Comcast’s New App Will Tell You When Tech Is Coming

wheresmytech

Comcast has always had customer service issues — this is putting it lightly — but never has it been easier to share stories of bad Comcast service and spread them online (using high-speed Internet service with XFINITY® from Comcast!).

This summer, a customer was left on hold for three hours until Comcast closed. In October, a man said he was fired from his job after he complained about Comcast service.

To perhaps try to stem the tide, Comcast has launched an app that allows you to track the contractor coming for a service visit.

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Comcast: Are Vultures Circling the Merger?

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

OK, so it’s probably a bit much to say the vultures are circling over the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. After all, the “vulture” in question is John Malone of Charter — the guy who originally was trying to buy Time Warner before Comcast swooped in — and he still gives Comcast’s efforts an 80 percent chance of succeeding.

Only thing: Those odds are less impressive than they used to be.

Deadline Hollywood reports:

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone hasn’t lost his lust for Time Warner Cable. That’s the unmistakable message he delivered today at Liberty’s Investor Day gathering when he was asked whether Charter — where he’s the top shareholder — would take another run at TWC if its current $45 billion deal with Comcast falters. “Hell yes,” Malone said, reaffirming his reputation as one of media’s most reliable straight shooters. The answer could be important: A small, but growing, group of investors question whether the Comcast-TWC deal will survive FCC and Justice Department scrutiny.

Multichannel News adds:

Liberty Media chairman John Malone said he would pursue Time Warner Cable again if Its current deal with Comcast is rejected by regulators.  However, he noted that his current arrangement with both companies is probably the best outcome.   “Oh yes,” Malone said in an immediate response to a question in whether he would want Charter Communications to restart its pursuit of Time Warner Cable in the absence of a Comcast deal. “That said, we’re happy with the deal that was negotiated. In many ways it’s a better deal than going after 100% of Time Warner Cable.”

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SOLD: NBC Universal CEO’s Rittenhouse Home

1817-delancey-price-cut

Photo: Drew Callaghan

Steve Burke, the “still handsome” former COO of Comcast and now CEO of NBC Universal, has finally sold his exquisite home at 1817 Delancey Street — or it’s under contract, at any rate.

Burke bought the six-bedroom townhome with elevator and two-car garage in 2010 for $5.85 million from Acorn Development, which had purchased the home in 2004 for $2.45 million, renovated it, and listed it for $6.6 million. When he decided to put the home up for sale in 2013, the first asking price was $5.6 million, but that was reduced to $5.2 million and then $4.75 million.

Gallery below.

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Comcast and the “Digital Divide”

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The Financial Times over the weekend had one of the better articles we’ve seen offering an overview of the Comcast-Time Warner merger, net neutrality, and how the two issues seem to intertwine.

“What is clear is that the FCC faces two important decisions: how to proceed on net neutrality and whether to approve Comcast’s takeover,”  FT’s David Crow writes. “Both have huge implications for broadband in the US, and will affect a swath of media and telecoms groups, as well as millions of consumers – including those on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Three takeways from that piece:

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Comcast Unveils Voice-Activated Features for the Blind

Comcast comes under so much criticism for everything that sometimes it’s good to remember that the company does some cool stuff, too.

This week, for example, the company unveiled a “talking guide” for blind users of its X1 set-top cable box. (See Comcast’s video, above, for a demonstration.) Yes: Blind folks enjoy television, too.
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Almost Nobody Believes Comcast on Net Neutrality. Why?

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Comcast wants you to know it really, really believes in net neutrality*. But almost nobody on the Internet believes them. Why is that?

*For a quick overview of net neutrality, our friends at Vox have an explainer.

“We have publicly supported the FCC adopting new, strong Open Internet rules,” the company said in a sarcastically headlined blog post Tuesday signed by Executive Vice President David Cohen. “We have stated on numerous occasions that we believe legally enforceable rules should continue to include strong transparency, no blocking, and anti-discrimination provisions.  We don’t prioritize Internet traffic or have paid fast lanes, and have no plans to do so.”

There is one small caveat: Comcast does not support reclassifying the Internet as a telecommunications utility — a move that observers say would make it easier for the feds to enforce net neutrality, and a stance that was backed by President Obama this week. “Doing so would harm future innovation and investment in broadband and is not necessary to put in place strong and enforceable Open Internet protections,” Cohen said in the blog post.

Here’s the bigger problem: Almost nobody on the Internet seems to believe Comcast when it says it supports net neutrality. Why?

Three big reasons, aside from the general — and possibly unfair — love of having Comcast as a villain:

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The President Is Wrong on Net Neutrality: The Internet Needs Fast Lanes and Slow Lanes

obama-net-neutrality-940x540

You’re staying at a hotel. You get online. When you log in, you’re given a choice: You can use the free Internet service that the hotel provides or you can pay extra for “faster downloads.” Like me, you’re a cheapskate, so you choose free. And it works fine … most of the time. But how about first thing in the morning when you’re checking your email? Or maybe right after dinner? Notice something? Yeah, you did — it’s slower. Much slower. And I’m sure you can guess why. Every user of the free service who’s waking up or getting back to their rooms from the conference you’re attending are all complaining about the boring keynote speaker … .and checking their email. And because you’re all sharing the same, free service you’re all suffering from slower performance.

Welcome to net neutrality.

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