As the Internet has matured, becoming more like any other must-have utility you might have in your domicile, it's arguable that folks are far less likely to tolerate its absence than they might have been in its early years. Those who rely on Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) for their broadband connectivity might have had to watch TV or -- gasp! -- read a book last night, for the second time within a weeklong period.

There are certain things that we all take for granted these days -- things like electricity, phone, cable TV, and, increasingly, Internet access. I have to admit I go a bit mad whenever anything goes wrong with my Internet connectivity, since to me the Internet is just as important (maybe even more so) than TV or even the telephone for information and communication.

At any rate, a CNET article yesterday described some irate customers, and the more I asked around, the more I realized that lots of people around me not only have Comcast service but also dealt with some degree of irritation that their connectivity has been spotty over the last week or so.

And if you can ask around and hear the same story from a bunch of people, it's no wonder -- Comcast happens to be the largest provider of broadband Internet, with 7 million subscribers at the end of 2004.

As a Verizon (NYSE:VZ) DSL user (who gets endless pieces of mail inviting me to join Comcast's broadband service, since I do use Comcast for my cable TV), up until the last week or so I had always heard people say that they have had no problems with Comcast connectivity when I would ask for a little compare and contrast. Comcast's current problem, which the company says is a problem with its domain name servers, should be an isolated one -- otherwise, of course, the company could face some degree of backlash.

It's not out of line to wonder whether even stalwarts can suffer lapsed loyalty even for isolated incidents of poor performance -- some sketchiness on eBay's (NASDAQ:EBAY) part last fall caused some honest-to-goodness teeth-gnashing from longtime customers.

And Internet connectivity is no longer just an arena for entertainment or Web surfing -- technology has caused many of us to rely on home Internet connectivity to keep an eye on work concerns in our spare time, highlighting the importance of having access to the Internet during unorthodox hours.

After all, despite its already entrenched pool of cable TV customers, Comcast has been expanding its product lines to include everything from broadband to voice over Internet protocol, or VoIP, giving Verizon and other telecom providers a run for their money. (Indeed, Comcast already provides phone service to 1.2 million subscribers, according to its most recent annual report.)

Sure, we've grown accustomed to, say, lightning storms knocking out power or some such, and any of us might reasonably expect an occasional problem with Internet connectivity without getting too up in arms (although I would imagine customers forgive acts of nature much more than random failures, and are only forgiving for so long). To that end, random and repeated losses of Internet connectivity won't go over well with customers if this problem continues. And Comcast obviously has way too many plans afoot to risk losing any loyalty this way.

For more on Comcast and its growing initiatives, see the following recent Foolish content:

Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned.