Comcast Offers To Wire Up Unconnected Customer For Ten Grand?

from the seems-a-bit-pricey dept

While the current FCC and many of its supporters seem to have no problem saying that a cable/DSL duopoly equals “competition” for broadband, plenty of others are discovering the problems with such a solution. If you happen to be in a part of town considered not worth serving, too bad. Comcast has apparently told one potential customers in a neighborhood where every street but his has coverage, that the only way they’ll extend service to his street is if he pays $10,000 — which is quite the setup fee. Now, obviously, these are for profit businesses, and they’re going to make decisions like this all the time. But, it does show how people can be left out when there isn’t real competition. Hopefully new wireless offerings will help alleviate these types of issues — but so far, the incumbents are battling hard to stop any kind of wireless competition as well. In the meantime, it would be nice if the original story had provided more details, because a few points do seem questionable. The city where this is happening isn’t named, and as some people note in the comments to the original story, the local officials should pull the exclusive franchise they gave Comcast if they’re unwilling to offer service. The whole reason municipalities gave out exclusive franchises to cable providers was that was the only way the cable providers would guarantee universal coverage. If the government comes back and threatens to pull the franchise, then suddenly wiring up that street is going to be a lot more appealing — at a price much lower than $10,000.

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Comments on “Comcast Offers To Wire Up Unconnected Customer For Ten Grand?”

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Bill says:

Just keep calling

I lived on 5 acres of rural property next to a sub division, and wanted a cable modem (dial up was 28.8K and a 7 mile run to the telco office)

I called the cable company, and they couldn’t even find my street, it was new / prevoiusly a frontage road.

Since they could’nt look it up, they had to have someone call me back.

The guy who called me back, said I was not part of the sub-division (no kidding), and there wasn’t a drop for me, and that they would have to have engineering check it out. I called back in two weeks without a response to find out I was too far away, and would’t be able to get a cable modem.

This however did not deter me.

Every 3 months or so I would call back and go through the same thing.

Call 1: Can’t find address.
Call 2: Send it over to engineering.
Call 3: Too far away.

Then afer 18 months, I called, and on call # 1 they said sure when do you want to schedule, and
I said as soon as possible.

The guy that did the install was great, it took him about 15 minutes of searching Com-ed boxes to realize that it was a 495′ run to the nearest box.

I know it was 495′ because he had to radio around around to other installers to find one with a new spool of cable. And when he was done installing he only had 5′ left.

They ended up re-running it in heavier cable, but it all worked out in the end.

Michael "TheZorch" Haney (profile) says:

Its things like this...

It’s things like this that are making WiFi options more appealing to home users.

Oakland County is installing a county-wide free WiFi network for home users and its being paid for by the county government. Right now they’re testing in a few select cities like Troy, where Kmart Headquarters is located (I used to work there, huge place). By next year it’ll be county wide coverage for all WiFi users. The connection speed will be 512k which is faster than modem though not quite as fast as cable. I see a day where anyone can access the Net via these free WiFi nets and DSL and Cable will become premium services offering better speeds. The increase in speed will be what prompts people to pay for them, but the fact that anyone can use the free service will push these companies to make sure everyone can use their services if they so choose to do so.

Stephen Buxton says:



Patriot Media ?offered? to hook me up for $3,900 the house next door has it (for free.) My drive is long and they have offered a rebate of $1500 if I go ahead and sign a contract. I do live in an area of low density housing in New Jersey, which is a predominantly farming area but only 20 mins from Princeton and Flemington. I guess I just live in the sticks.

Stephen Buxton.

Seth Brundle says:

Why does this suprise anyone?

Infrastructure services are not iPods or computer parts – they are monumental front-end investments which must be deployed on a careful cost basis in order to be self-sustaining.

No one is in competition to make a $10k broadband deployment to a single requesting customer who is free to change his mind after his second billing cycle lol.

Competition not only doesnt necessarily solve the problem, it often hinders it.

FIOS is the obvious example.

FIOS will be an unprecendented infrastructure deployment.

IF SBC, etc were legally obligated to let ISPs resell FIOS for a reasonable price (ala DSL), guess what – the business model for spending a few hundred billion dragging fiber optical cable into individual homes across the US is no longer appealing to investors.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Why does this suprise anyone?

IF SBC, etc were legally obligated to let ISPs resell FIOS for a reasonable price (ala DSL), guess what – the business model for spending a few hundred billion dragging fiber optical cable into individual homes across the US is no longer appealing to investors.

That’s an incredibly misleading statement. The real issue is that it’s incredibly inefficient for multiple companies to run fiber optic cable into individual homes. It’s a natural monopoly. Therefore, it’s inefficient for a single provider to get to offer it. If things were set up so that a single network was developed that allowed multiple service providers to offer service you can get the best of both worlds — with a good network installed, and customers get real competition.

By just giving the monopoly to a single provider, then you get monopoly pricing — and monopoly problems.

madmyk says:

it isn't just comcast

My business is located aproximatley 1/4 mile off a main road which in an industrial park complex. The main road is serviced by cox communication and when we approached them to bring cable into the park they told us sure no problem, that will be $20,000. I of course questioned why, they said there wasn’t wiring and that is what it would cost. When I asked if we would be able to recoup the expense if other businesses tied in they said…oh no. So we pay to wire the park, others tie in…and they get all the money.
We can’t get any other broadband so we are stuck with a fragmented t1…which sucks.

Bob says:


This is a prime example of the dangers of limiting competition in an area, for a product or service. Allow one company to dominate a market and you’ll eventually get cases of price gouging. Cable/DSL service providers are no different.

$10,000 is unreasonable, and everybody knows it. I’m surprised the man hasn’t considered his legal options at this point.

precision blogger (user link) says:

There's a way to handle this kind of problem

I found it too hard to post a comment at the primary site, but here’s how you handle a cable monopoly. Every municipality has a CABLE COMMITTEE that handles issues with the company. The person who doesn’t want to pay $10k has to talk to his committee. (I spent two years on a cable committee, handling a contract renewal.)

Most of the time the committe is helpless. But around three years before the current contract expires, the committee will start a state-defined renewal process. There is SOME risk that the cable company will lose its contract and EVERYTHING. So even though renewals are very likely, the cable company will bend over backwards to be nice during the renewal process. That’s when they will bow to pressure and wire up some of the streets that were missed.

Unfortunately, a lot of patience is involved.
– precision blogger.

vampares says:

No Subject Given

I tryed to get cable up to the 12th floor of an office building. They told me if I had one other subscriber in the building, the combined comcast alocations for us 2 would be about $2000 and they could get it contracted with those funds — no charges for me. T1 lines have very competive rates in my building and nobody wanted tv too. I called them six months later same deal and now he roughs it out at $50k. I could always have this work contracted my self, without comcast I assume and I would pay for it all but comcast did not want to commit to a $2000 agreement and have to cover the costs of contractors running a muck. Heck I’d run 500 feet in dirt my self.

Jason Z (user link) says:

No Kidding

I see this sort of thing everday in Chicagoland area. Small businesses that cannot get highspeed internet, and are on the verge of dropping anywhere from $5000 to $15,000+…

And then they sit down with me and I am able to hook them up with a T1 for data, unlimited Chicago area calling, mobile plans, e-fax applications, off site back-up and Cisco VPN products for about $500/month.

I could never imagine telling a prospect they need to show me $10,000 before I would consider servicing their business.

Jason Zolghadr
Senior Sales Consultant
Cbeyond Communications

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