Craig Silberman: Did Comcast lie to us?
Like most of my friends and neighbors in the Grass Valley/Nevada City area, I lost electric power Monday night. Unlike many of them, however, my power came on several hours later (which ruined the produce I’d moved to my freezer to keep it from spoiling). But my Comcast/Xfinity internet did not come back on.
“We’re aware of the problem and our technicians are working hard on it,” was the recorded message I kept getting from Comcast. Over a day and a half later my internet came on when the power was restored to most of the county, which means a few things:
Comcast’s idea of “working hard” is waiting for the power to be restored.
Comcast doesn’t have generator back-up, and only enough battery backup to last an hour or so.
Comcast lied to their customers about the reason for the outage, probably to shield themselves from criticism at not having back-up power.
Not everyone is affected by the power outages (though PG&E’s outage map was pretty darn inclusive). Many have invested in solar panels or generators to provide back-up power during power outages. Why hasn’t Comcast done the same? Why can’t they provide internet service to those who’ve not lost power or who have prepared with alternatives?
As we’re learning everyday, and has been underscored by the pandemic, the internet is no longer a luxury, but a near-necessity for many people. It’s not just a means of access to entertainment, but communications (my VOIP phone runs over it, and email is how I exchange documents with clients), valuable information, and now distance learning for our school kids. Comcast needs to take a more serious approach to providing reliable internet to this community.
Of course I would have asked Comcast about this, but they don’t like talking to their customers, and direct inquiries to overseas call centers where a lowly-paid employee quotes from an FAQ page.
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