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Comcast tries for makeover, rebrands D.C. service

Comcast is trying to make over its image with a new name and a marketing blitz for the District and several other markets. Xfinity, the new name of its broadband, cable and phone service, was introduced to the area in newspaper, magazine and television ads in recent days and comes amid the firm's bid to turn itself into an entertainment powerhouse.

Comcast's $30 billion bid to merge with NBC Universal faces regulatory reviews for its impact on consumers and industry competition. Corporate operations will continue to be named Comcast. But renaming its services could help it start fresh from its reputation for poor customer service. The American Customer Satisfaction Index puts Comcast below the average for the overall cable and satellite industry.

Xfinity is also the name for its online video project that allows its subscribers to watch shows and movies over computer Internet connections.

The move comes amid a race to bring faster Internet speeds to consumers and Google's announcement last week to test ultra-fast fiber networks of 1 gigabit-per-second speeds -- rates that are about 100 times faster than what most consumers get today.

Last summer, Comcast upgraded its broadband speeds in the D.C. area to as fast as 50 megabits per second. It has launched trials for 100 megabits-per-second speeds in the Twin Cities areas and said those speeds -- among fastest in the industry today -- will be rolled out to more markets this year.

By Cecilia Kang  |  February 15, 2010; 8:21 AM ET
Categories:  Broadband , Comcast  
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Next: Washington to apply for Google's fiber Internet network

Comments

Comcast has the worst customer service of any company in the US. They can try to pull a blackwater and change their name to something that begins with an x, but they'll still have the worst customer support.

Posted by: lostinthemiddle | February 15, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Why would I care about a name change? Xfinity???? What is the X for? Is infinty bad? Is X finity better? What is next, XXfinity? XXXfinity (the all adult network??)?

I pay a small fortune each month to comcast because for me it is the least bad among a bunch of crappy choices. Despite the "competition" and competing technologies, when you weed your way through all the choices and look past the low cost "introductory" or "promotional" periods, you find little real savings, little real service, and little control over what you get.

Re-naming things seems to be the easy answer to everything these days. Why do real work to gain market share when you can pay millions to an ad agency to come up with a silly magic word that will solve all your problems?

Don't forget to click your ruby slippers together three times as you repeat, "There's no place like Xfinity, There's no place like Xfinity ..."

Posted by: mi-ti-bear | February 15, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Based on my customer service experience as a (former) Comcast customer, I can't conceive of anything that would induce me to go back to Comcast. Their staff were either laughably incompetent or intentionally dishonest -- take your pick. I switched to Verizon FiOS, and though the service hasn't been perfect, so far (knock wood) it's been acceptable.

So a name change to Xfinity is going to fix things? Good luck with that, guys.

Posted by: ajsmithva | February 15, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Comcast much not like its chances in its bid to take over NBC Universal.

If your current brand is weak, the normal course of action is to buy someone with a stronger brand . . . and take it. Think SBC and AT&T, or NationsBank and Bank of America.

The optimal strategy for Comcast would be to hold off until the NBC Universal acquisition goes through, and then re-brand the company as . . . NBC.


Posted by: mattintx | February 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I think the rebranding strategy will work. The new name starts with an X (sounds cool) and Comcast will advertise the fastest Internet speed along with it. That will be enough to attract those who are either new or are looking to switch from other providers.

Congrats to Comcast for doing some innovative marketing unlike the stupidity of AT&T's marketing campaign which only serves to underscore that Verizon has a much larger network.

Posted by: lboeckl | February 15, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I don't live in DC, but I still wouldn't be fooled by the name change . . Comcast poor service is still Comcast poor service under any name!!!!

Posted by: momof20yo | February 15, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Who are they trying to kid? Crap by any other name smell just like crap. I moved to an area where Verizon Fios isn't available so I'm stuck with Comcast. Not only is their customer service dreadful, but picture and sound quality are the pits, the Internet speeds they offer are barely faster than dialup, service outages are common, the modem is junk and they don't offer multiroom DVR. I can't believe how much we pay each month for substandard products and services. Giving a bad company a new name is like putting old crap in a new package. IT'S STILL CRAP!

Posted by: xenophile | February 15, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

You can paint a pig a new color but it's still a pig. Comcast's customer service was (and likely remains) awful. That's why I switched to FIOS. When problems arose, they were responsive (which does not mean that they fixed everything quickly and perfectly but, at least, took my call, listened and tried).

Comcast is a fine example of a company growing too fast (profit first) and not taking care of the support services (e.g., customer service) that maintain your revenue stream.

Posted by: hossra | February 15, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't care what they call themselves now or in the future, they'll always be Continental Cablevision to me, with their crappy customer service.
I changed to Verizon last fall for phone and internet. I would have also taken Fios had it been offered in my neighborhood.
I hate to say this, but Verizon is even worse than Comcast! But instead of going back to them, I'll try Clear Wire!

I hate Continental Cablevision - Comcast - Xfinity, and I always will!

Posted by: jnik | February 15, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Comcast needs to dump the 250 gig/mo cap if they want to repair their image.

The bottom line is with a 250 gig cap, the service blows.

Posted by: whfsdude | February 15, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Comcast has the worst customer service I've ever encountered. Period. The vast majority of their people simply don't know what they're doing, and are rude about it in the process. My wife and I have wondered how they can stay in business when they treat their customers so poorly, but I guess they have enough market power to get away with it.

Posted by: smc91 | February 15, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Hate Comcast and other cable companies with dismally poor service??

CANCEL YOUR CABLE SERVICE!!!
GO BACK TO 'OVER THE AIR' CHANNELS. PBS HAS SOME GREAT PROGRAMMING!!!
GET OUT AND DISCOVER LIFE AWAY FROM YOUR TV's.

Posted by: momof20yo | February 15, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Good luck with that, jerks. I'll never forget how badly I was treated, and I'll NEVER go back to your company, no matter what stupid name your PR department comes up with.
That's always been the Comcast way, put all the money into advertising / marketing, and the actual product/customers be damned.
I look forward with glee to the day this miserable company goes under.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | February 15, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Hate Comcast and other cable companies with dismally poor service??

CANCEL YOUR CABLE SERVICE!!!
GO BACK TO 'OVER THE AIR' CHANNELS. PBS HAS SOME GREAT PROGRAMMING!!!
GET OUT AND DISCOVER LIFE AWAY FROM YOUR TV's.

As long as you continue giving these cable companies your money, they have absolutely no motivation, no reason to improve their service quality.

Posted by: momof20yo | February 15, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@momof20yo:

Easy on the CAPS there!

But other than that, I totally agree with your message. TV is 99% crap, and I can't believe how much people pay for it. The worst is how people act like they HAVE to pay for it -- you don't! If you don't believe you're getting value for your money -- and I don't see how you could, with all that swill -- then move on to something else. At least maybe give it a try!

My family dumped TV over a year ago, and basically don't miss it at all. And sure have found better things to do with the $1,000+ bucks we've saved, not to mention all the extra free time we now have.

Posted by: spunkydawg1 | February 15, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Za-finity? Christ-finity? Trans-finity? Cross-finity? Maybe they should just call themselves Xe. Makes as much sense. How about Suck-finity?

Posted by: ksu499 | February 15, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I have ditched cable and satellite. You can watch video online and over-the-air on multiple channels with digital TV and a rabbit ear antennas. Why are you all still fooling with cable?

Posted by: BaracksTeleprompter | February 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You can roll a terd in powered sugar but it still isn't a jelly doughnut. Comcast may be the worst company out there. The best solution is for the FEDS to break them up and move on. If I found my self in a position that I had to use Comcast I would go with out.

Posted by: askgees | February 15, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I'd much rather they spend the millions they are spending on this name change and advertising on actually training their staff to not be rude and useless.

Seriously. Some of the worst customer service in the DC area. And that's saying something.

Posted by: Hillman1 | February 15, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I have Comcast internet and TV. Its my only option where I live in Arlington. As soon as FIOS becomes available I will switch immediately.
Comcast's customer service is horrible! They must spend a fortune on advertising (I'm sure Shaq doesnt come cheap) and nothing on customer service. Also, their pricing is suspect. 3 months for this, 6 months for that. Why cant I just go to their website and get a straight price for anything?

Until they realize that the customer comes first, they will be in a downward spiral.

Posted by: wiz_fan | February 15, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

The American Customer Satisfaction Index puts Comcast below the average for the overall cable and satellite industry.

so what do they do to fix that image? THEY CHANGE THEIR NAME. 'Hi, sweety, i'm Xfinity. Who? Comcast? Don't know them.'

They took a page directly from Blackwater: change your name to something starting with 'X'. "Xe". "Xfinity". That'll do it. THe little people go crazy over words starting with 'x', they even forget your previous name.

A $$ holes.

Posted by: coqui44 | February 15, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Lipstick on a pig! oink oink!

Posted by: MarylandJ | February 15, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Comcast is flat-out horrible. The only reason why most people have to use them is because they have no other choice. But, if you are like me, and specifically if you like sports, Direct TV is the best way to go. It is cheaper, more HD channels, and less interrupted service and non-picture-freezing channels. Because I have that choice, I opted not to have Comcast. The techs from Comcast would come out to fix a problem (picture freezing, etc.) and have no clue as to what the problem is, rather than to just say that the company they work for has outright sh.tty service, a waste of time. In this date and age of the HD TV, Comcast just does not match up with Direct TV sports. I got tired of looking at sports in standard definition on my HD TV as if I had glaucoma looking at its programming. And do not get me started on their HS Internet Service - crappy!!

Posted by: barryncity | February 15, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I've had very good customer service from Comcast and terrible from Verizon. I haven't had Verizon in years but mum has and they've been a big pain. Comast has mostly been good and when they haven't they've made it up to me.

Posted by: jackrussellterrier | February 15, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Comcast has one of the worst, bar none, customer relations. The only time I was treated decently is when I discontinued my TV/internet connection. Then, and only then, was the person to whom I spoke decent. Otherwise they are surley and sometimes downright nasty. They need to seriously rethink their customer relations. Let them rot, and maybe that will sober them up.

Posted by: LawyerTom1 | February 15, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

When I got Comcast hi-speed internet several years ago I was impressed and very pleased with the blazing speed. But over the years the speed has decreased and is now annoyingly slow. Now Comcast wants me to pay even more for their "new" blazing fast internet speed. I don't think so! They should just give us back the speeds we used to have (and are already paying for)!

Posted by: clematis77 | February 15, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Comcast SUCKS.

Change the name.

Change the lipstick.

Comcast SUCKS.

Posted by: mdpilot | February 15, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

ALL the cable,satelite,cell,internet,voice products are unregulated since the breakup of public communications in the 50s/60s.politicians made money and screwed the public.comcast is ,as the rest of them are picking the $$$$ to feed the system

Posted by: pofinpa | February 15, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The last straw for me was when Comcast required that I rent a "box" to watch the History Channel.

Posted by: 12oreo | February 15, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

This will definitely work! Comcast is correct in thinking that the American public is gullible enough to buy into the re-branding. After all, it worked when the Bush Administration re-branded itself as the Obama Administration.

Posted by: kemp13 | February 15, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Comcast Help Wanted Ad:

Rewarding career for surly and incompetent people.

Must be able to pass a lie detector test when lying.

Must have no ethics.

Must have no morals.

Salary negotiable with advancement opportunities to upper level management probable for showing extreme initiative of the above qualifications.

Posted by: mdpilot | February 15, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

People who get Comcast (or whatever they change their name to) will live to regret it. Their customer service is unbelievably bad and I have never been treated so badly by a company. I finally dumped them and got Dish satellite and couldn't be happier with it. You couldn't pay me to use Comcast again.

Posted by: checkered1 | February 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

You've got to admire the chutzpah of a company in a day and age when bandwidth is no longer an issue, and we need more of it, that they decide to claim that people who use the bandwidth sold to them are cheating them and cap bandwidth. Welcome to 1999, Comcast style.

They inspired AT&T mobile so much that they started capping mobile phone users too.

And they achieved the impossible by making Verizon look like Mother Theresa with their FIOS service.

All the while grossing $16B+.

Nice!

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | February 15, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

When cable came to my heighborhood we only had Comcast. There was no other alternative. The service was bad and the price went up it seems like quarterly. When DirecTV and Dish Network came available more than half the residents made the switch. I got more channels and high definition for less than what Comcast cost.

Posted by: Jimof1913 | February 15, 2010 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I steal from commiecast & I luv it.
We should all steal from them & the stupid local & federal representatives who have endorsed this legalized monopoly with the cables.

Posted by: Rocc00 | February 15, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

There are simply too few high-speed ISP providers, so the customer always seems to be the loser.

These companies own the copper line, so we take it or leave it. There needs to be changes made, where competitors have access to the cable and phone infrastructure, otherwise the prices will remain artificially high and customer service will always come in last.

Posted by: misterbumbles | February 15, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

Over the last 10 years, I've had techs to my house 8 times (a total of 10 techs as there were a couple teams). Only 1 of the 10 techs had any idea what he was doing. Not only ignorant but obviously very poorly trained.

That ignorance and the almost complete lack of commitment to customer service by their non-tech phone representatives explains why everyone hates Comcast and probably always will no matter what namee it pretends to go by.

Posted by: BlanketyBlank | February 16, 2010 12:06 AM | Report abuse

Those of you out there bashing Comcast have clearly never had to deal with Verizon's commercial customer service. Don't take my word for it, ask your techie friends.

And Comcast is a bright shining star in the customer service arena when you compare them to companies like Fairpoint.

Comcast may have crappy customer service, but I have NEVER had to deal with them. It just works.

However I think their upload speeds are really horrible. I can download stuff at terrific speeds but when I try to submit my code to my job it is just miserable because the back channel runs at modem speed.

I for one am tired of ISPs that assume that users only download content and never upload it.

Comcast is the world's largest provider of IP service and they know it. They sit on the advisory boards of the Internet societies. They are actively involved in the design of the future Internet.

Comcast is also friendly to the software community. They have contributed IPv6 networking code to the Linux kernel.

No I do not work for Comcast, but their Internet service works well for me.

Posted by: frantaylor | February 16, 2010 4:20 AM | Report abuse


frantaylor: "And Comcast is a bright shining star in the customer service arena when you compare them to companies like Fairpoint."

Your comment is so blatantly untrue about Comcast being a "bright shining star in the customer service area. Your claim flies on the face of an overwhelming evidence to the contrary. You are misusing the opportunity that the Washington Post gives you to express your comments. The least I should expect from you would be a modicum of intellectual integrity.

You say that you "do not work for Comcast," but I hope you would. You deserve each other.

Posted by: GoodAmerican | February 16, 2010 4:45 AM | Report abuse

Take some serious antitrust action against Comcast and divide into about 6 companies. Those companies could then decide what they want to be called. I'm tired of seeing the American people fleeced by giant corporations.

Posted by: n7uno | February 16, 2010 5:18 AM | Report abuse

They can change their name as many times as they want; that won't change the fact that Comcast has to be one of the worst companies in America. Every dealing with them is a battle. Unless they have a total corporate culture makeover they will continue to have mostly dissatisfied customers. And the fact that they try to combat this with a name change only illustrates the point.

Posted by: DevouringSaturn | February 16, 2010 5:58 AM | Report abuse

I don't understand the comment from the individual from Arlington above that thinks that Comcast is their only choice. I live in Arlington and I am Comcast's worst nightmare. I have DSL service with DSL Extreme and a $8.99/month package with Netflix for a total of $48/month. Between Netflix, a Roku box, online viewing (Hulu or Boxee)and a set of rabbit ears I get all the TV I feel that I'll ever need.
Better yet I have the satisfaction of telling Comcast to stick their wildly overpriced "service" where the sun doesn't shine. I just wish that more people would wake up and realize that yes indeed there are options other than Comcast. Along with AT&T, Comcast is one of the most evil public "service" companies in the U.S. If they don't clean up their acts they deserve to die and I'm proud to be doing my part in pulling the plug.

Posted by: kettke1 | February 16, 2010 6:15 AM | Report abuse

DC should have fast online speeds they pay more than MD and VA for service.

They are ripping the city off, who ever the city official getting paid should be looking pretty good in the pocket.

How do i pay more for the same service my friend MD has?

Check it out they will give some silly respond but the truth is there ripping DC residents OFF!

SERVICE THEY HAVE THAT AT COMCAST?

DC+COMCAST=CROOKS

Posted by: SOLVBACK | February 16, 2010 6:39 AM | Report abuse

For quality service, may I suggest that you petition that Comcast be sold to Cox Cable. I have been with Cox for more than five years and the customer service here in the Tidewater area is top notch.

Posted by: Ebland1 | February 16, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

The problem with both Verizon and Comcast is that customer service with both is a total crapshoot. When I have problems with my Verizon DSL, a phone call nets me one of two kinds of techs: someone who was hired 15 minutes before and is obviously reading from a script, or a former corporate IT guy who guides me through the process quickly and clearly. Similarly, when I have had issues with Comcast that require a service call, I have gotten a tech who shuffles wires around with no result and then leaves, or (thank heavens) a guy who literally wound up running new cable lines through my house, muttering, "Who put this in? This was done all wrong!"

The problem is, you have no way of controlling what sort of service personnel you get, which is why I just close my eyes and pray when I pick up the phone.

Posted by: jhpurdy | February 16, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

My experiences with Comcast customer service have ranged from OK to really good. I don't think I've ever had a terrible one. But more important, they have been infrequent. I just don't have many problems -- certainly fewer in the last 5 years than in the 5 before that. Based on my experiences with Verizon (phone), which would be my most viable alternative, I'm just not convinced that it would be significantly better. (And it could be worse.)

Posted by: Janine1 | February 16, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I just want to add my voice to those who believe that a cosmetic move like a name change is not going to fool or placate consumers who are fed up with Comcast's total apathy toward customer satisfaction.

I am a former Comcast customer and never had an interaction with the company that was easy or pleasant. Here's hoping (perhaps for their own sake) that they change more than just their name.

Posted by: mshade2000 | February 16, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Comcast may have crappy customer service, but I have NEVER had to deal with them. It just works.

Posted by: frantaylor | February 16, 2010 4:20 AM

******************
Pray to your god or gods that it continues to 'just work', because as soon as you pick up the phone to call Comcast to get help with an issue, you will get a taste of hell.

My Comcast service just worked until I moved, and then it had problems. Getting help for those problems was a nightmare. I finally canceled all my Comcast service, and then spent four months trying to get them to stop billing my closed account. I will never use Comcast again, no matter what they call themselves.

Posted by: john65001 | February 16, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

As long as they don't fall asleep on my couch and get the job done...

Posted by: futbolclif | February 16, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Comcast is hands down the worst company I've ever dealt with. I will never go with them again.

Posted by: jbrook3 | February 16, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Checked out comcast & really expensive, somehow wound up on:

https://www.whitefence.com/qsrimages/clearlink/mytelephone-header.jpg

Sgould say whitefence, if not seek whitefence as have 10 Mb/s for just $32,99/mo locally for 12 months price guarentee. install on 10th, so know more then. thats about 45 month less than standard.

Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART von DRASHEK M.D.

Posted by: thomasxstewart1 | February 16, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

Ok heres exact special offer, as there are less good offer. start at whitefence.com, or maybe thru verizon, thats how i stumbled upon it.
Doc tom

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Posted by: thomasxstewart1 | February 16, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

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