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Last weekend I decided to try Comcast's Xfinity internet service. I wanted to try it because they offered a faster connection than my current service with AT&T U-verse. My current U-verse offers 26Mb/sec speed and Xfinity offers 50Mb/sec speed. Obviously getting nearly twice the speed is a good thing. I ordered the box and got it this past Wednesday evening. Today I called and canceled the service, 3 days later, in utter disgust. Here's why.
Comcast wanted to charge me $10 to ship the new cable box to them. I suggested they give me free shipping since I was a new customer. The sales agent agreed, but said he couldn't give me the $10 credit until AFTER I received the box. He put a note in the computer that I was offered the $10 credit and said to call back after I got the service enabled and they'd give me the credit. I did call today and they did give me the credit. However, It's stupid that they can't offer this ahead of time.
Comcast sends you a box and expects you to set it up yourself. U-verse has a technician come out and set up everything for you. AT&T doesn't charge for this. Better service is always a good thing
Can't turn the Wifi on the cable modem off
I already have a very good Wifi router - a brand new Apple Airport Extreme Time Capsule. I don't need another Wifi signal in my house and an inferior one. I looked everywhere through the router setup website, read the router manual and could find no instructions for turning the Wifi off. U-verse easily allows you to do this on their router. I did some Googling about this issue, and it seems you have to call Comcast and have them shut off the Wifi on your router remotely. Um, no, I do NOT like this. I wasn't even supposed to get a router with Wifi. I told them I already had wifi and didn't need it, but they sent me one with it anyway.
They want to use the Internet service I pay for to provide 'free' Wifi to others
Recently I came across this article that explains how Comcast has been testing a new service that turns their customer's Xfinity modem into a free public Wifi hotspot. They say that this service won't effect the bandwidth of the customer, but I am very skeptical of this. Granted this service isn't active in my area yet, but I'm not happy about Comcast deciding to use my paid for service to offer free Wifi to others. I strongly suspect it WILL affect the bandwidth of my service, and I'm also concerned with the potential legal issues of allowing others to use my Wifi connection. Who's to say what type of illegal activities could be carried out over a connection that is identified with me? I won't subject myself to this.
Useless and invasive 'install' software
When I got the Comcast cable modem box, I set it up and went through the online account activation. This is a series of web pages where you enter your account information, set up a Xfinity website email account etc. At the end of this web based account setup, it gets to a final page that tells me I have to download and run an install program to finish the install. I don't recall it saying WHAT this install program would do, but I don't think it said much. I was skeptical of why I'd need this program when I saw this. It can't be required to connect to the service, because the service is simply Wifi. In addition, the service will work on any device that uses Wifi (cell phones, iPads, laptops, Windows, Macs etc.) so it didn't seem of much use. Despite that, I went ahead and downloaded the app and installed it on my Mac. It didn't seem to do much, and it was a very small download. It did tell me at the end of the install that I had to restart all my web browsers. This again raised red flags to me. Why does it need to restart my web browsers? What did it change in my web browsers that required a restart? I restarted my web browsers and noticed that suddenly the home page of my web browser had been changed to the Xfinity web site without my permission. In addition, it added a couple of links to Xfinity websites to my desktop. These 3 changes appear to be all that this install program did. So let me get this straight. I have to install this program to finish my installation? All it did was essentially give me 3 web site URLs. This is completely useless. They could have easily included a piece of paper with this information and not had to mess with my PC in order to throw links to their stuff everywhere. I especially resent the changing of my browser homepage without my permission. You do NOT do this.
Xfinity Intercepts SSL connections!
This was the last straw. This morning, I was on my Mac, using Chrome to browse eBay. I found something small I wanted to buy so I clicked on the Buy Now button on eBay. This button took me to signin.ebay.com over an HTTPS SSL connection. However, when I did this, Chrome displayed a full page warning in the browser window that a comcast.com URL was identifying itself as signin.ebay.com! This means that the Comcast system was intercepting my secure, encrypted SSL connection to signin.ebay.com and redirecting it through one of their own sites. This is what in security circles is known as a man in the middle attack. Had I not noticed this, Comcast would have been able to access anything sent over this secure connection - including credit card numbers, account names and passwords. This is unacceptable. A short time later, on the same Mac I was using iTunes and I got a warning message saying that the secure certificate on the iTunes Store was invalid. I suspect Comcast was intercepting this SSL connection as well. I suppose it's possible Comcast is doing this to do some kind of optimization of their network, but this is unacceptable. You do not intercept secure communications, Comcast. This is 'grounds for termination' with me.
I called a bit earlier and was able to get that $10 credit and cancel my account without any problems. Since I cancelled the service within the first 30 days, they said their would be no charge. We'll see if they send me a bill or not. About the only thing good I can say about their service is that it's extremely fast - 50Mb/s was giving me almost 6.7MB/sec download speeds. This is much faster than the 26Mb/sec service that U-Verse was giving me. I get at most about 2.9MB/sec download speeds on U-verse. However, I'll take this slower speed if it means I'm not dealing with an invasive, impersonal service.
This whole Xfinity experiment was a collossal failure. Back to U-verse for me.