back to article Comcast’s president of tech falls offline while boasting about how great cable is for connectivity

In a moment of sweet irony, Comcast’s president of technology disappeared mid-interview this week after his internet connection cut out – just moments after he boasted about how superior cable Wi-Fi connections were to cellular data. Tony Werner was interviewing Michael Powell, the president of cable industry body NCTA, at the …

  1. Imhotep Silver badge

    Your Call Is Important To Us*

    I tend to believe it. If it was cable that went down, he wouldn't have been back.

    *Picking up the call, not so much.

    1. RM Myers Silver badge

      Re: Your Call Is Important To Us*

      I tend to believe it also. Surely someone at his pay level would be smart enough not to use Comcast's crappy cable system.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "There is [..] no way to independently verify"

    There doesn't need to be. It doesn't matter what he was using, what matters is that he very publicly shot himself in the foot by not having a reliable connection.

    That is on par with Bill Gates' first presentation of Windows 95 that introduced the world to the wonders of the GUI of the future as well as the Blue Screen Of Death in one single presentation.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: "There is [..] no way to independently verify"

      "That is on par with Bill Gates' first presentation of Windows 95 that introduced the world to the wonders of the GUI of the future as well as the Blue Screen Of Death in one single presentation."

      Unless it happened more than once (quite possible) that was Windows 98, and he was demonstrating a Plug n' Play scanner. It wasn't just a BSOD, but a half-screen one.

      He said, "I guess that's why we're not shipping Windows 98 yet."

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: "There is [..] no way to independently verify"

        Even Bill Gates trembles before the wrath of BSOD!

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: "There is [..] no way to independently verify"

          Dammit, it's "That must be why we're not shipping Windows 98 yet." I was so close.

  3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Comcast user here

    I live about 25 miles west of Boston (MA, USA). I have had cable internet in this town ever since it was a "thing"30 years ago (it has been supplied by Comcast for the past 20, at least). As much as I like to run down Comcast, I really can't complain about the stability of their service. I currently have "up to" 100Mb down/25 up for around $70/mo. Not a great value for money, but, whatever.

    My gripes about them are few: the connection does tend to disappear at random times, often first thing in the morning, and though I haven't verified it, it seems to be network maintenance or an upload of new firmware to my (compatible by personally owned) modem. A power cycle usually fixes this, but it's annoying to wake up to no internet.

    The bandwidth is a bigger issue. "Up to" means just that, and it's often less. Sometimes, for an hour or so, the "tubes" will get clogged and the throughput will slow to a crawl. But that, too, is infrequent. I've been WFH since March and have never had an outage that prevented me from working. Pretty good so far. I do not have TV or phone service through them. My wired phone is OOMA, and works well (except when the power goes out, of course). I do have a UPS and I have found that if I can keep my modem and router up, I do have internet during power outages...for how long, I haven't tested.

    Now, as to service. If you ever need to call them for anything, my advice is: "Don't". I have rarely had a good experience here. Often, several return calls are necessary for non-technical issues, usually billing or changes. And keep the receipts for any equipment you return. They do tend to claim that you haven't returned reliable is this, that it almost appears to be a bit of a scam to collect free money.

    Overall, I'd give them a 3/5. They'd get 4/5 if they'd give me 500Mb down and 100Mb up for $70, and 5/5 if they'd provide customer service on a par with Digikey or LL Bean (my two examples of absolutely top notch customer service)

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Comcast user here

      "I currently have "up to" 100Mb down/25 up for around $70/mo. Not a great value for money, but, whatever."

      I am in the UK with Virgin Media (Liberty Global) and have---just tested it---105.16 down, 9.36 up. I have at least 99.9% uptime (except recently when their router packed up, and I havdto wait until the next day for them to deliver a replacement).

      I pay around £35/month, which is about $45 or so. And that includes 20% sales tax.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Comcast user here

        Former Comcast user here

        My bill started at $100 a month and after 3 years was over $220 a month with no changes to service requested by me. Bandwidth was 60-70 Mb down 8-10 up when it was running smoothly but dropped to less than 2Mb down when all the school kids got home.

        What annoyed me most, though, was that when I asked to drop TV and phone service (neither of which we used much), the price would drop from $220 a month to $180 but they would halve my bandwidth, because that's the only internet-only package they offer in our area.

        Fortunately we have a local ISP that was happy to actually provide 100+Mb bandwidth consistently and without my bill climbing up every single month with new taxes, fees, and charges. We now pay $80 a month for 160Mb down, 20-30 up

        People in the UK have no idea how crappy and predatory US cable companies are

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Comcast user here

          "People in the UK have no idea how crappy and predatory US cable companies are"

          Oh I do, and wait until you hear what we pay for our mobile phones.

    2. PCJ

      Re: Comcast user here

      I'm a little further west of Boston than you. I've been WFH for 7 years in a tech job, paying for 600down, 15up and generally get or beat that, but pay north of $100 for it (no TV, no phone bundle). I don't use their equipment, though - bought my own Modem, connected it to a full Ubiquiti setup.

      Generally speaking, I find their plumbing reliable and stable. My issues with them are down to their service when I do need them (it's useless), and their total monopoly on internet connectivity out here. Friends living closer to Boston have much fasted, asynchronous speed Fios connections for half what I pay. That frustrates me.

      1. Gene Jones

        Re: Comcast user here

        Believe it or not, local and state politicians are responsible in large part for lack of competition in most areas of the country. They give companies exclusive access rights agreements for X years which is a de facto monopoly. The cities often get a kickback from the companies in exchange for that exclusivity. Then when it comes time to renew, guess who gets money from these same companies for their re-election bids and higher office aspirations?

      2. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

        Re: Comcast user here

        If I were to switch to Verizon FIOS, I *think* I would get 200 down and a more symmetric up/down ratio, for the same price, on fiber which is already present at my house (along with the ONT with a RJ45 data jack).

        When Verizon told me they would either replace my copper phone line with fiber or disconnect me, I had them install the fiber, then dropped them and switched to OOMA for my "wired" phone.

        I have the capability of (and have considered) switching back and forth between the two suppliers, or just signing up for a FIOS 30 day trial. This, and the "deferred enforcement" of Comcast's money-grabbing bandwidth limits, are the only apparent benefits of "competition" in my market.

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Comcast user here

      Comcast are called Sky in the UK. They offer around 50 down 15 up for £27 per month. Not the absolute cheapest, but pretty comparable to other providers. I pay £25 per month to PlusNet (BT).

      My 4G comes from O2, I get 55 down / 20 up, 100GB per month, for £20. Most people will get slower speeds, some a lot slower.

  4. Someone Else Silver badge

    Karma is a thing.

    (See heading...)

  5. six_tymes

    back in late July, I had the most important online meeting of my life, it took me 10 years to have the opportunity to pitch a product line to the senior toy buyer at Walmart. 6 people attended. My product was chosen out of 1000 submissions, I made it to the top 100. I had a 20 minute limit. for months, days leading up to this moment, everything was in place, I use the same work station daily... then it all ended badly, suddenly a storm occurred in my neighborhood 2 minutes before the start of the meeting, heavy rain, thunder and lightning. my connection was dropping and reconnecting as soon as the meeting started, it dropped 5 times!!! during the drops while I was talking I could hear them say, "can anyone hear what he is saying, I cant, I cant hear him."

    I had my connection tested 3 times before the meeting...needless to say I did not get lucky, I never got all the points across that they needed to hear, and they don't have time to provide a second chance. sorry but, comcast cable sucks.

  6. JCitizen


    The icon says it all..

  7. Maelstorm Bronze badge

    This story reminds me of another one that is sorta related in the software world. Here in the U.S., we used to have a publication called Computer Shopper. It was this 2 inch thick magazine, free, that was full of ads for computer stuff. Now, the publishers of WordPerfect (anyone remember that one?) took out a full page advert for their just released WordPerfect 6. On the facing page, was one of the few articles in the magazine. The headline read in 32pt font "Bugs Haunt WordPerfect 6." Now maybe it's just me, but after seeing that, I always thought someone at Computer Shopper had it in for WordPerfect.

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