Saturday, August 27, 2011

Comcast Free, all hail Frontier!

It was a painful victory when we first rid ourselves of Comcast Internet – while we welcomed the impressive new FTTP connection, it was hollow in that we had to continue to pay Comcast excessive rates for unreliable budget-grade TV service. But finally, we said a very unemotional goodbye to Comcast, and welcomed our new FiOS TV service.

It took some time to finally be rid of them. First, the lack of a “franchise agreement” (essentially a state-enforced TV monopoly) with the county blocked us from getting service. Once we were annexed into Kirkland, that was no longer an issue. But then, Frontier insisted that we get service from their close partner, DirecTV. To be fair, I’ve heard nothing but good things about DirecTV, but large trees to the South of our home makes that a non-starter. Finally, in a victory for the Internet generation, I was able to reach a district manager through Twitter, who talked to the right people and got us scheduled for hook-up right away.

First impressions are incredible. Just a few of the improvements compared to Comcast:

  • Reliable signal. We’ve yet to see a single pixel out of place since we turned on the service. With Comcast, we’d lose half our channels for hours at a time almost every day. Their techs were never able to really correct the issue, plus the fact that they try to charge you service fees for the privilege.
  • High quality signal. The HD is HD, and even the SD (what little of it we use now, given our “extreme” package) is crystal clear. The Comcast SD channels - which, on our overpriced basic plan meant most of them – were brutally over-compressed. My TV isn’t that big – I shouldn’t have to tolerate compression artifacts.
  • Great DVR. Despite almost identical hardware, FiOS has great software on their devices, compared to the buggy crap software Comcast pushed on us. No longer am I playing the “rewind an hour because the DVR lost our place” game.
  • No jerking around on price. A fair fixed price for years at a time. None of this “introductory rate” scam, where the price skyrockets after a few months. While many people have observed that you can threaten to leave Comcast to get back on promo rates, I much prefer just paying a fair price consistently without any games.

Now, we have a wonderful bundle. Reliable 25/25 Mbps unlimited internet (yes, symmetric broadband and no data cap, I can feel the jealousy radiating from Canada already). Combined with the “Extreme” HD package – including a 24/7 HD NHL channel, a few movie channels, and more HD specialty channels than I know what to do with. All for less money than we ever paid Comcast.

Admittedly, I’m not much of a TV watcher anyways – Netflix covers most of my needs. But if I’m going to pay for TV, I expect to get the best, and Frontier really delivers.

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