One unlucky man who bought a house that can’t get wired Internet service is reportedly selling the home just months after moving in.
Seth, a software engineer who works at home, bought a house in Kitsap County, Washington, after being told by multiple Comcast employees that he could buy the Internet service he needs to do his job, according to a detailed Consumerist article yesterday. Seth also wrote a lengthy account on his blog titled, “It’s Comcastic, or: I Accidentally Bought a House Without Cable.” (The man’s last name was not given.)
“Before we even made an offer [on the house], I placed two separate phone calls; one to Comcast Business, and one to Xfinity,” Seth wrote. “Both sales agents told me that service was available at the address. The Comcast Business agent even told me that a previous resident had already had service. So I believed them.”
That turned out to be untrue. After multiple visits from Comcast technicians, he says the company told him extending its network to his house would cost $60,000, of which he would have to pay an unspecified amount. But then Comcast allegedly pulled the offer.
“After about seven weeks of pointless install appointments, deleted orders, dead ends, and vague sky-high estimates, Comcast told him that it had decided to simply not do the extension,” according to the Consumerist story. “The company wouldn’t even listen to Seth’s offers to pay for a good chunk of the cost.”
We contacted Comcast to get more details last night but haven’t heard back.
After getting nowhere with Comcast, Seth tried getting DSL Internet from CenturyLink, which told him it could provide service of up to 10Mbps.
“After that very first Comcast tech told Seth there was no cable infrastructure to his house, he contacted CenturyLink. The company promised to get him hooked up right away,” Consumerist wrote. “But then the next day he got a call informing him that his area was in ‘Permanent Exhaust’ and that CenturyLink wouldn’t be adding new customers. Of course, that didn’t stop CenturyLink from billing Seth more than $100 for service he never received and will never be able to receive. Seth then had to convince someone with CenturyLink’s billing department to zero out the account that should have never been opened.”
Besides Comcast and CenturyLink, the Kitsap Public Utility District operates a gigabit fiber network that passes near Seth’s house, Consumerist wrote. “So why can’t he just get his service from the county? Because Washington is one of the half-dozen states that forbids municipal broadband providers from selling service directly to consumers,” the article said.
Nationwide, about 20 states impose limits on municipal broadband in order to protect private Internet providers from competition. The Federal Communications Commission voted to preempt such laws in Tennessee and North Carolina after receiving petitions from municipal providers in those states but is facing a lawsuit over the decision.