Poor Aesop, she's looking at permanent retirement: she's never played video smoothly even with all her hardware maxed out to specs supported by the motherboard (currently, that's 2GB of RAM, a 1.74GHz single core processor, a 232GB hard drive that could be bigger but meh, who cares, and she's not running a slave right now because I'm using an external hard drive as a file server so just why bother).
So in the last two weeks we've had these new and exciting issues with Comcast: the DVR that comes with our On Demand TV suddenly stopped working one night for no discernible reason but we were both so damn tired of calling Comcast that we just stopped watching TV for a week or so. When we did finally call them, maybe 3-4 days ago, it turned out they had to reset some kind of code for it. That is becoming quite the theme around here, as you will see.
Even before that I'd noticed our Internet speed had dropped from the moment the amplifier was added on weeks ago. Dropped. It made the TV work better and the Internet speed much worse, or so it seemed. We were so damn tired of calling Comcast by then that when my fiance finally called to have the DVR problem fixed the Internet issue was not even mentioned. Then a "customer care specialist" (one of the Retention guys; I hate them with a passion that makes me do the craziest fucking things, like start Anti-AOL?) called me two days ago to see how everything was going. Did I want to upgrade? Oh, he could see that I could upgrade both my TV and my Internet RIGHT NOW! Wowzer bowzer! How about we get started on that? OK: I practically need a Valium to jot down the next paragraph because my hands are shaking just recalling this snake oil salesman's oil slick of "let's get going" rah-rah buy buy buy mad upselling skillz...
"I'm not interested", I said, cutting him off mid-sale.
"But I see here we can definitely upgrade you from 25MBs per second on your connection speed and expand your TV package! So why not let's let's get started on that!"
"OK..." *nervous chuckle* "Uh, OK, so you're not interested in the best XFinity has to offer and having faster Internet and better TV. I can upgrade you right now! Yes, I see that I can do that for you this minute!"
OMFG, guys: THIS MINUTE.
"Look, of course I'm interested in having faster Internet and better TV. Who isn't interested in that? But if I upgrade it won't be for free. You're going to charge me MORE MONEY and I don't have MORE MONEY to give you guys right now. Is that...clear enough?"
"Well, if you want to talk about money, you're paying ...what? You have a pretty expensive package right now, what with the Internet Blast and your TV package, you're paying what...like $251 a month for it?" [ETA: turns out that was technically what I was charged this month for the same thing I've been getting]
"Uh, I said you're uh, you're paying...?"
"No, I can assure you I'm not paying $215 a month for it. It might be a $215 a month package, I don't doubt that. But the thing is, I've had such horrible service from Comcast and such a broad range of problems with the service - everything from the wrong cable laid in my driveway which is still there to this day to billing problems to constant connection interruptions to slow Internet speeds to problems with the TV signal to problems with the techs that I get my package at a steeply discounted rate to make up for all the trouble we've had with Comcast over the last year. I've had basically nothing but problems with you guys from Day One."
"Huh, well, I, I...I'm sorry to hear that. I uh, is there, uh, anything else I can help with today? Are you still having any problems?"
"Yes, the Internet has been slow since the day the amplifier was installed a few weeks ago, which was done because a contractor lied the same morning about not having the RG11 cable we were supposed to have from day one but never got and gave us new RG6 instead. And our DVR was not working correctly until earlier this week when we called and got them to send it a code it needed to work properly again."
"So you're saying you got the package with the DVR just last week?"
"No, I'm not. We've had the package for a few months. The DVR stopped working within the last few weeks, but it only got fixed last week. The Internet speed still needs fixing but I am so damn tired of calling Comcast I just haven't bothered trying to get you guys to look at that, too."
"Huh, well I'm really sorry to hear that. I'm sorry you've had so many problems with Comcast...but uh, is there anything else I can do for you today?"
"No, not right now."
"OK, well, thank you for choosing Comcast and..."
"Wait! Can you answer a question for me?"
"Sure, I'll try."
"I uh...did you just say a little bit earlier that my service includes Internet Blast? Did you say that?"
"Yes, yes, I did."
"So it says on your screen that I get Internet Blast as part of my package, right?"
"Yes, it does."
"Well, no one's ever told me that before and I'm not getting Internet Blast speeds. Internet Blast is a minimum of 50mbps, right? Is that correct?"
"Yes, it can be as low as 50mbps or as high as 105mbps."
"Huh, well, I'm only getting 25mbps. I'll have to talk to your tech support about that, too, I guess."
"It could be your modem", he averred. "Looking here it says you have a DOCSIS 2.0 modem."
"Oh no I don't. We have the latest Xfinity modem that supports DOCSIS 3.0. I know that for a fact."
"Well according to the information I have here, ma'am, you have a modem that only supports DOCSIS up to 2.0."
"Well, is your screen telling you what kind of modem that is? Because that sounds like the info for my old modem, not the one I have now."
"No, It doesn't give me that info, it basically just tells me what version of DOCSIS your modem can support."
"If I read you the model number on the modem can you confirm that for me? That this Xfinity modem only supports DOCSIS 2.0?"
"Sure, I can try", he said, but the modem didn't have a discernible model number and there was no other way for us to put together exactly what the hell his screen was talking about, so he thanked me again for choosing Comcast and we hung up.
That night the fiance called Comcast again because our Internet connection got knocked out so we needed a refresh signal; after that issue was fixed he got two appointments set up: one to re-lay the RG11 cable that never got laid in the first place, another to have a tech come out and figure out why we're getting 25mbps instead of 50mbps. Oh, joy.
Today was the big day but the contractor never showed up to lay the cable. The tech came this afternoon, though, right on time. After I explained how I pay for but don't receive Internet Blast he checked our signal and ascertained it wasn't the issue despite RG6 cable in use on a huge patch of land that by all rights should have RG11 and despite how I noticed the signal dropped by 3-5mbps immediately after the amplifier was installed. The tech assured me it's not the amplifier, it's not the cable, and that my signal is more than sufficient to get all the speed we could want or need. So guess what the problem is?
"Yeah, it's not any of those things. What we're looking at is a ...uh, we call it an issue with the code."
"A rate code issue", I said, having been around this block before.
"Yeah, exactly. I'll need to call Comcast and have them reprovision the code and roll it back for you."
He got that done in under 5 minutes. My fiance tore apart his computer last week to use his own parts to fix someone else's rig and hasn't bothered to put it all back together but it's the only decent computer we have, so we had to test the new connection speed on my computer, good old Aesop; sure enough the speed still came up at just 22-23mbps. I was genuinely puzzled and thought maybe the rate code voodoo simply hadn't worked, not an unexpected outcome considering just how much stuff Comcast routinely fucks up. But the tech thought otherwise.
"Maybe your hard drive is shot." If my computer tech fiance had been here there's a good chance he wouldn't have even wanted to live through his response. I know I'd rather crawl under a rock than have it directed at me. I also know that "maybe your hard drive is shot" is not a suitable answer to "why your Internet speed is taking an awfully huge crap". Before I could get into how your hard drive's health isn't really capable of controlling your Internet speed, though, he asked if I had a laptop.
So I hooked my tiny little Lenovo notebook up to the Ethernet and surprise, surprise, we get 50-60mbps down now, so all is well - that is, except for old Aesop. After I publish this - a post I'm writing on Aesop because she never breaks down and always does what she can, because if computers were humans this one would have a heart of gold, the willpower of a monk and the strength of a horse - I'm going to reinstall XP on her one last time and see if that solves the connection speed problem. And I'm going to start saving up for a new computer whether it does or not. Poor fucking Aesop.