Saturday, June 29, 2013

Thanks for the upgrades, Xfinity, now keep off my lawn unless you pay to maintain it.

Back in January 2012, I was in the storm of indecision; Thoughts on a Plan to Drop POTS: Pros/Cons

Do we toss our residential  POTS land-line phone service and move to a digital solution or not?

Two months ago I finally got too frustrated and after a great sales marketing presentation by a spectacularly patient and kind Xfinity customer service rep, took the plunge.

We had a Comcast/Xfinity HD cable package (no premium channels), a HD DVR unit lease, standard broadband Internet service, a cable broadband modem lease, and two “still free-for now” digital signal converter boxes. I think that bill for all that was around $175/mo.

Then I had the POTS line service from a different provider (Verizon), which now has crept up to just over $80/mo for just regular phone service. Seriously. No bells-whistles-or value packages. That’s as cheap as I could get it!  No “metro” extended area dialing plan is offered. So to call the in-laws just a 35 minutes drive away is a long distance call. Really? How come they have a “metro” line package from their different phone provider and can call us for no long distance charge? Anyway…

Thanks to her “no-bull” (honest I’ve been watching our new bill like hawk) customer service pitch, I jumped on an Xfinity “triple-play” package bundle and now get all this for $190/mo.

  • Unlimited Nationwide telephone voice-calling with no long-distance charges.
  • HD cable package, including three premium movie channels,
  • Primary HD DVR receiver cost included in the package,
  • Upgraded broadband Internet speed tier.
  • Download movies/TV shows/premium content to view and carry on our iPhones/laptops,
  • I even added another HD receiver (at an add-on cost being counted in that monthly bill amount) for kicks and grins and late-night HD bedroom movie watching as well.

So not only did I save me some serious money (when removing the POTS line cost each month from our budget), I was able to add additional features/services and still come in less than my previous cable/phone bill combined (including all the taxes, surcharges, & fees). And for a sysadmin network geek, the extra bandwidth speed is better than on the biggest pipes we have at work!

Sweet jebus!


Yes..that’s fairly typical now the Valca residence. Win7 wired connection on Gigabit capable Ethernet port/switch over Cat-6 cabling. by1lh5na.ei1

Wi-Fi speeds across our 802.11n home router on laptops and iOS devices are about 1/2 that speed, but still pretty freaking good (IMHO).

Even Lavie jumped on board and has been a firm enthusiast of the switch.

We were a bit nervous about porting the home phone # we have had over to the new digital phone service. We’ve held that number longer than we’ve been married!  So for a month we carried both the POTS service and a temporary new digital phone service # to confirm the quality of the digital line was good. It was. With some trepidation, we went through the # porting service with an Xfinity customer service rep on a Saturday, and the following Saturday it was completed…no extra charges. Yea!

Now I have one more partial billing cycle with our old POTS service provider to cycle through and I think that ends that relationship. Wow.

So it was with some disconcerting feelings I saw this new plan by Xfinity to expand Wi-Fi service to their “roaming” customers:

I think I understand the actual network deployment model though all the “hype” and sensationalism, but I’m still not convinced I like it.  I am (BTW) still paying a $7.00 broadband/phone modem rental fee each month as part of my $190/mo bundled service plan.

I’m sure they can segregate the bandwidth on my “pipe” so it doesn’t impact my download speeds for phone/movie/network content and leave me with increased pingtimes and jitter.

I’m sure they can segregate the network traffic so others cannot snoop on our own private traffic.

I just don’t like the idea, so please keep your “pubic” Xfinity customer hot-spot traffic off my leased router.

Well, unless….

Now here’s an idea, Xfinity.  If you decide to do that, comp me the price of the modem-rental fee I am paying you each month to get the services I am already paying you for to leverage “free” Wi-Fi coverage access for other strangers who are your paying customers. If you want to let them use the hardware I have the privilege of leasing from you so they can get in the broadband carpool lane with me, then at least have the courtesy to pay for their gas.

That would be a closer “win-win” for both of us.

I get to see my bill drop just a bit and you get to extend your roaming Wi-Fi access across our neighborhood for other Xfinity guests.

As of right now, our current Xfinity provided modem does not support Wi-Fi. I know because I didn’t want it (and asked for a modem model without it) as I run and manage our own private Wi-Fi network downstream from their cable broadband modem. That’s not to say I may not have to have another forced “upgrade” down the road, but for now it isn’t an issue.

Think about it Xfinity. Otherwise I might have to invest in my own Xfinity approved (sans-Wi-Fi) DOCSIS Device. Now that I think about it, that was my most recent soap-box rant. See what I did about the previous one and that service provider when I finally dealt with it?

I’m just saying…

--Claus V.

P.S. Hey Xfinity, since we are talking, when can I expect my new cloud-based X2/XI3 DVR unit from you? I doubt I’ll see a price drop on my bill, but I guess if it is at least as 50% more energy efficient than my current Cisco HD DVR monster that makes so much noise when the HDD spins up it scares small children, that might be something…and that Comcast version of Apple’s AirPlay feature sounds pretty handy considering I just bought a pricy Apple Lightning-to-HDMI adapter to watch HD media off my iPhone 5 on my HD TV.

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