Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Comcast monopoly set to end? Previous Next
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Genesyxx
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Username: Genesyxx

Post Number: 733
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 9:43 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

AT&T set to start your U-verse:

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pb cs.dll/article?AID=/20070522/B IZ04/705220361

AT&T Inc. launches its U-verse television service in 50 Metro Detroit communities today, giving cable companies, chiefly Comcast, their stiffest competition yet.

A choice between providers could lead to lower costs and better services, likely ending a climb in cable prices, an analyst says.

Customers like Andy Stern of Southfield are ready to explore their options. He said he's been dissatisfied with poor customer service and missed installation appointments from Comcast and satellite providers.

Comcast "knows they're the only game in town, and they can treat you poorly," he said. "I'd definitely look at alternatives if they're available."

U-verse gives that choice to 100,000 local households starting today. U-verse offers similar TV, Internet and on-demand services as digital cable, but the data is routed through newly upgraded phone lines rather than cable wires. The service also touts new features, including a digital video recorder that can record up to four shows at once and a receiver that doubles as a wireless Internet router.

The technology has AT&T boasting that it's no longer "just a phone company." Comcast said the new competitor will not challenge their leadership position. The cable giant has 1.3 million subscribers in Michigan.

"We already have built a broadband network that our competitors are just now trying to emulate," said Comcast spokesman Jerome Espy. "This is already a competitive marketplace and we offer value-priced products and superior quality."

Comcast has been successful in stealing away more than 2 million phone customers from AT&T, Verizon and others nationwide with its digital phone service launched in late 2005.

While U-verse is available to homes in cities from Grosse Pointe to Northville to Trenton, it is not yet available in all homes in all 50 communities. In fact, of 10 addresses checked by The Detroit News, only one showed U-verse was available. AT&T says by year's end 250,000 households will have the service available to them as the technology behind the product rolls out further each day.

"U-verse says that our vision of being the only entertainment and communications company a consumer will need is becoming a reality," said Jennifer Jones, AT&T vice president and general manager for Michigan. "Detroit residents now have a new and better choice for their television provider."

From the first 50 cities, AT&T will expand to others in Metro Detroit, and eventually across much of the state. Prices for U-verse packages of TV and Internet services range from $59 a month to $129, in special introductory offers that end June 30.

The U-verse launch comes just six months after AT&T won approval for a statewide cable franchise. Previously, cable television providers had to apply community by community.

'Customers will win'

As far as TV service, satellite providers and smaller cable outfits, such as WOW!, do provide some competition for Comcast.

But AT&T is the first in Michigan large enough to match the cable company when it comes to investments, advertising and territory -- and without sticking a dish on your roof, said telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan.

"Whenever you have choice, it increases competition," he said. "That decreases prices and improves quality. It raises the bar for Comcast. Now they are going to have to focus on customer relations and care in a way they haven't before."

Kagan said the threat of competition led to a smaller-than-typical cable TV price increases earlier this year and could mean prices will fall in the future.

The fight between massive corporate combatants also will lead to new services. AT&T, for example, anticipates adding online gaming functionality to U-verse. Comcast, on the other hand, touts a large and growing library of free on-demand shows and movies.

"AT&T will do some things that you can't do with traditional cable services," Kagan said. "So Comcast (is) going to try to one-up AT&T. In the end, the customers will win."

Reinventing television?

While U-verse will offer a similar array of services to digital cable, it is not delivered through the same means. Television receivers, akin to cable boxes, plug into phone jacks, not cable outlets. Upon installation of U-verse, customers will have phone lines and jacks in their homes upgraded to higher-quality wiring. Similar upgrades are being made to the telephone lines that run through communities.

U-verse also offers customers Internet services that are up to four times faster than the DSL packages AT&T offers. Many Comcast customers receive a similar speed of Internet, but they can upgrade to an even faster product.

U-verse also will offer a litany of features that customers may not have seen in one place before. For example, digital video recorders can be set either with the remote, through a Web site or on certain Cingular phones. The product also will allow televisions to have picture-in-picture technology even on sets not equipped for the service.

It also features the typical digital cable offerings such as a high-definition signal, video-on-demand libraries and music-only channels.
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Johnlodge
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Username: Johnlodge

Post Number: 451
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 9:44 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Comcast's monopoly ended for me awhile ago. I have WOW! cable and internet.
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Gravitymachine
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Username: Gravitymachine

Post Number: 1672
Registered: 05-2005
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 9:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

doesn't the CoD have a contract with comcast giving them exclusivity in the city proper?
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Thejesus
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Username: Thejesus

Post Number: 1255
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 9:50 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gravity:

New state law recently want into effect that allows cable companies to obtain a license from the state to service an area rather than have to negotiate a franchise agreement with every local government...

also, it's important to note that, just as the law allows AT&T to move into Comcast's area, it also allows Comcast and other existing franchisees to exapnd to other areas within the state
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Rjk
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Username: Rjk

Post Number: 718
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 9:53 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For people who have WOW, what are the advantages/disadvantages over Comcast?

How much are you paying per month?

Thanks.

(Message edited by rjk on May 22, 2007)
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Thejesus
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Username: Thejesus

Post Number: 1256
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 9:55 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't pay for my cable but I know that Wow is/was cheaper than Comcast in the last two area I lived...with digital cable and modem it was difference of about $9 a month
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Gannon
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Username: Gannon

Post Number: 9249
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 10:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

WOW! also has service technicians who can not only tell the time, but can tell you about cable television once they get there. More than half of them can pretty much fully explain HDTV, at least the basics, where I've only found ONE Comcast employee who was informed (or even curious).

The Wow Service People have been to a number engaging, on time, friendly, efficient, and able to do their job the first time through. Comcast has not been able to match them on ANY of these issues.

This is from a sample of six WOW technicians over nine service calls versus ten Comcast employees over ten calls. Never saw a Comcast person twice, so it is just more likely they have a much larger and less trained service fleet.


Overall, Wow seems a much better company than Comcast...but then again they have to be since they don't have the monopolies, amazing how that works out.



Even in the apartment/loft building my client bought into in Royal Joke where they must use the pre-wired Wow cables (like a mini-monopoly) the service is top-notch. Seems like they try sending the same service person, so's not to learn the home from scratch every time.

Plus, their billing doesn't magically increase until you call to complain.


Cheers!
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Iheartthed
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Username: Iheartthed

Post Number: 812
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 10:15 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This cable/phone service consolidation is getting big. There are some nasty fights going on between the traditional phone service and cable service providers behind the scenes. I have been doing some work for one of those big phone service providers as part of their lawsuit against a well known cable service provider regarding these boundaries.
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Gannon
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Username: Gannon

Post Number: 9251
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 10:22 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is where we get to see the true nature of corporations...when they start to eat each other instead of US and our raw materials.
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Sstashmoo
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Username: Sstashmoo

Post Number: 106
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 10:35 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Quote: "For people who have WOW, what are the advantages/disadvantages over Comcast? "


WOW is a 10 times better company to deal with. Better reliability of cable service, better customer service, more channels, and cheaper.

Avoid Comcast at all costs...

They bought out our local provider years back, immediately the service was out for 2 weeks, when it came back on finally, it was poor and slow. They refused to give me any credit for the outage, and on top of it raised my bill from 79 a month to 86 a month. And then argued there was no increase. They need to be run out on a rail. Some communities (I think Northville) in the past have banded together and have tried to have them expelled as the exclusive provider, but to no avail.

Just google "Comcast complaint" They have the poorest customer service rating in the industry.

This AT&T deal is no deal at all. Anytime I have to pay a hundred dollars a month to watch TV I'm not going to like it. They charge for the "privelege" of their signal and then barrage the viewer with commercials.

Fed up with the utility monopolies..
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Smogboy
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Username: Smogboy

Post Number: 5169
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 11:03 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The biggest difference to me between WoW and Comcast has definitely been the customer service. I had been begrudgingly a Comcast customer for the longest time because they were the only game in town with a serious high speed internet connection. At that time Comcast was offering a great 6Mpbs which was amazingly fast for uploads & downloads. Then suddenly prices started going up without any warning and I literally felt held hostage. It wasn't until WoW came into town and they also offered the 6Mpbs but they also offered me a guarantee of no rate increases for several years and that sold me right there. Amazingly then Comcast bumped their speed up to 8Mpbs- but in my mind, that little bit of extra speed wasn't worth the constant headache (horrid customer relations, occassional outages, sporadic rate increases, no customer loyalty). I even gave Comcast one last shot to match WoW's offer and not only were they rude to me over the phone, they (a second level manager) dared me so I called them on it. I've been with WoW ever since and have had no problems whatsoever.

The only minor glitches I've had with WoW so far has been the awkward switchover to new channel numbers on the cable TV (what was once channel 18 is now on 32), no Versus to watch some of the playoff hockey (bar hopping time), and one early early morning stretch (3:00AM) when they were doing maintenance but beyond that... no problems whatsoever. WoW's people have always been more than friendly, patient and cordial even over the most miniscule questions I might have had which to me is the biggest contrast between the two companies.

Now with AT&T coming into town with similar internet speeds (the primary reason I chose cable over DSL), I'd be curious to see what WoW has to say about this. I seriously doubt if I'll ever go back to Comcast even if they do offer a cheaper rate- just because of the way I've been consistently been treated by their customer service.
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Ed_golick
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Username: Ed_golick

Post Number: 639
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 11:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've had 24 service calls in the last ten months with Comcast. Can't wait until U-verse hits Detroit.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 1249
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 11:23 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've called Comcast weekly since February to come and get a wire out of my yard. Each time I was given a different story, no one could tell me why the technician did not come the time before, half the time they could not even understand why I was calling or how to log the complain since I do not have cable.

They were by on Saturday and did a half-assed job of getting the wire up so now I can at least mow the alley. What I found amusing is how they try to sell you internet and telephone service when they have you on the phone. If it takes them four months and dozens of calls to pick up a wire that is now their liability after I reported it, why the hell would I want to get my internet or phone from them?
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Larryinflorida
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Username: Larryinflorida

Post Number: 244
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 11:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Comcash is an unhealthy monopoly in many areas.
$50/ a month for no pay channels, 80% infomercials at night and screaming local commercials set to twice the volume of network stuff, just to get your attention.

Someone needs to drive a stake through their heart. And soon.
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Danny
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Username: Danny

Post Number: 5898
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 12:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

YAY!! Finally. Sorry Comcast! you can't have everything the in telecommunications market.
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Mod
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Username: Mod

Post Number: 108
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 1:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I expelled Comcrap from my home due to many of the reasons above, but it was mostly cost. Now I just go the library for internet. Hell, my taxes are paying for it!
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Redvetred
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Username: Redvetred

Post Number: 20
Registered: 04-2007
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 1:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm still waiting for high speed Internet from AT&T. They are very slow to build out new areas. I was told three years ago that high speed Internet was only six months away and it's still not here. Unfortunately, no competition to Comcast but they are getting better from my recent experiences. However, they seem to have glitches during the Red Wings games. Hmmm, they must not be a fan.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 1251
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 2:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have AT&T hi speed, its not too bad. It would be better if I could figure out how to get all my memory slots running on full gears. My pentium 4 is not fast enough to digest what they send over the line. I must have added the cards wrong because the diagnostics did not come up with the number I expected.

I don't think you could beat AT&T for the price.
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Yvette248
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Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 515
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 2:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Even though Comcast has better offerings, I'm a WOW baby because of the price. I'm paying $60 for cable AND internet. Can't beat it!
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Johnlodge
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Username: Johnlodge

Post Number: 452
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2007 - 3:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For what I paid to get Basic Digital cable and Internet with Comcast, I now have an HD Box with all the HD channels and Internet through Wow.

When I used to call Comcast at ANY time, I would be on the hold for a good 15 minutes before any human being talked to me. With Wow, I navigate to what I need with the menu, then a human comes on the line within a minute EVERY time I've called. AND they've been friendly. When I ordered up my HD channels, the guy there started telling me about his favorite HD shows that I should check out. Unbelievable.

PLUS they gave my friend who referred me to Wow $25 bucks off his bill for referring me, and gave me $25 bucks off my bill for BEING referred!

Oh yeah, and my Internet hasn't gone down once that I've noticed. With Comcast it seemd to go out for awhile on a NIGHTLY basis sometimes. F COMCAST.

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