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Posted September 18, 2006
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So long, suckers

Over the weekend, we dropped off our cable box and modem. We are no longer customers of Comcast.

Thank god.

A sad history together

When we moved to Chicago, I was excited about Comcast. They had fast cable internet (6 Mbps), plenty of high-definition channels and a reasonably priced DVR. Installation was smooth and the prices for new customers were low.

But then the trouble started.

There was a three-week period last summer when our internet Just Didn’t Work, so I purchased my internet access from our local coffee shop and did my emailing, working, reading, exploring, etc there. Not very convenient.

Two new cable modems and a few hard-fought refunds later, things were running smoothly again. But fast forward nine months — the once-low prices had ballooned to over twice their original amount, and we decided to cancel our television service because it was is pricey and we just don’t need it.

So I called them to cancel. A few weeks later I noticed another charge from Comcast, so I called them again. Same outcome.

I called again. No luck.

I called again.

By this point, I knew we had to cancel the account altogether so I began looking for internet access alternatives.

Enter Speakeasy

Matt has long been a vocal proponent of Speakeasy home DSL service. I can see why: they offer great pre- and post-sale support, a variety of service plans, and great geek-friendly features like static IP. They are not cheap — Speakeasy is a premium ISP and you’ll have to pay $50 or more per month for the privilege of doing business.

(Update: If you’re thinking about signing up for Speakeasy DSL, use this referral link! I’ll get a little kick-back if you sign up :D )

Installation took a while, but the process was smooth and the Samenfeld/Zeratsky compound is now running on a fresh 3-Mbps DSL line from Speakeasy. And we have a static IP address.

Wait, so you don’t have TV?

Well, sort of.

We have a television set — a nice high-definition Toshiba 30” — but it’s only connected to the Mac mini these days. We enjoy a nice stream of video entertainment via Netflix, iTunes, BitTorrent and the Web. Like Eric, I look forward to exploring a great variety of video content delivered over the internet and I doubt I’ll be the only one.

But for now, we’re stuck in something of an odd place. Powerful tools for distributing, organizing and viewing post-cable video are available, but there is some integration work to do and the legal side of the business hasn’t caught up yet.

I think Michelle is still making up her mind, but I am happy and excited we no longer support a company that treats their customers like shit, and to live on the frontier of digital entertainment — at least for a while.