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Broadband, but no longer 'free'

Wed, 12/31/2003 - 7:00pm
Roger Brown, Publisher/Editorial Director, Telecom Group

Roger Brown
Roger Brown, Publisher- Editorial Director,
Telecom Group
“Cable modem service must now be ubiquitous!”
Long-time readers of this space will recall that I have–repeatedly–brought attention to the fact that my home has been somehow, maddeningly placed in a "broadband-free" zone where neither DSL nor cable modem service was available. I always found this to be incredible, given the fact that you can see my rooftop from the door of the Comcast Digital Media Center in suburban Denver.

In fact, I'd get so frustrated every time a friend or colleague would email me to say their email domain had changed to "comcast.net" or something with ".rr" in it, that I'd often remark that someone must be playing a cruel joke on me and avoiding my neighborhood on purpose.

Think about it. I write or read something about high-speed data virtually every day. I get briefings about new modems and CMTSs. I see new applications and ideas all the time. Yet I could never actually touch the product to truly understand the personal experiences. It got so bad, frankly, that I'd quip that once I was hooked up to HSD service, then I'd know that the country was 100 percent wired–because I was destined to be the last one on the bus.

Let it be known that cable modem service availability must now be ubiquitous! That's right…I am now part of the growing number of (so far) satisfied high-speed data customers.

Within a year of taking over from AT&T Broadband, Comcast fulfilled its promise and upgraded the Denver system. In fact, Comcast was running about a year ahead of schedule here. Then one day, the postcard arrived, touting the new service.

I called, expecting to be told that, well, there was some problem and it would be a few weeks until the service was really available. Amazingly, the CSR simply took my info and then asked which day I wanted to schedule the install. I admit to being a tad nervous when I told the CSR that I had my own modem, so I wouldn't be needing to rent one. She said, "Now I have to rewrite the work order." Uh-oh, I thought.

Kudos to Comcast also for sending out a truly customer-focused installer/tech. Simultaneously with scheduling my data install, I reported that I had some issues with poor video. Turns out the drop to my house was ancient, which was causing havoc. The tech replaced it and voila! The pictures cleaned up nicely. I still have some direct pickup issues, but the tech correctly explained what DPU is and why the cable company isn't at fault.

After working outside in the cold, replacing the old drop and splitters, rerouting some cable through the garage attic and adding a new outlet, this guy set up the modem, explained the service, did an initial speed test (1.7 megs!) and had me sending emails. Broadband–it feels sooooo good!

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