“RCN vs Comcast? Please Help!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Miki J.

“Dear PoPville,

I’m torn…. I’ve had Comcast in various apartments in DC for the past 5 years. I’m moving to a new unit (in my existing building in Logan Circle) and am considering their Mover’s Edge.. They just transfer your service to your new home at no cost to you… Which I’ve used in the past and has been great BUT I’m not sure I can deal with the atrocious customer service, constant service outages, and ridiculous bills! Fios is not available in my area yet. So the only alternative is RCN. From the people I’ve polled in my building, it seems that RCN is the popular choice but we’ve certainly been spoiled by xfinity steaming… I’ve watched episodes of my favorite shows and scheduled my DVR on flights and they new X1 platform has some really cool features, almost at the level of a Smart TV but they’re by no means necessary. I’m not sure if I’m ranting here or asking for advice but I’m moving this week and would love to hear what some others’ experiences.

Any insight would be appreciated!”

39 Comment

  • The quality of service provided by RCN has really deteriorated over the past few years while the costs of the service have almost doubled. I don’t know if there are any good solutions out there.

  • I was with Comcast for two years, then our building got RCN. We had RCN for almost a year, but I was sick of the lack of channels and nickel and diming for each service. We just switched back to Comcast… and I’m already sick of the service again with them.

  • RCN!!

    I left DC a year ago to buy a house in the burbs and have been stuck with Comcast. Even with their new X1 box, which is really nice, the experience has been awful. Constant outages, horrible customer service, internet speeds slower then what I pay for, etc.

    Looking back my five plus years with RCN in DC was great. The service always worked and any problems that did spring up were taken care of fast and effectively. Spring for the Tivo box!!

  • Both suck from a customer service perspective and RCN is particularly bad about terminating service (inaccurate info, undisclosed charges). I live in Logan Circle and Comcast services seems pretty consistent and reliable.

  • I just switched from RCN to Comcast and i’m really happy with the switch. The price is pretty much the same but the X1 platform is the difference maker.

  • We had RCN for 5 years, and it was ok. Not super advanced. We moved into a Fios building and we finally realized how basic RCN actually was. RCN isn’t bad, it is just very basic. For the same price, we get a lot more from Fios. If Comcast is comparable to Fios, then I think you wont like RCN.

    • Comcast is better than Fios for reliability of service and technical support, but worse for general customer service (although they seem to be getting better with that). They’re pretty much the same otherwise.

  • Comcast, but pin them against RCN. Tell what RCN is offering you and ask them to match (or come close). We’ve been happy with comcast internet, but got rid of cable.

  • They both suck, but personally I have had a better experience with RCN.

  • We switched from Comcast to RCN. RCN is only about $20 cheaper a month for the same internet/cable package but we now have a DVR (Tivo). I’ve never tried to use it with an app but maybe that’s an option. We had some tech trouble when we first moved in and I thought their customer service was great. I’m definitely glad we made the switch.

  • The customer service record for both is notoriously bad, so you should stick with the company that provides the best product. We had RCN for six years until we finally got fed up with the frequent outages, deplorable customer service and the worst, a monthly bill that kept creeping up and up with no real explanation. We’ve had Xfinity for almost two years now and I have to say we love it. The mobile app is so fantastic, though they’re obviously still perfecting it. More important to me is that they’re really trying to step up their game in customer service and the whole customer experience. Real people answer the phone and technicians show up on time with diligent troubleshooting. With RCN, we had problems that would linger unresolved for months because I’d get tired of being on hold for 45 minutes at a time only to get a surly person on the other end who would try to pass it off to someone else.

    • I had a very different experience with RCN. Hasn’t gone out once in 5 years. When they have had service calls (they wanted to upgrade my router, at no charge to me), I was able to schedule a fairly narrow window for the appointment and the guy arrived 2 minutes after that time started. Every time my bill creeps up, I call and say it’s getting expensive and they bump my fee back down, often to lower than I was paying before the increase. I don’t need to control my TV from overseas like the OP, but for basic internet needs (like streaming movies when I am home) I have no complaints at all about RCN.

  • We have internet only, no TV or phone service, in Woodridge for almost 2 years now, and we’ve never noticed an outage. It has just worked at $30 a month, and the random times I’ve done speed tests we were pretty close to advertised speeds.

    Only annoying thing was signing up for auto bill pay that they still mailed us a bill that said “take no action” and it took me a while to get around to finding the separate option on their website to turn off the paper.

  • Comcast is awful. Had them at 3 different places (lack of anyone else) and always had horrors with them including bad service and they actually stole our own personal router. Best day came last year when we moved to an area in DC that had FiOs availability and the service has been great! I know this doesn’t help you, sorry, but I think everyone usually hates their service provider, whether it be Time Warner, Cablevision/Optimum or the ones more local to our area. I think you’ll be choosing between the lesser of two evils, so hopefully you choose wisely. I think Comcast does offer more than RCN, but their is a price to pay for more features and you’ll just have to be willing to bite the bullet with service and price and you’ve at least had them before, so if you could slightly stand dealing with them in the past, then continue to go with them.

    • I had the opposite experience– nothing but problems with Fios but Comcast has been perfect (after some hiccups with the initial installation).

      • Lucky you then re: Comcast because it was the exact opposite and all my buddies have had major issues with Comcast. I do like the DVR better with Comcast than FiOs, but other than that I can’t think of anything I like better that Comcast offered. And have not had 1 issue with FiOs re: internet either in a much bigger house compared to many issues constantly at different locations that were on one level with internet from Comcast.

  • RCN; their customer support is infinitely better when problems arise. They maintain a decent presence on Twitter and usually respond within moments. Much better than Comcast.

  • I have RCN and it’s fine. I loathe Comcast with the burning passion of 1,000 hot white suns. I had them in MA and I swore that if ever I had a choice between Comcast and anyone else, that I’d chose anyone else. They are the only company that I boycott without exception.

    • I feel exactly this way about Verizon. They once cut off my service for “failure to pay bill” when I accidentally paid that month’s bill twice. It took them weeks to turn my internet service back on. Weeks! Their excuse was that they “had to wait for the electrons to clear the wire.”

  • Mug of Glop

    I used the Mover’s Edge (or whatever they called it six months ago) “service” to move my Comcast service to a new apartment. It was a huge catastrophe of hilarious errors, starting with a very friendly service representative not being able to schedule a future moving date and ending with a corporate something-or-other responding to my screaming all over Twitter and Facebook that the previous seventeen people I talked to couldn’t help me. The problem ended up being that they for some reason didn’t have my equipment registered to me, and that was (of course) causing me problems, which seems like the second thing tech support should check, but I guess not.

    Anyway, from the rest of these comments, RCN seems even worse. But just know that someone with half a brain in the Comcast corporate office with a return phone number might actually respond to complaints on social media and wait patiently for Uverse or FiOS to make it to your building.

    • It took 6 months (!!!!) for Comcast to straighten out the mess they made with the “mover’s choice” for me. I got two bills for two different addresses for awhile, I got the bill sent to the wrong address, then I got billed for service at the old address sent to the new address. It took an hour on the phone to straighten it out. Oh, and when I moved, it didn’t just work when you plug everything in, the way they promise. It took two more calls to customer service.

      I switched to RCN three weeks ago and haven’t looked back.

      • Mug of Glop

        Yeah, I’m really not sure whether Comcast is full of idiots or whether they think they’re full of idiots and don’t give them any training or power to fix anything. Probably both. I knew I shouldn’t have scheduled a move yet as soon as I got home that day and my service had already been cut off. All said and done, I talked to eighteen different people, had four “escalation tickets” that were closed without action, spent who knows how many hours on the phone and on chat, and went through three different accounts before I did the social media carpet bombing. All said and done, it took me a whole day to restore partial service at my old apartment until I moved the following week, and two days to get service at the new place after I moved. And it took me that whole week and a half to get my billing straightened out.

        Never again, I say, as I get boxed into one regional monopoly after another having to deal with Comcast. I miss when I was in Michigan and I could get Uverse with twice the channels, many more channels in HD, three times the internet speed, and at only two thirds the price. It’s a shame RCN and Verizon won’t/can’t operate in my building and Uverse is hundreds of miles away.

  • Comcast is a truly deplorable company and I have had them in multiple locations. When I left one apartment and turned in ALL my equipment they ended up texting, calling, leaving harassing voicemail SIX MONTHS later. The worst part is I always missed the calls and could not get removed from the list! Finally I got someone on the phone and they had put me on a list of “did not return equipment” people. So sorry for them that I actually had the receipt confirming the return (still have it because I do not trust them!).
    Fast forward to my last apartment in Navy Yard and Comcast was the only choice. This time X1 was available and I have to say I was pretty happy with that for a year. Now in my current house, Comcast was a NIGHTMARE! I only had it for a month and they were at my house three times, outage 1-2 times a week, and then certain channels would not work. I would tune to a channel and I would get an error. They usually couldn’t even figure out how to fix that. After spending 2-3 nights a week on the phone with them I was done. I canceled it and ordered FIOS. Knock on wood, but no problems thus far! Oh and supposedly my Internet speed is slower with FIOS, but it feels the same as what I had with Comcast!

  • Definitely RCN.

    Have had them for about 3-4 years now after switching away from Comcast. Comcast was absolutely awful. RCN has been wonderful. Super responsive and very friendly (neither of which were true of Comcast).

    I’ve recommended them to a bunch of friends who have all had great experiences as well.

  • I had Comcast for a year, and hated it. Then I switched to RCN and in the ten years I’ve been a customer, I’ve been very happy with them. They offer a TiVo directly so you don’t have to buy one separately or pay the subscription fee to TiVo, and you can schedule recordings on the app and transfer shows to your phone or tablet. And if you’re a soccer nerd like me, they offer several channels in HD like beIN Sport, One World Sports and Fox Sports 2, which have tons of international soccer but aren’t available on Comcast. Their Twitter customer service is extremely responsive, and they actually use US call centers.

  • I’ve had been using Comcast for years with no huge issues until I used recently moved using movers edge. It is an ongoing horrible experience. Prior to the move I was constantly called to cancel and then reschedule technician appointments. I also wanted to downgrade my service, which the lady was unwilling to do for me at the time of the move. I also opted to take my old equipment with me, and they of course didn’t assign it to my new account. The internet took one phone call to fix, but it took 4 hours and talking to 12 different people to get the TV working. I still have an account attached to my old address for some reason and they also opted to send me a second modem that I now have to get rid of. Even if you decide to keep Comcast I think it might just be easier to cancel the old account and open a new one. When you move you get a completely new account anyway.

  • Switching from Comcast to RCN was a life-improving experience for my husband and me. Cheaper service, came with TiVo, customer service that is better by leaps and bounds. After five years in NYC, I never thought customer service could get worse than Time Warner, but then I got Comcast…..

  • RCN if you want basic service, Comcast if you want anything more.

    Compared to everyone else posting, its seems like I have had a pretty good experience with Comcast. Granted I avoid the 1-800 number after getting no where, but since about 2009 I have just emailed them at we_can_help(at)comcast.com and they respond quickly and professionally, and every time I show them a cheaper offer they drop my rates (and do it in one email vs an hour on hold).

    Granted they have screwed some stuff up (their service guy literally unplugged my service to hook up the apartment above), and my rate has randomly jumped 30% , but dealing with these via email has reduced the headaches.

  • I just moved and was very sad to have picked a place that didn’t have FiOS. I had dreamed of canceling Comcast. They upgraded me to the X-1 platform without having to change anything to my service and swapped out my equipment for the X-1 equipment (and thankfully took the old equipment with them instead of making me haul it to Michigan Avenue like I have had to do in the past). The tech was pretty awesome and while he had to wire the house to the utility pole, which involved him climbing trees, he did it without any complaints and it all seemed to work well. The X-1 system is a complete life changer if you ask me. I feel much better about having Comcast now than I did before. I am not sure I could even go to RCN and give it up now even if it meant saving $20/month or so.

    It sounds like there are no perfect options. Comcast sucks, but better the devil you know.

  • Aglets

    I have super bare-bones cable through RCN but i have to say they’re really nice to deal with. You can get a hold of a person and resolve the problem in no time (this was not the case when I had RCN back in 2007 before I moved from Penn Branch back to Capitol Hill)

    I do think they’re more expensive for what you’re getting but it’s worth it to me to not be frustrated by constant outages and reliable service

  • I have found RCN’s customer service and technical support to be OUTSTANDING in the area of cable providers. We just moved and I was very concerned that RCN was not going to service our new home’s location. Thankfully they did. Been a pleased customer for over 10 years…and not someone who has had a problem free existence during that time. Every issue has been handled beyond my expectations.

  • Don’t use either. Put up some rabbit ears and sign up for Netflix.

    • um. how are you going to stream netflix without an internet provider?

      I just moved and signed up for comcast, initially wanting just decent internet service and they forced basic cable tv service on me to make my monthly bill cheaper, with faster internet service. somehow.

  • Definitely avoid Comcast. They are THE WORST.

    That said, I agree with the above poster to cut the cord altogether. We did and are so much happier, with cable I felt like I was a sucker.

  • PDleftMtP

    We just switched to RCN for internet (only) and had a good experience. The installation guy was very friendly and creative in getting the connection to the right spot, and the service speed has been as advertised.

  • I’ve had RCN for the past 3 years and am pretty pleased with them. Their service is nothing to write home about, but I have never received anything but pleasant and helpful customer service from them which is just about the polar opposite of my previous experience with Comcast. I’d say the ease of mind that you will receive good customer service makes RCN worth it.

  • Late to the party, but I’ve had both in my very short time in my current apartment in Cleveland Park (moved in August). Both have been basically fine for me. I switched from Comcast to RCN because it was a bit cheaper, basically. The biggest thing is to play them off each other. If you use Comcast and you haven’t tried calling them and threatening to cancel in a while, you should do so – you’ll be surprised how far down they’ll go on their prices. RCN hasn’t quite been willing to drop as far, but that’s probably because they also knew they were still a little cheaper.

  • I’ve used RCN, Comcast, and FiOS. Currently I live in Boston and have RCN’s 110mbps service at $49 a month (AFTER TAXES). This is an amazing deal and I will tell you we never have any issues other than one speed issue but RCN was at my house a day later and fixed it in about 20 minutes (needed a new barrel connector). RCN does not have a streaming service like xfinity’s to my knowledge, but to be honest Xfinity’s streaming service sucks in comparison to combining hulu, netflix and the countless other streaming services online.

    Personally, I don’t have cable TV, no reason to with the internet these days, so I can’t really compare RCN to Comcast for Cable TV. However, I used to have comcast and all I remember was paying an arm and a leg for crap channels and no way to pick and choose channels. I had to bay packages and the packages never combined stations I wanted, I’d always end up getting 2 seperate packages that had multiple when I really only wanted one of the channels. For example you can’t get HBO and Showtime as a package. If you want HBO you need the cinemax, hbo backage, and then to get showtime you’d need Encore and Showtime. I did not watch Cinemax or Encore, but I’d be forced to pay for them. Also over the years I realized I was paying more and more and essentially most of my channels would have 15 minutes of commercials for every 1 hour show. Pissed me off so I dumped cable altogether and never looked back. I highly suggest you do the same unless you want to keep getting screwed out of money.

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