back to article Open Internet lovin' Comcast: Buy our TV service – or no faster broadband for you!

Comcast will only bump some customers up to its fastest broadband connectivity if they subscribe to its cable television service. The American telco'n'telly giant last week promised to increase people's bandwidth in a handful of US markets – Houston, Oregon, and south west Washington – provided they sign up for cable TV. How …

  1. spellucci

    Verizon, too?

    I asked Verizon how much I could save off my TV + Phone + Internet bundle if I cancelled the TV and gave them back the set-top box. They said it would be $5 more per month. I kept the bundle.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Verizon, too?

      With Sputum it actually saved us about $5 to cancel the phone part of the "triple play" plan. Of course separately they say the 'value' of that part was $20+ a month. Hmm.

    2. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Verizon, too?

      I got the same 'offer' from Frontier (ex-Verizon in California). Eventually I had to give up my FiOS for Time Warner cable (....sorry. "Spectrum") to get a cheaper deal (Frontier were pulling close to $200 a month out of me so they screwed me while I didn't have any choice -- I was paying for dozens of TV channels that I never watched (half seemed to be in Spanish, anyway).

      I really just want Internet. Everything else is redundant.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Verizon, too?

      Not just the US, our Virgin broadband bill stayed about the same when we cancelled the TV and phone packages.

      At least they'll still sell us the fastest connection without insisting we have to get TV with it.

      1. PeeKay
        Thumb Up

        Re: Verizon, too?

        Managed to reduce our bill by almost half by taking the fastest VM broadband for gamers (350Mb/s down 20Mb/s up - currently) and cancelling both the TV and telephone. Didn't even have to haggle with the customer service bod when I spoke with them.

        So it can be done.

  2. spellucci
    Facepalm

    Verizon, too?

    I asked Verizon how much I could save if I cancelled the TV part of my TV + Phone + Internet bundle. They said it would be $5 more per month for just Phone and Internet. I kept the 3-way bundle.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and now Comcast wants to come here

    Watch out Sky customers. This is a foretaste of what is to come if they buy out Sky.

    You have been warned.

    Get out now before it is too late.

    1. MatthewSt

      Re: and now Comcast wants to come here

      What do you mean "of things to come"? When I signed up for Virgin Media last year it was cheaper to take a triple play than just Internet!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: and now Comcast wants to come here

        And with Virgin you often get a free upgrade....just before a completely unrelated price hike.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tar.

    Feathers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Tar

      gzip

  5. lardymcfartpants

    Pointless upgrades

    What's the point in being upgraded to 250mbit?

    The traffic cap is still 1024gb, so faster speeds just allow them to charge overages sooner.

    1. Steve the Cynic

      Re: Pointless upgrades

      Traffic cap? That's ... palaeolithic of them. Or barbaric. Take your pick.

      (Not the number, mind. Just the idea of a traffic cap on a fixed-line Internet service.)

  6. Justin Pasher

    Just trying to ruffle feathers?

    "Comcast says customers who pay for 60Mbps will get upgraded to up to 150Mbps, while those on 150Mbps will move to 250Mbps and those on 250Mbps will get boosted to either 400Mbps or 1Gbps service"

    The articles tries to make it sound like they're not letting people get faster broadband speeds, but it seems like that only means the 400Mbps or 1Gbps speeds, since the above states people can already get 60, 150, or 250 Mbps without TV service. The linked articles says people can't get a FREE upgrade to the next speed levels (60 to 150, 150 to 250, 250 to 400/1000), but that's very different than not letting people get faster internet. They give you the upgraded speed for free because you are giving them more money for the TV service. It's just like the "double play" or "triple play" style packages they've been offering for years.

    I don't know if/where you can pay to get 400Mbps or 1Gbps without TV service, but we're really not at the point today where a connection faster than 250Mbps is really beneficial, unless you're downloading a bunch of stuff from a bunch of different places simultaneously, which is not the typical usage pattern.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Just trying to ruffle feathers?

      I get what you're saying, and if you don't need the high speed stuff then this is irrelevant to you. I pay Comcast for 50Mbps broadband with no TV service, and get nowhere near that speed. Plus I'm basically paying about the same as 50Mbps+TV anyway thanks to Comcast slowly ratcheting up the price and me not having the time nor energy to complain.

      Anyway: you can look at this – Comcast offering faster speeds if you get a TV package – as Comcast offering free TV if you get faster speeds. And you might be cool with that.

      But I suspect subscribers who just want decent broadband without TV will be a little cheesed off at this renewed push for TV. Just give us the damn internet, please.

      C.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        @diodesign

        If you are paying for 50 Mbps service but "getting nowhere near that speed" you won't see faster speeds if you paid more for service with a bigger Mbps number.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: DougS

          "If you are paying for 50 Mbps service but 'getting nowhere near that speed' you won't see faster speeds if you paid more for service with a bigger Mbps number."

          Thanks for the awesome top tip, mate. I only mentioned that as an aside.

          C.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just trying to ruffle feathers?

        " I pay Comcast for 50Mbps broadband with no TV service, and get nowhere near that speed."

        Point the DNS on your router to Verisign and you should see a dramatic increase as I did.

    2. Nate Amsden

      Re: Just trying to ruffle feathers?

      Poking at Xfinity's site I see there is an offer for 400Mbps for $75/mo (first 12 months - internet only), they also have a special page for gigabit offerings(up to 2Gbps) though looks like they want an address to check first.

      As another user noted the data cap is still 1TB, and as you noted there isn't much use of having such a fast connection anyway for most people. I have a 250mbps plan and the ONLY reason I'm on that plan is it was the one(at the time anyway) that gave me the fastest upload (20Mbit). I'd be perfectly fine with a 50Mbps or even less (less than two years ago I was on another cable provider in another city with a 30Mbps plan, though upload was only 2 or 3Mbps).

      I saw flyers around recently advertising 400Mbit(that it was available, no mention of free upgrades) so I have no idea if I will get upgraded, I really don't care since I won't use that speed anyway.

      1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

        Re: Nate Amsden

        Okay. I'm not sure what we're arguing over here.

        Edit: BTW we're not saying anyone should upgrade or accept new services - just pointing out Comcast's latest bid to reverse the cord-cutting trend among its subscriber base.

        C.

  7. Mark 85 Silver badge

    So this is how net neutrality will work?

    We have to take their over priced TV offerings even if we don't want it? I haven't had the TV on in couple of years except for a couple of DVD's and I have friends the same way. I've doing the "life" thing rather than Youtube and Streaming Services. Much more peaceful and enjoyable.

    But then, I have Spectrum... with Internet and Phone it's about $80/month. I add TV is another $80/month... meh.... a pox on them.

  8. The Dogs Meevonks

    I ditched Sky last year due to the non stop price hikes that saw a 40Mb fibre (+phone) being priced at £46.99... and went to Virgin who offered 100Mb + Phone for £32... what a mistake that was. My average since Nov was less than 20Mb and I actually got one of their staff to admit that their network couldn't handle the traffic.

    I got out of that contract with some refunds and so forth and went over to Vodafone... f'kin halfwits lied through their teeth about not being able to transfer my BT originated number from Virgin (they never even tried) and I cancelled that within a few weeks and have been refunded everything paid... so almost 4 weeks of internet for free and a phone line that was never used as Virgin kept my line/number open waiting for the number port... which costs me line rental.

    I got so fed up with crapp companies that I bit the bullet and went with Zen... it's pricey at £50 a month for phone/full fibre and free calls 24/7... But it's been a hassle free journey so far. Line active within 2 days or ordering, internet within 7 days and so far getting 62Mb on a 77Mb line with more tweaking to be done (I know it can support 69Mb as I had that via Vodafone).

    I also have to say that I'm impressed with the supplied router too... Far better than anything supplied by Sky/Virgin/Vodafone.

    The moral of this story.... pay peanuts, get shat on by monkeys.

    1. Warm Braw Silver badge

      I ditched Sky last year due to the non stop price hikes

      I've just had two unsolicited letters in the space of two weeks from Sky confirming that my "half price" fibre broadband offer is being extended into its third year (actually, possibly fourth by the end as they reset my contract date when I moved) and reminding me of that in case I'd not noticed.

      All I had to do originally to get it was to log in and threaten to cancel: no human intervention, no-one to argue with. I suspect that once you are deemed to be the kind of customer that accepts a price hike, you keep getting them.

  9. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    How much ...

    ... for the TV+High speed Broadband bundle? But you keep the set-top box. Because I'm not really going to watch any of your crap.

  10. Robert Moore
    Angel

    So glad I am Canadian

    While our system is far from perfect there are at least third party providers. About two years ago I told Shaw Cable to get stuffed and signed up with aebc.com

    No requirement for getting TV service, and speedtest.net tells me I am nearly always getting more than the speed I am paying for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bell Canada 'Fibe' services tries a very similar approach

      Starting with Fiber Optic 200 Mbps Internet and Telephone (via the same Fiber Optic) service.

      I could get a speed bump to 300 Mbps, add TV service (which I don't really use, seriously it's just sitting there unused for months on end), and reduce the monthly cost by a few dollars.

      Of course they promised two years of the better deal, and then arbitrarily truncated it after about one year. Something that they are now in serious trouble for. One client took them to Small Claims and has set a precedent that will lead to a CCTS decision, and likely a Class Action lawsuit.

  11. elvisimprsntr

    Every year, for the past 12 years, I had to call Crapcast and threaten to leave if they did not offer me new customer promotional rates. I would make a pot of coffee on a Saturday morning and say to myself, "Crapcast, today we do battle!" I would argue my position that I am a low cost customer. I own my home, thus you are not rolling a truck to the same address 3 times a year to disconnect/reconnect service. I do all my inside wiring and own my own modem. After about 60-90 minutes I would eventually win the battle and get some sort of promotional rate. They would alway try to up sell me to an internet+TV service for only a little extra/month. I eventually figured out how to stop them in their tracks and save myself a lot of time and energy. I would simply tell them, "It is against my religion to have TV service in my home."

    Of course, my threats of leaving was a bluff. My only alternative was slow DSL service which cost even more $. That all changed last year when ATT started burying flexible conduit under everyone's driveway. I had been hounding ATT for years when our HOA dropped bulk service from Crapcast. Last year when my annual call to Crapcast was due, I had already researched ATT and made up my mind I was switching. I didn't put up much of a battle. I am pleased to report I have ATT Fiber 50 Mbps symmetric service for $30/mo when combined with my ATT wireless bill. I left my Crapcast equipment installed, but unplugged. If ATT chooses to play games in 2 years, I actually do have a viable option and can switch in seconds.

  12. Big Al 23

    This is what consumer protection agencies are suppose to prevent

    The Federal Trade Comm. and state consumer protection agencies are suppose to protect consumers from blackmail and extortion but large companies in the U.S. are typically able to violate law with complete impunity. Even when there are tens of thousands of consumer fraud complaints, the government agencies are slow to hold criminal corporations accountable. If and when they decide to prosecute these companies the punishment is so insignificant as to not even be a slap on the wrist. It's a disgrace and the very reason why corporate crime is so pervasive.

  13. John Geek

    Agreed, as long as they have a 1TB/month cap on their service, faster is useless.

    Spoeedtest claims I'm getting 180Mbit/sec now, yet I rarely see any ACTUAL uses go much over 10MB/s

    1. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Speeds and feeds

      The dirty little secret of both cable and DSL providers, essentially since they became a thing, is that the bottleneck is usually not between your home and their "head end". It's usually somewhere between there and "the cloud". You and your neighbors may each get allegedly 100Mbps, but only if you are getting stuff that's originated (or cached) on their system. If you dare venture on the real internet, you will all be fighting for the same bandwidth. Some may recall the "Cable Hog" ads run by the DSL providers when cable started competing with them. Yeah, well, the DSL guys did the same thing. In 2000, I was working for a settop-box maker, and was able to read one of those expensive reports on the actual state of U.S. Internet access. Seems that both cable (allegedly 1.5 Mbps) and DSL (allegedly 128Kbps, IIRC) were actually provisioning their systems for something like 20Kbps/subscriber, apparently on the idea that "how fast can one person click a link, and what are the odds his neighbor will do it at that exact time?

      The speedtest results may be an artifact of running a peer on their own network, so it is not actually measuring "speed to the internet" but "speed to somewhere on your ISP's network". Comcast was caught doing it back in the day, and assume that ATT is up to their usual antics, especially since being acquired by SBC (Sodomized By Cowboys)

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Nolveys Silver badge
    Windows

    Same In Kanukistan

    Shaw Cable offered a similar deal in Alberta, Canada about 7 years ago. When a friend of mine called them to order the service they asked what kind of TV he had and he responded that he didn't have one. My friend was told that he couldn't order the service without owning a TV, even though he had no intention of watching cable, he just wanted the internet.

    So my friend drove down to the recycling depot and pulled a TV that looked like it had been run over by a tractor out of one of the bins. He took said TV home and propped it up on it's side against the wall in his office. When the installer saw it he asked if my friend actually wanted the TV hooked up, to which he declined. My friend still got his internet.

    It's interesting the things we do these days solely to satisfy arbitrary requirements.

  16. Ed3

    When Comcast calls with a lower price for a TV+Internet be sure to ask how much your total monthly bill will be. In addition to the base price there is a local TV station fee, local sports franchise fee (some markets), hardware rental fees (you MUST have a TV box nowadays, sometimes they include the first box, sometimes not), HD technology fee (!!), and various local, state, and federal fees.

    ...and current offer is for a 12-month contract. The base price will not change for the duration of the contract, but all the associated fees can and will.

    Internet-only service currently does not have any of those associated fees.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Triple play for me

    I've had the Comcast triple play package (phone, cable, internet) for years; I got cable originally because my house sits in a valley with no line-of-sight to broadcast towers, so basically I have unacceptable over-the-air TV reception here. Eventually I splurged for HD which is mainly for sports. Sports on standard def is almost unusable these days because you cannot even read the score and stat boxes.

    I got the cable internet as soon as it was offered in my area (I had insider information ahead of the availability) because my only other option was dialup modems; DSL wasn't in my area at that time, and later it was available but very expensive and much slower.

    Finally, I got the phone package because it saved me a fortune compared to local phone service plus long distance charges, and it provided the triple bundle discounts; the only consideration now would be dropping that and going completely cell-based for phone service.

    Every couple of years Comcast bumps my speed w/o changing plans. I don't even remember what plan tier I am on. And they swap out the modem regularly to get higher speeds. (I lease the modem from Comcast because buy-your-own is an iffy proposition at best with the voice service. The modem swap rate is about the same as the payback time for owning my own so I figure it is break-even.)

    So, basically, I'm a satisfied Comcast customer. Oh, yeah, originally the cable and internet service was Adelphia, before Comcast acquired them. Now, if you want to talk about a really crappy company...they made Comcast look like geniuses in comparison.

  18. WolfFan Silver badge

    They don't want my business

    I just attempted to contact Comcast. They were as awful as they were many years ago when I had Comcast service and got rid of it to go to AT&T even though AT&T was slower and more expensive.

    1 I went looking for their customer service number. I had to go through three screens to get it. They don't want people to call them.

    2 once I got the customer 'service' number, I called it. I was disconnected twice.

    3 once I got the system to stay up, I was put into Voice Call Hell. Having navigated the maze, I was placed on hold.

    4 after 14 minutes 28 seconds on hold, I heard voices... except that it wasn't customer 'service' talking to me. It was customer 'service' talking to someone else. I could hear both sides of the conversation, including when the victim... that is, the customer... told customer 'service' their name, social security number, address, and account number. I say again, I heard the whole thing. It seems that Comcast has a slight security problem.

    5 after a further 5 minutes 57 seconds listening to customer 'service' lead the victim around, I heard a click and then dead air.

    It was a really good thing that I had my cell phone up on speaker and was doing something else the whole time. I would have been quite annoyed to have spent over 20 minutes for nothing (other than valuable personal info from a Comcast victim, that is.) As it was I got a few things done while letting Comcast prove to me that they were still as bad as ever.

    I then called AT&T. I was connected within 45 seconds, and done in less than three minutes. I think that AT&T wants my business. Comcast couldn't care less. AT&T's prices have fallen and their speed has improved. What I get from AT&T (officially 75 Mb/s down, really more like 70 Mb/s) is now as fast as what Comcast's website says I can get from them, and the price is less than $5/month more. I'll pay $5/month (a.k.a. $60/year) in exchange for not having to deal with Comcast customer 'service'. AT&T says that they will have 150 Mb/s available in my area 'soon' and 1 Gb/s available 'in the near future'. I'm not holding my breath waiting, but for now 75 will do. Comcast's site says that they have 150 Mb/s and 300 Mb/s in my area right now, and 2 Gb/s 'soon', but they've Comcast. If they are hard to contact _before_ I start paying them, well, I remember how they were years ago when I used to pay them. I will not be repeating the experience any time soon.

  19. therealmav

    Openreach I’m up for this

    Oh, but you mean I have to stick to my crappy 2 Mb EOL line. Bollocks to that I’ll pass

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