Comcast Statement In Response To Digitial Transition Process

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COMCAST STATEMENT:  Attribution, Mary Beth Schubert, Vice President, Corporate Affairs

Comcast is working hard to make the digital transition process as seamless as possible for our Basic Cable customers.  We realize there has been some confusion in relation to the process and we apologize for any inconvenience.  The most important message at this time is for customers with older-style TV sets plugged directly into their cable outlet to order the necessary digital equipment by either calling

1-877-634-4434, or by going online at www.comcast.com/digitalnow.

The deployment of DTA technology allows us to bring more value to our customers through additional HD channels and faster internet speeds, both of which are used by the majority of our customers. These types of enhancements require significant investment, and we feel the nominal fee now being implemented for DTA additional outlet service on our digital tiers reflects the additional value of the service.

BASIC CABLE TIER CUSTOMERS (local broadcast stations, community access channels)

  • All Basic Cable customers utilizing older-style analog tuner TV sets will need to have a DTA device installed on those TVs prior the Basic Cable digital transition, which is scheduled to begin in March and will occur on a rolling area-by-area basis across our Twin Cities service area through mid-April.  The specific date of that transition in each area has been communicated to customers through a direct mail letter.
  • There is NO CHARGE for the first three DTA devices.  Additional DTA devices can be obtained at the cost of 50-cents each per month.  To order their necessary equipment, customers can call 1-877-634-4434, or order online at www.comcast.com/digitalnow.
  • HDTV customers:  Basic Cable customers utilizing a digital QAM tuner device – such as an HDTV set – in their home will not need a DTA on that device at this time.  However, they will eventually need to connect a digital device to their QAM tuner equipment at a future date as we implement additional network security features.  Customers will be provided complete information well before any additional measures take place.

DIGITAL STARTER TIER CUSTOMERS (our most popular tier of video service)

  • Existing legacy Digital Starter tier customers with DTA additional outlet service in their home have been paying the $1.99 additional outlet service fee for each additional outlet since their respective January, 2013, statement cycle.
  • This additional outlet service fee is being implemented to offset increasing programming and operational costs.
    • NOTE:  All digital-level customers were notified by letter about the possible need to add digital devices in their home to address those instances where older-style analog tuner TVs were connected to an additional outlet in order to watch Basic Cable tier channels.  After the digital transition in March – April, those TVs will not have access to these channels unless they are paying the $1.99 DTA additional outlet service fee.
    • This additional outlet service fee is being implemented to offset increasing programming and operational costs.  The deployment of DTA technology also allows us to bring more value to our customers through additional HD channels and faster internet speeds, both of which are used by the majority of our customers.
      • NOTE:  all multi-channel video service providers (Dish Network, DirecTV, AT&T, FiOS, etc.) already charge this type of additional outlet service fee.   Most are in the $5 – $7 range, as compared to Comcast’s $1.99 service fee.
  • HDTV customers:  if a Digital Starter customer has a digital QAM tuner device – such as an HDTV set – connected directly to a cable outlet in their home, they will continue to receive the Basic Cable tier channels ONLY, for the time being.  However, as in the Basic Cable tier scenario above, they will eventually need to connect a digital device to their QAM tuner equipment at a future date as we implement additional network security features.  Customers will be provided complete information well before any additional measures take place.

 

Why are you now charging an additional outlet service fee?

The deployment of DTA technology allows us to bring more value to our customers through additional HD channels and faster internet speeds, both of which are used by the majority of our customers. These types of enhancements require significant investment, and we feel the nominal fee now being implemented for DTA additional outlet service on our digital tiers reflects the additional value of the service.

Do customers with high-definition TVs need to do anything at this point?

No immediate action is necessary for Basic Cable or Digital Starter tier customers using an HDTV set featuring a digital QAM tuner on an additional outlet.  These customers will continue to have access to all Basic Cable channels – including HD broadcast stations on our lineup.  These customers will eventually need to connect a digital device to their QAM tuner equipment at a future date as we implement additional network security features.  Customers will be provided complete information well before any additional measures take place.

Why did you tell high-definition customers they needed to take action?

The communication that was originally sent to customers was specifically targeted at those subscribers using TVs with older-style analog tuners.  These customers will indeed lose access to the Basic Cable tier if they don’t have a DTA connected to their television prior to the digital-only transition date.  A message was included at the bottom of letters sent to customers addressing equipment with built-in digital tuners, such as high-definition TVs.

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