The Comcast Experience

Right so we’re all clear on how disappointed I was that Comcast was the only real broadband provider at the new house, yes? And that I spent a lot of time to make sure I was correct that it was the only feasible possibility? Good. Yes. 

Around 5pm as we’re finishing up some of our work for the day (or thought we were), the UPS guy delivers my TV tuners and cable modem, which was great because I should have been able to knock out setup for this new utility with ease. Ha ha, no.

A big chunk of the issue turned out to be the house. In the main room are three coax outputs. Two are right next to one another, one is up in the custom TV cubby above the fireplace. I assumed one output went from a theoretical DVD stack and up to the spot above the fireplace. It turned out that each was a separate output. Or rather, each was supposed to be. In trying to figure it out I unscrewed one of the wall plates to find it wasn’t even connected. This led me to check the basement, where that wire was hanging, stripped and without a connector, in a tattered mess. #%$&.

In trying to work it all out I followed it back to the tangle of coax wires covering the house. There was one input wire going into a four way splitter. Then there were SIX cables to the rest of the house that weren’t even connected. What the hell. The signal degradation over that splitter would be pretty severe, and at least some of the cables were labeled. But this would be a headache to work out. I only need three outputs, fortunately: one of the modem, one for the main TV, one for the TV in my office. Since the modem also needs to be in my office (I’ll be damned if I’m going to put this monstrous PC on wireless), I’ll have one splitter in the basement and one in my office. That should be sufficient… right?

Anyway, after getting some of it worked out I had to call Comcast. First, tech support. Please enter my phone number… my account number… address… last four of social… good. Ok. They can’t help me, they say it’s a billing issue. What? I don’t even have fucking service yet, how is it a billing issue? They redirect me to the billing department. Phone robot asks for phone number. Type type, good. Then it redirects me to another robot, which wants my phone number. Goddammit. Then while I’m waiting, another robot asks if I want to do a survey about my experience. Fucking right I do. What does it want? My phone number! Lady picks up, needs my phone number, account number, address, last four of social. Alright then. They say it’s “billing” in the sense that they hadn’t expected it to arrive for me yet, and the devices were disabled. Oh very helpful yes. She activates and offers to send me back to tech support. Yes please do. Their robot wants my phone number over there. Then a much more helpful individual, Mike, needs my phone number, account number, address, and last four of social. He was able to offer a few ideas rather than just blindly hitting their account buttons, and also told me the previous owners had Comcast at around the time they moved out, so his details showed it was all still hooked up. Mike and I had a proper understanding of the issue (in spite of shitty signal on his end), but he couldn’t help. House wiring most likely.

And then the survey called. Two questions. Are you happy (no), did they resolve your issue (ultimately, no). It didn’t need my number again this time. For the most part I just needed to fiddle with the nest of wires in the basement until the modem could see a damn thing. I accomplished this by plugging it directly into the splitter. It STILL wasn’t able to activate itself with their online thing. At this point it was well past the kid’s bedtime, so we came back to the old house. 

On a whim I re-checked their online “Activate me” page, which wants my account number and phone number (over this process I’d given that page each literally a dozen times trying to figure it out). From the old house, remotely, I was finally able to activate it. 

Now if only I had anything over there with which to use it.