Comcast Business – The Adventure Continues

A thing happened earlier today. I called up Comcast’s support line, and I spoke to Jose. Jose was very helpful: he listened to my request, got my information, verified that I was aware of a technical consequence of my request (in fact that consequence was half the effect I wanted to occur), and made the changes required. He didn’t argue, didn’t try to sell me anything. Including about 3 minutes of hold time and several minutes waiting for the modem to reboot, the phone call took 9 and a half minutes. And I got exactly the results I was after.

I hung up the phone, was happy I’d spoken with Comcast’s support, and am largely having the good day that Jose wished upon me. And do you know how mind bending that shit is?!

Before you get the idea that I’m 100% smiles about this whole Comcast Business experience, I will point out that there’s a significant aggravation that I finally had to go to an extreme to solve… the consequence listed above… and I’ll talk about that in a bit. But for now, let’s be positive. Speeds are pretty good, there’s been no surprise downtime that’s not my own damn fault for accidentally knocking the power cord loose, and best of all is that the support is prompt, responsive, and professional. Which, I guess, is the point. It’s a business deal.

And that support alone is what’s really made this a great experience. If I’m at work and I have to call one of our vendors to take care of an issue, this is the kind of response I normally get: the response of people who are well aware that I’m paying them and that my happiness, which results in my continued payments to them, is the important piece of the equation. This is of course opposed to Comcast’s residential support. Even though I’m paying slightly less, I’m being treated better. I’m not just someone to whom to sell more services with each contact, I’m not merely one of a million customers with no option to go elsewhere. And that’s a great big warm fuzzy.

As an aside, it does occur to me that part of the effect here is that they, to an extent, expect me to be professional too. A small part of Comcast Residential’s issues are bound to be tied up in that when they do something stupid they’re pissing off the great unwashed masses and risking the screeching of Emma O’SoccerMom who’s been drinking mimosas since 10am and god help you if she can’t watch her soaps.

But what’s that downside? What was the bit pissing me off? Well that’d be the hotspot.

Comcast started, last year I think, issuing new modems to customers which by default acted as a public wifi hotspot. Not a lot of people are happy about this, especially the security-minded. For residential users this could be turned off in their settings page for their account. Business users have to call in, however, to get it turned off. And I’d done so, twice. It got turned off at the time, but would re-enable itself overnight. A browse through the business support forums showed that this was a common trend for users who also had my newer style of modem.

Certain businesses may see this as a genuine benefit. If I ran a cafe or something I might like to have this extra little draw for customers. As someone using the business account from my private residence and therefore not wanting to open myself up to being a public wifi spot… and ergo not having random wardrivers parking outside my house… this wasn’t just an information security issue but a personal safety issue (not that I’d expect trouble, but let’s not risk it).

Granted they tried to solve this, they didn’t just say “oh, well, too bad” and give up. But it just straight went on too long. So I had them convert my modem to a bridge. This means my own wifi router, over which I have complete control (relatively speaking), will manage 100% of my network needs, and it will just use the modem to get to the internet. The consequence of this is that said modem has all wifi disabled, including, it turns out, the hotspot.

Good. <picture grumpy cat here for my facial expression>

And it’s worked wonderfully. And so, I’m having a good day, aside from the cold and having four damn meetings on a Friday and what’s up with that shit.