Independence Day! Com[edy]cast Defeated By the Death Star

There was very little fanfare, just a disconnecting of a single coaxial cable and plugging in a a new wireless gateway router, but it’s now done: I’m a subscriber of AT&T U-verse for video, Internet and WiFi hotspot, kicking Comcast to the technology curb.image

Background: we live in a new development, and I had hoped that fiber would be in the area thinking that Verizon’s FIOS would be the most likely vendor.  Alas, when I contacted them I got the sound & dance that “nope, but if you’d like to give us your name…”  {click}. 

It just so happened that, after the closing, AT&T sent a guy around with brochures about their DSL service.  I told him I wasn’t interested, but thanks.  Feeling miffed that new construction (despite living in Hooterville) wasn’t on the top of the new technology list, I again sold my techno-sould to Comcast.  [sidenote: it really sucked that I couldn’t keep my 2 DVRs with 20+hrs of shows from my installation in WA.  What’s with that?!]

100_0454 The next year was a Com[edy]cast of errors, courtesy of the inept technicians who couldn’t get me to at least the quality of service I had before.  First, my HDTV wouldn’t connect via HDMI without powering off the set-top box, which they blamed on my Samsung 50″ DLP, despite that it wasn’t an issue before.  One nob tried to convince me that I’m supposed to turn the set-top box off when I’m not using it.  And then there was the 3 months wherein my PVR would obliterate shows for no reason.  After 3 replacement boxes, 5 service calls and a strongly worded email to the VP of Customer Service, I got one of their brand new boxes and everything seemed ok.  Don’t get me started on the Internet service; suffice it to say that at least it was consistent.  Consistently slow.

So remember I said an AT&T guy came around last August?  Well, about a month ago I noticed my neighbor 2 houses down having a fence put in.  Over the course of a couple of days the normal activities were going on, culminating with posts being set.  And then everything stopped.  It seemed odd after 3-4 days, but it wasn’t my house, so…..

About a week later, I see a guy I know from church coming up to my house with an AT&T shirt on.  I recalled he worked there, but found it curious because a) he didn’t know we had moved back, and b) I had no business with AT&T.  Well, he happened to be in the area, going door-to-door to apologize to everyone because their fiber line had been cut by the fence builders!  What?!  “What fiber line?” I asked.  He took me around to the side of my house and there it was a fiber line had been ran throughout the subdivision but no one had been told.  Apparently, it was on a kinda ‘need to know’ and the residents didn’t necessarily need to know?  Well, he gave me a brochure and card, explaining that they were putting in a temporary fix until the road gets completed, but I should definitely give them a call.  I was elated.

Well, work got the best of me, so it was a few weeks before I gave it more thought.  But I got a nice mini-catalog from them last week – they’ve been peppering the neighborhood in a major way, now that they know we’re like fish in a barrel.  I went online Monday to order, and they were out here on Thursday.  Nice!

When they tell you it’s 4-6hrs, they mean it.  They got to my house at 9am and weren’t done until 4pm.  But here I am now, 10Mbps with 3 set-top boxes with whole-house PVR and HD.  As an added bonus, I have AT&T WiFi, which I am using right now at St.Arbucks.  The service went off with nary a hitch, and the guys they had out were polite, clean and kept me aware of what was going on.

To complete the Geek Day, I installed Windows Home Server on a spare box I have and connected 3 of my 5 computers to it.  A few more and we’ll be able to watch all of my recorded (and owned) DVDs from our computers, share pictures & files, daily backups, etc.  Tech life is very good 🙂

The only thing I’m left with now is what to do about T-Mobile.  For the first time, I’m seriously considering moving on — I’m still smartiing from how long it took them to release the Dash, and find it shallow that they have decided not to provide a Windows Mobile 6.1 upgrade.  I’m starting to think they’ve lost touch with their long-suffering customers (7yrs, 3 phones + Hotspot).  The Starbucks + T-Mobile Hotspot debacle hasn’t helped things either.

Most likely, I’ll switch all my phones in a few months, as the Samsung BlackJack II looks really nice.  And, now that I’m dropping T-Mobile Hotspot, I have less of a reason to stay – I can consolidate to (2) technology vendors: AT&T and Vonage.  And while I am happy with them, it’s only a matter of time before AT&T VOIP is available for me as well….

AT&T: Voice, Video, Internet, WiFi and Cellular.  Could this be the return of the Death Star?  Fine by me!