"Comcast Follies", or "I Guess We're Keeping WOW! Internet"

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It's been slow going at the AAAD residence, as we've tried out a half-dozen TV/internet/phone providers over the first seven months we've been in the new house. We finally seem to have hit on the right "unbundled" combination:


  • DirecTV's HR34 "genius" box for TV/DVR
  • AT&T standard, basic phone service (VOIP was unable to play nicely with our security system)
  • ...and Comcast cable internet, at least during its six-month introductory rate.  
or, at least I THOUGHT that's how it would work. I wasn't really expecting Comcast to utterly fail to install internet service to a single-family home in a Chicago suburb. And yet, that's precisely what happened. 


I purchased an Arris WBM760 DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem on eBay for around $40. Seeing as all internet providers rent you a modem for about $5/month, owning your own modem pays for itself in a matter of months, even discounting any residual/resale value. 

I also figured, at that point, that I'd switch from WOW! internet to Comcast - I know, Comcast's customer service is famously mediocre, but they were advertising a lower price than what I'm currently paying ($39.99 vs. $50) for somewhat higher Mbps service. (Again, I know, no guarantees on download speed - but I'd expect the one advertising higher speeds to generally be faster.)

So I made the switch, in December. I have a home office that needs 24/7 broadband, so I didn't disconnect WOW prior to installing Comcast - a good call, as it turns out. 

First, I attempted a self-install using the "self-install kit" that Comcast sent me (charging $15!). It was - without exaggeration, a 2 foot CAT5 cord, and a 2 foot coaxial cable. They charge for this, and it's the cheapest option. I wasn't able to get internet service, despite being on the phone for an hour with a helpful Comcast tech. They scheduled a service call, which was going to run me $30. Oh well. 

The Comcast tech arrived a week or so later, and after fiddling with the boxes for a while and having the same success I had, told me that the problem was the wires running to our house, and that they'd need to dig a small trench across my entire property to lay more coax. 

This was rather silly. 

First off - I already have internet service. It's clearly possible to provide internet service with the existing wiring. 

Secondly - The prior owners had Comcast TV and internet service! Just to confirm this point, I went with the tech to the back of my yard and opened up the metal cable-wire bubble thing. Sure enough, a series of coax cables with my address and Comcast labels! But still, apparently no way for ME to get internet service, short of digging a 100-foot trench through my yard. 

So, we stuck with WOW!, using my new cable modem and saving the $5/month. WOW came to my house the next day to pick up their VOIP modem, and everything is working great. 

It's a bit of a bummer that I don't get to save that $20/month for the six month intro rate - but the rate goes up to $64.99 after that, so I suppose I can bite the bullet and just say I'm saving myself the headache of switching providers twice. No harm, no foul, alls well that ends well. 

EXCEPT....

Comcast keeps sending me bills for internet service!!

I got one in December, a day or so after the tech admitted defeat and I signed a document canceling all charges, including his service visit. I called Comcast, and they said I could ignore it, because, after all, they weren't able to provide service.

In January, I got a courtesy call from Comcast asking how I was enjoying my internet service. Which was odd. I reminded them that I was not a Comcast customer. 

On Friday, I got a PAST DUE NOTICE from Comcast, looking for 2 months in service fees. What?

I called 1-800-COMCAST, waited on hold for 40 minutes, and then spoke to a very nice lady in Indiana who informed me that the Chicago call center was down, that as an Indiana tech, she couldn't even access my account, and that I should call back later. (Would have been nice to LEAD with that, Comcast - I wouldn't have waited on hold for 40 mins if I'd known the system was down!)

So I worked with their "live chat" system, with another very nice tech, who assures me that all charges have now TRULY been cancelled and that I shouldn't be reported to a credit agency or suffer any such consequences. We'll see. 

I assume that next month, Comcast will come to my house and disconnect my WOW internet for failure to pay for my nonexistent Comcast service. Stay tuned!

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