Internet alternatives prove questionable

posted in: Opinion | 0

Has the school’s slow internet driven you to pickup a Comcast connection? Or perhaps you’re new around here and considering going that route? I too grew tired of the delays in the school’s connection, so this is my second year of using their service and I can’t help but comment on the way they handle money.

Each year, they come to the campus a few times to set up a booth and sell television and Internet. I’ve never signed up for television, but for internet they offer a special rate of $30 per month for six months. Then, the price shoots up to $55. That sounds reasonable, especially when you consider that you can split it up among all of your roommates. Except what they conveniently don’t tell you is that they’ll charge you a whopping $7 monthly fee for the modem.

Oh, and don’t forget about the $10 setup fee, perhaps acceptable for some by today’s standards. After all, they have to send out an employee to deploy the…self-install kit. That’s right, a kit that’s designed for the customer to plug in, initialize and use. Yet somehow a Comcast person has to do it and somehow that still costs $10. That aside, to avoid the modem monthly charge, one may actually purchase a modem, which would pay for itself after about six months. Which is precisely when the base rate increases by $20.

When that happens, you can either fork over the extra dough or get on the horn with Comcast customer service. Depending on their mood, they might extend the promotional rate, or they could offer you a slower connection for around $40.

So far, Comcast hasn’t pulled anything too under-handed on me, but I can’t say these practices reassure me that they won’t. Their bills aren’t extraordinarily straightforward, pumping happy talk and advertisements into the majority of the two pages, and tucking the actual figures into a small column on the second page. Their online payment system was also sometimes a pain to use, as it took forever to load and sometimes malfunctioned.

In comparison to other smaller companies, Comcast comes off as a hulk of a corporation that almost operates with monopolistic freedom in Forest Grove. Right now, it’s the only company of its size out here, without AT&T or Verizon as alternatives. If you want “real” Internet in the dorms, your only option is Comcast and it’s too bad they know they can charge Pacific students whatever they please for it.


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