42°Mostly Cloudy

Verizon and Comcast Reps Respond to Poll

by ARLnow.com January 6, 2011 at 4:29 pm 6,350 50 Comments

One thing Comcast and Verizon certainly excel at it knowing when people are writing about them on the internet.

In a poll we conducted yesterday, nearly three quarters of respondents rated their overall experience with Comcast “poor” or “very, very bad.” The comments section generally reflected the same sentiment.

In the article that accompanied the poll, we also mentioned Verizon’s FiOS service, saying that it helps protect consumers by giving them a viable alternative to cable.

Within just a few hours of the article being published, representatives from both Comcast and Verizon called and emailed us and left notes in the comments section.

Comcast, to their credit, was solely concerned with looking into the frustrating personal experiences with customer service that were mentioned in the article and in the comments. Kudos to them for that.

Verizon, unsurprisingly, appreciated our words of support for the continued expansion of FiOS service into local apartment and condo buildings.

Local Verizon sales manager Mark Harrington said he personally agreed that “any service provider, including Verizon, has been shown to be more responsive where there is the real option of being fired by our customers.” He shared the following information and advice for anyone who would like to get FiOS service in their community.

We’re trying to get to as much of Arlington as quickly as we can with our Verizon FiOS service. If you live in a condo or apartment building… I generally advise residents to make their voices heard with their board or property manager and have those people contact us.

We’ve reached out to every property we can and have successfully built out many at Verizon’s expense, but with others we have not yet, either because the owners have not yet granted permission, we haven’t been able to contact them, or in some cases we are still working on the fiber build to reach a few areas of Arlington.

Our website with more information for property owners is here…


  • Rover

    Verizon’s customer service is still the worst I’ve experienced with any communications or power company. Period. I can’t see going back.

    I’m not tooting Comcast’s horn either. They have major issues too.

    • Valerie

      Exactly! Anyone with Verizon who has ever had any issues knows they are just as bad. One day we’ll be free of both tyrants.

      • cj


      • mehoo

        Right – you’ll have a third tyrant.

        You could always free yourself by simply giving up service altogether.

        • Rover

          Bingo! I have given up phone and gone strictly to cell. I barely used the house phone, and am willing to go without to save significant $. I moved Verizon internet to Comcrap. Now, I only have to pay and deal with one entity. Half the frustration.

  • Marny

    I have to agree with the above comment. I am a new Verizon Fios customer (roughly a month now) and have had numerous issues already…so far not impressed and I have been tempted several times to switch back to Comcast.

  • alebt

    I have to disagree with Verizon’s characterization that the only spots that they have not connected are where the owner has not given permission “or can’t be reached” (??). In Fairlington, some condo associations have been in contact with Verizon to get the Fios process started for over five years and yet they have shown no interest in laying the cable or have been completely unresponsive to the Boards or Management companies. When a particular unit owner calls for a Fios installation they told they can’t because the “condo association” won’t let it happen. That is untrue at least for some of Fairlington.

    • Alebt, I do not believe that either.

    • BoredHouseWife

      Ditto for columbia foest

      • Josh

        Cannot be reached… that’s certainly not the case for Shirlington Village Condos

        • dss

          What did they say?

  • Artie Fufkin

    I’d just wish Fios would hurry up and get to the Oakcrest/Aurora Hills area.

    • jmt

      Yes, this is another area of single family homes – not condos/apts – where FIOS is not available and Verizon has given us no projected availability date. That said, after many frustrating problems with Comcast, we FINALLY, after much persistent calling, got the right tech to our home. After he replaced our 20+-year-old cable from house to pole, our Internet has been pretty reliable. My neighbor had the same issue and ultimately same result. Given things are now stable with Comcast, I’m not sure I’d jump at switching given the horror stories I’ve heard. Still it would be nice to at least have a choice.

  • AllenB

    Disclaimer – I don’t work for Verizon. But I have found their service to be great, a huge improvement over my days with Crapcast.

  • Skeptical

    The bottom line is that ISPs will jerk you around because they can. Internet service providers know that changing is a huge hassle, that people can’t do without their Net connection, and that they will put up with a fair amount of *&^$ before waiting around the house for installers, possibly changing their e-mail, and jumping into the unknown. Two broadband providers in an area ain’t much more competitive than one, given that.

    I’m grateful for your article though, because it caused me to check my bills since I switched to Verizon FiOS late in 2010 (and almost immediately got a confirmation e-mail citing a price higher than the promotion I’d bought into). Sure enough, after one month’s “adjusted” bill, the following month had been billed to my credit card already at the higher rate — I’d missed it in the holiday idiocy with all its attendant delays and disruptions — and the next month’s bill, same rate, was in the hopper. I called last night and sat on hold for a half hour without any update about the expected wait time. I called again this morning and connected with a very nice lady who helped credit me for the overages and arrange to bill me at the right rate. But… a credit left over from my payment on the previous DSL hookup had somehow magically disappeared, and when she “transferred” me to the department which “could take care of that,” I ended up back in voice mail hell, with the please-die-now phony Verizon virtual voice saying “Are you calling about a problem with FiOS reception? If so, please say or press 1…”

    And no one can give me a ticket number or call ID number to track my problem. This is wear-you-down, USSR-type consumer hassle.

    • Verizon doesn’t give you a number to track a problem? That’s a reason not to use them right there.

      • Skeptical

        On the other hand, I was a dedicated opponent of the effort to build a baseball stadium in Arlington, which Comcast wanted its name on so bad that they gave the stadium promoters free space for their HG. That was my reason not to use THEM right there.

        Not to mention the then-current famous “Comcast Serviceman Asleep On My Couch” video.

        You walk your talk the best you can.

        • Skeptical

          Sorry, meant to type HQ.

    • YourWaitTimeIs5Days

      Skeptical – got off easy. I’ve spent long hours on hold in Verizon’s VRU hell (hands down the worst VRU system on the planet). And Skept, better check your bill again next month. I have called 4 months in a row now to stop the inside wire maintenance plan. They do take the charge off each time – once I reach a rep – then it comes back.

      The best however is when their video on demand service wouldn’t work … asked for a refund for the week of viewing I lost … “sorry sir, that’s a free service.” Well aren’t I paying you each month for video?

      And don’t ask to save $15 a month with one bill. I’m a longtime FiOS customer (see comments re lack of competition – because Comcrap is even worse)they send a crew out to dig up my yard an lay fiber to my house (good thing I was honme that day) and after 6 months and countless calls and emails, I’m still not seeing my $15 monthly bundled savings. I’m actually afraid to ask them again.

      And I could go on … and on.

      On the positive side … there is the speed and uptime for the FiOS internet service. It’s lightening fast and has never been down.

    • el fat kid

      yeah, neither are very good. I deal with verizon for cell phones and it’s really a challenge to resolve anything on the rare occasion you actually have to deal w/ a person. The verizon exec email list is out there too for those who have exhausted all regular means of dealing with their customer service.

  • brif

    seems like i’m in the minority, but other than the NFL package I really don’t see what is so great about satellite TV. in my experience across multiple locations i’ve lost satellite signal way more frequently and for much longer periods of time than i’ve lost service with comcast.

  • Anti Monopolies

    I would love to at least *be able* to give FIOS a try. PLEASE come to Shirlington!

  • I’m no fan of Comcast, but they are leaps and bounds better than Verizon in the service department.

    Screw Verizon and their employee union to hell.

    • mehoo

      How is it the union’s fault?

      • Union Boss

        Union people are great as individuals; BUT, any money for reserach, development, improvements always gets negotiated away from improving services and into union entitlements / benefits. Look at the post office trying to cut out Saturday delivery – why? because its penion and entitlement obligations are costing it too much. This applies to all unions. In the past, unions served a great purpose of work safety and basic quailty of life, now unions serve to grab as much of the pie as they can – even knowing that it is more generous than it should be. I’ll be ther first to join a union for health and safety concerns, but not for retirment and benefit packages at taxpayer and US business competitiveness expense.

        • mehoo

          Wrong. Let’s look at your example.

          Most of the USPS’s problem is that it is required by law to put aside over $5 billion a year for future retiree health benefits. There’s no good reason for that – no other company or government agency does it. And the USPS’s unions OPPOSE it and want to eliminate that payment. The rest of the revenue shortfall is due to a decline in mail volume, mostly short term due to the recession.

          Union contracts are negotiated with management. They don’t “grab” anything. They often give concessions in order to strengthen their company’s health. They’re not stupid, they know they have a stake in the health of their employer.

          And of course, you didn’t mention any evidence that actually related to Verizon.

          You’re just another “blame the unions” bloviater.

          • UnionBloviation

            I know this post isn’t about unions, but not everyone who “blames the unions” is a “bloviator.” I have no clue about Verizon or Comcast Unions, but when I was the lowest level manager over union employees, their entitlements were ridiculous.

            For example, if I asked a guy to turn a key (literally turn a key, it was that simple) and it wasn’t “his job,” the first man out on the extra board, sitting at home, would get an entire day’s pay. I gaurantee you this little concession didn’t strengthen the company’s health one bit!

          • mehoo

            Not everyone who complains is a bloviater, but this guy is. All his facts are either wrong or non-existent.

            Yes, union rules can be stupid. So can rules dreamed up by management. The bottom line is that unions and management negotiate contracts. Unions don’t just dictate things.

  • LVGuy

    I’d like Verizon more, but last time I called their support line it was just a stream of advertisements.

  • TheS

    After recently moving, and having to change from Cox cable to Comcast, it has made me dislike Arlington just a little bit. I now pay much more for much slower internet than I did just a few miles down the road. Yay for monopolies!
    I guess I am lucky that I technically have another option – I could pay even more for FiOS, for even an even slower connection than Comcast. Yay again!

    • AllenB

      Not sure where you’re getting that Fios is slower than Comcast internet. I’ve experienced just the opposite – much quicker internet with Fios than Comcast.

    • el fat kid

      the fios/comcast speeds vary greatly depending on where you live. both can be upwards of 15mb in peak locations and both can be slow and unreliable as hell, depending on where you live and the signal strength. whenever you move into a new place, if you have multiple options, ask your new neighbors for recommendations.

  • AnonARLgirl

    Let’s be fair, FIOS’ service can suck just as bad as Comcast. My original install of Fios a few years ago brought me weeks of headaches, missed appointments, and other antics. After contacting their “Executive” customer service unit, I finally got a $500 credit for my pain, along with the free 19″ LCD tv they had originally promised for signing up.

    The second Fios mess I went through was in 2009. This time they changed my channel lineup without telling me when I called to downgrade my internet speed. More headaches, more hijinks, more pain. Yes, Fios’ product is good, but Verizon has a LONG way to go to providing decent service.

    And in this day and age of customization, Fios doesn’t let you mix and match your tv channel tiers and internet speeds, which drives me crazy. Maybe I want the lowest speed paired with the highest channel tier. But they make you take the top channel tier with the top internet speed. That’s ridiculous.

  • I doubt Verizon

    Since a Fairlington resident mentioned their neighborhood I thought I’d share something posted on our Claremont neighborhood listserv just a few days ago. Claremont is adjacent to Fairlington and Wingate. My neighbors inquiry, with a response as recent as lst week, seems to cast Verizon’s plans in a far different and less truthful light.

    Rob Billingsley Tue, Dec 28, 2010 at 11:13 AM
    Cc: Cable Admin
    Dear Mr. —
    Eventually, all County buildings (including schools) will be connected to FiOS TV services. As indicated below, Verizon has until 2016 to complete building out to all areas of the County. The Franchise agreement with Verizon expires in 2021.
    Wakefield and nearby Claremont are both in the Extended Area and may be connected to FiOS sometime between 2013 and 2016, under the terms of the agreement between Verizon and the County.
    Rob Billingsley
    Cable Administrator
    2100 Clarendon Blvd. Ste. 610
    Arlington, VA 22201
    [email protected]

    On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 9:52 AM, Arlington County Cable Administration wrote:
    Mr. — :
    The County negotiated in its agreement with Verizon in 2006 for an ‘Initial Service Area” to be completed within 3 years of the agreement, and a second “Extended Service Area” to be completed within seven years, or June, 2013, with a small remainder of addresses to be completed by 2016. There are a number of technical factors that influence the installation of FiOS. Multi-Dwelling Units, such as apartment buildings or condo units, are an exception to the rule in that building management or HOAs for the buildings must separately negotiate terms of entry and installation with cable companies. Verizon can also tell us if a particular address is in the third phase area that is part of the longest term plan.
    We have received a reply from Verizon regarding your inquiry about FiOS services to your home (see below). Verizon tells us that your home is served by a Wire Center which is in the extended service area of the agreement. Verizon indicates they cannot provide a timeframe in which service will be available to your home at this time, and they have no obligation to provide long term installation plans to the County. We recommend that you continue to check availability through the Verizon Website at: http://www22.verizon.com/Residential/TV/.

    Cheryl Johnson
    Arlington County Cable Administration
    [email protected]

    From: Frere, Mary Louise [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Friday, December 10, 2010 3:15 PM
    To: Arlington County Cable Administration
    Cc: Gill, Darian E (Darian); Rob Billingsley
    Subject: RE:
    Hi Cheryl,
    I checked with our engineering group. This address is served out of the wire center that is in an extended service area. There are no expectations to build this anytime within the next few years.
    I’m sorry this is not better news for your resident.
    Thank you,
    Mary Lou Frere
    Verizon Communications

  • el fat kid

    por que no, arlnow? not sure why the post was not approved or deleted.

    i can’t post information that will help readers resolve their problems with comcast?

  • mehoo

    “One thing Comcast and Verizon certainly excel at it knowing when people are writing about them on the internet.”

    Of course – they’re listening in. 😉

  • Sucker

    The question I want answered is why the cable boxes use 40 watts of power 24-7. These thing suck power. It’s like keeping 3 compact florescent light bulbs on in your house 365 days a year. These things are energy hogs. FiOS, how can you stop this?

    • mehoo

      Simply plug it, and all the other TV equipment, to an outlet strip with a switch and turn it off when you’re not watching TV. Mount it on the wall for easy access if you like.

    • Rover

      If you look around, just about everything with some sort of microprocessor you leave plugged into the wall utilizes some power when “off”. I can’t imagine how much energy this country spends each year on blinking VCR clocks alone!

      • Clarendruid

        It’s true. Everyone should have something like this


        It makes it kind of fun to see how low you can get your cost per hour down to. When the AC kicks on you see the money flying out the door too!

  • Former FIOS customer

    I had FIOS in my apartment and had little complaint about the actual TV & internet services. I decided to cancel my account about a year ago because I wanted to cut costs down. FIOS doesn’t have a basic tv service and to just have internet wasn’t cost effective.

    When all was said and done, I ended up with a credit. It took me OVER 6 months to get the credit check and Verizon sent the account to a collection agency on money they owed me. Trying to deal with them over the phone was impossible and half the time they couldn’t find my account.

    I switched back to Comcast and am satisfied. Plus, if I have problems with my billing, I can walk into the customer service office in Clarendon and speak to someone face to face. It’s also a lot easier to keep a budget when your TV/Internet bill is the same each month. Verizon billing was different every month for reasons could not determine.

    Then again, that’s my experience. Others might have entirely different experiences!

  • Terry

    Comcast can pretend to be concerned with the disgruntled customers all they want. Fact is they do not care because the majority of Arlington, including myself, has no alternative unless we want an unsightly and inconvenient (especially when you live in an apt building) satellite dish. As soon as FIOS is offered where I live in Rosslyn, I will be switching.

  • dss

    Although Comcast “was solely concerned with looking into the frustrating personal experiences with customer service” they will not address how from a techinical perspective they are going to improve the quality of service. Although the article from yesterday seemed to be focused on cable TV, reliable high speed internet access is becoming more and more important given the federal telecommuting policies that are being implemented and those used by private industry. I guess that Comcast will continue to raise rates and not invest in Arlington.

    January 5, 2011 at 10:23 am
    Scott – I work for Comcast and I sincerely apologize for the poor experience. I would like to offer my help and get more details on your experience so that we could address it on our end. When you have a moment, please feel free to contact us, provide your account info and a link to this page at the email below.

    For those of you who are also experiencing or experienced any problems with Comcast, I sincerely apologize. You can also contact us at the provided email if you need further assistance.

    Mark Casem
    Comcast Corp.
    National Customer Operations
    [email protected]


    January 5, 2011 at 10:38 am
    Thank you for your response. Could you please tell us what physical plant upgrades you have planned to ensure internet connectivity and how you are addressing the current substandard service? Although addressing individual customers is good for customer service, it is best to state to a public audience how you plan to remedy the current performance issues.



  • Travis P.

    I am so glad this article was published and I am not surprised at all with the results! CI have repeatedly had the worst experiences with Comcast more than any other company I have ever dealt with! Way to get the word out and bring on FIOS!

  • MaydayMalone

    Just FYI, I sent an email to the address that the Comcast rep left in the Comcast poll posting comments detailing my awful history with Comcast and got the following response:


    Two days later, still no call from Comcast. Typical.

    • MaydayMalone

      Hmm, the web page cut out the email text. I’ll leave the brackets off this time:

      Good Afternoon,
      I apologize for the frustrations we’ve caused and for the trouble with your On Demand service. I’ll review this with my area contacts. You can expect a call first thing tomorrow to discuss your matter.

      Thank you for reaching out to us and for providing us your feedback.

      Kind Regards,
      Melissa Mendoza
      Social Media Specialist

      National Customer Operations

  • jeff

    I had no service from Verizon from 12/31/-1/3/11 due to inept Verizon service man who was into the main service box and unplugged me and did not replug me. Second time this happened to me.

  • GrandArch

    One of the big problems is that there are only two providers of cable and internet in Arlington. Economists have found that prices in many markets don’t really go down until you have several providers competing. To alleviate the high prices and low quality we’ve had through telecom monopolies, many localities have separated out the lines from the service. Basically, whoever owns the lines can charge a regulated bulk fee to companies that “lease” the lines to provide content. And you could have numerous companies competing to provide content. So for example, you could choose from a multitude of companies providing TV, internet and VoIP phone service, and those companies would compete against each other and pay verizon a small fee for using Verizon’s telephone line. In France this caused internet, cable and phone costs to come down drastically as quality went up. I was paying some 38 euros (about $38 at the time) per month for high speed internet and cable. When we tried this in the US, the experiment was abruptly cut off by the FCC.

  • Wonderful paintings! This is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared around the net. Shame on the seek engines for not positioning this put up upper! Come on over and discuss with my site . Thanks =)

  • Frustrated with cable

    Everyone’s comments are helpful. I arrived at this blog so frustrated about Comcast and thinking about switching to FIOS – – but after reading that there are major issues with both, I might just save myself a more frustration and just stick with the sub-par service I have with Comcast. I could chronicle my issues with Comcast, but I have had to relive it with them so many times I am tired of stating my case with no satisfaction. The latest is that my bill has increased by $52 this month with NO increase in service. Just that a “promotion ended.” My options were to pay extra or reduce my services. I reduced my services. That being said everyone on this blog highlights the key issue: only two providers that get to treat customers horribly all the while the customers are paying generously to be treated this way! It is maddening and unfair. Maybe I am just venting, but I am hoping that Arlington County or SOMEONE reads our gripes and steps in to stop the shameless robbery that is going on in the county.


Subscribe to our mailing list