Steamboat City Council member to Comcast: 'We'd like you to do better'

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The crippling Comcast outage that left 13,000 customers here without Internet, phone and cable service for several hours last week still is fresh in the minds of some Steamboat Springs City Council members.

And they want the cable company to know they don’t want it to happen again.

At the end of Tuesday’s council meeting, council member Scott Ford said he’d like city staff to inform Comcast of this city’s dissatisfaction with such a long outage.

“I think we can definitely say, ‘Guys, we’d like you to do better,’” Ford said. “We can certainly say, ‘We’re not a bunch of happy campers up here.’”

The outage was blamed on a barn fire in Bailey, a community more than three hours away from Steamboat.

The services here went down in the morning after a fiber optic line burned above the barn.

“That’s not good for us,” Ford said.

Steamboat residents who needed to do business and finish work during the day flocked to Bud Werner Memorial Library to get reconnected.

While Ford wanted city staff to take some form of action with Comcast, council member Sonja Macys questioned the effectiveness of just writing Comcast “a nasty letter” about the service disruption.

She said the city instead should take a proactive approach to the issue, possibly looking into whether progress can be made to add some redundancies to Comcast’s network here.

Council member Walter Magill said the Comcast outage wasn’t so much different than if power to the city went out for half a day.

“There were a lot of businesses that were down. We’re not very well accommodated,” he said.

City Manager Deb Hinsvark said she would look into Comcast’s franchise agreement here and see whether the city has any recourse after the outage.

Friday’s major service interruption follows a similar one Steamboat experienced in April.

In that outage, about 5,000 customers had severely limited Internet connectivity.

Service was out starting on a Monday evening, and it wasn’t restored until about 7 a.m. the next day.

A Comcast spokeswoman said at the time that the outage was the result of a technical issue.

Comments

Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

City should simply inform Comcast that the SB City Page will start listing local internet providers and will follow Comcast with "No Redundancy" in red ink.

And that certain city council members will keep bringing it up in every meeting so that it keeps getting mentioned in the local paper. So does Comcast want this future of steady bad publicity of not providing a reliable network or will Comcast takes steps to have a reliable service.

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walt jones 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Not sure Comcast every seems to care about negative publicity thru the years. The advertise so much and a fortune 500 company they can withstand the negativity. If Deb H thinks she can find recourse in a comcast contract good luck with that. And Walter comparing Internet/TV outage no different than an electric outage good grief!

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scott bideau 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The franchise agreement renewed a few years ago for 10 years, so it's too late there. While FCC only allows for video service SLAs, it's not hard to bend the rules and regulate the video services which rely in the same fiber network as internet service.

Power = apples, Internet = oranges. There is no secondary power line, but there are redundant fiber connections for Internet from CenturyLink. I believe one goes down south to 70 and another sits in the ground looping to Rifle via Craig but remains dark (someone just needs to light it up). I've been hearing the "EagleNet is coming" claim for years but personally feel the existing providers just need to provide redundancy, even if it takes some hand twisting to do so.

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Scott Wedel 2 months, 3 weeks ago

Presumably CenturyLink has to operate redundant links for their phone service. So there must be enough redundancy available to meet their requirements.

There are plenty of alternative connections available by the time you reach Bailey. It borders on the bizarre that a fiber optic issue in Bailey could take out service in SB. If that was the only available connection the the Bailey fire would have knocked out Vail, Aspen, Glenwood Springs and so on.

Comcast appears that it just doesn't want to spend the money on redundant connections

I see no reason why anyone that needs reliable internet service would use Comcast. It appears that Comcast is knowingly cutting costs by operating without any redundancies. So extended outages should be expected by any Comcast customers.

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John St Pierre 2 months, 3 weeks ago

we have Zirkel for 4 years,.... and have never ever lost service .

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Chris Hadlock 2 months, 3 weeks ago

The ONLY way to influence the behavior of a large company like Comcast is to vote with your checkbook. As long as enough people in Steamboat continue to send their monthly payments, the company in question will not change. IF they see a serious decline in their revenue, it is just possible that they will respond to their customers concerns. As long as the money rolls in month after month, they will not spend one dime more than they have to on redundancy and customer service.

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