Old complaints about Comcast, Ann Arbor’s primary Internet and cable-television provider, have resurfaced as many students living in the Ann Arbor area say they are experiencing problems with their Comcast services.
“They’re horrible. They told us it was $40 for basic cable and Internet. Then, we got the invoice and they charged us for the $147 package which is slow and doesn’t work,” LSA sophomore Mike Worhach said. “They rip you off because they know you are college kids and you need Internet.”
To many, these complaints come as no surprise as Comcast received ample press coverage in January 2002 for similar complaints, and in November 2002 when the company was under scrutiny for acquiring AT&T Broadband – making it the nation’s largest cable company. This acquisition also made Comcast virtually the only cable and Internet service provider in Ann Arbor.
“We have had issues in south Ann Arbor (which includes University property) because of outage problems. There were software issues with a router that serves the area, but that was repaired at 5 a.m. (yesterday) morning,” Comcast spokesman, Mark Gilman said. “The issues we had, have nothing to do with the number of subscribers,” he added.
Gilman said that while Comcast does not usually release the total number of subscribers to the public, there have been a lot of people subscribing since the start of the new academic year. He said there has been tremendous growth in mid-Michigan, so growth in Ann Arbor probably correlates with that.
According to a U.S. Census Bureau report from 2000, the population in the city of Ann Arbor is 114,024, a 4 percent increase from the previous report in 1990.
“I am not familiar with the problems of individuals, but we have people who are more than willing to take care of any problems or concerns,” Gilman said.
While Comcast also provides a website resource for consumers, it does not address these issues, and many students do not feel that their problems are getting resolved.
“I live on White Street, and I would say that we haven’t had service 75 percent of the time in the past week. I have called Comcast several times, they sent the same technician out here twice and he says it is Comcast’s fault and there is nothing he can do,” Business senior, Niraj Patel said.
LSA junior, Jen Davison said, “The cable has been fine, but the Internet goes on and off at least once a day for an hour or so.”
Other complaints that students have about Comcast are the prices.
“Overall (Comcast) is okay, but the price is a little high,” LSA junior Pei-Yu Kao said.
Comcast would not comment on the price increases (if any) from previous years.