I'm in a five year old subdivision, it has underground utilities and every house is already wired for cable with an outlet in every room. I've just moved into the house, and I called Comcast and requested that my internet access be transferred from my old apartment to the new house (I had TV and internet at the apartment, but am cancelling the TV and transferring only the internet service).
When the tech showed up, the first confusing thing was that he said I had to pick which outlet would have the modem hooked up to it, as he could only provide internet service on one outlet. When I asked why, he said that while TV service goes to every outlet, Internet only goes to one. My apartment was not like this, I could hook up the modem to any outlet, but he was adamant so I did not press and showed him the outlet I would like to put the modem on. He then goes outside for about 15-20 minutes (I wasn't really paying attention to him at the time, though I wish I had been) then comes back inside, plugs in the modem and does a couple tests and says we're online and everything is good to go.
Everything is great until I step outside a couple hours later and see a bright orange cable running from the telephone box on the side of my house, down my driveway, out into the street, up my neighbor's driveway and into the utility box on the other side of my neighbor's front lawn (not sure exactly what this box is, but it's about the size of a small hvac unit, dark olive green, with black lettering on a yellow background on it, I'm assuming it has something to do with the telphone and cable service).
I immediately called Comcast (1-800-XFINITY) to ask why this was necessary when the neighborhood and home were already wired for cable. The person I got said they were only a troubleshooter but they would contact the tech and/or dispatcher and have them call me back mid-afternoon. Mid-afternoon came and went so I called the same number back, got a different person with the same story that said they would have someone call me back before 6pm, 6pm comes and goes and no call. This was on Sunday (5/20) so I gave them all day Monday to call back, but nothing. So now it's Tuesday and I still don't have an explanation for this orange cable snaking over my and my neighbor's front lawns.
After googling around a bit, I have gathered that the orange cable indicates a temporary connection that will eventually be buried, but this worries me even more: I don't want to be charged for burying a completely redundant and unnecessary cable when the house is already wired. I talked to the neighbors and confirmed that when they activated Comcast service all that was needed was a connection at the street, no additional cables or plugging anything into the side of the house or anything like that.
Any light that can be shed on this would be great: Why is this secondary cable necessary, why is the internet service available on only one outlet, will I be charged for burying this cable if someone does come along and bury it, and is there a number I can call that will get me someone besides a "troubleshooter" who doesn't actually know anything about the situation in the field? Am I justified in my assumption that what /should've/ happened was access turned on/connected at the street to the pre-existing circuit in my house, and I would then be able to attach the modem to any outlet I chose?
The tech was trying to tell you that he needed to balance the signal so your modem gets the appropriate signal levels, since they are sensitve to that sort of thing. TV boxes can generally tolerate a wider range of signal levels so balanceing the signal isn't as critical for them. Most likley your installer used a two way splitter off of your main line - one leg feeds your modem and the other leg feeds everything else. That's a typical and appropriate method of installation. I'm only guessing here, but your old place probably had strong enough signal levels that the modem worked anywhere.
The line coming to your house is called a "drop". I have absolutly no idea why a tech would install a temp drop and not get your consent. Your consent is required for liability issues. If the drop is on your neighbor's property, he should have asked their permission as well. You are not responsible for the drop if it needs to be installed, that is Comcast's responsibility and you will not be charged for it. My guess is that there isn't a drop going to your house or the tech couldn't identify the drop going to your house (this happens sometimes with new construction.)
Typically a tech would tell you that you need a tempory drop. You would have signed a consent form. Usually someone will then come out and mark the utilities. Another crew will bury the drop. And finally, a tech would come out and make sure everything is working. This can all take 2-4 weeks.
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Thanks for the response. The following is just an update for general entertainment/information:
I've talked with my neighbors and the tech did not ask for their consent either, did not communicate with them at all in fact. The only thing I signed was the typical page at the end that says the tech told me about the "Comcast Guarantee" (which he of course didn't). It doesn't say anyhing about a temporary drop or consent or anything like that.
Yesterday a guy in an orange vest came out and started spray painting my neighbor's front lawn (didn't say anything to either of us, just walked up with a metal detector sort of thing in one hand and a sprayer in the other and went to town). I'm assuming he was from the county, out to mark utilities, but if I were my neighbor I would be really peeved at this point. He spray painted through one of their flower beds, over plants and mulch and all this sort of thing. Seems like an awful lot of trouble to go to just because the Comcast tech couldn't figure out which drop at the street ran to my house.
I'm kind of dumbfounded by all this, but I guess it's not /really/ harming anything... just crazy that the tech couldn't have told me what was needed right off the bat. I didn't really want to introduce myself to the neighborhood by causing all of this commotion.
Oh yeah, Comcast still hasn't returned any of my calls.
The lesson here is to press the tech for details, repeatedly, and don't let him/her out of your sight until/unless they've told you exactly what they're going to do and why.