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November 19, 2010

Comcast Trickery: Keeping the Numbers Up

I got an interesting, unsolicited call from a Comcast salesperson yesterday. I only stayed on the line at first because I thought I had forgotten to pay the bill or something. Before I could cut her off, the rep offered me 22 megabit service (an improvement from my current 6) for $1 less that I'm paying now. That works out to $59/month and no further contractual agreement would be needed. After some back and forth over the details I agreed to the deal. Seemed innocent enough.

I later tweeted about the exchange, taking particular delight in the exchange around whether new equipment would be needed, to which the rep had said, "Oh yessir, otherwise it would burn up your modem!"

Today I spotted a link to news about the mass of customers canceling their cable television service and I realized that there may be some trickery afoot that I didn't initially detect. You see, the package that I was sold included "20 basic cable channels for free."

When told that I informed the rep that I had purposely canceled my cable tv service 6 months ago. She acknowledged that fact readily, but insisted that I would get the "free" television service as part of the higher speed package and that it required no additional equipment or contractual obligations.

"So I just have to plug the cable straight into my television?"

"Yes."

Okay, I guess I'm fine with that. But am I? My choice to disconnect cable television did not solely reflect a personal desire to be more effective with my time. It was also a statement of rejection of cable television overall, since I favor a future where television content is streamed on demand and ala carte. Besides that cable news makes my head explode.

So anyway what do you want to bet that an important part of this Comcast campaign is artificially inflating the number of cable television subscribers? Or at least mitigating the drop? Seems to me that they'd be doing whatever possible right now to keep their numbers up.


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