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Comcast Attempts to Tie Broadband to Residential Cable TV

Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that Comcast is increasing residential cable modem charges on customers who do not also subscribe to cable TV. The article talks about a user in Berkeley, California who received a notice that indicates that Comcast will increase her bill for cable modem service from $43 to $57, a 25 percent increase.

A Comcast spokesman is reported to have characterized this price increase as an incentive. By this, we assume they mean that only those customers who pay for both cable television and broadband will get reasonably priced broadband service.

It's clear that Comcast is taking advantage of a number of trends in our current communications market to try to extract more revenue from existing customers:

  • lack of serious competition in residential broadband services,
  • hesitance of consumers to switch broadband providers, even when alternatives are available,
  • unwillingness of the FCC to police the residential cable and telecom markets and stop anti-competitive behavior.

We have to wonder why a residential customer in Berkeley doesn't jump to DSL immediately. Surely SBC offers residential DSL services there.

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