Sunday, April 22, 2012

U-verse vs Xfinity - Just My Humble Opinion

Back on March 2, the day after I had AT&T U-verse installed at our new house, I posted a comment on Facebook (see the below screenshot - and yes, the different colors indicate different people and was done to protect other’s privacy)

As you can see, I stated my very unvarnished opinion of Comcast at the time and was rather shocked that a former co-worker, who rarely comments on anything on my Wall, blasted me for it. Essentially, my assessment of U-verse being faster and their technicians actually knowing what they’re doing was challenged, mainly because he’s one of those people who thinks his opinion is the only correct one. He also didn’t know, or seem to care to know, why I held that opinion. So, here we go. The explanation of why, even though I don’t particularly like AT&T in terms of cell phone service, I do prefer their cable and internet service over Comcast.

First of all, my assessment of speed is based on experience, not a “speed test”. Frankly, I don’t give a shit about a speed test. I had Comcast’s Xfinity at my old apartment, and I was not impressed. Are they faster or slower based on speed tests? Don’t know, and don’t care. My experience and observation is that what I have now through AT&T U-verse is faster and more reliable. At the old apartment, whenever my roommate and I were both online, it became fairly obvious that we were being throttled. Hell, even if only one of us was online, getting Hulu to play without it buffering every 30-60 seconds was a treat. That’s not to say that things are perfectly smooth with U-verse, but it does seem much smoother to me. But ultimately, none of that even matters. What really makes me not like Comcast is their seeming lack of customer service and their install technicians’ lack of professionalism.

Let’s be clear here. I’m speaking from my experience and observations (and a little bit of some friends’ experiences as well). You may love Comcast Xfinity and get along swimmingly with them. I, on the other hand, hope I never have to have them for cable and internet service again.

First we’ll roll back a bit to the old apartment complex. There was a junction box for the cable and satellite companies to use to get their respective signals to the various apartments. Comcast left the cover off after installing ours. Now, that may seem an honest “oops”, but despite pointing it out to both our apartment management and to a Comcast installer, it remained uncovered and exposed to the elements the entire year we lived there. (strike 1).

The day we had our AT&T U-verse installed, the neighbor rang our doorbell to ask if the AT&T guys were still here. Why? His internet wasn’t working. Guess who he has? Yep, Comcast. Despite the fact that AT&T and Comcast do not share a junction box at this location, they still tried to lay the blame on AT&T for the neighbor’s internet working. The AT&T installer even showed our neighbor where they hooked up outside and how it didn’t affect anything running into his townhouse, mostly because AT&T doesn’t come in via coax, but through the phone lines and then piggybacks to the coax inside the house. Yet, the very next day, Comcast did unhook a line going into our house while working on the neighbor’s service and then a few days later, when they evidently, finally, fixed it, they left a length of coax cable running along the ground from three or four houses down to our neighbor’s house - where it still sits because they still haven’t come back to secure it or bury it (strikes 2 & 3). And no, I haven’t called them, because I’m not their customer, so I don’t give a shit.

Now, they already have three strikes, but here’s where they really take the cake for me. This actually dates back to before I moved into the aforementioned old apartment. I was still living at my best friend’s house. His (now ex) wife had moved back in and had a contract with Comcast. Naturally, she wanted to either a) have her service hooked up at the house or b) be let out of the contract if that couldn’t be done. She was told, despite the fact that they hadn’t been able to get anything but satellite service at that address since they had moved in years before, that they could transfer the service there. An appointment for installation was made - and subsequently cancelled because “service is not available at that address.” So, my best friend can’t get Comcast, his next door neighbor can’t get Comcast, but the very next house has Comcast. What? They can’t run cable another 300 (if even that) yards because “there aren’t enough potential subscribers in that area.” What the hell? We’re talking about two more houses over from where it stops, on a major road! Not impressed, Comcast; not impressed at all. Incidentally, he has U-verse now, too.

That’s not to say that I’m willing to let AT&T completely off the hook, mind you. Then again, to date I’ve not had any reason to complain about the service I have through them. Music and video stream just fine. We’ve not had an outage. The billing has been accurate.

Ultimately, it’s just like mobile service really. One person’s experience may be great with one provider and total shit with another while the next person has the complete opposite experience. As for me, though, I’ll stick with U-verse.

~ JC
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