Overall: 2 ¾ Stars
It should come as no surprise that Comcast's overall score was a slightly above average 2 3/4 (2.74) stars out of five. Despite more-than-respectable marks in performance and reliability, our readers could not forgive unsatisfactory pricing and support, which our surveyed Comcast users considered the two most important factors when choosing an ISP. Dropping the ball in two out of four categories obviously hurts the overall average.
Judging by our survey, it seems that one of the largest issues facing Comcast is its perceived unapologetic attitude toward pricing policies and support. Offering bundled Internet packages with term lengths longer than the promotion rate is a sneaky thing to do (even though it's all in the fine print), and facing no competition in certain regions makes some users feel as though there's no choice but to pay higher prices.
Comcast's high-speed Xfinity Internet services received a very typical response in our reader survey, with participants giving almost identical testimony. According to many of our readers, the company's pricing and support are unsatisfactory, and despite its strong showing in performance and reliability, customers are less-than-thrilled with the two factors they consider most important. As a result, the company's overall score is low.
Comcast's strengths lie in the very technology that brought it to the table: cable Internet service, which offers higher speeds than competing DSL providers. Readers seemed to think that Comcast's high speed and reliability weren't good trade-offs for its poorly structured pricing and customer support. Meanwhile, many who gave the ISP a higher-than-average score had the same issues as those who rated Comcast lower. The difference seems to be that the readers who gave Comcast a higher rating seemed complacent about its negatives, accepting them as "the cost of doing business."
Here's a full rundown of our survey results for Comcast. Each category is labeled from one to four, with one being most important and four being the least when deciding on an ISP, according to the surveyed readers:
|Price (2)||Performance (4)||Reliability (3)||Support (1)||Overall|
|★★ Stars (2.11)||★★★½ Stars (3.53)||★★★¼ Stars (3.34)||★★ Stars (2.13)||★★¾ Stars (2.74)|
Thank you, readers, for participating in our survey, and for following along so far. Let us know what you think by leaving your comments below. Next time, we'll examine Comcast's almost-partner in the cable Internet industry, with a sizable consumer base and fast access speeds: Time Warner Cable.
Derek Forrest is an Associate Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware and Tom's IT Pro.
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Guess you've never had optonline or NTT, I give both a solid 3+ (some slowdowns, bit pricy, but actually decent support and reliability.
Want to use your modem? good luck getting the service activated. The Indian lady on the phone has ZERO IT experience and it will take her 3 days to get you up and running. Absolute trash.
But if you EVER have to go into an Xfinity store and get upgraded equipment or turn it in, good luck. The people there are worse than any county government driver license or tag office. It took me over TWO HOURS to turn in my equipment. Comcast/Xfinity's customer service reps are morons.
What people need to always keep in mind however is that everyone may have different experiences with each ISP/cable company depending on where they live. A lot of it has to do with infrastructure investment. For example, Comcast spends more in Atlanta on quality and performance than they do in say a little town in Kansas. And large cities are always the first to get the latest tech boost too. The push to 1GB fiber will be years away from making it to the less populated areas (many will never see it). The same can be said for mobile phone companies too.
My satellite service uses Comcast for the guide and any on-demand service. Then there's Netflix, Google's Youtube, Amazon's Twitch.tv, and the list goes on.
Comcast's streaming service is absolute garbage. There's no really good sorting option and trailers are just lumped in with everything else. Total garbage.
I've called them many times for support and I truly dislike their phone reps. Trust me buddy, I've power cycled. I've totally reconnected everything. I've swapped cables. I've soft reset. I've wiped my tcp/ip stack, etc. etc. I've been working in IT for 15 years, I'm well aware of whether or not the issue is on my side. So the last time I called, the phone tech gave up immediately and said "We have to send out a tech, tomorrow" - 24 hours later. Dude shows up with a coworker, he must have done something outside because 3 minutes later when he walked in and looked at the gateway, it was working fine again. Total waste of everyone's time his included - I'm sure he had actual issues to fix.
One time in June or so 2015 there was a mild, pansy lightning storm. It fried my gateway and then jumped to my machine and fried my NIC on my desktop, because I didn't use a surge protector on the gateway - like a moron. To their credit, I called them up and drove up to the nearest service center, swapped out the gateway, and was back up and running within an hour.
Performance wise, and quality wise,they are so much better than TWC was in Cincinnati. And TWC was splendid, no problems whatsoever ever except infrequent outages.
I have 250mbps net with speed boost usually getting 300mbps, and I live in an apartment where their good service isn't even available. There have been maybe 3 outages since last May, and I've gone completely without net for maybe 2 days total. The quality is usually good. I don't do anything "intensive" outside of using Steam where I'm generally downloading at 35 megabyte/second. For about $70 a month. This is after they cancelled my account and screwed me out of time and money, because originally the top tier plan available was 150mbps for 80 or 90 a month. The only real downsides are when you try to access certain things that aren't immediately in Texas, there can be a noticeable performance dump. Which is basically everything, but at least this state makes up for it by hosting so many servers in Dallas and Austin. For gaming, I've never had any issues inside of the USA (Obviously all ISPs are terrible at communicating across the planet) but I do seem to encounter problems more and more on YouTube where videos simply don't buffer worth a damn.
I can't speak highly of their Xfinity cable - especially of how they have a monopoly on local sports broadcasting, this being an NFL, MLB, and NBA town that loves its sports. My cable literally never worked and I cancelled it. But the internet has been fantastic.
However, everyone knows they are an evil, awful company with a board and executives that need to be dismissed. From the attempted merger with TWC to the proposed increased rates-per-gb, etc, they are just terrible. Unfortunately here in Houston, there is literally no choice. I work for AT&T (don't let them know) and they offer Uverse internet, which is a complete joke - 18 mbps at the highest in my area. And you can't get FiOS in a lot of areas. So Comcast is, literally as I said, the only option for residential service.
Still waiting on that Google though, that or I'm going to move to Austin.
The speed is as advertised and as I said, very reliable. The real selling point for me is that there's no data cap and no throttling and it's more reliable than our electricity. My sister uses a satellite ISP - when I visit her it is painful to browse the web (terrible latency) and she also has a data cap so forget about streaming anything. My Aunt has DSL (not sure what speed) and it is like molasses. Comcast is really too expensive, but considering my options, it is my best choice especially because I spend a lot of time working from home and I absolutely abhor data caps.
I haven't needed to call technical support for about 5 years now. Last time was to activate a new modem and it went smoothly.
But here's my biggest gripe with Comcast: every year I have to play the "promotion" game. I get the bill and notice it's doubled and I see that my old promotion ran out. So I call customer service and speak with a sales rep. Then the sales rep and I dance back and forth while he tries to sell me additional services or increase speeds all for just $20 more than I was paying with my old promotion. No I don't want your stupid home security package! I patiently explain that I don't want anymore services and am happy with my speed and just want to pay what I was paying before because it was already too expensive. Then he'll tell me there's no promotions available at my speed-tier and that my only option is to either pay regular pricing or increase or decrease my speed tier. That's when I threaten to go to Verizon (yes, amazingly my area has fiber available but after talking to them I'd have to pay for them to bury the fiber cable from the street to my house which is a long distance). At that point he puts me on hold and then comes back having magically found a promotion that gets me what I want for 'only' $5 more than what I was paying. So an hour later (lots of time on hold) I am now paying slightly more than I was paying before for the same service and I've only achieved this by threatening them with cancellation. And then a year later we do it again...
But is it worth it? oh yes, oh goddamn yes. Still, when Google fibre and/or Verizon FIOS rolls into my area, I might double up on connections for a few months and see if it's worth skipping out on comcast at that point.