Koppel told after internet purchase it would cost $27k, forced to rely on 4G hotspot

A couple was told that installing internet in their recently purchased SeattleWashington, house would cost $27,000 after purchasing the property.

Zachary Cohn told Ars Technica that he and his wife bought the house in July 2019.

“All six neighbors I share a property line with are wired for” Comcastbut our house has never been,” he said.

After months of trying to get Comcast Internet, Mr. Cohn contacted his city adviser’s office, who was able to get answers from the company.

Comcast said 181 feet of underground cables would have to be installed at a cost of more than $27,000. The couple decided to use a 4G mobile hotspot instead.

“I was just stunned that a house like this, in an area like this, could possibly never have been wired for the internet,” Mr. Cohn told the exhaust pipe

Since the house is “in the middle of Seattle, it didn’t even occur to me that that was possible,” he said.

Zachary Cohn and Lauryl Zenobi bought a house in Seattle without knowing it had no internet connection

(Zachary Cohn / Ars Technica)

It would have been “more understandable if I was two miles from my nearest neighbor,” he added, noting that the house, which was built in 1964, is “well within the Seattle city limits.”

Comcast customer service was unable to help even after eight months of calling, which led to Mr. Cohn contacting his city council.

“The City Council person and their staff have been amazing this whole process,” he said. “They couldn’t work it out with me, but they were quite capable of getting Comcast to respond in ways I couldn’t.”

“I have received verification that the hard fee for the contribution is $27,119.00,” a Comcast employee said in a November 2020 email.

Mr. Cohn said an employee “told me the job would cost about $80,000, and they should only pay me a portion of that.”

The city’s IT governance advisor wrote to the city council that “this residence is an unfortunate case of an oddly shaped, difficult to access lot that has never been connected to cable services in years past, and the city has no authority to demand Comcast-of [any] other ISP—to establish the connection”.

“Unless a service provider can find another way to support the recovery of the large capital investment (ie connect more households in an area), it is normal for the service provider to expect the resident to bear the construction costs. In this case…no other potential customers have been won by the expansion” because “neighboring households are already on Comcast’s network,” the email read. “The most cost-effective option is still a wireless hotspot through a cellular carrier.”

Comcast told Ars Technica that they did not receive a request to connect the property to their service before the homeowners moved in. A spokesperson said it was an important project as they had to dig underground, adding that the company has only used antenna cables in that particular neighborhood.

They now use a mobile hotspot, but sometimes the “connection drops to a halt, usually in the morning and evening, to the point of being useless even for basic web browsing, let alone video calling or Netflix.” or something like that,” said Mr. Cohn, adding that “usually the quality is good until it isn’t. It’s fine until there’s a lag or the connection drops or something like that happens.”

“I’m just really nervous about dropping $27,000 to lock myself up with a company that could then drive up rates, and we don’t even have the classic ‘send me to your retention department because I’m going to threaten to quit and switch to it.” argument from another company. You just have to pay what they want to charge,” he said.

“Not having a reliable, consistent internet connection by the year 2022 is very problematic,” he added.

the independent has contacted Comcast for comment.

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