Worst deal ever: Comcast Extreme 105

As Comcast moves towards being the next AT&T (and I’m talking about the ATT of the 1960s, which was more powerful than most countries and more nefarious than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney combined), it gets increasingly strange, self serving, and dangerous as a company to deal with. Over the last year or so, our service (we have Comcast cable) has increased in price and decreased in stations being offered that we will at this point do better by canceling it and adding an antennae (but this is how we get Internet). Now, Comcast offers a thing called “Extreme 105” which costs a bundle even if bundled, but that they won’t actually let you use. You would have to be a moron to get this:

Comcast just announced the ultrafast, ultra-broadband “Extreme 105” 105 Mbit/sec Internet service it’s been promising. … Introductory prices start at $105 per month, when bundled with other services; the price was supposed to be closer to $200 per month. … [BUT] It put a data cap on the service of 250 Gbit per month — about five hours worth of full-bandwidth use.


And you’ll have to buy an expensive new modem. And they may do other throttling of bandwith, like if you use Netflix.

Time to look at DSL again.


  1. #1 Art
    April 17, 2011

    In theory the ‘free-market’ is supposed to maximize what you get for your money. Which assumes the providers don’t act like a cartel and arbitrarily decide their profit margin. A wink-and-a-nod between companies, and efforts that keep the price of entry into the market high, can’t let some upstart undermine our ‘pricing strategy’ (spelled that way but pronounced ‘screwing the consumer’), is all it takes to guarantee profits. Wall Street loves them some ‘consistent profits’ (also pronounced ‘screwing the consumer’).

    The US is a third world market for broadband. What most other developed nation get at reasonable prices we get screwed for. I have opted out by getting my TV off-air, via an antenna and rotator. I can’t say I miss anything. Better than half of what I watch is public television. I get my internet from the municipal power company as dial-up. Text is far more efficient at knowledge transfer than videos so I don’t often feel deprived.

    A media Luddite I will stay until a low-cost provider emerges to cater to my market niche, cheap codgers who aren’t impressed by much. Until that time they better stay off my lawn or I will shake my cane at them.

    Comcast, and all the others, can keep their broadband ripoff schemes.

  2. #2 Rich Wilson
    April 17, 2011

    “It put a data cap on the service of 250 Gbit per month”

    That’s 250 GBytes per month, not GBits. Without doing the math, the 5hrs is probably right.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2011

    Rich, I believe you are correct.

    Art, you can’t have a free market if one company owns the cables!

  4. #4 Monimonika
    April 17, 2011

    My family got kicked off Comcast cable internet and replaced it with Verizon FIOS, although we have kept the Comcast cable TV service due to certain available channels.

    We are happy so far with the switch to Verizon, as we have not been getting shrill calls about heavy bandwidth usage.

    Comcast had an (understandable) problem with my family’s heavy downloading (5 people on 5 computers all with different tastes in things to watch on a daily basis).

    The problem was that Comcast didn’t tell us what the cap was per month until many, many, many callbacks from us finally gave us some honest rep to cough up the limit number. By then, it was a bit too late for us to change our habits enough to get under the limit and Comcast suddenly cut off our internet service completely with no prior warning at all.

    Now, this wouldn’t have been so bad IF ONLY THE A**HOLES HAD GIVEN US A WARNING BEFOREHAND SO WE CAN SAVE OUR EMAILS!!! Yes, OUR EMAILS WERE COMPLETELY DELETED. Included in the emails at the time was apparently an unread message to my mother that her dear uncle in Japan had passed away. It took weeks later to find out about this.

    Screw you, Comcast!

  5. #5 Rich Wilson
    April 17, 2011

    It’s also bad if one company both owns the cables, and some of the content on those cables. Comcast wants you to buy your ‘TV’ from them, not from Netflix or Hulu or Amazon or anyone else. Putting caps on your IP (internet protocol, not intellectual property) but not the equivalent cap on your digital cable, is clearly not a free market.

    Can you imagine them telling people they could only watch X hours of TV in a month? It’s the same pipe. What’s the difference between me watching a move from Netflix vs. one from HBO? How much of the pie Comcast gets, that’s what.

    (although I’ve also just read that they charge something extra for using Netflix, over and above what Netflix charges?)

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2011

    The government should take over all cable and make it free (just the cables, not the content, other than public access) for everyone. Like roads. We (the government) can then charge Comcast and everyone else modest fees to use it to deliver a service, on a customer by customer basis. THAT is a free market. Nothing else is, that I can think of.

  7. #7 gwen
    April 17, 2011

    I ditched Comcast years ago for ATT U-verse. I hated Comcast, the service was so poor. They didn’t care, since they were still the best/only game in town. U-verse has turned out to be a much better and less expensive option to run my TV, computers and phone system.

  8. #8 Moopheus
    April 17, 2011

    Government (local governments) helped create this problem in the first place by promising local monopolies on service in exchange for creating the cable infrastructure.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    April 17, 2011

    That’s only part of the story. It is not like those companies were sitting their minding their own business and got a tap on the shoulder from the Gov. No. Those companies bought and paid for the politicians and then got what they wanted.

    And to some (but lesser) extent it works that way with roads and other public utilities. But transfering all cable over to that status (ofo public utilities) would make many problems go away, and the only losers would be the fat cats who own the cable companies.

  10. #10 itzac
    April 17, 2011

    The way I see it, the only people who should determine which network connections I make and how fast bits travel between the two endpoints are me and the computer I’m connecting to. That ought to be the legal definition of net neutrality. It’s simple, I pay for internet access at X Mbps. That’s the service I should get.

    I know a lot of people won’t like the following idea, but I’ma lay it out anyway. If someone offered internet access on a metered basis, where 1GB of data cost $0.01 x N, where N is the speed of the connection in Mbps, most people would be paying way less for their internet service. Whoever offered this would eat everyone else’s lunch. Hell, build a fancy enough router and you could let your customers throttle their own internet.

  11. #11 Rich Wilson
    April 18, 2011

    “Hell, build a fancy enough router and you could let your customers throttle their own internet.”

    Good point- if I’m going to watch a 2hr movie, I don’t care if it takes 2 min to download or 2hrs. As long as it doesn’t take longer than 2hrs.

    (other content is different, but the vast majority of consumers don’t need download bandwidth any faster than display bandwidth)

  12. #12 Keith M Ellis
    April 18, 2011

    “…and I’m talking about the ATT of the 1960s, which was more powerful than most countries and more nefarious than Karl Rove and Dick Cheney combined…”

    You’re reminding me of The Phone Company in the 60s movie, “The President’s Analyst”. TPC is the secret ultimate power behind, well, everything.

  13. #13 BJ
    May 11, 2011

    Comcast is only an example, not the root of all evil. Control of the Internet is the number one priority for both the Fortune 500 and the Government. Each country must control the Internet and adapt the Internet to the political, religious,economic,military and social structure of the country. The first business step in control is to restrict the bandwidth. This restriction increases the price and converts a commodity product with marginal profit into a premium product with high profit. ~~~ Greed and Power 101