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The Almighty Buck

Cox And Comcast To Dump @Home 127

randolph reports the drop of yet another shoe in the ongoing @Home tale: "The New York Times reports that Cox and Comcast are ready to stop providing @Home's internet service, replacing it with some unnamed internet service. The story also comments 'AT&T may let At Home file for bankruptcy before making another investment in the company.' Registration required, yada yada."
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Cox And Comcast To Dump @Home

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  • Talked to Comcast (Score:2, Informative)

    by iamklerck ( 445579 )
    I talked to some Comcast people earlier today about this. They're going to definitely drop @Home, but service won't be ending for their customers. They plan to continue offering high-speed internet access through their own network called "iComcast".

    I guess they're pretty serious about as they're already readying content here [icomcast.net].
    • Re:Talked to Comcast (Score:2, Interesting)

      by manly ( 69244 )
      readying content eh? Doesn't that remind anyone of excite's now-doomed business model?

      The @Home business, although not stellar, has been able to round up significantly more subscribers than DSL. If or when the company goes under, it's because the content/portal side hemorrhaged money.

      Makes you wonder if they could have saved themselves if they just threw away the whole portal/content business at the beginning of this year when troubles became unreversible. Now it's really looking like it's too late.
      • readying content eh? Doesn't that remind anyone of excite's now-doomed business model?

        The @Home business, although not stellar, has been able to round up significantly more subscribers than DSL. If or when the company goes under, it's because the content/portal side hemorrhaged money.

        Here in Las Vegas, the cable-modem service is Cox Express, not Cox @Home. Their website [lvcm.com] is primarily customer service and tech support for cable-TV and cable-modem customers. They're not in the content business; they basically provide a big fat pipe to the Internet, which is all I really want anyway. That's all that any ISP is really supposed to do, IMHO.

        (They do a pretty good job of keeping it running, too...a hell of a lot better than Sprint does at keeping DSL going. We have both cable-modem and DSL service at work (don't ask why). For the past two weeks or so, the DSLAM that services our part of town has been on-and-off. Before that, there have been other reliability issues. The worst that's happened with the cable modem, OTOH, are all the morons running unpatched IIS [dyndns.org] who've let their systems get infected with the Code Red worm.)

      • WEll they're also providing the connection...so it doesn't really matter what they do with the portal. Theyjust want to keep their customers happy, and not change things too quickly.
    • Do I understand correctly? A cable TV outfit that was letting a separate company sell internet access over their cable is cutting them off and the customers now will have to buy access from the cable company instead?

      Monopoly, what monopoly?

      • Re:Talked to Comcast (Score:2, Informative)

        by fizzbin ( 110016 )
        No, it's the other way around. Several large cable companies (AT&T, Comcast, Cox) sell Internet access to customers in their service areas, using @Home's network and servers.

        I'm a Concast@Home subscriber. Comcast does the installation and maintenance of the local cable system, provides first tier customer support and receives customer payments. @Home runs the network above the local level (or above a certain level, not sure) and provides the email and DNS. (@Home also "provides" the Excite portal services, which is the money pit that has caused @Home's current problems).

        I pay bills to Comcast, who provides a customer service number for support (and which I usually have to bypass to get decent support from @Home). My email address is an '@home.com' address.

      • No, @home only managed the network arch. and such things as running dchp servers. You still payed comcast for the service, its just they were outsourcing the network managment stuff. However, they are now taking it on for themselves.
      • I'll reply to everyone by replying to myself.

        Apparently I misunderstood and no one was able to contract with @home (or anybody else) for internet service with their cable company merely supplying the transmission medium.
        Rather, they contracted with their cable company who subbed it out to @home (although if the cable companies had been thinking faster and farther down the road, they'd have avoided user@home email addresses in favor of user@cableco so as to more tightly bind customers to them and reduce customer awareness of any company other than themselves).

        Regardless, the people who own the wire, in this case the cable company, offer one and only one choice for internet service over that wire, and in most cases they are the only company allowed to offer a customer access to that kind of wire.

        Sounds like a monopoly to me.

        Shouldn't there be some sort of happy medium between only one cable provider available and 8,000 different companies digging up your yard to run lines?

    • by rknop ( 240417 )

      I talked to some Comcast people earlier today about this. They're going to definitely drop @Home, but service won't be ending for their customers. They plan to continue offering high-speed internet access through their own network called "iComcast".

      Any idea what the pricing will be like? Are they going to impose bandwidth caps unless you pay through the nose for "premium" service, or will basic service stay similar to what we have now? Any idea what the AUP is going to look like?

      Is there any hope that we might have a choice of ISPs? I fear that some of the preliminary indicates on that page you linked to are very, severly alarming. Specifically, click on the "need help?" link. A window opens up, and Mozilla tells me that I need a plugin to view it something of type "application/x-Support.com-SmartIssue-Plugin". In addition to the empty "plugin content" box, there is the ominous text "Mac not supported." It goes without saying that Linux will not be supported either. If these people don't have enough of a clue to realize that on the web, help text and documentation should be in basic, simple HTML, then I tremble at the thought of what an ISP run by them would be like. (Run Our Windows Software For a Full Comcast Experience! Other OSes not supported.)

      What is the real timescale for all of this?

      Except for the "Need Help" scariness, most of the other links on the left side of that page you point do don't seem to exist yet.

      -Rob

      • I just tried downloading that support software, and it is actually pretty useful for newbies. It will take "snapshots" of your browser and e-mail settings, so that if something goes wrong, you can restore them. It also gives you access to FAQ's and real time support. Try that with basic, simple HTML. The only OS they officially support is Windows anyway, so why bother making things that can be read on other OSes, such as Linux?
        • Just because they only 'officially' support Windows, doesn't mean they should alienate the other OSes by not have suitable web-based help. If they want to provide the 'Comcast Experience' to users of the supported OS, then thats peaches and cream, they should still have HTML based help for other OSes... even if its just raw ip settings (which is what most people want\need anyway).

          BTW, I am an @home subscriber. I threw out that @home disc the day they gave it too me, never looked back.. Thank god that I didn't need any os support on my calls to tech support, heres what one of those calls looked like:

          Me: Hey, my line has been down every Saturday & Sunday like clockwork for a month or so now. It usually returns by Monday, whats up?
          Them: What kind of computer do you use?
          Me: Ummm.. I have a couple Window-based PCs and a Mac. But the problem is with my line...
          Them: Oh, so you have a router?
          Me: Yes... but something with either the line or modem is messed up... not the router...
          Them: Well, plug a computer straight into the modem.
          Me: *sigh* okay
          Them: What OS are you using right now?
          Me: A Mac.
          Them: Those aren't supported...

          This goes on for about 5 more minutes before he pings the line and says something to the effect of "Modems dead, I'll open a case and, if you experience more problems, you can call back and schedule to have a new one brought to you."

          Needless to say, we are still on the first modem, and our connection has pretty good since then *knock on wood*... actually I think we are 100% uptime with the exception of a firce storm one evening.

          • Just because they only 'officially' support Windows, doesn't mean they should alienate the other OSes by not have suitable web-based help.

            I am using a Mac to connect to Comcast @ Home--and I can't even read the linked page. My status bar scrolls by, but when it's done I have an empty page. Support for my OS of choice doesn't look good--which means I could be back to dialup, switching to an Earthlink DSL line, and/or rooting for Comcast to fail because they believe a good business model is to alienate one's customers.

            Don't get me wrong--I love the service I have now, as it's been unfailing after adjusting my schedule to meet the install tech. He didn't even wince when he saw my Mac--I was prepared to do the configs myself--and he shouldn't have been, as it was as simple as giving me a client ID and setting up my IP to pull DHCP. He even asked if I was using the new "Unix-like Mac OS"--which I wasn't, but that shows more awareness of alternative platform choices than even some slashdotters.

            And I never look at the @Home content, as it's a waste of time. If Comcast fails to make their portal Mac compatible, ok. That's even a feature, not a bug. But if they arbitrarily deny ISP access to any but Windows machines, I'll cancel my cable TV service, too--as the only reason that I have that instead of DirectTV is because of my desire for a cable modem.
      • Pricing shouldn't change; you always paid comcast for internet services. Just who is managing the network is changing.
  • I work for Cox (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BiggestPOS ( 139071 )
    Doing tech support for their ONLY market that isn't @Home. And I must say this is a GOOD thing. Our support turn-around times are WAY better than theirs, as is our network. I'm glad we're ditching that sinking ship in the rest of our markets and doing our own thing.

    • I have service in Cox Palos Verdes, and I have to say that the service rocks -- except for one thing.

      You guys recently blocked my incoming mail and HTTP ports!! I called in and they said it was because of the Code Red virus, which explains HTTP, but why mail?

      They said it was "temporary". Is that true? I'm routing my mail through I different server and coming in through a different port, but it's a pain. Do you know what the real story is? Thanks.

      • Don't know a THING about Palos Verdes, thats just not one of our markets. And we didnt pull that bullshit here I'll tell you that. Of course this was an independent ISP before Cox bought them out, and really we're just TCA with Cox logos :) Palos Verdes is probably Cox @home, correct?
        • Palos Verdes is probably Cox @home, correct?

          Yes. I think Cox/PV (www.cox.com/pv) might be it's own little deal, too. They said the decision was made in "Atlanta" (I think?), and they didn't really know what was going on, only that it was "temporary". I hope so.

          • Yea Atlanta is the Corporate Cox office.
            • If I wanted to bitch about the port situation, who should I bitch to? Technically, the agreement says I'm not supposed to run servers, but...

              Is there some name in Atlanta that it would do some good to complain to?

              It's so stupid. They should complain if I use too much bandwidth, not if I use a certain port or not.

              • Bitching should be done to the people at your "local office" and then you should politely complain to the techs on the phone, and ask that they inform their supervisors how upset you are.

              • You can configure your web server to listen on a different port. Use your members.home.com webspace (or whatever you have) to host a page that redirects to your IP address/port combo. Then use a redirection service like MyDomain [mydomain.com] to do URL pointing to your webspace. Viola! You're back up and running.

                It's not as clean as having DNS point to your IP address, but it's the only workaround I've found for the port 80 blocking.

                - Leo

      • That's definitely true elsewhere. I have service in New England (southern Rhode Island), and incoming HTTP and mail ports are blocked. I called and the tech had no idea what I was talking about.
  • I've always heard Cox was really stingy about letting you run servers, and many people got kicked off.
    I called RoadRunner and asked, and I talked to some idiot that said there was no problem.
    I got his full name, the date, and everything,
    if they deny me service, I could probably sue.
    • We don't give a shit what you do :) Seriously, I don't know how bitchy @home is, but you could max out your upstream and downstream simultaneously from now to the end of your lifespan, even just spewing worthless packets, and we wouldn't care. Just my 2 cents. (Cox in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Idaho, Missouri, and Mississippi)

      • hmm i'm using Cox@home in Santa Barbara and we were letting our upstairs neighbors in our duplex borrow our NAT connection until they could get their own connection turned on (I'll be damned if we're gonna have four people in our house try and use one net-enabled computer). Unfortunatly when the cable guy came to give them their net access one of the guys living there was like "uh we already have net access." Then the cable guy saw the ethernet line coming out our window. There went our access....took a week of whining to get em to turn us on again.

        Irritating coming from a DSL connection that didn't care if you used NAT, didn't care if you ran Linux, didn't care if you ran servers and gave up to 3 static IPs for I think $2 each. Oh and no PPPoE.

        God I hate cable companies :(
    • Not Cox@home, but @home in generally. They probe servers for open services. It's rather simple to block, just deny all incoming from @home blocks, or deny all incoming period, and use a stateful firewall. I've got a ton of workstations here going through an OpenBSD machine running squid (I've got a business SDSL aswell, but @home is vastly faster =), so I proxy AIM, Web, FTP, etc. All the media intensive protocols.
  • by nixon ( 12262 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @08:43AM (#2242719)
    I was contacted recently by a Comcast recruiter (in the Philadelphia area) looking to staff up a new Comcast networking group. She said that they were dropping their relationship with @Home and were going to do it themselves. I don't know about Cox but Comcast is definitely taking the DIY route.
    • Comcast is snatching up large numbers of infrastructure-
      type people in the Philadelphia area and Trenton,
      NJ area to build this beast out. They have already
      recruited two of my friends, and I was thinking
      about trying to get my foot in the door, but the
      commute is just too long for me =(

      I really hope they create a nice, clean, SIMPLE
      network that will beat the pants off most others...
      • Oh awesome! I'm in Yardley, PA in Lower Bucks Cablevision (then Time Warner then AT&T but now Comcast) country and modems are coming November 1st. I hope this means we'll start off with a lean, mean smokin' network.
        • Finally, someone close to home that's also a Linux advocate. I live off of Street Rd. (You should know where that is in lower Bucks). I tried finding contact info, but your e-mail isn't in your bio. Mail me at SomeoneGotMyNick@tvlamb.com
  • "Unnamed ISP" (Score:4, Informative)

    by Phroggy ( 441 ) <slashdot3.phroggy@com> on Saturday September 01, 2001 @08:43AM (#2242720) Homepage
    According to a source at Cox, Cox has been thinking of offering consumers a choice of multiple ISPs. Cox doesn't like @Home any more than the rest of us, but they had an exclusive contract, which it seems has now expired, or will soon expire. Cox has already done testing with Earthlink, so it's pretty much guaranteed that Earthlink will be one of the ISPs Cox offers. Whether or not they'll actually offer consumer choice remains to be seen, and I don't know about Comcast or AT&T.
    • I was very happy w/ my @Home service until I had to move outside their service range meaning I had to close my account. Since that time they've been billing me $100+/month for unknown reasons. I've of course refused to pay but am afraid it isn't going to help my credit report any.
    • Cox is also testing with AOL in one city as well. Other cities like Las Vegas and Gainseville use Cox Express, where there is no content just a cable modem and a connection to the net. Most of the routing goes through UUNet or some other backbone provider. Vegas only uses the @Home backbone for some of their traffic.
  • by mmaddox ( 155681 ) <oopfoo&gmail,com> on Saturday September 01, 2001 @08:46AM (#2242724)

    So, my local Comcast service is going to get weird for a bit, eh? Doesn't really surprise me, considering the level of service At Home provides.


    Case in point: Bad cable modem - I tested it. Called At Home, hung up on. Called back, talked to 1st level tech, who hung up on me WHILE giving me the support call no. Called back, got call no., was transferred to second level, who hung up on me. Called back, tried to get directly to second level support, 1st level tech reluctantly sent me to 2nd level, who said hello and hung up on me. Turned out it was a switching problem, and I finally got a direct number (instead of the local office number-transfer) and called back. At Home (in Toronto; I'm in Tallahassee, FL) finally decided to route a repairman to bring me a new modem...an appointment 3 weeks later. Called my local Comcast office the next day, said, "I want to swap out my cable modem." Next day? Done. No worries.


    The question: Why couldn't At Home do the exact same thing?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Case in point: Bad cable modem. Called At Home, he asked be a few questions about which lights were on, which ones were flashing, said, 'Yep, that's a bad modem.' Next day, I had a new cable modem. No worries.
      It probably varies by region and support tech. I've called @home probably half a dozen times over the last three years and I've always had good support from the phone techs. Some of their field techs are dumb as dirt, though.
      Now, as for the service itself, for the first six months, I had several unexplained outages that they usually don't cop to, and email has always been problematic, though that seems to have gotten better over the last six months.
    • Oh, great... just what I want to hear after 'upgrading' to @home just this morning. I was one of the fortunate souls to be a MediaOne customer in a market that was bought by AT@T. They had left the cable modem service alone while they managed to botch the video end, now that the video is horribly 'upgraded', it is now time to upgrade the internet users.

      So, having a linux machine connected happily to the cable modem for the last two years. I was a bit apprehensive to do anything (but hey, a nice $40 gift for my trouble if I do it early!).

      So, since their wide range of supported OSes (windows) does not include Linux (it is just DHCP and TCP/IP, right?), I cobbled together a machine from old parts lying around and installed NT and started to hold my breath.

      First, I got the box to DHCP itself to the old MediaOne service and downloaded the 'upgrade'. It gave me a service# (new hostname) and fiddled with the network card settings and asked me to reboot. I rebooted and it came up with a new lease, showing the @home domain and such, but nothing worked (couldn't ping the gateway, dns servers, nothing).

      So my first call went to 1st-tier which was people who have worked for MediaOne in the local office who were very friendly, but not really able to do much from the script in front of them other than ask me to type in 'winipcfg' (this is NT, one of your supported OSes). They couldn't figure it out and gave me a number in Denver (I'm in Chicago) to ask for 2nd-teir.

      What a bunch of assholes. "Sorry sir, it must be something wrong with your PC". I had to sit on hold, get hung up on and re-explain everything until I was blue in the face. "God, do I have to start over with 'what is in your control panel?' again!?" "Sir, how can I troubleshoot _your_ problem if you won't tell me some vasic information?" "but I've already gone through this 4 or 5 times this morning already!" *click*

      I finally gave up and called the local support number again.

      This time I got lucky and hit on someone who actually seemd to give a crap about customer service _AND_ was able to work outside the script and figure out what was wrong. Yep, the @HOME database had incorrect data about my Account (I live in Rolling Meadows, but I have a Palatine zip code) and so the wrong router was getting my info. She got her super to go in and override the setup and I was in business. Once I got all the config details written down from the NT box, I booted up my Linux box, changed a couple configs and got pump to get an IP and I was done.

      I'm going to write a letter to AT&T @HOME letting them know what I think of their 2nd tier support in Denver and that the local guys were able to solve a problem that Dever should have but couldn't because they are ASSHOLES.

      (Myra, if you read this - god bless you dear)
    • 1) Tier 1 is your local cable company, NOT Excite@Home.

      2) Are you calling angry that they're hanging up on you?

      3) We have no office in Toronto, though Comcast Tier 1 has one in Sault Sainte Marie, ONT. Nice folks. (Rogers Cable might have an office in Toronto, though...)

    • The question: Why couldn't At Home do the exact same thing?
      Um, because the two companies have different business models? @Home provides the access, they don't care what kind of hardware you use to connect to them. Comcast provides the services, so it's generally their equipment you're using.

      To make an analogy: if I signed up for an ice cream-and-donuts offer and I went to the ice cream guy asking for donuts, he'd laugh at me, and send me up to Nth-level tech support. That's what happened to you.

  • by cybrpnk ( 94636 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @08:47AM (#2242725)
    ....I've got Comcast@Home! They wouldn't dare cut off my elite broadband service and relegate me back to the dark hole of 56KBaud modem service, would th
  • Another link (Score:1, Informative)

    by Cowculator ( 513725 )
    You can read the story here [washingtonpost.com], no registration required, courtesy of the Washington Post [washingtonpost.com].
  • by Maul ( 83993 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @09:05AM (#2242748) Journal
    One time I called tech support to tell them my service had been out for over a day. They responded by saying that there was a problem on their end that was causing some people to lose service. Fair enough, it happens. However, they the tech had to take 10 minutes to get that information. You would think that something big like an outage would be readily available to all techs.


    I asked for the estimated time when my service would resume, and they had to transfer me to a level 2 tech support desk for me to get that information.


    Of course none of this tops what the installation guy tried to pull on me (this was before self install options). I had just bought a new windows box, and we were getting @Home service. When the guy came to hook up the cable modem, he disabled the network card (dunno if it was an accident or on purpose). Needless to say, the service wasn't working when he tried it out. He said there was a problem with my network card and that I would have to buy one from them for $80. I told him to look in the hardware profiles, and he did. Sure enough, the network card was disabled in the hardware profiles. I told him to re-enable the network card, but he refused and told me my card was simply not working with their service, and I'd have to buy one of theirs. I was pretty annoyed, but he kept trying to push me buying a network card from them. To get rid of him, I told him I'd call the manufacturer and then call him back. He agreed and left. I then re-enabled the card, and naturally everything worked fine.


    To this day I don't know if the guy was just an idiot, or if he did it in purpose. Either way, it doesn't speak very well for @Home. Unfortunately, they were the only broadband provider in the area at the time, so I was stuck with them... or 56K.

    • Correct, they do do that, but at least the tech I got was very competent (of coures this was 2 years ago).

      The guy installed the card (machine was off, naturally) and I had a token ring network (heh, don't laff, it was free) that he disable while going thru the setup (maybe the s/w did it, dunno) and when he booted it up he saw my boot manage come up with NT/98/linux...and was *SO* excited someone else used linux...heck even showed me how to get dhcp working in linux.

      So why not re-enable it? @home does not want you sharing a connection and only makes sure a connection to them work...ahem.

      Re-enabeling the card was all I needed to do.

      I don't even want to tell you the pain of dealing with @home that our laptop users went thru disabeling anything not @home...not cool.

      Moose
  • nytimes (Score:3, Informative)

    by pcardoso ( 132954 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @09:06AM (#2242750) Homepage

    as usual, replace the 'www' with a 'archive' to bypass the useless sign in form.

    or click here [nytimes.com] to have the article with a minimum of fuss.

  • by hiryuu ( 125210 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @09:07AM (#2242754)

    ...when I called Comcast sales to ask about @Work. They said, under @Home, all they could offer me in my area was a managed (and overpriced) connection for multiple workstations, no servers allowed, and bandwidth caps still in place. When I expressed some disappointment and incredulity at (a) the service, and (b) the price, they said it was all they could do under @Home, but if I waited, they would have alot wider range of services at better prices available "when we're offering our own service." Hmmm...

    And this before I sat and thought about @Home's financial troubles...

  • I never thought Cox@Home would do terribly well anyways. It always sounded like a dildo delivery service to people.
  • by barzok ( 26681 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @09:45AM (#2242813)
    TimeWarner RoadRunner sent a letter out this week to all subscribers informing us that as of October 1, 2001, our monthly bill is going up from $39.95/month to $44.95/month. They go on to tell us what great guys they are because this is the first ever rate increase (in probably 4 years of service locally) and that this is money to fund infrastructure improvements.

    However, there haven't been any infrastructure improvements that anyone's seen, bandwidth is now pretty harshly capped, especially on the upstream, and mail service gets flaky for some people on a regular basis.

    I have a co-worker who hasn't had a RR connection for a month! They keep sending techs out, they've replaced everything in her house and it still flakes out an hour after the tech leaves! More than once they've been told "we'll send our top person out here to look at it" and that never happens. RR refuses to check anything beyond the walls of their house, but now that everything's been replaced with known good equipment, it's fairly obvious the problem isn't there.

    Meanwhile, they're dropping the price of a second IP from $10/month to $5/month - so if you had already bought one, you won't see any price change in your bill. I think they know a very large number of people are running NAT boxes & routers and want to push them away from it.

    • Meanwhile, they're dropping the price of a second IP from $10/month to $5/month - so if you had already bought one, you won't see any price change in your bill. I think they know a very large number of people are running NAT boxes & routers and want to push them away from it.

      Interesting ... I just signed up with RoadRunner last week because my DSL provider, Rythms, is out of business. I have received no letter as of yet...Time Waner Michigan just started with the cable modems late last year... prior to now I've had DSL service for over 2 years. Maybe their price won't change? :) IT wouldn't bother me that much because 44.95 is STILL $5 cheaper than what I was paying for SDSL. (No, that's not a typo, that's really SDSL :-) no wonder they went out of business, no?)

      Anyway, I refuse to pay for a second IP. I have 5 boxes, and NAT is the only way for me to go...Linux 2.4 has a very NICE NAT implementation too... way better than in Linux 2.2, consider IPTables/Netfilter is a *stateful* firewall... :)

    • TimeWarner RoadRunner sent a letter out this week to all subscribers informing us that as of October 1, 2001, our monthly bill is going up from $39.95/month to $44.95/month.

      Interesting. I'm a Comcast@Home subscriber in the Philadelphia area, and just today got a letter saying my rate was going to go from $32.95 to $39.95. One of the stated reasons being 'investment in our high-speed network infrastructure and recent increase in customer support'. Sounds like the cable companies realized they can do this all themselves.

      At last, no more getting portscanned on port 119 by authorized-scan1.security.home.net.

    • Here's some stuff about RoadRunner, at least in my area. I was a tech at a company that did installs/service calls for RR until said company went out of business. I was hired with basically regular PC tech knowledge and some networking. No experience with coax networks, which I was informed would not be a problem as I could be taught that on the job. Well, I wasn't taught that on the job. At least, not really. Basically enough to get the job done... usually. Every now and then stuff just wouldn't work, and I would honestly have no clue why. Several techs would have gone out to the same house, unable to get RR running.

      Another issue was Time Warner reps LYING to the customers AND to the techs. example... RoadRunner's pop and smtp servers in this area are down a LOT. dunno why. When they first started being flaky, no one told us. We were actually sent on service calls for this. To the customer's house, you understand. We get there and determine the problem is not on the customer's end, we call up TW and ask if they're having problems with the mail servers. No, they say. Uh huh. For a couple weeks we got tons of service calls for this. Eventually they admitted to the techs that the servers were screwed BUT NOT TO THE CUSTOMERS. They refused to admit to the customers that they were having problems, and we were sent on calls that it was known we could not solve. Just an example...

      dammit i would not be posting as AC except this is like my third post ever and the first time i have posted in quite a while and i can't remember my password. oh well. what a moron i am.
  • Take a look at http://www.pressnews.net/cmcsk/home.htm

    To summarize:
    COMCAST Makes Proposal To Merge With AT&T Broadband
    Offers $58 Billion for Core Broadband Assets Plus Additional Value for Non-Core Investments

    Looks like Comcast was using @home until they could partner or buy another broadband network.
    • by SteveM ( 11242 )

      Comcast made an unsolicited bid that was well below what AT&T paid for the same assests.

      Not surprisingly, AT&T rejected Comcast's offer.

      You can read about it here [cnn.com].

      Comcast has not given up as you can see from this news report [cnn.com].

      Finally, Cox has emerged as a player for AT&T broadband, as detailed in this story [cnn.com].

      I don't believe Comcast's effort s to divorce themselves from @Home and acquire AT&T broadband are related. Especially given that AT&T broadband is the major shareholder in @Home, so by buying AT&T broadband, Comcast would become @Home's largest shareholder.

      Steve

    • AT&T broadband is mostly CableTV. They too use @home for their ISP.
  • My office moved us from a central office location to home offices in March in a cost saving move. Our group here in Oklahoma is considered mission critical to the corporate mission, and we have Cox@home. Last week I called them to express concerns over the falling stock prices, having watched this same scenerio play out with covad. The person I talked to in commerical sales discussed my concerns with his superiors who indicated that Cox was working on creating it's own ISP as alternative to @home. He indicated that testing was underway, and should they drop @home the transfer would be tranparent to the user-base (sure,buddy).

    We have limited options here in Oklahoma, with the best next choice being Sprint Wireless Broadband, which has all the evil caps and limits.

    Where is that TCP/IP carrier pigeon again?
  • Cox, Comcast End Pacts with ExciteAtHome [yahoo.com]
    It goes on to name the new alliances for Cox and Comcast, along with some other details.
  • Not til mid 2002 (Score:4, Informative)

    by alanjstr ( 131045 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @10:27AM (#2242905) Homepage
    The partnership won't dissolve until June 2002 [cnet.com], so do have time to get another ISP. Or, they could choose to make another deal with @Home between now and then.
  • I have Cox Cable in Kansas which gets me RR. It's been ok except for a number of times where Cox had a bad case of router flap upstream of me and I couldn't get anyone at their tech support competent enough to understand the information I was giving. If DSL reached my building, I would have switched after that week of hell. It appears that there is no tier 2 in their tech support line. At the end I was finally pissed enough that I asked about what the procedure was for terminating an account. HE asked who's account. I told him my own. The guy hung up on me. Nice. They also don't have any way for the average Joe Admin to reach any security, abuse, or incident response team. You have to email them, never get a response, and hope they actually get off their asses and do something. The last time I reported 3 HipCrime IPs to them, it took them over two weeks for something to be done and I never heard about a final resolution. From one network professional to another, that is unacceptable. I think it's time for a bitch-list [bitch-list.net] for them.
  • by mgarraha ( 409436 ) on Saturday September 01, 2001 @11:08AM (#2243011)

    From the end of the article:

    [The cable companies] say they will provide uninterrupted Internet service to their cable customers.

    That would be an improvement, yes?

  • DSL and cable modems aren't your stereotypical no income coming is "maybe we'll get someone to buy pet food on the net" dot coms. They provide a service that people want - to the point where they occasionally have trouble meeting the demand for new customers - and are willing to pay for. How can they constantly be going bankrupt?
    • The reason that DSL and now @Home are having problems is a basic flaw in the way the business arrangements are handled. You simply can't provide ~1 Mbps IP service for ~$40-$50 *AND* split the profits with partners.

      That's what was wrong with DSL. A retail DSL provider (like Flashcomm, Zyan, etc. to name some dead ones) bought service from a wholesaler (Covad, Northpoint, Rhythms) who bought co-location and access to local loops from the Bells. That's three hands in the pie. Just too many people sharing too little money in the first place. After all, most folks are only paying 2X of the average dial up account for high speed access. That's way too low. If prices were closer to, say, $75-$100 per month, these outfits might stand a chance at sucess.

      The cable modem picture isn't much better, just two hands in the money pot, not three.

      That's why all of this silly "choice" debate in the cable world is a non-starter. A monopoly is the only way for this to work and to be economically stable, at least at the price points people are willing to pay. People here won't like that, but that's the way the ledger balances.
      • I'd be perfectly willing to pay $100+ for 768 DSL and a TOS that allows servers. I'm on my third provider in a year, and none of them has charged me more than $60 for the connection! I've had zero complaints with the service at any of these companies (Verio, GalaxyDSL, Speakeasy), but I'd rather pay a little more than hop ISPs every six months.

        I'm just hoping that Covad can lever itself back up into solvency so I don't get stuck with Verizon <shudder>.
  • It strikes me that the cable companies will have a great opportunity o take over @Home's infrastructure for cents on the dolar.

    The major cost of network infrastructure is equipment which depreciates over months not years and deployment which is a sunk cost. Having laid out several billion to build the network @Home's creditors would probably be lucky to get a few tens of million back in a liquidation.

    Only companies that can use the infrastructure where it is are the existing cable cos. So my guess is that @Home will end up being bought out by the cable cos and split up amongst the cable companies with Excite being flogged off to one of the Internet companies that makes money.


    • It strikes me that the cable companies will have a great opportunity o take over @Home's infrastructure for cents on the dollar.

      Well, one cable company will certainly have that opportunity, namely, ATT,
      since they will emerge as @Home's biggest creditor when Excite@Home is forced into bankruptcy. The long story there is that ATT did a bunch of infrastructure building for @Home when the latter lost their (once robust) cash stream from Excite. See Cringely's column this week [pbs.org] for more on that angle. Note, however, that Cringely also assumes that broadband is a dead/dying proposition at this moment in time. I'm pretty sure he's wrong about that.
  • to PowerLink before its @Home contract runs out. You can read more about it on DSL's Adelphia forum [dslreports.com].

  • At least this is what was sent to me.

    Date: 24 Aug 2001 01:55:07 -0000
    From: "Cox Communications San Diego"
    Subject: A message from Cox regarding Excite @Home

    You may have recently seen reports in the media on the financial condition of Excite @Home, our partner in delivering high-speed Internet service to the San Diego area. We understand that this recent media coverage might cause concern about the future of your service. Please know that we are committed to providing you with reliable high speed Internet service now and in the future.

    Excite @Home has not notified us that their situation will render them unable to perform their obligations under our existing business arrangement, nor has it made any announcement that it intends to discontinue service. We remain committed to our existing partnership with Excite @Home, and Excite @Home has reiterated its own commitment to providing outstanding service and support to its 3.7 million subscribers.

    Cox?s high speed Internet service is an integral part of our product offerings, and we are dedicated to maintaining uninterrupted high speed Internet service. As always, we will continue to keep you informed on any upcoming changes with your Cox @Home service. Thank you.

  • Has any other Cox@Home customer been having strange problems with web access in the last few days (specifically all HTTP connections?) Occasionally, out of the blue, I lose my connection to the web, but my Usenet traffic carries on normally. I confirmed it's not a DNS problem....BUT I have also been tinkering with my router a bit, just wanted to know if the Cox@Home breakup had anything to do with recent performance...Thx
    • I haven't noticed it on my computer, but my wife's' computer will keep losing connection while checking her e-mail (I've taught her to use ssh and pine) and it will drop connection. (I'm in Phoenix and your in Tucson)

  • While @home has been good overall, for me, the few problems I had were filled with incredible amounts of frustration.

    For example, earlier this year, my cable connection started stalling regularly. Every 5 minutes or so, all data going in and out would just... die. It wouldn't all come in at once, it just went into a black void, never to return. After about 90 seconds, the connection would work again.

    I called @home about it, and after 2 hours of digging through lame menus and finally getting hold of a human being, they did nothing really. They pinged my cable modem and said "everything looked fine," which of course it did since I wasn't experiencing that humongous drop in data transfer at that moment. Then they handed me some BS about waiting three hours at least while they "attempted to fix something that might be related." I.E. Buzz off, we're tired of pretending we want to help you.

    That problem eventually got resolved on its own, but it would have been nice if they hadn't given me the run-around and treated me like some newbie.

    I love Comcast, @home is another matter. While my cable connection has been great aside from the months that problem went on, I wouldn't be saddened to have to use another provider... So long as they're Linux compatible, that is. ;)
  • According to a letter I just received, addressed simply to Comcast @Home Customer (obviously before the breakup), rates are going up Oct. 1st in Philadelphia suburbs. $32.95 to $39.95 ($44.95 if you don't have cable TV).

    Curious as to what happens to my @home.com e-mail address, too.

  • This is exactly what Cox sent it's @HOME subscribers today via e-mail

    Dear Customer,

    This week, we notified Excite @Home that we have exercised our right to terminate our existing agreement, with the termination to take effect on June 4, 2002. By taking this action, Cox will have the ability to acquire greater control over our network and to assume many of the responsibilities currently held by Excite @Home. We anticipate that we will work together with Excite @Home to smoothly transition these responsibilities between now and June 4, 2002.

    Our number one priority is continuing to deliver reliable high speed Internet service to you. the recent announcements that Excite @Home has issued regarding its financial status have strengthened our belief that our notice of termination was necessary to give us the flexibility we need to make alternative arrangements to provide high speed Internet service to our customers. By managing more elements in our high speed Internet service, we will be in a much better position to control the quality of our service and deliver greater customer satisfaction.

    Several months ago, Cox began preparing a strategic plan to exercise a greater degree of control over many of the components that make up our high speed Internet service. The current events surrounding Excite @Home have simply accelerated this initiative. The Cox-managed service to which we will be transitioning may include a role for Excite @Home; however, any such role will be defined by a new agreement.

    At this time, we do not plan to institute any immediate changes to the features and functions we provide through our existing Cox @Home service, although we do believe that between now and June 4, 2002, there will be some modifications. Please know that we will make every effort to make this transition as smooth as possible, and that we will notify you of any action or changes in advance. Our primary goal is to provide you with the high quality, reliable, high speed Internet service you have come to enjoy.

  • Portions of charter, maybe all of charter even, have already started to do this. Here locally you can still get @home, but there is no incentive to do so.. the price is the same for their own higher speed service (which seems to get renamed every couple months) so the only reason someone would want @home is if they're moving into town and already have @home... then they can keep their address... assuming the idiots @home can figure out how to do that (I know several times they weren't able to do it right, causing all sorts of problems for the users.) Of course anyone moving into town that already has @home is probably in no hurry to repeat that mistake.
  • What about those of us who have "@home" email addresses? Am I going to (again) email eveyone I know to change it? I can't use my own demain thanks to the acurate replyto add rule...
  • I started out with worldnet and moved up to
    Cox@Home when I switched to rolling my own cigs
    and takeing the money I saved and investing it in
    broadband. I new from the begining that I was
    not going to be with worldnet forever so I got a
    yahoo email address and used their pop3
    forwarding to point to my att.net address.
    Then the day came for me to change over. I went
    over to yahoo and reset the forwarding to my new
    @home address and as far as anyone who did not
    look at headers was concerned I had never made
    the move.
    Looks like next year I will have to do the same
    thing.
    Too bad I will have to resync the news groups as
    the nntp servers change. Well we cant win them
    all.
  • While I realize that this depends on the cable company, I have a story that might be of interest.

    In Canada, there are three major cable companies, Shaw, Rogers, and Cogeco, the latter being irrelevant.

    Rogers Communications does cellphones, video stores, cable TV, cable internet, and so on. the Cable division is the only division that actually brings in revenue. The rest are mismanaged sinkholes (the cable is mismanaged, but not a sinkhole). As a result, you pay lots of money for not too great service. Cable internet is done through @home. Customer support is nonexistant. Service is pathetic. The network goes down like a kamikazee

    Shaw is the king. They spend as much money as they have to. They also love their customers (and for good reason).

    Rogers and Shaw agreed to a deal a while back. Shaw would take BC from Rogers (since Rogers pissed off everyone in BC with a stupid idea to screw them out of more money), and Rogers would get Ontario (since who wants Ontario anyways?).

    I woke up one morning, long after figuring that nothing was going to change because of this deal, since nothing had, and my computer was no longer online. Debugged, debugged, traced, couldn't figure out why. Then, finally, I managed to figure it out.

    I had the wrong IP, going through the wrong gateway on the wrong subnet of the wrong network. Whee.

    After getting pump installed (hard to do in Debian if you have no network access or CD), I almost came. My highest speed of the last two weeks, 80 kbps (average 25) was blown away by my daily dist-upgrade, which went at about 325. This became my average, with peaks at 486 kilobytes/second. Oh yes, this new network was worth it.

    The @home network is, at best, pathetic. Being routed from BC to Seattle, California, then out of the @home network into the public networks to make my way back up to Seattle, then BC, then into the telco's network to get to a friend's DSL a half-hour drive away is stupid at best.

    Don't expect uninterrupted service, but when my ISP did this, it was a godsend in the truest sense of the word.

    Now, if I can only figure out which @home server my @home address is going to (since I have accounts on three different mail servers, only one of which gets the mail sent to the account which should have been deleted two months ago), I'll be happy.

    --Dan
  • I think history has proven that large ISP's simply cannot provide the quality of service that small or local ones can. I've never heard an end-user praise of @home, though I've not used it myself. Both ISP's I use are small and both provide snappy customer service and reliable bandwidth. Furthermore, the more small technology companies we have (in the US), the more that technology will be usurped from large corporations which tend to mismanage it and the less power corporate lobbyists will have to push bad laws.
  • and I'm just going to set peoples homepage to slashdot.org, and get them mail accounts from netscape.com. If anyone wants original content, I'll tell them to submit their own stories.

  • I LOVE @HOME DAMNIT!!!!!

    Why are they losing money? I mean shit, everybody signs up for it the second that it comes into town. Mabye @Home should stop with the deployment or at least make local cable co' pay for it in the entirity (if @Home does not already do that) and just be happy with the revenue that they currently have coming in.

    DAMNIT @HOME ROCKS!

    What the FUCKING HELL is causing this major lose of money?
  • When I heard this I was both sad to see that the thing they tried hard to achieve (home broadband) was falling

    through but I also saw a bright side of Comcast's iComcast coming. Which is no big deal for most people but I

    lived in a rural area so @home thought that 2 way cable was a dumb Idea and my surronding area (30 min

    drive in all directions of @home service)was one way telco modems. which goes to show one thing that if you

    take only so much money and you dump it all to expanding a network so massive that you make it crappy you will

    fail as my older teachers always said its quailty not quanity. so now iComcast will more than likely upgrade

    and I'll have to get a summer broad band connects for when school is out
  • Dear Customer,

    This week, we notified Excite @Home that we have exercised our right to terminate our
    existing agreement, with the termination to take effect on June 4, 2002. By taking this
    action, Cox will have the ability to acquire greater control over our network and to
    assume many of the responsibilities currently held by Excite @Home. We anticipate
    that we will work together with Excite @Home to smoothly transition these
    responsibilities between now and June 4, 2002.

    Our number one priority is continuing to deliver reliable high speed Internet service to
    you. the recent announcements that Excite @Home has issued regarding its financial
    status have strengthened our belief that our notice of termination was necessary to give
    us the flexibility we need to make alternative arrangements to provide high speed
    Internet service to our customers. By managing more elements in our high speed
    Internet service, we will be in a much better position to control the quality of our
    service and deliver greater customer satisfaction.

    Several months ago, Cox began preparing a strategic plan to exercise a greater degree
    of control over many of the components that make up our high speed Internet service.
    The current events surrounding Excite @Home have simply accelerated this initiative.
    The Cox-managed service to which we will be transitioning may include a role for
    Excite @Home; however, any such role will be defined by a new agreement.

    At this time, we do not plan to institute any immediate changes to the features and
    functions we provide through our existing Cox @Home service, although we do believe
    that between now and June 4, 2002, there will be some modifications. Please know that
    we will make every effort to make this transition as smooth as possible, and that we will
    notify you of any action or changes in advance. Our primary goal is to provide you
    with the high quality, reliable, high speed Internet service you have come to enjoy.

    ________________________________________________ __ _____________________
  • Got a nice email from Shaw cable today, letting customers know that they're dropping @Home. Well, phasing out. As of September 1st! (Yesterday!). Here's the relevent bit of the email....


    Fortunately, our proactive actions came at a time when confidence in the service that the @Home Corporation in the U.S. was providing, was diminishing. But, because of the network construction we have completed, the current financial issues that the @Home Corporation are facing will have no impact to the quality of service we provide our customers. Shaw is confident that, the major shareholders of @Home Corp will maintain all e-mail and web space services without impacting its 3.7 million customers across North America.


    Bottom line, all current customers who have @home.com email addresses and webspace, (managed by @Home Corp. in the U.S.), can currently maintain these existing addresses as well as choose an @shaw.ca email and webspace address that is managed locally by Shaw. Shaw is committed to providing a smooth transition from @home.com to @shaw.ca. As of September 1, 2001, all new Shaw@Home customers will be installed with the @shaw.ca email and webspace address only. We will be contacting all current Shaw@Home customers, encouraging them to transition over to the @shaw.ca email andwebspace.

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