…But Only If Customers Demand Credits


On Sunday afternoon Comcast had a huge outage* that completely took down Comcast’s Xfinity Triple Play package. Down went the Internet, phone and cable. Comcast’s toll-free customer line answered with two beeps and a busy signal.  


I got to Comcast using my AT&T cell phone. When Comcast said service might be down for many hours, I asked for a credit—and immediately got a full day’s worth. I asked, “Does everyone hit by the outage get a credit?”  Comcast said no, only those that specifically ask for it.


Whenever I call Comcast, I first must listen to a recording that happily tells me I am an “insider” because I have the Xfinity Triple Play Package. It goes on to say that as an insider, I am one of Comcast’s “most valuable customers.” You bet your antenna we are valuable. We are the source of enormous profits. And if we are dumb enough to totally rely on the Triple Play Package, we will be unable to contact Comcast by phone or Internet during a big outage. Our value to Comcast increases as its service decreases.


Let’s fantasize what would happen if regulations required Comcast to issue a whole day’s credit to every customer affected by an outage—not whether they asked for it.  Regulators would be pro-consumer. Politicians would campaign without telecom political contributions. Comcast would build strategic redundancy into network infrastructure. The telecommunications industry would be truly competitive. Pigs would fly.



*The outage occurred July 28. I am in northern NJ. If you know any Comcast users, forward this post to them. They might thank you.



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