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News: Is Comcast lying to attract new customers?

Today my wife received a phone call from a Comcast representative who had called to promote their new 'Comcast Digital Voice' service. For those who aren't familiar, Comcast Digital Voice is Comcasts' new VOIP service which they have released to compete with Vonage, skype, etc.

Ordinarily, we don't mind Comcast calling us from time to time with new offers (we are existing Comcast Cable/Internet customers) - but this call was different. This call left us feeling incredibly annoyed with Comcast. Why? Because Comcast told us LIE after LIE to try and convince us that we should sign up to Comcast Digital Voice.

I am writing this article to raise awareness of the BS that Comcast is telling it's customers.

We have been using Vonage as our phone service provider for over 6 months. Vonage costs us a flat $24.99 a month, and it allows us to call anywhere in the US or the UK for free (other European countries are also free now). The call quality is good, and we have never had any problems with our service.

The first thing that the Comcast Representative told us was the price of Comcast Digital Voice - $34.99. My wife immediately told the representative that we were not interested, as we already have Vonage and only have to pay $24.99 for it. The Comcast rep then proceeded to tell LIE after LIE in an attempt to convice us that Vonage was not as good as Comcast Digital Voice. These included:

  1. Telling us that Vonage calls were of poor quality

  2. Telling us that Vonage only worked when our PC was switched on.

  3. Telling us that Vonage leaves us insecure on the Internet, to the point where anyone on the Internet can listen in on our Vonage phonecalls.

There were more, but those 3 were our favourites...for the following reasons:

  • We are talking to the Comcast Representative using our VONAGE phone! We could hear her perfectly, and she could obviously hear us! The Vonage line quality is usually very good, and our family in the UK have even commented on how clear the line is when we call them from the US.

  • We were talking to the representative using our Vonage phone line...and our PC was off! It is a complete LIE to tell people that Vonage only works when their PC is turned on.

  • We are technical people, with backgrounds in IT security. We are fully aware that there are always risks when you connect a device to the Internet...but it is complete nonsense to tell us that anyone can listen in on our Vonage calls just by connecting to us over the Internet. For the record, our Vonage box also sits behind a hardware firewall/router.

It was clear that the Comcast representative had no idea what she was talking about, and was most likely reading from a list that someone had provided her. At this point, my wife told the Comcast representative to stop wasting our time and to get her facts straight before making such ridiculous and unfounded claims.

I am just amazed at the lengths Comcast will go to in order to discredit their (lower priced) competitor. Imagine how many people would be scared into using Comcast Digital Voice because Comcast makes them believe that Vonage is insecure + only works when your PC is turned on (i'm sure we all have non-technical family members who would not know any better than to just believe Comcast).

We have already emailed Vonage to let them know what Comcast is doing, and we have emailed Comcast customer support to complain too.

If you have had a similar experience...please post a reply to this article! also, please join us in emailing Vonage and Comcast customer support at:

Let them know what is going on!
Comment by Marco Genovese - 05-12-2006

You never obioviously been in IT or have any idea what you are talking about. In certain setups you do have to have your computer on. Vonage does at times have crappy line quality. And for the security of the phonecalls she is telling the truth. Your Vonage box is behind a firewall? What good does that do as soon as your Vonage connection hits the internet? Is the connection SSL? I think not and I think that you have no clue what you are talking about.

Comment by Wang - 06-12-2006

Marco - this article has been posted on many other sites including slash dot, and debated a great deal. I can promise you that I do know what I am talking about, and that your rude tone will get you no respect here.

Firstly, read back your message and have a think about what you have said. Look at the terms you use, terms like "In certain setups..." and "Vonage does at times have" - you seem to have missed the point. We are not talking about some setups, we are talking about MY setup. If Comcast is going to call people and try to convince them to cancel Vonage, they need to have an understand of the customers setup and the customers needs.

In my case, I do not have to have my PC turned on in order to use Vonage, and out of the 10+ people I know who have Vonage, none of them have to have their pc's on either. Comcast told me that I NEEDED to have my PC turned on to use Vonage, and even argued it with me when I explained that I was talking to them using a Vonage phone without my PC being turned on.

Secondly, line quality. No-one is debating that sometimes a service might have bad line quality....there are a number of issues that can affect line quality, and most of them are probably due to your ISP (which happens to be Comcast!). The point you are missing is, my line quality is very good for the vast majority of the time, and Comcast were trying to tell me that Vonage doesn't have good line quality PERIOD...which is untrue.

I am also well aware that Vonage calls are not transmitted over SSL, and therefore they can be sniffed. Welcome to the Internet my friend. However, since you are on the Internet Marco - can you please listen in to my phone call now and tell me what i'm saying? I'll give you my IP too. My point being, telling customers that anyone can listen in on their calls if they are connected to the internet, is a vast overstatement - and one deliberately used as a scare tactic by Comcast. Since we are from an IT security background, we understand the risks and likelyhood of sniffing, but if Comcast tell my Grandma that ANYONE can listen to her phone calls, of course she will scared into buying Comcast. It's inaccurate, and a dirty business tactic.

Marco, you seem to be very quick to jump to Comcast's defense at any cost, despite their lies and high pricing. Do you by any chance work for Comcast? :)

Comment by Terabanitoss - 04-05-2007

Hi all!
You are The Best!!!

Comment by franklin - 28-02-2012

yes, comcast are scavengers, they offer me internet with speed up to 20mbps and uploads up to 4mbps. with poweboost. i barely recive 15mbps.
and technictians don even know what they are talking about. when they caught in their lie they dont know what to say. even supervisors are big liars..

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