Today the Comcast Technician arrived at the appointed time at the House by the Parkway. Pleasant enough fellow, upon entering, he said, “So, nothing’s working?” As we were taking the 15 or 20 steps to the room where the computer is located, I gave him the five-second summary, including the part where Comcast Telephone Support couldn’t get me online. He walked into the room as I was trying to relay the history of the problem, looked at the modem (two lights on) said, “The modem is on standby,” and with that he pressed the reset button and it began to work. He then installed a new length of cable between the modem and something under the desk.
Me: So, that’s it?
Cable Guy: Yep. Works fine now.
Me: What was the problem?
CG: Your modem was on standby.
Me: What? I must have pressed that same button twenty times and unplugged and re-plugged the modem twenty times.
CG: (shrugs – perhaps he thinks I am crazy?) Well, the switch is a little sticky. You should push it a bit towards the right when you push it in.
Me: Huh? Oh, and I also want to mention that this has happened a couple times in the past two weeks, and the problem corrected itself, without my doing anything. Other times, after I pressed the reset button ALL the lights on the modem came on and blinked simultaneously before it ultimately corrected itself, but not this time. You think maybe I need a new modem?
CG: Hmmm, yeah, maybe there is a problem with your modem even though it’s working fine now. You should probably get a new one, but I don’t have one on the truck. You could also pick one up at the Comcast office and install it yourself. It’s easy.
CG: If you have the problem again, call me directly (he gave me his number), and I’ll come by with a replacement modem. Please sign here.
1. I can only assume that the cable guy thought that I was lying about pressing the reset button multiple times, or that I was a complete idiot who never even tried to press the reset button.
2. I was quite surprised (maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised) to hear that a Comcast Technician doesn’t have modems on the truck. What the heck is in that truck?
3. I figure that for the forty or so bucks per month I pay for internet cable service, I shouldn’t have to deal with a modem with a “sticky switch,” and I damned sure shouldn’t have to deal with a modem that “probably should be replaced.”
4. I also figure that for the forty or so bucks per month I pay for internet cable service, I shouldn’t have to schlep off to the Comcast office, pick up a modem and install it myself.
5. While I appreciate the cable guy giving me his direct number, I wonder what will happen if I lose service three weeks from now. I suspect that if I use the number, he will not remember me and will direct me to call the office, which will start the annoying process all over again. In either case, it will involve yet another visit from the cable guy and more missed work.
6. Frankly, the only reason that I haven’t switched to Verizon is that I don’t want to go through the massive hassle of notifying all the right people and businesses of an e-mail address change. I may rethink that and begin preparing a list of who would have to be notified.
7. If you are thinking about getting high-speed internet service, think Verizon.
Update: Commenters share their Verizon experiences, pro and con.