Comcast — Professional FUD Slinging…

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When trying to sell something, one of the hard things that I’ve noticed sales people dealing with is the fine line between comparing your own product to your competitors, and slinging FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about your competitors.  The right way to sell is to show the benefit of your products to your customer and leave the competitor out of the conversation as much as possible.  There are those that have real trouble staying on the right side of the line… and then there are those that just make stuff up, which is worse.

My wife and I were watching TV Monday evening when a Comcast guy rang the doorbell.  We switched to Verizon FiOS a couple years ago and have had zero desire to switch back to Comcast.  The Internet is faster, the SD and HD picture quality is better, and the DVR menu/guides make Comcast’s software look decades old, which it is.

Matt, from Comcast, started by mentioning that they will have trucks in the neighborhood over the next couple weeks, framing the reason for his being there as a courtesy to us so we aren’t worried about all the trucks.  He then asked if we were Comcast customers and when he found out we were Verizon customers he quickly seg-wey’d into the true reason for his visit – FUD Slinging…

He informed us that now that Frontier has purchased FiOS from Verizon, Frontier does not want to the keep the lines maintained so they would be shutting down FiOS.  He stated that we have 3 months to get out of our FiOS contract without a penalty. When I asked him to clarify how Frontier is shutting down FiOS, Matt tells us they are shutting down Residential service, but keeping the Business customers.

Okay, pause right there, there are 3 things wrong with this –

  1. So Frontier spends $billions to buy the FiOS infrastructure from Verizon only to shut it down?  Their investor presentation indicates that ALL new build outs are Fiber-to-the-Home; it would seem a big waste to invest in FTTH but not provide FTTH Services.
  2. Even if Frontier were shutting down some FiOS infrastructure, why would “the largest pure rural telecommunications carrier in the United States” shut down residential services and keep business services?
  3. If Frontier was shutting down FiOS and I had to find an alternative service, why would I have to get out of my contract at all, it seems my contract would end on its own right?

Then as we chatted about why I switched to FiOS in the first place, and he tried REALLY hard to get me to set up an appointment for them to switch me back, I explained how the set top box software is light years ahead of Comcasts and I’d probably want Tivo if I switched back to Comcast.  He then to tell me that Comcast had acquired Tivo.  Seriously?  It’s so easy to check these things.

So I got his phone number and finally got him to leave, saying I’d figure out my schedule and call him in the next couple days.

A little research on the web sets the record straight.  The reality of the situation is that Frontier purchased the FiOS assets from Verizon in order to increase their broadband and TV footprint and will continue to provide the services because FiOS aligns perfectly with their core business.  There is no urgency to switch to another carrier at this time, despite what Comcast says.  Frontier even took the time to update the logo in our DVR software already.

All indications are that Tivo is still independent as well.

So this guy, Matt from Comcast, is hoping that the Frontier acquisition was public enough that we know something is changing, but haven’t looked into it enough yet, and that we’ll be freaked out by his indicating that we only have 3 months to do something.  I’m not even a Comcast customer and yet I feel compelled to write to them to complain.  Well now I’ve complained in public.