have opinions on DSL offered by Embarq?

    I haven’t had any problems with them. I signed up when they were Sprint, they hooked me up the same day my phone service got turned on (which was about a 7 day wait), and when they switched their name to Embarq my monthly cost went down and I got a faster speed package. It’s only been down once around 1am for maintenance and was only out for about 30 minutes.

    I wouldn’t waste my money on satellite tv with Embarq though- they partnered with “DISH Network” which is an SBC company (a phone service provider in 13 states before they purchased Bell South and AT&T then changed their name to the latter). SBC has disreputable business practices, and I’ve heard all the horror stories first hand.

  6. Sean November 30, 2006 at 09:53

    It’s not a coincidence. I had the same problem while directly connected, though there was only one site that didn’t work in that case.

    I tried some experiments, and it seems that changing the MAC address your router is presenting to the network makes a difference. If I cloned my PC’s MAC address, then everything worked through the router except the site that wouldn’t connect when I was connecting directly to the cable modem. I made up a bogus MAC address, and every site I’ve tried works, even on the original router that was giving me trouble in the first place.

    I am a network engineer, and this is some bizarre behavior. My only guess at this point is that they have a weird hardware fault on a piece of equipment at the head end, but it’s going to be tough to convince them of that and for them to track down the bad equipment. I’ll be giving them a call and trying to get through the tier 1 support to get somebody who can check this out.

  7. Sean November 30, 2006 at 10:41

    I just called customer service, and the guy sounded like he’d been hearing from a lot of people with this problem. He said it was caused because the switchover is still in progress, but I don’t totally buy it. The only device that should even see your router’s MAC ID is the cable modem itself. Maybe they sent a firmware update to the cable modems to get them talking to the Comcast equipment, and that has a problem. There’s no way for us to know for sure.

    I’m sure Comcast’s Internet Ops people are fully swamped right now trying to do the switchover, so it might be a while before they find the fix for this.

  8. Jim Duncan November 30, 2006 at 11:27

    Thanks, Sean. Now to figure out how to change the router’s MAC address. 🙂

    This might be the last straw for me –

    Comcast’s new amenities will be accompanied by a rate increase that will go into effect on Jan. 1, Altman said. Comcast bills in the Charlottesville area are likely to increase by an average of 5 percent, regardless of whether customers sign up for the HDTV service.

    (from today’s DP)

  9. Michael Davis November 30, 2006 at 13:24

    In order to get to the blocked sites, I’ve found using a proxy server site as a pass through works. I use

    Give it a try, it worked on the site you couldn’t get to.


  10. Mark December 4, 2006 at 11:58

    I’ve been an Adelphia customer for over 12 years, and with HSI as soon as it was available in Crozet. This EXACT same problem has now cropped up three times in the past year or so. The first time it resolved quickly – maybe a day. The last (this past summer, if memory serves) I spent over a week with tech support sending them traceroutes, ping plots, etc. It was the exact same problem as this one. when you change any device connected to the modem you’ll pull a new IP address. Doing so will enable you to reach some sites you previously couldn’t, but dollars to doughnuts says if you surf long enough you’ll eventually find other sites that you can’t.

    In any event, I did Chat and called on this issue, and I was never escalated beyond level one tech support – which is a very bad joke in the world of support.

    After over ten days of this nonsense, I signed up with Embarq and called to cancel the HSI portion of my adelphia (comcast) service. That simple act took almost an hour to complete! I was transferred to Richmond and back and god knows where else before someone could sort out the cancellation and prorate the bill for me. As an aside, when the truck tech came to pick up the modem he gave me three different reasons for the problem, and told me only a handful of customers were affected. Nice guy blissfully singing the company line.

    Embarq is OK so far. Nowhere near the speed of Adelphia, and latency can get fairly bad (pings of 300ms and higher) at various times. I am getting what I’m paying for (speed tests are all 1400+ up and 350+ down), but the tech support seems much better than comcast and the connection has been rock solid. Adelphia was very good when it was up, but tech support had become horrendous, and nearly every thunderstorm that rolled through C-ville would knock the service out for hours.

    I’m actually happy to simply NOT be a comcast customer at this point. Sat-TV is a real possibility given how Comcast chose to deal with this problem.

  11. Jim Duncan December 4, 2006 at 15:16

    Michael –

    thank you for the tip – it worked. It’s just a shame that using proxies is a necessity with the new Comcast service.

    Mark –

    Which level of the DSL service did you select? I have looked at the top tier and Dish, and that seems much cheaper than what I have now.