I lived in a multi-unit apartment building and one day noticed my internet was down (I was a Comcast subscriber). I was suspicious because a Comcast technician was just out earlier in the day installing internet for a new tenant in the building. After going through the phone support steps they scheduled a technician to come out and check the line.
A couple days later, when the technician arrives, he checks the line only to confirm no signal. Then he goes out back to the cable box outside. I was unable to check this myself since it was mounted high on the building and required a ladder to access. Within a few minutes it was working again.
The Comcast technician then told me my line was just disconnected. I asked him if the previous technician made a mistake during the install. He said something along the lines of: "No, often in these multi-unit buildings we will disconnect people at random in case they are trying to steal cable. If they are a paying customer they will call and get it turned back on". He then went on about how they would have fun disconnecting competitors, and that competitors did it back to them etc.. all very nonchalantly and candidly.
I then called Comcast and got a 3 day credit for the outage they created "intentionally" to prove I am a customer.
But they're an "entertainment" provider, not a utility. What a joke is our regulatory process. Completely captured.
I've lived in highrise complexes for the past decade and have experienced this type of outage four times. The common denominator seems to be Comcast.
Since then, I watch Comcast techs work, tell them exactly where to term and where to stop, and then to get the hell off my property.
Thank god we have a common installer for fibre, makes life a lot easier having only Chorus/whoever doing the fibre installs.
He never told anyone at Comcast or the other houses. Took hours of battling with phone support and a two day wait to have another tech who came out and identified the problem. He said they do this often to get into houses to find problems but he's supposed to put a note on each door and put a note on our accounts. Whoops.
Just one of the reasons I no longer use comcast.
It's amazing to me that all these connections are still physicial (as opposed to some software-defined switching between providers). Something akin to software-defined networking.
What you want is "local loop unbundling". It's how this works in Europe where you have artificial non-free markets with real price competition, rather than natural monopolies without price competition as in the US.
The state PUCs didn't do much enforcement either, but the FCC deciding not to enforce the law killed it.
 not exactly well -- when the ILEC regularly offers individual customers service at rates under the wholesale rates; and the regulators don't do anything; that's not really working well.
What Europe does isn't really a good benchmark for how to structure a telecom market, because all the big European countries have slower broadband than in the US: https://www.akamai.com/us/en/multimedia/documents/state-of-t... (the U.S. beats the U.K., Germany, Spain, France, Italy--which accounts for 2/3 of the population of the EU).
A lot of people will opt for the cheaper standard DSL though (<16Mbit), which I suspect is what brings down the average. In the US you have little choice but to pay obscene prices for a very fast cable line, usually with a monthly cap.
FTTB, either through G.FAST OR Ethernet is a better use of all that money in my opinion and it's a lot easier to upgrade in the future (either the building terminal or switcing to full fiber i.e. AON/GPON etc).
Using increasingly involved techniques to get more speed out of a century-old technology is pretty much a dead end.
100Mbit is decent, but it comes at the price of
* the wires needing to be very short by telco standards
* the use of DSL vectoring, which creates mini-monopolies in the DSLAM and allows one provider (usually Telekom) to hold all users on that DSLAM hostage
And keep in mind that if we had fiber, we could probably get a Gbit.
Make no mistake, the strong position of DSL in Germany is the result of politics, not common sense.
I'm not doubting they actually give you a gigabit connection, but especially during peak hours, I doubt the transit links you hit would necessarily have that much to spare.
For doing backups/restores, in this age of multi-terabyte disks, fast network links (especially in the upload direction) are a necessity.
I don't mind some oversubscription, I can work around peak hours, hell, I'd love to temporarily trade away most of my downlink bandwidth in exchange for uplink bandwidth -- average upload speed is all that matters for this sort of large transfer.
Compounding that, the latency comcast deliberately introduces into their network (I've got many ISP's to judge on here) makes the internet ugly, but only if you don't pay for their services.
What we need is not a target for faster downstream, but higher competition - I could give a shit about network neutrality if the providers offered network honesty: a 500 GB monthly limit is a 1.5mB stream - full stop.
United Kingdom 16.3mbps average 91% above 4mbps
United States 17.2mpbs average 88% above 4mbps
which implies that the US has a slightly different, more unequal curve where slightly fewer people have "adequate" broadband and a small number have much faster broadband.
So I think it's fair to say that the U.S. curve is more unequal. There's more people without access to adequate broadband (in New Mexico, or inner-city Baltimore) than in Europe. But the median American likely has a faster broadband connection than the median European.
Cable for TV was never a huge thing in the UK like it is in the states - satellite TV (Sky) was the bigger thing.
As far as that perception goes, my suspicion is that it has to do with the tech press/readership skewing young and urban. The U.S. is highly unusual in making the actual building of wires largely a state/local issue, and also in treating cities as ghettos instead of national priorities. Maryland, where I live, is a microcosm: if it were a country, it'd be just below Finland for broadband speeds. But it's only major city (Baltimore) is impoverished, and doesn't have fiber even though all the counties around it do. My neck of the state is pretty rural--large parts of it don't even have public water/sewer. But it's had fiber for a decade. Meanwhile, New York and Boston are just now getting fiber, and San Francisco still mostly doesn't have it.
This sounds completely backwards, until you realise all persistent problems in the US can be traced to racism.
(I'm still unconvinced as to the idea that broadband is statistically "better" in the US but the customers complain far more. I suspect that a huge chunk of people prefer slow/cheap/reliable to fast/expensive, certainly once you get beyond about 10mbit.)
During the Comcast install, I watched the guy physically break a part of the telephone network interface box. I just sorta assumed he was incompetent and fat fingered it, but the Centurylink guy who fixed it put some sort of weird plastic mold in place of the part that the Comcast guy broke. Ever since that happened, I've sorta half wondered whether that happens more often than not.
What you're describing is called "local loop unbundling". Lots of other countries do it, it works great, and it would solve most if not all of the problems with the telco market in the US... so naturally these companies lobby hard to make sure it'll never happen.
At a prior home, I had Comcast, and my internet suddenly went out one day. Tech comes out, confirms it's not something inside, pops outside onto the pole behind the house and it comes back.
A few days later, it suddenly goes completely out again. Call, get another tech out, he goes up on the pole, comes back and says "yeah, there's not enough plugs up there so the last few techs have presumably just been unplugging someone and plugging whoever complained in", and then we get some time spent to remedy this situation. 
I spent a bit of time wondering how many people might have had spontaneous outages before this tech who actually tried to address the issue came out, as I knew quite a few people on my block had Comcast (aside from the xfinitywifi, you could tell because they'd all come outside almost immediately if they were at home and a persistent outage happened).
 - I have no idea what the equivalent terms or appearance for a coax patch panel would be, my apologies for any mangling.
Comcast tripled my bill for internet after one year and was also charging me for occasionally going over their data limit they set after I had been a customer for a couple months. I called Comcast and specified the day I wanted my service to end and had it coincide with the day I scheduled for RCN to connect my internet. The only annoying part was having to tell them more than once that there was no discount that would make me want to stay a customer since they were just going to pull the same crap in another year.
My father passed away a few years back and my mother was trying to cut back on expenses, so she went to cancel the Comcast. The account was in my father's name, so she expected there to be some trouble. Comcast required that she bring in my father's death certificate. Also, they would be keeping the death certificate for their own records and a photocopy wouldn't do, so she'd need to go down to the county corner and get a second copy of the death certificate printed and hand signed. While this all seemed fairly onerous, I can at least appreciate the formality from an security standpoint.
After jumping through all of the hoops set forth by the Comcast, my mother drove out to the local branch office and presented the paperwork. The case worker brought didn't know how to handle the situation where someone had actually done everything that Comcast had asked and brought in the branch manager. He then told my mother that they needed my father to personally deliver his own death certificate before they would close the account.
Also in the past (different cable provider) they had it MAC authorised so I couldn't use my new modem. But then I set the new modem to use the MAC of the old one and it worked. So same
All DSL lines have same L2 interface as ATM and thus there is no authentication. How the authentication works is that PPP gets tunelled through this, either by running PPP directly on AAL5 (PPPoA), or more commonly and somewhat nonsensically by tuneling by wrapping PPP in ethernet frames that are then transfered inside AAL5 channel (PPPoE, or more correctly PPPoEoA). Interestingly this is usually used only on the first virtual channel (ie. the "Internet" one) and not on the additional channels that you typically get today (IPTV, VoIP, free hotspots...), these additional channels are usually straight Ethernet over AAL5 with the modem behaving like simple L2 bridge (often these channels form relatively large broadcast domains that are typically NATed to the Internet).
[Edit:] In contrast, DOCSIS variants for Internet over CaTV are derived directly from IEEE 802 family of technologies and there are no telco-style ATM/X.25/whatever protocols in between. Good first approximation is that the DOCSIS segment handled by one CMTS behaves like one big ethernet switch. But beacuse of the nature of shared medium, data on the coaxial cable is encrypted as otherwise it would be trivial to eavesdrop on anyone else on the same segment. The encryption even involves PKI to mutually authenticate modem and CMTS.
On DSL there is clear physical interface on the network side, that can be turned on or off, shaped and metered which is everything that the ISP cares about from the charging and authentication PoV. CaTV does not have anything like that and thus there has to be relative complex authentication and confidentiality mechanism (that is, somewhat paradoxically, usually completely invisible to the end user).
I worked on workforce management software for utilities companies. The field crews often only see information about their current task for various reasons (data size of standing data, privacy protection, field crew is a contractor).
Gotta be quick because his van probably has a GPS tracker on it, and he'd have to explain to his boss why his truck was parked there for 20 mins otherwise.
He was almost unreasonably nice and professional to me otherwise. One of the best/cleanest installs I've ever had for anything.
I didn’t understand why anyone would have cut them. Now I’m upset that these shenanigans actually cost us money.
At my location the only other option besides my current ISP is sat based internet with crazy high ping times, and I work from home. If my ISP drops my service, I'm fucked.
Meanwhile, the video conference I was on at the time suddenly dropped. Started to make me think about whether the other tenants were also getting the higher speeds I was paying extra for...
I think they're going to get completely hosed in court over this. Being assholes to everyone you deal with can have surprising hidden costs.
Becoming a US president.
Knowing if something was accidental or deliberate is super hard.
That will tell you everything you need to know about what's about to go down.
Probably an extremely common practice by any big company in areas where people have a choice.
I doubt I will ever have interest in subscribing to Dish Network, but I declined, not wanting to be party to such anti-competitive behavior. I can't imagine the tech would offer to remove it unless such is standard practice. He'd be doing extra work for no extra pay (unless Comcast offers a head hunting bounty).
From what I understand, it's pretty common for the next satellite installer to want to install a completely new dish and LNB when service is requested, unless the dish is very recent.
What is required is effective regulation. Which the new FCC head just gutted.
This implies the previous FCC head was effectively regulating the telco and cable companies before, which is not accurate. It's gotten worse, but it's never been good. The telco/cable industry is basically a crime syndicate that operates in their own world of murky legality. Somehow, they keep getting away with atrocious behavior that hurts consumers and keeps competitors out.
So many things they do as standard practice ought to be illegal, but they're really good at lobbying. They may not be good at providing customer service or competent at providing internet but they're very good at manipulating the law to suit their interests. And, even given the incredibly favorable legal climate they exist in, they push past the law and do shit like this.
And, that's why the US is so far down the list in terms of internet speed and quality. The operators aren't in the business of providing good service, they're in the business of making it impossible for anyone to effectively compete with them via any means available (regardless of legality or ethicality).
Today it's people vs corporate lobbyist paid accounts/bots and the ability to spam conversation.
Outsourcing blame is fairly common.
How can you screw up just connecting a cable modem to a coax outlet?
Run two lengths of cable connected by a four port adapter, and staple the adapter to the wall a foot above the baseboard because why not, this is only in the middle of someone's dining room.
As soon as he left I disconnected the whole mess and ran a single length of cable along the baseboard, with a right angle connector to keep it flush.
Ah, sorry, I forgot I was on the internet, land of experts in everything.
I find it a lot easier to buy a wide variance in skill and diligence among contractors, combined with a lack of QA oversight from their monopolistically disinterested corporate client, than I do some kind of shadowy, wide-ranging conspiracy to cloak deliberately anticompetitive behavior behind an obfuscating smokescreen of apparent incompetence.
Im not so sure of that. The destruction occurred from June 15th to Aug 1st (when they lost their last customer) -- thats 6 weeks -- using over 4000ft of cable for repairs.
If comcast was notified after the first incident, and it continued for 6 weeks.. doesn't that indicate malicious intent?
Outsourcing has no bearing on who is responsible for the problem.
I should be able to also sue the contractor or something, but ultimately my neighbor should absolutely be able to blame me.
They are contractors and do what Comcast tell them. "It was a contractor" is the laziest corporate excuse. But that's one reason why big businesses employ them, plausible deniability when things go wrong.
They cut three more lines as the guy was on the phone trying to complain to Comcast about the first cut. Comcast was given a map, and from the story, it looks like they used it to pre-plan the willful destruction of someone else's business and livelihood.
If there was a lack of training, it was a dearth of ethics classes. If there was a lack of competence, it was in devising plausible excuses for the cuts.
Incompetence (by me, by you, etc.) may be just incompetence.
Incompetence by a Corporation is malicious action.
Possibly not the specific case, but the ludicrous quality standard is in itself malicious action.
We are talking about a very delicate electrical system that cannot function effectively outside of a specific radio bandwidth before being completely overtaken by the numerous sources of RF which exist in the world. Remember radios? Well, they got their name because they were the receivers of "radiated" "waves" in the air. As were TV's. Guess what? That coax line in your house? That's the modern version of an antenna. CATV literally means "community antenna television". It's an antenna that you share with everyone on the same "node" of your cable system. It's shielded so the RF no longer has to go through the air. In effect, if there is a breach in the shielding around that cable (a long antenna), you're going to get noise, and crappy service. Additionally, your precious internet rides on the highest frequencies carried by this sole, frail copper wire. Those high frequencies, as any EE student can tell you, are especially highly susceptible to interference. A single dB can make all the difference for your highly calibrated, sensitive cable modem that you don't fully appreciate. Some of these networks are huge. If one of your neighbors got high and plugged a blender in, anywhere in his home, and he has frayed cable jacketing, anywhere in his home, or a bad fitting, anywhere in his home, it can easily take an entire block down. There are hubs, of course, but don't count on one being nearby, if you're tasked with repairing someone's internet. I get it, "fuck Comcast, they're the devil because I have to give them money", but let's be adults here. Comcast is people. Every company is people.
It makes me a bit sad that these guys do really great work and then the press are able to have all these terrible things to write about customer service reps, megacorp lobbying and conspiracies, and some hotspots of technical problems.
I fully believe the press because as a customer of comcast they treated me like a turd on the sidewalk
I wish people didn't have to deal with their terrible CSR's. I think they are more inclined to sell HBO rather than communicate a useful fault report to technical staff.
I was also treated differently as a customer once I got insider connections.
One day they're interviewing a network engineer, who says "I'd bring a piece of fiber optic cable. I'll bury it in the sand, wait a bit, and then when the bulldozer comes along and breaks it, I'll ask the man in the bulldozer how to get off the island."
Until then they will always remain at the bottom of the barrel and as the most hated company in the country due to horrid customer service.
I worked at Comcast for too many years answering their phones and getting yelled out because 80% of the time due to the contracted technicians and the companies they work for.
I spent 6 months putting up with angry phone calls from a small ISP that Comcast absorbed before I had to quit for my own mental health.
Also wouldn't be surprised if Comcast got off scott-free.