Can Comcast Cut Waits for The Cable Guy?

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As a consumer, nothing is more annoying than being told to wait for the cable guy during a ridiculously long window – yes, we’ll fix your system, but our repairman will arrive between noon and 4 p.m. When he’s then late, or doesn’t show up at all, smashing the set with a baseball bat sounds like a reasonable response.

Comcast, the nation’s largest cable operator, plans on easing the pain. Bloomberg is reporting that Comcast will shorten its repair and installation windows from as much as four hours to two hours, in all markets, by 2012. Comcast, according to the report, has already begun testing two-hours-or-less windows in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Salt Lake City.

Comcast is equipping its technicians with laptops and handheld devices to better manage their workflow. Though a two-hour wait still isn’t ideal – will cable companies ever join the rest of the world, and make time-specified appointments? – it may ease the drain on productivity caused by long cable waits. Come on, economists-researchers: if you can purport to measure what the NCAA basketball tournament and fantasy football costs the economy, can’t you quantify the costs of the tardy cable guy? We could be generating millions of dollars for the economy instead of sitting at home, waiting.

Some consumers are still skeptical of Comcast’s plan. “Comcast To Give Shorter Windows for Its Service Techs to Not Show Up At Your House” reads one headline on Consumerist.com, whose readers voted Comcast the “Worst Company in America” in 2010.

Can anyone in Lancaster, Salt Lake, or any other market vouch for the two-hour Comcast window?

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