Comcast Fails Local Pittsburgh Family Miserably, Again

I have recently been having issues connecting to FTP servers. I checked with the hosts of these servers to see what advice they might have and after a thorough investigation of the problems, it became obvious that the situation was likely laying in the hands of my ISP: Comcast.

So I sent an email over to Comcast requesting some support. My email was polite and simple, very much to the point. That may have been my first problem.

I won’t bore you with the entire contents of all of the back and forth that went on between myself and the “technicians” at Comcast, but here’s the gist of it:

My Initial Email: Dear Comcast,

I am having issues connecting via FTP to my web host. I am able to connect, but the connection is very slow. I have attached a traceroute of my attempts at connecting below. I have already explored the problem with the host and they’ve indicated it’s an ISP issue.
Thank you,
Nathan Swartz

I also attached a copy of the trace report I had run, which had 10 asterisks in it, of a total of 15 lines. I’m not a genius when it comes to trace routes, but I have been told that asterisks = bad, therefore, 10 asterisks out of a possible 15 results seems very bad.

Comcast’s Initial Reply

Dear Nathan Swartz,
I understand that it can be frustrating when your Comcast High-Speed Internet service does not seem to be operating to standard. There are
a number of possible causes for the sudden drop in download times and Web page access rates, including:

Okay let’s stop right there. So my problem is with slow uploads to an FTP server, and he’s addressing downloads and accessing Web pages. That indicates to me that he has either not even bothered to read my support request, that he’s completely unqualified to handle the request, or that “he” is simply an automated reply. He goes on to provide the following reasons why I might be experiencing slow connection times:

1. Lack of memory, such as insufficient RAM, or low available hard drive (disk) space
2. Size of the host server
3. Full tracking files on the hard drive

And then links to ways I can resolve that. I’d love to see the resolution for “Lack of memory.” Delete files on your system.

My, Rather Tetchy, Response

Hi James,
Thank you for the timely reply, however my problem is not with accessing web pages but with FTP. FTP stands for file transfer protocol and judging by the response, I’m not sure you’re qualified to answer my question – can you please forward to one of your advanced support technicians. I am definitely not lacking in RAM or HDD space, and my server has a ton of space on it as well. I am really looking for someone who can analyze the tracing route that I supplied and identify why I’m getting so many asterisks on upload.
Can you please direct the issue to someone with training in FTP transfers and upload issues relating specifically to FTP connections?

Comcast’s Response

I have reviewed your e-mail and unfortunately you have requested assistance on something Comcast does not support. In order to provide you with the highest level of technical assistance, Comcast must limit its support to the Comcast High-Speed Internet service. This means we will support your connection to the Comcast High-Speed Internet network.1
After going over the traceroute I do not see anything to indicate that there is a problem there.

I responded indicating that there indeed was a problem with the trace route, and that it was unfortunate that Comcast couldn’t provide me support with my Internet connection, since they only 1only provide support to the Comcast High-Speed Internet network.. I didn’t realize that Comcast had their own version of the Internet when I signed up for service.

Now, let me iterate that I didn’t expect much when first emailing Comcast. I realize that they’re most likely outsourcing their support to a company that does technical support for Internet connections in the morning and tries selling Campbell’s Soup via cold calls in the afternoon, but I was at least hoping to get some sort of semblance of a response. Something I could take back to my host and work with from there.

With all of this in mind, don’t forget to support net neutrality and save the Internet from company’s just like Comcast, which somehow I blame for this all. Were I to only have a choice between Verizon and Comcast for reliable, high speed Internet, I would choose someone else, but Verizon is the axis of all things evil and so I’m stuck with the slightly lesser of two giant evils.

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