The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 20, 2006


Comcast service interrupted briefly

The volunteers who run the Mosquito web site are quite proud that they often have the current issue up before the printed edition is distributed each week, often on Thursday and occasionally by Wednesday night. But last week they were disappointed, as the entire web site was down until sometime Friday night, thanks to loss of broadband service in the building that houses the Mosquito server.

The Mosquito was not the only Carlisle Comcast customer with problems late last week. On Thursday morning, October 12, at least ten households, plus Gleason Library lost their Comcast connectivity. Several users posted their frustration on the web list Cityinthe Though most had service restored by the afternoon, some reported difficulty restarting their in-home networks, some with cable modems, others with routers not working.

Those who phoned Comcast wrote of mixed experiences — most were told the problem was not with Comcast's service but with their own equipment. "My wife called [in the morning] and they told her it was the router, which they told her to remove and that solved nothing," one wrote. Another bought a new router, only to learn later that was not the problem.

Ed Lewis, of Brook Street, was without service the longest. Persistent calling to Comcast was required before he managed to get a technician to check his connection on the street, and 400 feet of cable was replaced on Monday. "I was actually very pleased with their responsiveness in the end," Lewis says. "What was disapointing was the lack of Comcast's ability to set appointments, confirm appointments and really tell me anything useful. But in the end they did come through," he continued.

Asked for an explanation of these difficulties, Comcast spokesperson Marc Goodman told the Mosquito there "never was a problem" town-wide and that the fact that several residents experienced outages at the same time was "purely a coincidence."

Node 14 replaced

However, another Comcast spokesman from Westford told former Cable TV Advisory Committee member Paul Gill that there had been a failure with a piece of equipment known as Node 14, which was eventually replaced. A so-called "node" converts broadband signals entering town on fiber optic cable into signals that can be distributed to homes via coaxial cable.

Several nodes are located throughout town, and from each one of them the signal is distributed on coaxial cable to the surrounding neighborhood. A failure in one node should not be widely felt around town, only by those served from that node. Paradoxically, the failures reported were located in widely scattered locations.

Goodman later verified that Node 14 had been replaced and said that all systems were now fully fuctioning. Comcast service is "reliable" and is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Goodman said. The company usually spots a problem or a potential problem before a customer mentions it. These outages affected "a small number of Carlisle customers," he continued, "and as soon as we heard about it, we dispatched technicians to resolve the issue. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused customers." He stressed,"This isn't typical of the Comcast experience."

In any case, all those who reported problems this week seem to have service back now, and City-in-the-Woods, for now at least, is quiet.

For more detail on the problems residents experienced visit the web site: To report a service problem, Goodman reminded customers to call 1-800-COMCAST.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito