Comcast Business Class is the
Weakest Weaker Link
Full disclosure: This site is going to be relying on Comcast Business Class internet service, so we need them to up their game.
I just got off the phone with Orbis Lumen, our site host, who had emailed me at 2:30 a.m. to say their servers were down because of a circuit outage on Comcast’s side.
Mark had warned me that although he was confident he could keep the server uptime in the black (they have redundancies and backup generators), their pipeline to the internet is Comcast Business Class, and for the past six months, they’ve been experiencing mysterious, middle of the night circuit outages that has Comcast techs scratching their heads and swapping out equipment to see if that will help.
You would think that something called Comcast Business Class would be more than enough for a small online magazine’s needs (we also use–and lose–it here at The SunBreak World HQ on Capitol Hill), but to hear Mark tell it, the “business class” seems to mean that the service operates best during business hours.
When internet service is interrupted at 2 a.m., he’s only able to call a “24×7 Business Class Support” service center that is unable to roust anyone locally to roll out to fix the problem. Unless the problem can be solved by cycling the modem, they can’t do much.
It’s telling that Comcast’s “competitive matrix” (GoogleDoc) does not include uptime. At all. There’s that single “24×7 Business Class Support” helpline, but otherwise, not a word. There’s a price comparison, details on speed, email, hosting, antivirus protection, and equipment included, but there’s nothing in there about reliability. Qwest Broadband puts this on their front page: “99.9% network reliability for fewer interruptions.” (Qwest also thinks I enjoy paying $35/mo. for a 3 Mbps residential DSL connection in 2011.)
The thing is, Comcast Business Class runs on the same network that Comcast “Residential Class” uses. The main difference is that you get static IP addresses for Business Class, not dynamically assigned IPs. But when the service goes out and the house down the street can no longer download porn (at half the monthly subscription you’re paying), your whole office is down, too. Not quite what you hoped when you hooked your business wagon to Comcast’s internet star.