Not long after I overheard a Comcast ad on a college football broadcast, the doorbell rang. It was a guy wearing a Comcast shirt and carrying a clipboard-type contraption with some kind of a phone-like keyboard at one end. Under the clip was a list of channels. We greeted each other, and he asked me if we had cable. I said no, we just had Internet service.
“Oh, from RCN?”
“No, Verizon FiOS.”
“Oh. Just Internet?”
“We dropped it along with the television. We only use the Net.”
“What kind of speed are you getting?”
“We have 20Mb symmetrical service. Twenty up, twenty down.”
“We can beat that.”
“We have fifty.”
“Fifty up and down?”
“Fifty. It’s expensive, though.”
“Seventy a month.”
“That’s not bad, if it’s symmetrical. What’s the upstream speed?”
“You sure? If you can tell me twenty up, we might have a deal.”
He wasn’t sure. “Hang on. Let me make a call.”
A conversation with somebody at Comcast followed. “Oh,” he said to the phone. “Okay… okay.” After hanging up, he said, “It’s fifty down and ten up.”
“Can’t do twenty, huh?”
He started to walk down the stairs in front of the house. “Only a tiny minority wants that,” he said.
“That might be the case nationwide,” I replied. “But around here with all these universities and businesses, you’ll get more demand. You might have sold me if you could have beaten Verizon’s offer.”
He shook his head. “It’s just a tiny minority.” And then he walked down the sidewalk, toward the next doorbell.
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