For about half a week I have noticed that specific channels have been unavailable through my Comcast box. Over that period I have watched BBC World Service News go away, come back on Saturday morning, and be gone again later that day. This morning I noticed that Al Jazeera English had been lost, having been my primary alternative to BBC during these "troubles." There have also been some interesting examples of channels, such as BBC America and Showtime, which are unavailable but are accessible through their HD alternatives.
According to the Comcast Customer Service Web site, everything is in great shape. All they know is whether or not there is a signal for my set-top box to detect. They do not care about any of the specifics of that signal. At least through the automated phone service I have been able to confirm that this is a real problem; but, of course, no specifics are to be had. Given the current tenor of the times, it would not surprise me if this is all the result of some external hacking. (Is someone over at AT&T trying to bring down Comcast channel by channel?) What particularly interests me, however, is that this has all the earmarks of a problem with software confronting service technicians who are primarily trained in fixing hardware. Is it only a matter of time before the whole machine stops?