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Comcast proposes $10 broadband in return for NBC merger OK

updated 12:20 pm EST, Mon December 27, 2010

Comcast tells FCC NBC deal brings cheap broadband

Comcast in a letter to the FCC (PDF) has proposed that it might offer very low-cost broadband Internet access as part of the approval of its NBC merger. The company suggested that it would give access to its usually unpublished Economy speeds for $10 per month to any household making $20,000 or less per year. They would skip installation fees and could even get a refurbished netbook or similar device as well as computer training.

Expansion would be a focus, as it would pass 400,000 new homes over the next three years. Other conditions would simply involve preserving "hyperlocal" content on the web as well as public access channels and TV.

The promises are relatively mild and wouldn't necessarily have much impact. Any household that would qualify would both have to be in a position to afford $120 per year and to have at least one child in the No Student Left Behind program. As such, childless and empty-nest couples as well as singles would be forced to pay regular prices that, even at promotional pricing, are twice as expensive.

The extra reach would be comparatively insignificant. Comcast currently has about 16.7 million Internet subscribers and would expand its reach by just 2.3 percent over the next three years, making the promise effectively the result of its existing deployment plans rather than any special gesture.

FCC officials haven't commented on whether they would accept the proposal or extend the conditions, but most of its terms are believed to center around net neutrality and fair distribution of video rather than providing broadband to low income families or to more homes. [via BBR]

by MacNN Staff



  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Well, that will settle that. Some cheap broadband for those under the poverty line so you can gouge all your other customers, and add in some unilateral demands from other video providers.

    And I'd like to know how many of these households making $20,000/year or less have the resources to even afford a computer, let alone $10 a month for broadband?

    Oh, and like all things else Comcast, I'm sure the price doesn't include 'extras' like the $5/month for the cable modem, $2.50 for each email address, $4 a month access fee if you actually decide to use the internet, etc, etc, etc.

    But I can hear the gov't idiots loving this, since they seem to stress this whole 'a wire to every house' thing, as if all you needed was the internet connection and nothing else.

    Other conditions would simply involve preserving "hyperlocal" content on the web as well as public access channels and TV.

    Wow! Hyperlocal content! From Comcast! I'm sure the front page story every day is "FCC restricts your right to quality video and internet by denying NBC merger!"

    And aren't those public access channels already a requirement for their cable service? Although maybe they'll offer to put the PA channels back on 'basic' cable rather than digital cable, where so many have seemed to move.

  1. Paradise Pete

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Testudo's comment sums it up quite well. Nothing but a PR ploy on Comcast's part.

  1. nitewing98

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Uh, Yeah

    Like Comcast needs an excuse to gouge customers. What they're offering won't cost them a dime, more than likely, and has the potential to increase their revenue marginally (I pay $120/mo, they're talking $120/yr). I've read that their CEO made $27 million last year, so it's not like they're hurting.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    public access channels

    are almost as antiquated as public pay phones, and far less useful. I used to be in favor of requiring them, however with YouTube public access TV channels are a complete relic and cable operators should not be required any longer to provide them. Hardly anyone watches them and the quality of the programming is just awful.

  1. B9bot

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Comcast owning a Broadcast station is a BAD IDEA!

    And Comcast little fish hook for $10 internet access isn't going to help either. The minute they get NBC they'll increase the rate by 80% and what used to be free on the internet from NBC will now cost to much!

    FCC, please don't approve this merger as it is a bad idea!!!!

    They already throttle there content so any speed you get is throttled back anyways so you never get what you pay for.

  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Content Providers Should Be Separate from the Pipe

    Content providers should be separate from the delivery system. Otherwise, content providers would have incentive to give themselves an unfair advantage. This is especially true for monopolies such as Comcast. Heck, if it was up to me, the telcoms and cable companies could only provide the pipes and have to rent out their networks to those who'd offer Internet service. That would not only create a lot more competition, but eliminate the whole net neutrality debate. Net neutrality comes up because Telcoms and Cablecos want to push their services over those of their rivals. If they can't offer Internet service directly, there wouldn't be any problem.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: public access channels

    Public access channels in the sense of "I'm Bob. And welcome to People who Pissed Bob off this week!" are beyond useless (and I never understood the reason for their existence).

    Public access in the sense of C-Span and the like, esp. at the local level, are a lot more useful. If, for no other purpose, than to at least have the thought of some transparency in government.

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