& cplSiteName &

Comcast Suffers VOIP, Broadband Outages

Alan Breznick
10/25/2006

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), the nation's biggest broadband provider, appears to be running into a rash of outages with its broadband and VOIP services in the Northeast U.S. this month, to judge from subscriber complaints.

In the latest incident, new Comcast Digital Voice customers in New Jersey reported problems with their VOIP service earlier today after the MSO completed what it termed "routine maintenance" on its cable plant last night. Subscribers said they lost phone service for several hours as Comcast technicians scrambled to locate the problem.

Patrick MacElroy, a Comcast spokesman, said some New Jersey cable phone customers "might have experienced intermittent outages" this morning after system engineers finished their maintenance work. But, downplaying the outages, he stressed that company technicians cleared up the problems by early afternoon.

Subscribers, however, said the outages were just the latest in a string of service glitches since Comcast began offering VOIP service in the Garden State late last year. Fed up with the problems, at least one customer said she would change her phone provider to rival Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) after signing up with Comcast for just three months.

"It's out all the time," says Jennifer Patricio, a Comcast data and voice customer in Montclair, N.J., who said she has lost phone service five times since July. "We're switching back to Verizon… We never had any problems with Verizon."

Patricio said a Comcast customer service representative told her that VOIP outages hit a total of about 58,000 customers Wednesday. But MacElroy, while declining to say the exact amount of customers affected, pooh-poohed that number. "It was definitely not 58,000," he says.

If outages like these are indeed widespread or occurring frequently, it could easily put a crimp in Comcast's surging VOIP growth. The MSO just announced last month that it has signed up 1 million IP phone customers throughout the country in less than two years, including more than 75,000 in New Jersey over the past year.

The New Jersey VOIP outages come just two weeks after Comcast ran into similar glitches with its high-speed Internet service in the Pittsburgh area. Cable modem subscribers in at least three Pittsburgh neighborhoods lost their broadband Web service for at least one day Oct. 9 as the MSO started switching about 200,000 former Adelphia Communications cable customers over to its broadband network.

Comcast spokeswoman Jeanne Russo declined to say how many cable modem subscribers were affected by the outage, which cut off broadband, but not video, service. She stressed that "the vast majority" of subscribers had service up and running by the next day. "We were able to resolve the situation quickly," she says.

Russo blamed the Pittsburgh problem largely on the age of the Adelphia plant, which is older than most of Comcast's largely upgraded cable systems. Comcast took over the large urban system in late July after completing the joint purchase of Adelphia's cable systems with Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX) in late July.

The spokeswoman also noted that the Pittsburgh system is the first cable system that Comcast sought to convert over from Adelphia's operations since consummating the purchase.

"It's a very complex process transitioning one system to another," she says. Since then, she said, Comcast has switched over former Adelphia cable systems in the rest of Pennsylvania and southeast Florida, among other areas, with no service problems.

— Alan Breznick, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(4)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Michael Harris
Michael Harris
12/5/2012 | 3:36:52 AM
re: Comcast Suffers VOIP, Broadband Outages
The bad news for Comcast, this was reported on their earnings day. The good news, their stock was still up more than 3% today thanks to a positive buzz from Q3 results. Thankfully there was not a phone outage during their earnings call. :)
paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 3:36:51 AM
re: Comcast Suffers VOIP, Broadband Outages


Of course, they get their phone service from Verizon.

Just kidding, but you can bet that they do not use their own service.

seven
Michael Harris
Michael Harris
12/5/2012 | 3:36:42 AM
re: Comcast Suffers VOIP, Broadband Outages
Possible they use at least part of their own CLEC-style business service. Though, I like the thought of a group of senior Comcast execs talking through a speakerphone plugged right into an E-MTA (cable modem voice adapter), as is used for their residential service. Eating their own dog food and all of that. :)
megacop
megacop
12/5/2012 | 3:35:53 AM
re: Comcast Suffers VOIP, Broadband Outages
Yep, getting into the telco business lends a whole new meaning to the word 'service'.

Was wondering if the MSOs are required to report major service outages to the FCC, as in traditional telco.

Featured Video
Upcoming Live Events
October 22, 2019, Los Angeles, CA
November 5, 2019, London, England
November 7, 2019, London, UK
November 14, 2019, Maritim Hotel, Berlin
December 3-5, 2019, Vienna, Austria
December 3, 2019, New York, New York
March 16-18, 2020, Embassy Suites, Denver, Colorado
May 18-20, 2020, Irving Convention Center, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events