One subscriber used a Raspberry Pi and Twitter to let Comcast know every time its internet has failed him.
Image: Jeremy Brooks/Flickr
It's common knowledge that ISPs rarely deliver the internet speeds consumers are paying them for. But one man has finally reached the limits of his patience, and wrote a script that tweets complaints at Comcast every time his internet speed drops below a certain point.
Going by AlekseyP on Reddit, the Comcast subscriber uses a Raspberry Pi to run frequent speed tests, and then uses Twitter's API to ping Comcast when his download speeds dip below 50 Mbps.
"I know some people might say I should not be complaining about 50 Mbps down, but when they advertise 150 and I get 10-30 I am unsatisfied," AlekseyP wrote. Comcast customer service reps regularly respond to the tweets hours later, but Aleksey never gives them his info. He wants to prove a point.
"I do not want to singled out as a customer; all their customers deserve the speeds they advertise, not just the ones who are able to call them out on their BS," he said.
AlekseyP also notes that the dips often occur at night or when his house is empty, so wireless users hogging bandwidth isn't the issue. No one in his household torrents, either.
Some issues are, of course, out of the provider's control, like damage to cables from weather or animal interference (the author of this Lifehacker post had a gopher eat through his cable line). Sometimes the problem is on the subscriber's end—a poorly placed router, or misconfigured computer, perhaps. But because of the stranglehold a select few ISPs have on the US market, companies will often simply try to get away with brazenly unfair business practices.
Things are so bad that New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating several New York ISPs for not delivering promised speeds, for example.
Other frustrated consumers are setting up their own ISPs to escape the clutches of giants like Time Warner Cable (many aggrieved tweetstorms and blog posts have been written about the infernal process of dealing with ISPs). But if you're merely a frustrated home internet user who wants to voice your concern, AlekseyP has helpfully provided his source code to setup a bot of your own. Happy tweeting!