Comcast Starts Billing For Digital Adapters
Customers to be Charged $1.99 Per Month Going Forward
Comcast finished their digital conversion in 2012 after starting it in 2009, and had been giving users a free digital converter so they could continue to watch programming without interruption. FCC rules mandated that each home get two free converters, after which users were charged $1.99 each per month. Those converters are no longer free. The Philadelphia Inquirer
notes that Philly users are all now being charged $1.99 for the adapters, and Comcast will be charging other markets the same fee moving forward. Comcast deployed 23 million of the devices during the conversion; the move potentially boosting Comcast revenue $550 million a year.
writes in to specify how this is a very shady move on the part of Comcast:
First, Comcast saved billions by doing the digital migration vs. expanding the capacity of the plant. As noted, they got customers to go along by offering the 2 free DTAs. Now they'll become a source of hundreds of millions a year in revenue. The boxes are also so cheap that it will quickly become pure profit. Of course customers have no ability to buy these boxes at retail or directly from Comcast.
Then we have the whole clear qam issue. Anyone with a modern tv would be able to use their qam tuner to access the channels the DTA makes available without the box, but Comcast is encypting the basic channels. Once again to save them money. This time on truck rolls to install/remove filters and theft of service. But the customer is being forced to pay for their money saving plan.
Finally, the $1.99 highlights the scam Comcast is pulling to circumvent the FCC's "goal" of customer owned equipment. Regular digital STBs from Comcast now push $10. Comcast claims $7.50 of that is a "digital outlet" charge. So under FCC rules that require them to give a credit for customers who own their own equipment and get a cablecard, Comcast provides a credit of $2.50 per device. The scam is that Comcast claims on the $1.99 DTA charge that the "digital outlet" pqart is $1.49. If you are a digital started customers you get the same exact channels on a DTA vs regular STB for additional TV. The difference is the highly inflated digital outlet portion. The purpose appears to be to find a loophole around the FCC's rule and make the credit for cablecard customers as low as possible since it only covers the equipment portion. This makes the price so similar that for most customers it's not worth the high upfront cost of buying what little equipment is on the market.
97 comments .. click to read
|reply to BiggA |
There's several issues I brought up in the Comcast forum when this first surfaced.
With all of the DTAs purchased, Comcast saved billions of dollars by going the digital migration route instead of upgrading all plants to 1 ghz or more. They also saved money by getting the FCC to give a waiver on the separable security mandate for the DTAs.
Now that they have a huge install base hooked on them, they go for an easy profit stream. After the year or so it will take to break even on the wholesale cost, Comcast will be making 100% on the millions of these deployed in the field every single month.
The worst part is they are so cheap but we have no way to purchase them out right. Customers are going to be paying for them many times over through a DTAs lifetime.
Then they could allow customers who have QAM tuners in their tvs to watch the channels a DTA decrypts without a box but they are eliminating Clear QAM to keep from having to install filters and cut down on theft of service. Another money saving tactic that they are making the customer pay for by having to rent a DTA instead of letting their TV do the work.
Also, Comcast has stated the charge consists of 50 cents for the DTA and $1.49 for a digital outlet. This shows perfectly how much of a scam the whole "digital outlet" charge is. It's clearly been designed as a system to work around the FCC's customer owned equipment rule. Since Comcast has to issue a credit for the equipment part of the charge for these customers.
Oh no customer, we're only charging you $2.50 for the equipment. It doesn't matter if it's an SD, HD or DVR box. The equipment is just $2.50. It's the "outlet" that you are paying $7+ for.
Yet here we see the outlet charge is only $1.49. It's the same outlet and if you have digital starter, the same channels.
Since the difference in price is so minimal between renting an STB and the credit you get for owning, this also incentivises customers to stick with the Comcast leased equipment vs buying their own and using a cablecard. This is certainly not what the FCC intended.
|reply to KrK |
Re: I returned mine and and had $2 pulled from the bill
said by KrK:Before I retired and was working 60 hr weeks and on call 24 x 7 I probably wouldn't have taken the time and energy to correct this. But now that I have free time, I follow up on these small ripoffs and fight them.
Wonder how many people who always are resigned to cable bill increases won't notice and just be paying from now until __________ for something they are not using.
Trust me, it will happen. Then will come the lawsuit(s)....
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasury.