Today I feel Comcastic, I cancelled my Comcast service, a few days after CenturyLink Fiber Optic was installed in my house at half the monthly rate for 40 Mbps (vs. Comcast Boost which is about 50 Mbps – a difference usually without a distinction, since you share the Comcast network with your neighbors, while you have a line from your house to the office on Fiber). You may recall my experiences of Comcast trying to bill me for a modem I owned. You may recall your own experiences with that hidebound organization.
Well, the lesson for monopolists in contestable markets, once customers actually have choice, then they flee. Previous choices, DSL, just didn’t cut it, giving Comcast a monopoly on high-speed internet in my local area. There were other substitutes, like 4g wireless, but that is still limited. Now Fiber does cut it so to speak.
By leaving Comcast, I do lose the Basic Basic Tier of Cable (over the air, religious channels, shopping channels, CNN, and Music Choice). This loss is undoubtedly tragic. To be honest, my children are completely unaware of the existence of over-the-air television and shocked by interrupting commercials. They only know Netflix, YouTube, and our home library.
Comcast even managed to worsen the television-watching experience. They cut that back from High-Def to Standard-Def months ago, degrading our service by introducing new boxes. I only took TV because Internet + TV was cheaper than Internet alone.
When I called them, they tried to offer me better rates. They really should just do that for all their customers all the time, that might actually create loyalty. I shouldn’t have to negotiate like a used car or a mattress (yes you can negotiate mattresses).
I have AppleTV (v2), and with it Netflix and some of the free services that are available on the AppleTV box. Sadly many of the services require pre-authorization from your cable company, so those are dead to me – and have been given my previous Basic-Basic Cable. Others annoy simply by requiring online registering (I am looking at you Crackle) – a useless nuisance which Apple should fix with a central registry. Others are subscription-based, which is in principle fine, in practice clunky. Also sadly, Netflix search is broken on the older Apple TVs. I assume the newest version has this fixed, but why should they support old boxes? It’s not like I’m a paying customer or anything (oh, I am?).
CenturyLink does not offer its TV service in my area yet. I may test that if it ever comes available. The other downside is that my house is wired for Coax, not internet, so it may be a pain to put in the appropriate internet cabling for CenturyLink’s TV – which isn’t wireless.
The other nuisance is that the Fiber Optic Box comes into my house, and is connected directly to their WiFi, but since this is on the East Side (near the Telephone Pole), the WiFi is very weak on the West Side of the house. A WiFi booster helps, but this is suboptimal.
Simply having the burden of Comcast oppressing me is a relief and joy. May Century Link have better customer service than Comcast, and may USI come to my neighborhood too.