Tucker business owners voice frustrations with Comcast


Several Tucker business owners complained publicly about the unsatisfactory service they received in the past few months from Comcast.

The city held a public information session on Comcast internet service Feb. 28 with Comcast representatives in attendance. The session was scheduled after the city received numerous complaints about unreliable internet service.

City hall staff have also experienced bad internet service.

Comcast has an agreement with the city to pay for the privilege of bringing their service inside the city limits. Payment comes in the form of an agreed upon franchise fee.

“Comcast is and was the franchisee for DeKalb County as a whole, and when we became a city it became necessary for us to have our own agreement with them to continue to be the franchisee for the new city of Tucker,” Mayor Frank Auman said.

The city experienced a service outage Feb. 14-15, and the website was unavailable to view.

“It’s just an unacceptably high level of service issues—quality of service, availability of service, responsiveness when you need to make a service call—those kinds of things,” Auman said. “We’ve been hearing a lot about that. We—city council and staff—[have] experienced it ourselves in our own businesses and even at city hall.”

When city officials told Comcast about the issues, they said they did not see any notable uptake in service problems or complaints. Auman said the reason for that is because residents aren’t calling in to complain.

“[Residents] may just sit there and curse and hope it gets better,” he said.

Carmel Booth, owner of Booth Insurance, has made several complaints to Comcast about the unreliable internet service. Booth has had problems with the internet since November.

“Any time the internet drops, I’m unable to do my job,” Booth said. “Throw in the phones going down and my business may as well be closed.”

For four months, Booth said she was unable to provide her normal level of services to customers due to the internet going out. She said it has affected her income, damaged her reputation, jeopardized contracts and she has lost customers.

“In January, I knew I would soon be closing my doors if this continued much longer,” she said. “I hadn’t had a paycheck in months, my income was gone and I would have to let go of my employee. I couldn’t believe Comcast was going to bankrupt my business.”

Alex Horowitz, vice president of public relations at Comcast, said Comcast has looked at Booth’s account to determine what was causing the outages.

“In that case, it was the fact that there was some old equipment that was servicing her mode,” Horowitz said. “We went in there, took out the old equipment and put in new equipment and she’s been up and running ever since., according to our records.”

Horowitz said Comcast goes in and tests signal levels, looks for any kind of noise and looks at the equipment to determine if there needs to be an upgrade.

“For many customers, it’s a matter of old equipment,” he said.

Comcast External Affairs Director Deyanna Jones said Comcast had spent more than $1 billion upgrading the networks and trying to change the customer experience.

“Have we gotten it right? No,” Jones said. “This company is 53 years old, and at the end of the day it took 53 years to build this problem and we’re not going to fix it overnight.”

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