Comcast Cares

Comcast is one of those vendors you love to hate. And when there’s something wrong, blaming them is the first thing that comes to mind. 4.5 years ago I discovered I could upgrade my Internet download speed from 3mbps to 6mbps for an extra $12 per month. It was actually the increase in upload speeds I was looking for at the time, but 6mbps down was what I was told to expect after the upgrade.

Today I was looking at my ever-increasing Comcast bill and saw an offer to upgrade to 22mbps download — a nearly 4x increase! I called and asked How Much, and the guy said that since I was already on a 16mbps service, it would be only $10 additional. 16mbps? I thought I my plan was only 6mbps. But there on my bill it said I should be getting 16mbps. So I bitched and moaned and Twittered.

Frank Eliason (@ComcastCares) saw and replied to my tweet at 9pm his time on a Sunday night. He told me my Motorola 4100 was pretty old (true) and that I might want to upgrade to something new like an SB6120 that supports DOCSIS 3.0. (I own my own mode.) He also said he’d try to reprogram the old modem.

An hour later I ran another set of tests. Wow! I guess Frank was successful. The speed jumped to an average of 14.9mbps/1.5mbps, more the 2x what I saw earlier today and respectably within what you’d expect from a “16mbps” account.

Here’s my guess as to what happened: Over the past 4.5 years, Comcast likely upgraded the speed for a so-called Burst account from 6mbps to 16mbps but didn’t bother to tell existing customers about it. It seems that some or all of the throttling might occur within the modem, so when Frank “re-programmed” mine, it upgraded my connection to the speeds I was already paying for.

In any case, I just ordered a new Motorola SB6120 from Amazon.com on the hope that DOCSIS 3.0 might give me even better throughput on real-world content (rather than speed tests).

2 thoughts on “Comcast Cares

  1. As far as letting you know about the original free upgrade to 16mbps, you probably got an email sent to your ‘comcast.net’ email address, which, like most people, you probably never use.

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  2. I’ve seen a number of speed increases since the original 3 or 4 / 384 tier and have never had to ask for them. With the DOCSIS 3.0 rollout in my area a few months ago I got a bump to what looks like 22 / 2 (hard to know for sure with Powerboost and the SNMP block). See no reason to upgrade from the SB4100 for now but these speeds are nearing the limit of my ancient router’s ability to manage QOS.

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