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Comcast digital upgrade almost complete in Chicago

Written by James Delahunty @ 07 Apr 2007 7:17 User comments (3)

Comcast digital upgrade almost complete in Chicago Comcast Corp. is almost finished a $400 million upgrade to its digital cable network in the Chicago area. The upgrade has been made to comply with a February 2009 deadline that requires all broadcasters to send signals in a digital format. Eric Schaefer, vice president of business development, said that Comcast will begin upgrading suburban areas after it completes city work.
Comcast customers that have basic service will need to exchange their analog set-top boxes for digital set-top boxes, but the cable company will not charge an additional fee or raise the rates for current analog customers. "The vast majority of our Chicago customers already have digital service, but for the customers with basic service, they will get a new box," he said.

The boxes can be picked up at a Comcast office or mailed to customers if requested. By removing thee analog signals from its network, Comcast will be able to increase programming choices. Two additional high definition channels will be offered in the coming months, bringing the total to 18 HD channels, but upgrade creates space for as many as 120 HD channels.

Chicago Tribune

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3 user comments

17.4.2007 19:56

They may not be charged extra now, but sooner or later Comcast is gonna want that $400 million back.

27.4.2007 22:25

and we found out this week our local cable company (Insight) was bought out by Comcast

and yeah i am sure rates will go up sooner or later

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Apr 2007 @ 10:26

38.4.2007 09:53

The reason that the City of Chicago is first to be going all digital is that Chicago holds the record for theft of cable services. Comcast spends at least $400,000,000 per year to repair the damage done by people who illegally splice into the cable infrastructures to receive free analog cable services. The reason the costs of cable theft are so high is that all other services provided, High-Speed Data, and telephone service depend on a well maintained infrastructure.
The overall effect of providing all digital service is a long-term windfall for Comcast since their cost to provide digital services is far less than to provide than analog service to their customers. If you expect Comcast to pass along these savings, don’t hold your breath. A similar case was when AT&T introduced “Touch-Tone” at an additional cost to their customers when it was far less expensive to provide “Touch-Tone” than “Rotary-Dial” services. The only thing which will bring the high cost of cable services down to a reasonable level is competition on a level playing field. Giving the track record in Illinois of government and regulatory corruption, it wouldn’t be a safe bet to hold your breath waiting for healthy competition either.

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