This is the reason our Comcast service has been so lousy. Well, it's part of the reason. According to the tech who was here, there's still more wrong with our connection, but splicing out that little segment should make a difference. It was one of those "I'm surprised it works at all" problems.
Squirrels—self-propelled short circuits—don't conform to network guidelines. — Cliff Stoll, Silicon Snake Oil