On the Comcast/Xfinity website, the company invites you to be a customer and “change the way you experience TV.” It says it has the internet “speed you need to stream and more.”
Since Hurricane Irma Sept. 10, hordes of Florida Keys customers of the cable television and internet provider would love to change the way they experience TV because in the two months since the Category 4 storm pounded the island chain, Comcast’s TV service has often been horrible. And there has not been the speed “to stream and more” because the cable keeps going out.
We get it. We had a storm that laid waste to much of our infrastructure and it takes time to recover. But two months and there are still problems with Comcast service up and down the Keys?
Our county’s two electricity providers were down for a short time but got power up fairly quickly. Same with our water provider. Apparently, the same with BellSouth and AT&T, other cable TV and internet providers in the Keys. But we don’t hear nearly as many complaints about BellSouth and AT&T as we hear about Comcast and all three companies’ wires and equipment cannot be that different. And in the days following the storm, we barely saw a Comcast truck.
Comcast’s vice president of public relations for Florida, Mindy Kramer, told us it’s “not for lack of personnel, effort, resources.” She says parts of the system are just broken. Crews have “been swarming the areas and doing the work.”
“We have pocket outages, one or two homes here, one or two homes there,” Kramer said. “We’ve got hundreds of personnel there responding to the pocket outages. It’s a microscopic approach. It is at the house-to-house level.”
But not always. She says at one house where a crew was going to make repairs, “it didn’t seem people were living there. It didn’t look habitable so they moved on” after not knocking on the door to see if anyone in fact was living there. In fact, people were living there, it turns out. Just like many of us are living in our homes while the extensive damage is repaired.
Kramer said in the initial stages of Comcast’s work, “We basically ran a tremendous amount of temporary lines to get people back in service as quick as possible. Now we’re taking temporary lines down to replace with permanent ones.” She says part of the problem is that “we continue to get some lines cut from trucks that go through.” We haven’t heard anything about BellSouth and AT&T wires getting taken down by trucks.
“It’s a conundrum,” Kramer said. “You restore the service, then you go back and see, even though the service is restored, there is a loose connection or there is a problem from the connection to the home. They are not network issues, they are individual issues.”
Well, it doesn’t matter to the consumers what the issues are. They pay for a service, they expect it to work. It’s that simple. Comcast has not delivered for the Keys in the wake of Irma. The company has demonstrated it was not prepared for what it would face following Irma. And those on the receiving end of Comcast’s service were the ultimate losers.