$70 for Comcast Technician to Fix Unstable Internet

Comcast Technician charge costed $70 to fix their old infrastructure.
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We've been having intermittent internet problems in our old 1960's built home. 95% of the time, the internet works trouble-free, though at slower than ideal speed. Over the past couple of years, the problem never got any better. I tried replacing with a new modem (Arris Surfboard SB6190), but in the long term that didn't seem to help. Once I was sure the problem wasn't with my hardware, I decided to call Comcast to see my options. Given the time I spent diagnosing the issue, I figured it was time to call in their technician. I was happy when they had an appointment available in 2 days. He did his work, replaced a few lines, and so far (~4 days), I've had zero problems. To see if you're having similar issues, I've added a list of the symptoms we've experienced:

  • Slower than expected speeds
    At the time, we signed up for the 100 Mbps (megabits per second), but rarely got above 50 Mbps. So I downgraded to 20 Mbps per second and that worked well. Comcast has since automatically bumped me up to 55 Mbps with no change in the monthly cost.
  • Internet Cuts out at around 8:30 PM
    Another annoyance is 1-2 times a week, the internet completely goes out at around 8:30pm for between 2-10 minutes. During this downtime, logging into xfinity.com with tethered T-Mobile data always showed no reported downtime with the internet.
  • Replacing Modem didn't Help
    I've had no problems for almost 8 years with the Motorola (now Arris) Surfboard brand. So given the amount of money I've saved owning vs renting my modem, I decided it was time to purchase a new modem and went with the Arris Surfboard SB6190. Unfortunately, I did not notice any difference to the service.

What I learned from the Comcast technician is that old homes often times have old cables. So from the street, the cable meets a covered box on the side of my house. In that box, the one cable coming in from the street splits to the multiple other connections in the house. In my case, the set of cable from the Comcast box ending in cable port where the cable modem was hooked up was very old and not ideal for streaming data. With that 30 foot length of cable replaced on the outside of the house, the Comcast service drastically improved.

The work was worth the $70 that Comcast charged, however I was always under the impression that the cables they installed were part of Comcast's responsibilities. Many other stores online show this isn't the case, but according to Comcast Agreement for Residential Services:

 XFINITY Equipment. “XFINITY Equipment” means all new or reconditioned equipment that we or our agent provides or leases to you, including, but not limited to, cabling or wiring (except for Inside Wiring) and related electronic devices, modems, routers, CableCARDs, and any other hardware and includes all software and programs contained within XFINITY Equipment or downloaded to Customer Equipment by us. You expressly agree that you will use the XFINITY Equipment exclusively in connection with the Service(s). You agree that except for the wiring installed inside the Premises (“Inside Wiring”), or equipment purchased by you from us, all XFINITY Equipment belongs to us or other third parties and will not be deemed fixtures or in any way part of the Premises. 

Because of that, I contacted Customer service to figure out if I was properly charged. I explained my situation and though the technician had marked it as inside cables changed, the primary cause of the cables replaced where outside, which is Comcast's responsibility. At the end, Comcast Customer Service was kind enough to offer a one-time courtesy refund. The lesson here to learn before Comcast visits is to know which cables are the responsibility of Comcast. If you don't know, ask before they make any changes, especially if the change isn't necessary.

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