What with the hoopla surrounding Burlington Telecom recently, and; more importantly, with my neighbors suddenly encrypting their wireless Internet connections, I decided to compare Burlington Telecom with their rival Comcast.
I signed up first with Comcast. I had called Burlington Telecom on Wednesday during business hours to order service but was answered by a recorded message requesting that I call back during office hours. They listed the office hours and in so doing, confirmed that I was indeed calling during office hours. These humble beginnings did not bode well for Burlington Telecom. I left a message and called Comcast.
Comcast was open, did answer, and I was able to speak to a live person without too much hassle. I asked if they had a free trial period. Yes they do. I asked if the free trial covered the installation fee. Yes it does. I asked how soon they could establish service. The answer to that was less direct. I’d have to sign up before they could determine a service date. After supplying my name, and phone, and address, I learned I needed to give Comcast my social security number to sign up over the phone. That wasn’t going to happen. Establishing service via phone was a bust with both service providers.
One point to Comcast for offering a free trial period. One point to Burlington Telecom for making the failure to sign-up for Internet service via the phone quick and easy.
I established service with Comcast the following day at their S. Burlington office–no social security number needed with a picture ID. (Burlington Telecom returned my call as I was driving to Comcast. The customer service representative was quite apologetic. I learned the Burlington Telecom does not offer a free trial period.) Comcast sent out a tech to connect the service the following morning. The tech was helpful and friendly. I chose the self-install set-up and already own a cable modem so the tech’s roll was limited to making the connection at the pole.
The rest of the Comcast set-up was not as friendly. Comcast just doesn’t let you logon to the Internet. You first need to install a bunch of unnecessary bloatware onto your computer and initialize an account using the account number on your bill. I just established service, I had no bill. Consequently, I needed to call Comcast for my account number.
I read their Terms of Service. While they do require 30 days notice to change the service terms, they reserve the right to change the End-user license agreement at any time without notification of any kind. They suggest going to their website often and checking for changes. Not a user-friendly way of doing business.
The next step involved installing software. The requirement that Comcast install software onto my computer is, I feel, a needless compromise of my privacy. But it got worse, after installing and retarting my computer, I found that Comcast chose to update my Internet Explorer homepage to their website without my permission. This is a serious misuse of their services. No company should be making any changes to any item on my computer without my permission.
I’ll test out the Comcast speed, advertised at 6 mps download later this week. But their modifying me IE settings is a deal breaker. I don’t think I’ll continue with their service. Hopefully Burlington Telecom has a less intrusive procedure for establishing service.