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Comcast Neglected To Mention

This article was written by in Consumer. 12 comments.

I decided to take advantage of Comcast’s offer for a free upgrade from 6 Mbps to 8 Mbps internet service more than a week ago. (Wow, what a long way we’ve come since I was running a dial-in bulletin board system on an 8088 IBM clone at 1200 bps.) When I called originally, they said all they had to do was basically flip a switch and I’ll be upgraded. I should see the new increased speed within half an hour.

Well, I didn’t see the increased speed. In fact, after running some speed tests, I realized I was getting the same 1.5 Mbps I’ve been getting for years. This was the moment I realized I had been paying for 6 Mbps service but only getting the slower speed.

I let a week go by to do some more tests over time. There was no change after a week, so I called Comcast again to troubleshoot. They saw no problems on their end, and I should be able to receive data at 8 Mbps. I do quite a bit of downloading, so the extra speed would be helpful, but I wasn’t getting it. They scheduled someone to come in to take a look.

Their technician stopped by today. He unplugged my model from the cable and tested with an interesting handheld device. The signal was entering my apartment at full speed, so the issue was with my modem. My cable modem is about five years old. He checked with Comcast’s servers and they determined that my old Linksys modem complies with DOCSIS 1.0, an old standard incompatible with Comcast’s newer high speed service.

I wish they told me this years ago when service was first upgraded to 3 Mbps, or later when it was upgraded to 6 Mbps. In any case, it gave me a good excuse to run out today to get a new modem. I picked up a (DOCSIS 2.0) D-Link cable modem and set it up. It took Comcast’s customer support some time to upgrade my account — they were having their own computer problems — but now, I’m finally flying.

I do so much work online, increasing my speed more than 400% (when it comes to big downloads — viewing typical websites is pretty much the same) is a big help. Additionally, this new modem doesn’t seem to have the same problem of randomly dropping the connection when I’m using close to the maximum bandwidth.

Updated June 17, 2014 and originally published February 18, 2006.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar 1 Anonymous

One day, out of the blue, after a year of operation my cable modem suddenly wasn’t good enough for Comcast’s network. It took a week until they were able to come out and diagnose the problem but I honestly don’t understand why my Motorola Surfboard couldn’t be used on their network anymore. I’m not a fan of Comcast but they’re a monopoly around here so we don’t have a choice.

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avatar 2 Anonymous

Huh…I might be in a simliar boat, I should check. Did you use broadband-reports java tools to determine your speed? or something else?

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avatar 3 Luke Landes

Comcast is a monopoly around here as well, at least for cable. There are other options for satellite or DSL, but cable internet is the only serious option… at least until Verizon gets their FIOS service ready.

Catilin, I used several tools.. let’s see there’s A Beltrónica, CNET Bandwidth Meter, and DSL Reports, but the best test is probably from Speakeasy.

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avatar 4 Anonymous

Hi Flexo,

I’ve been on a 1.2 Mbps DSL for many years now and feel it is quite adequate for me. I don’t run business; just the usual web browsing. So wondering what you guys really use the extra bandwidth for. Do you see any visible change in user experience?

Being in networking, I am aware there aren’t much killer apps that are bandwidth hungry. If the user end has a fatter pipe, it doesn’t help much if the server side can’t respond any way faster (say will only give me the page at a given speed).

BTW I did read quite a few reports recently talking about the high cost of broadband in US.


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avatar 5 Anonymous

I guess the question I just have to ask is, if you’ve been getting by on 1.5mb for this long, and now, due to the new modem are capable of 6mb service, why pay for the 8mb service? :)

I run VOIP, Webex/Netmeeting, and lots of surfing with 3 computers at the same time on my home network and have never even come close to hitting capacity. What kind of stuff are you doing to need the full 8?

I guess the uploads would be where you might get the most benefit huh?

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avatar 6 Anonymous

Okay. So I guess I should have re-read the post before I commented. I see that they upped it for no charge.

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avatar 7 Anonymous

I have Optimum Online here in NY and I am supposed to get 10Mbps download speed and I never get over 5Mbps. I cannot stand that I am paying $40 for half the speed it is supposed to be. As far as I know, my modem is new, so that shouldn’t be the problem here. The best part is that Cablevision doesn’t care…they will only look into it if my speed is below 3Mbps.

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avatar 8 Anonymous

I’m a fellow Comcast’er and they service kinda sucks. I’m right at about 2.5MB, so I probably ought to do what you did and call and get them to send someone out to check the modem.

Hazzard’s right – I probably don’t need it but it’s the principle of it!

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avatar 9 Anonymous

I would be interested to know, Flexo, if there has been talk of allowing Verizon’s FIOS into your area. It seems that everywhere that they are trying to enter the field, Comcast gives away free speed upgrades. The reason behind it is simple, though. FIOS is comprable, if not outright cheaper, but also provides a greater speed and a more reliable connection. I’m hoping to be able to get it in my area soon.

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avatar 10 Anonymous

I just recently started reading about FIOS from Verizon. I’ve always had good luck with Verizon’s telephone services, but I can’t really complain too much about Comcast to be honest. I get my music real good, but I guess I’d get it faster from Verizon. The competition would be real good for everybody for sure.

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avatar 11 Anonymous

A good friend of mine in Texas has FiOS and he said that Comcast’s ‘hospitality’ has greatly increased since the new competition has moved in. I guess prices are better, speeds are higher, and everybody’s saving a few bucks and getting better service. Funny how that works!

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avatar 12 Anonymous

I’ve had the DCM-202 for a year or two and been very happy with it. None of the flaking out that people report with other modems, it’s always been a solid, fast connection for me.

Can’t wait for DOCSIS 3.0 though;-).

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