Shauna and I decided that we wanted to watch a streaming movie from Netflix tonight and found a title that seemed pretty interesting. I went ahead and loaded it up only to be met with a message that our Internet connection was too slow to start watching it immediately and that we'd have to wait about 6 minutes for it to buffer. Given that I've never seen this issue before, I thought that maybe someone at Comcast, our ISP, would be able to provide some insight. That was a mistake.
First off, it took about 5 minutes to find the link to start a chat support session. And another 5 for someone to respond on the chat. That gave me plenty of time to isolate some high ping times at the hand-off between Comcast and Level 3, presumably their upstream provider. I provided all of this data to the first tech on the chat, "Virgie". His solution? Reboot the modem and router. I usually play along with these kinds of suggestions, except that 1) I'm smart enough to know that won't fix this problem and 2) that would disconnect the chat session and force me to start over. I advised him that it's highly doubtful that rebooting my networking equipment will solve a problem with the hand-off of packets from Comcast to Level 3 and asked to be escalated.
I can't tell if I was actually escalated or not because the next tech (whose name in chat didn't change) asked me the same questions and made the same recommendations. I tried to point out that the problem is the hand-off of traffic to Level 3 at their Seattle POP to which I was told there was no problem getting from their NOC to my modem. That kinda cheesed me off and I reminded him that I pay to connect to the Internet, not their NOC and asked to be escalated further.
Well, tier number three wasn't any help either. They even went so far as to sarcastically point me towards ARIN and tell me that it's Level 3's problem. I shot back that Level 3, as their upstream, is accountable to them and Comcast is accountable to me. I was then told that any tech that could address such problems would have already been gone for the day (they can't keep at least one high-level NOC tech working during off-peak?). Having wasted an hour to end up with no resolution, I laid into "Virgie" (or whoever the heck I was speaking to) and told him how utterly useless their support is and that it was little wonder that they made #2 on Consumerist's Worst Company in America 2008.
During this conversation, the movie had to buffer again. For 56 minutes. What. The. Hell. Hey Comcast? You suck. Your tech support sucks. Your whole freakin' company sucks. I'm going to buy some wireless dishes and setup my own connection to UTOPIA so I don't have to deal with you chuckleheads anymore. Like I said, please jump in a lake and die.