Thursday, April 17, 2008
Comcast vs Comcast?
Anyone that has talked to me since I moved into my house knows that I have an ever growing hatred for Comcast and it's business practices. They have violated so many people on moral issues that its not even funny. My biggest problem with the company is that they put a ton of money into figuring out ways to keep traffic off their network (read: screw their customer) instead of using that money to actually build a network capable of supporting what the customer wants to do with the service that they are paying Comcast for. It doesn't make sense that you would work on finding ways to force someone to stay with you (monopolies, legal issues, etc) instead of actually creating a product that people want to stay with. This is why we are falling behind in internet access.
So isn't this Comcast vs All and not Comcast vs Comcast? Well, it depends. Recently there is a new twitter account, @comcastcares, that has really been showing a different side of Comcast. What's so different? Well, the username that Frank Eliason (the owner of the account) picked is actually a true representation of him. He works for Comcast and he actually does care. My first interaction with him was less than a week ago and we debated for about an hour on Twitter about topics ranging from net neutrality to business practices, etc. Many did see me as outright attacking him but the truth was I really wanted to see how the response was handled... and I have to say I was VERY impressed. Frank responded as best he could to all of my comments and, as he should as an employee, he never once bashed what Comcast was doing but he was very understanding of the concerns that I was bringing up. That night I had a slightly new view of Comcast. A few days later I explained the customer service scenario I had when I called because my rate doubled and the CSR I spoke with literally told me to cancel my account and, when I asked for a manager, was told that no manager can speak with me but she assured me that the manager would say the exact same thing that she did. Frank was infuriated over the situation and said that he was going to pull up my account and look into the matter. Yesterday he got back to me and told me he was going to put me on a promotion of my choice and I selected a 16meg down and 2meg upstream connection for $24.95/mo for 6 months. Surprisingly my bandwidth test this morning is showing that I am getting the full 2meg upstream (which is actually more important to me than the downstream since I use remote access software) and I am getting 25 meg down. I'm impressed.... but I really am not going to comment until I see that speed sustained because I've noticed a lot of packet shaping in my bandwidth and I've seen connections during downloads start out super fast and then slow to almost unbearable before.
But while Twitter is being used for good by Frank to help Comcast, it also is allowing consumers to share their experiences with Comcast and yesterday and today we were painted a picture of who Comcast is and, well, it's still the same old Comcast business practices that are consistently reminding customers of how horrible it is being trapped with a company and having no alternative.
It's really sad when the only way to get any comfort from a company is to find a person that works for the company that is more excited about the product than the people who actually run the service. Business take such a focus on the financial aspects of their company that they are blinded from seeing what it's supposed to do to keep that product desirable. Fortunately, for now, we have Frank and his @comcastcares account on Twitter helping us out. What worries me is that he is single-handedly holding up a huge monster that's only desire is to crush people and I don't know how long he will be able to keep that up without the corporation actually getting behind him. Comcast should certainly take notice of Frank because he is literally the only good news that has come from Comcast in YEARS but, sadly, I'm more worried about the company attacking him eventually instead of embracing him.
Either way, Frank, I appreciate what you have done and I hope that Comcast improves and that the company honors you for what you have been doing. With so many corporations grabbing twitter accounts in the interest of spamming people it is refreshing to see a corporate presence on Twitter that is actually a real live human being who is interested in helping. Kudos to you.
(C)2003-2008, Bob K Mertz - Some Rights Reserved