RCN versus Comcast in DC?
March 4, 2009 10:43 AM   Subscribe

RCN versus Comcast in DC?

I have Comcast cable/phone/internet in DC. I'm tired of paying more and can get RCN for significantly less. Any bad experiences with RCN?
posted by raf to Computers & Internet (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My friends have RCN in DC and (to my knowledge) haven't had any problems. That said, if your sole concern is cost, try calling Comcast and telling them it costs too much. They throw some pretty good deals out there (even in my case, when I have no other options). If you don't get anything good, call back and speak to a different rep.
posted by inigo2 at 10:51 AM on March 4, 2009

No experience with RCN, but I did manage to get a Comcast to give me a year of high-speed for free. I called with a better offer from another company, stated my intention to bail, and asked if they could help me out. They gave me a year of free service. No contract, nothing. I actually got a check for $85 from them when I eventually moved, because whenever I had problems with my service they'd give me a credit, despite the fact that I wasn't paying anything.

I loved getting a bill for +$12 every month

Worth a shot.
posted by charmcityblues at 10:53 AM on March 4, 2009

Response by poster: Yea, I'll definitely try the retention thing if I don't switch. I'm nonetheless tempted to switch because (1) it's not Comcast; (2) I have occasional signal strength issues with Comcast which might get better with another provider; and (3) RCN has a couple of mildly nice channels Comcast doesn't have. But there's always a risk that switching will turn into its own hell....
posted by raf at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2009

I've never heard a bad thing about RCN (and I know several people that are way happier with it). However, I have had nothing bad bad experiences with Comcast. I'm with Verizon/Directv now, and although I wish I had the speed of cable instead of DSL (RCN isn't available to me in Columbia Heights, how I wish it was), I'm way happier.
posted by General Malaise at 11:03 AM on March 4, 2009

I am procrastinating via RCN right now. I have been with them for years, and am generally happy with them, though their prices keep creeping up, and they moved a channel I like to the higher tier that I am unwilling to pay for. So no more evil than other companies, I guess.
posted by procrastination at 11:07 AM on March 4, 2009

I've had both RCN and Comcast up in the Boston area. RCN's On demand user interface is much more complicated than Comcast's-- there are free movies, but RCN doesn't separate them out like Comcast did. It's annoying, but like you said, RCN is significantly cheaper.

A few weeks back, we had both internet and cable be on the fritz for an entire weekend. (Both would go out, come back, go out again... you get the drift.) When I called RCN up to politely ask when they expected it to be resolved, I got the nastiest customer service rep and didn't have my questions answered. Ok, so every company has bad customer service people, but still... something to be aware of.
posted by veryhappyheidi at 11:31 AM on March 4, 2009

I am a longtime DC resident and have experienced the hell of Verizon and Comcast. Then moved to a part of town where Starpower (now RCN) was available. I tried them with the thought that nothing could be worse than either of those crapfests. I have never had a problem since. No billing surprizes, no service problems, quick turnaround on installation, etc. I have cable, phone, and internet and have had reliable service on all three.

I would definitely recommend RCN.

Comcast is more bearable, any issues I've had with them were resolved fairly quickly. By no means should you consider Verizon services for anything, period. They suck. I cannot say enough bad things about them.

Have I mentioned that I loath Verizon. I flip off Verizon "service" vehicles when they go by.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:49 PM on March 4, 2009

Comcast has definitely given me price breaks when I've told them I can get internet more cheaply.

That said, I loathe Comcast. Case in point, a few months ago I switched from something like your current setup to DirecTV for my television service. I told Comcast I wanted to keep my internet service, and returned the DVR box to their office, which is near my job.

The following month I noticed that I was still being billed (auto-debit) for cable tv, so I called and they claimed to sort it out.

Then the holidays, travel, and a season of more-than-usual bills came along, which is my lame excuse for why it wasn't until last week that I realized that I was still paying for cable service I hadn't used for months.

Called Comcast, and they said they would not issue a refund check, only a credit. I had all the premium channels, DVR services, etc, so I was/am owed several hundred dollars. Annoying, but OK.

I was told that they would need to send a tech out to disconnect my service, so my partner took a day off work to be home for the oh-so-convenient 1pm-5pm window. At 5:07 sharp, the tech shows up and asks where the DVR box is - my partner explains it was returned in late-ish 2008. The tech makes him repeat this several times, and then says, "Ok, well that's all I needed," and leaves.

So, three phone calls, a "loan" of several hundred dollars, and a lost vacation day just to get my cable turned off with Comcast.

A side note: The DC Comcast lobby area was redolent of marijuana (and not just "oh, a pothead just walked through here") when I dropped off the box, so at least I got a nifty college flashback out of the whole process.
posted by CaptApollo at 2:31 PM on March 4, 2009

I am in Chicago, but we have the same options here: Comcast of RCN. I will tell you this: I was MUCH more satisfied with RCN when I had them (my current building isn't serviced by RCN).

RCN's higher connection speeds are WAY cheaper (I think I was paying $50 or $60 for a 10Mb connection, Comcast is charging me $60 for a 5Mb connection). Looking at the current RCN site, I can get a 20Mb connection for $5 more per month over my 5Mb Comcast connection.

Also, RCN's tech support is way better, and they're actually smart. Story time: I had my wireless router on top of my TV and it was being flakey. The guy I talked to helped me diagnose the exact issue, we discovered the wireless signal was hiccupping, and he asked if it was on my TV. I quickly looked around the room for hidden cameras, and said "yeah". He then pointed out that the radiation from the rear of a tube TV have the potential to interfere with some wireless channels at short range. I moved the router off my TV and never had a problem again. Go RCN
posted by phrakture at 3:22 PM on March 4, 2009

There was just a discussion about this on a local (Takoma Park) listserv, and the overwhelming majority of folks with experience with both companies recommended RCN. Since I just moved, and was about to get service installed, that was enough to get me to go with RCN. I've only had it a week, but so far so good.
posted by OmieWise at 3:48 PM on March 4, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all. RCN is coming out next week to install. *fingers crossed*
posted by raf at 9:02 AM on March 5, 2009

Response by poster: Well, the switch seems to have gone flawlessly except that Comcast still owes me money and I got a speeding ticket on Michigan Ave. NE going to return my Comcast cablecard. Thanks all!
posted by raf at 9:06 AM on April 5, 2009

I got a speeding ticket on Michigan Ave. NE

We're trying to keep the riff-raff out of Brookland.
posted by Pollomacho at 5:48 AM on April 6, 2009

Response by poster: Hah. It annoyed me because during my conversation with Comcast canceling service they offered to come pick up the Cablecard, and I said not to bother, I could drop it off. Oops.
posted by raf at 7:12 AM on April 6, 2009

Response by poster: First big downside: RCN does not offer NBA TV. They offer League Pass, but that's useless for tonight's NBA TV-only playoff game. WTF??
posted by raf at 4:08 PM on April 21, 2009

Interesting this thread just popped back up in my recent activity, as someone just posted the following to one of the DC email lists I'm on:

"Does anyone know which D.C. agency we can go to to either ask the question or file a complaint about RCN's insatiable need to constantly raise their rates?

I've figured out that they have increased our rates $32 in 19 months & that is without us adding or upgrading any services. Some increases have come as frequently as every 6 months."
posted by inigo2 at 7:27 AM on April 22, 2009

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