The single biggest frustration in my recent move is that my only available internet provider at the moment is AT&T Uverse. It was either go with AT&T or no internet (satellite internet is even worse) or have no home internet at all. Having had cable internet since 1999 I was spoiled by the relatively fast speeds I was getting. My last place had Comcast Xfinity internet and I was getting 120 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up. Since I work from home, having faster internet is a must. While I did move to a more rural area, Comcast IS in the neighborhood. As a matter of fact if I look out my back window I can literally see a house that has Xfinity:
The joys of new construction – AT&T Uverse was smart enough run their lines early
My new house was built on a new street. Since the street is new, it doesn’t yet show up in many business service databases. In order to get service to a new address, Comcast sends out a person to do a survey. If this person feels that you can get service without a lot of effort, they add your new address to their system and then you can place an order and get services installed. However, if the person doing the survey feels that there would need to be “construction” done to run the lines to your street, then it has to be financially approved and scheduled before you can get service.
How slow is slow?
The fastest service I can get here currently with AT&T Uverse is 18Mbps down and 1.5Mbps up. That’s it. I feel like I’ve gone back in time 20 years. Apparently AT&T knows how bad their upload speeds are because they don’t list them anywhere. They only list the down speeds in their advertisements. The above screenshot is best case scenario. Usually the speed is 10-18Mbps down and 1.3-1.8Mbps up on average. While the down speed is not the end of the world, the up speed is pretty much unacceptable. I do live streaming and uploads to YouTube on a regular basis. When I have to stream for work I end up using my Verizon MiFi 4G LTE hotspot as it gets an average of 10Mbps up and down:
I can also use my iPad Pro with AT&T 4G LTE as a hot spot and it gets:
It’s ironic that my mobile devices have a MUCH faster connection (Verizon AND AT&T) respectively than the WIRED AT&T Uverse that I’m stuck with for now. Also each mobile device only has so much bandwidth per month and therefore they are feasible to use full-time. There’s even a 600GB per month data cap on the AT&T Uverse Internet…. sigh….
The Comcast Xfinity installation runaround
After submitting multiple requests and having multiple surveys down I get conflicting answers from Comcast. One rep tells me that they will run the lines after all the homes are completed/built in my area. That’s a scary prospect because they have many more homes to go before they would be completely done. Not sure if that means the couple of homes between me and the model home that has Xfinity service or the homes on the other side that will take several months to complete. The other story I get is that they just need to get the financial approval to get the lines run. No timeline and usually they NEVER call back when they say they’re going to.
Save me Comcast Business, you’re my only hope!
After more than a month of runaround and conflicting stories from the residential side of Comcast, I finally decided to give Comcast Business a call. I don’t really want to go with Comcast Business if I can avoid it because they lock you in to a two year contract minimum, you can’t give TV through them for a residence and they charge more for the same speed. Putting the negatives aside I moved forward with them. On a positive note with Comcast Business there is no data cap and they are less freaky about running servers and other services that the residential side of the house would frown upon. The sales guy I spoke with told me that they’d need to do a survey. After a few days, i called back to see how it was going and he told me that the survey came back and that they needed to get (yes you guessed it) financial approval to run the lines. However, this time a couple of days later I did get a call back saying that they got the approval they needed and they could proceed. Yay! “How long will it take?” The answer was: “It could take up to 90 days.” WHAT???!!! It didn’t take 90 days to build the house from scratch. Why so long? “we have to get permits to do the work and depending on your local government it could take a while. However, it usually never takes that long.” I can’t believe that it will take 90 days, but even if it did it means that I’ll have my regular speeds back.
As far as TV goes I’ll either stick with Uverse for TV or give Comcast residential a call once the line is run as they should then be able to connect me without any further effort.
The Bottom Line
The biggest frustration in all of this is that I CAN SEE THE HOUSE THAT HAS SERVICE! It’s not like it’s a brand new subdivision and no one has it. I could walk an ethernet line from here and plug it in myself. It shouldn’t be that hard to run a line such a short distance. There’s even Xfinity Wi-Fi in the area, but I have yet to be able to make a successful connection to it.
What about Fiber? Fiber is another story. Google Fiber is here doing construction the Atlanta metro area as well as AT&T, but neither can give you a timeframe as to when you’ll be able to sign up for it. This is another reason I hate signing long contracts. Two years is an eternity for technology services. With Comcast Business you pay 75% of the remaining contract if you cancel early.
As much as we like to hate on our cable companies (usually for good reasons), I would gladly put up with those issues to have fast internet again. In the meantime I sit here on day 5 of 90…. waiting….