Finally, in minute 35, a rep named Lisa answered my call. She was caught by surprise, however.
Turns out when you go through the push-button options at Comcast to inform them your telephone service has problems -- including the press 3 for phone trouble option -- and then wait on hold for 35 minutes, you are not connected to someone who can help you. She has to transfer you to a tech.
Three minutes later someone named Marie picked up. I explained my problem.
Then I was disconnected.
One minute later Marie called back to tell me my bad line was working properly. It was still dead on my end, however. She seemed puzzled and said she will reset my modem. Then I heard silence. "What will happen next?" I asked. No response. The next thing I heard was a dial tone.
This time she didn't call me back.
At this point, I went to my basement and fiddled with my modem. Turns out, the problem was there and I got my phones working again. But that is scarcely the point. Many customers are surely ill-equipped for troubleshooting and require the assistance of the people who are supposed to be giving assistance.
Losing cable TV is incovenient. Losing broadband is worse. But losing phone service is potentially catastrophic. Thank God I happen to have a cell phone and another digital landline that works. But some people don't. It is simply inexcusable -- i.e., there is no excuse -- for a phone company to fail repeatedly in the routine servicing of its customers.
How long will it be before someone is killed by an intruder, or dies of a heart attack, or loses a house to a fire, because their phone line is dead and they can't get it fixed and they can't dial 911? Not long. And when it happens, you will not have any difficulty finding who is responsible. Just follow the trail of blood. It will lead to a greedy corporate beast that simply cannot digest what it so ravenously swallows. Comcast admits (see post titled "Mea Culpa?") that due to its rapid growth it cannot adequately service what it sells -- but is working very, very hard to do so.
That will not do. If you cannot reliably maintain phone service, you are morally and ethically responsible to exit the business -- just as you were morally and ethically corrupt for entering it.
Comcast must die, before somebody else does.