Back in January we were the first to report
that Comcast was again doubling speeds on many of its tiers, starting first with the company's Midwest division. As noted then, upgraded Comcast users will see the company's "Performance" tier bumped from 25/5 to 50/5 Mbps, their "Blast" tier from 50/10 to 105/10 Mbps, and their Extreme 105 speeds bumped from 105/20 Mbps to 150/20 Mbps.
Since then, Comcast has been deploying the speed bumps and a market-by-market basis. There's a massive, ongoing thread in our Comcast forum
where users are cataloging which markets are seeing the upgrade.
According to an announcement by the company
, the speed upgrades this week arrived for users this week in Seattle, Colorado Springs, Portland, and Salt Lake City. The bumps come at no additional cost. Customers in these markets should see the speed increases automatically, but may want to reboot their modems if not.
“The speed of your Internet service is an important contributing factor to that experience and nationally, we've increased our Internet speeds 13 times in the last 12 years," crows Comcast in a release. "Today, about half of all our customers subscribe to speeds faster than 50 Mbps."
According to a 2003 class action lawsuit against Comcast, the cable giant's anti-competitive behavior in the Philadelphia area resulted in the company overcharging users to the tune of more than $875 million. The case has stumbled around the courts for several years now, though Comcast recently agreed to pay $50 million to settle the suit. The settlement gives roughly 800,000 current and former Comcast cable-TV subscribers in Pennsylvania $15 in credits, or Comcast services the value of which ranges from $30 to $43.90.
These services include "temporary Internet upgrades, six free pay-per-view movies, or two free months of the Movie Channel," notes the Phiadelphia Inquirer
Comcast Settlement 88281
In June of last year Comcast announced
that the company was launching a new, Fon-like effort that involved new router firmware that turns your gateway into a publicly-accessible hotspot. More specifically, updated routers would now offer two signals: one being yours, and the other being a "xfinitywifi" SSID signal providing free Wi-Fi to other Comcast users in your general area.
As noted earlier today
, a new coalition of companies and consumer groups have emerged to lobby for the rejection of "Mega Comcast's" acquisition of Time Warner Cable, arguing that the deal hurts competition and innovation and will raise prices across a number of sectors, from broadband/TV. In a blog post
today, Comcast responded to the group, complaining that they're being unfairly targeted.
AT&T has had their wrist slapped by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Better Business Bureau for not being entirely honest when it comes to the availability of the company's 45 Mbps U-Verse tier. While AT&T started offering a 45 Mbps U-Verse tier last year, as we noted at the time it's not available to all U-Verse subscribers
, depending on your loop length, the availability of an extra copper pair, or the quality of local copper.
As part of the company's attempt to shore up lagging customer service (or to at least shore up the perception of lagging customer service) Comcast today unveiled a new app that will let customers track where a technician currently is located. Waiting all day for a technician that never shows up is a large reason for the cable industry's abysmally low customer satisfaction rankings, and Comcast and their new "Customer Experience" VP Charlie Herrin hopes the new app helps to change that. story continues..
Charter board member and minority stake holder John Malone says that he'd push to have Charter Communications make another pass at Time Warner Cable if regulators block Comcast's attempted acquisition. "Oh yes," Malone said
when asked if a Charter buy would still be on the table in such a scenaior. "That said, we're happy with the deal that was negotiated. In many ways it's a better deal than going after 100% of Time Warner Cable." To get regulatory approval, Comcast's current deal involves spinning off 2.5 million subscribers
to create a company named Greatland Communications that's co-owned by Comcast and Charter.
Comcast says their merger with Time Warner Cable is on schedule despite potential new legal skirmishes over net neutrality rules. While Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus recently stated the deal was taking longer than he expected
, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts insists that the deal is still on schedule to meet its early 2015 completion projection. That's assuming that regulators don't block the deal, something most analysts don't see as likely. "We are in the final stages of public comment," states Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. "Sometimes things get slowed down in that phase," Roberts said, but "we are full steam ahead."
Last month reports emerged
suggesting that policy folk and lawyers at larger ISPs like AT&T and Comcast were annoyed with Verizon for suing the FCC and successfully overturning the agency's net neutrality rules. Those rules, as we've noted repeatedly, omitted wireless and didn't really do much of anything outside banning the outright blocking of websites (something ISPs have no interest in).
Several weeks ago, I wrote about
how the new NBA TV rights deal would likely raise everyone’s cable bill whether you watch the NBA or not. But slowly, TV providers are realizing that customers have in fact had enough with paying for absurdly expensive regional sports networks that only a minority of customers actually watch.
During the recent rash of Comcast horror stories, Tim Lee posted this piece
exploring what it's like visiting one of Comcast's service centers which, much like the company's historically-bad phone support, isn't a particularly enjoyable experience. Comcast's now eliminating the need for you to visit one of their 500 service centers in order to return gear, striking a new deal with UPS that lets to drop off your equipment at most UPS locations. According to the announcement
, you can drop off your equipment and they'll wrap and ship it back to Comcast at no additional charge. Comcast states this new effort is "just one example of the work Comcast is doing to rethink every aspect of the customer experience."
Comcast this week stated that the cable giant has deployed around 5 million of the company's shiny new "X1" set top boxes after beginning the deployment two years ago. Comcast says they're on target to have X1's in the majority of homes within the next three years
, though that doesn't include potentially-acquired Time Warner Cable customers who are getting new set tops of their own
. Comcast's 5 million deployed X1's are only a fraction of the company's 22.3 million video subscribers, however. Comcast states that those customers on X1 are 20% less likely to leave the company.
Comcast's latest earnings
indicate the company's third-quarter net income jumped nearly 50% courtesy of income tax "adjustments," leading to profits of $2.59 billion on revenue of $16.79 billion on the quarter. Comcast lost 81,000 net video subscribers on the quarter, but managed to add 315,000 broadband users and 68,000 voice users. Those voice additions are down from 169,000 the previous quarter, and most analysts expect voice totals to slow then start to reverse as users look for ways to reduce soaring TV costs (read: cut digital voice and go cell only). The average Comcast customer bill climbed 4% to $137.24 per month, largely courtesy of early 2014 price hikes for most users.
The FCC today announced that the regulatory agency is pausing the 180-day "shot clock" on both the Comcast/Time Warner Cable and AT&T/DirecTV mergers. According to the FCC's order
, eight content companies including Disney, Time Warner, CBS, Twenty First Century Fox and Viacom raised opposition to competitors and other companies being able to see confidential carriage agreement details, even though companies that view this information must sign non-disclosure agreements.
The National Advertising Division (NAD) is telling CenturyLink to stop lying
when they compare their Internet speeds versus those offered by Comcast. As noted previously NAD is essentially an industry self-regulatory firm that avoids regulatory intervention by settling marketing disputes in house.
At the tail end of September I noted
how Comcast had hired a new VP of "Customer Experience," Charlie Herrin. Herrin was monumentally tasked with shoring up Comcast's dismal customer satisfaction reputation and being the face of damage control for what seems like an endless stream of consumer missteps.
Quite some time before 1 Gbps fiber to the press release
became the industry PR trend du jour, Comcast had started offering a 505 Mbps down, 100 Mbps up tier
. The tier isn't cheap -- it runs users around $300 a month, comes with a $1,000 ETF, a $250 activation fee, and
a $250 installation fee.
is running a unique Comcast complaint story in which an individual claims he was fired for simply complaining about Comcast service. According to the story, the individual spent years battling the kind of service issues and errant billing mistakes Comcast is well known for, including receiving and being billed for $1,820 in equipment he never asked for.
The FCC has announced that they've extended the comment period for Comcast's $45 billion proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable and paused the "shot clock" on the review. According to the FCC announcement
, the agency has extended the comment period for interested parties until October 29. The FCC notes that Comcast and Time Warner Cable belatedly filed a 850-page document supporting the deal, and the agency wanted to provide all parties time to digest the filing and respond. The agency also paused their 180 day shot clock limit on making a decision on the deal, currently on day 85. The agency also made it easier to comment on the deal by creating a ComcastTWCMerger@fcc.gov you can use to file your thoughts.
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