Comcast’s New Wireless Phone Service Might Be a Hit

General views at the Comcast Xfinity Store Thursday, June 1, 2017, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Fusco/AP Images for Comcast)

When Comcast launched wireless service Xfinity Mobile back in May, a big question for analysts was whether the cable giant could actually gain ground in the hypercompetitive wireless market. Now new information from an unnamed source close to the matter suggests that Xfinity Mobile has in fact managed to attract a significant number of users.

The source told Bloomberg last week that Xfinity Mobile has attracted about 200,000 subscribers in less than five months. While the figure itself doesn’t represent “gangbuster sales” as Bloomberg notes, it’s a sign that Comcast’s lower prices give it an upper hand in the competitive cellular market. Comcast declined to comment on the figure to Philadelphia magazine.  Read more »

Is Comcast’s New Instant TV Service Worth It?

L: Xfinity Instant TV on a TV set (screenshot). R: Xfinity Instant TV on a mobile device (courtesy photo).

Everybody panic: Netflix will jack up its prices yet again. Next month, some subscribers will have to pay one to two more dollars to access content on the streaming platform. Meanwhile, broadcast and cable networks like Disney are removing their content from services like Netflix, to develop copycat offerings of their own.

Enter Comcast: The telecom giant officially (and quite furtively) launched Xfinity Instant TV last week — its own version of a TV streaming platform.

Right off the bat, the service is only available to Comcast Internet subscribers. The limitation makes it clear that Comcast is going after “cord cutters” — those who previously gave up on cable — or “cord nevers,” those who have consistently held off on signing up.

For $18 per month, Instant TV gives customers a collection of about a dozen live TV channels, including all the major broadcast networks like ABC, CBS, CW, Fox, NBC, PBS, and Telemundo. But top cable networks like ESPN, MTV and Comedy Central, are only available through add-on packages that cost $10 to $30 more per month. And Premium channels like Starz and HBO are only available for an additional $12 and $15, respectively.  Read more »

Comcast Just Rolled Out Internet Essentials to Peirce College Students

Image courtesy of Peirce College.

This week, Peirce College officially became the first Philadelphia-area higher education school to partner with Comcast on Internet Essentials. The school’s students, many of whom are working adults, are now eligible for the low-cost internet service and affordable computers.

To be eligible, participants must be currently enrolled at Peirce classes and live within the Comcast footprint. The program includes 15/2 Mbps internet for $9.95 per month plus tax, access to low-cost computers for $149.99 plus tax, free in-home WiFi, and 40 hours of access to Xfinity WiFi hotspots per month. Read more »

Two Big-Deal Chefs Will Open Restaurants at the New Comcast Tower

Greg Vernick (left) and Jean-Georges Vongerichten (right)

Three years ago.

That was the last time anybody was really talking about anything restaurant-related at the new Comcast Technology Center, the sky-scraping giant currently getting built out at 18th and Arch Streets. The last we heard, two restaurants were planned for the building — one at the top, attached to the new Four Seasons Hotel, and the other at the base.

Today, a Comcast representative confirmed the two chefs getting involved.  Read more »

Comcast, SAP Make Fortune Best Workplaces for Women List

The U.S. has ways to go when it comes to conditions for working women — we’re far behind on equal pay and paid leave, for example — but some companies have made notable strides on these issues at their workplaces. Last week, Great Places to Work and Fortune, released the 2017 100 Best Workplaces for Women list that included three Philadelphia-area companies — Goodway Group, SAP, and Comcast.

Ranked the highest on the list is Jenkintown-based advertising and marketing company Goodway Group at No. 14. With 413 employees, one surveyed said, “Goodway Group is a tech company that is over 75 percent women. We work from home so we’re able to have a very healthy balance of work and life.” She added, “I’ve been at Goodway for about four and a half years, and, in that time frame, I’ve been able to get married and now am expecting my third child this year.” And with so many women at the company, 66 percent of women there are in executive or manager positions.  Read more »

Comcast CEO Roberts Says Company in “Great Shape” Despite Stock Drop

Brian L. Roberts. Image via YouTube.

Comcast’s TV business has a hit a few rough patches this quarter, but at a conference this week, CEO Brian Roberts tried to cool investor anxieties, saying Comcast is in “great shape.”

The CEO admitted that the company has hit a “competitive patch” this quarter, which was compounded by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida. Comcast’s stock tumbled nearly 8 percent last week when Matthew Strauss, the company’s vice president of Xfinity services, disclosed that Comcast might lose 100,000 to 150,000 cable TV subscribers in its third quarter due to the hurricanes and increased competition in the cable TV space. The drop is the company’s biggest one-day decline in six years.  Read more »

It’s Official: YouTube Now Available on Comcast’s X1

Courtesy photo.

Just when you thought X1 couldn’t get any better, Comcast reminds you it’s possible.

For all you X1 customers out there, the cable giant has followed through on its deal with Google to bring YouTube to your set-top box. All of YouTube’s programming is now easily accessible at the sound of your voice via the X1 remote.

On Tuesday, Comcast and Google announced the arrangement (which we first talked about in February). As cord-cutting remains a real threat for the cable giant, the deal cleverly boosts X1’s platform with YouTube’s billions of videos. As for Google, it’ll get way more eyeballs on YouTube content as digital platforms face pressure to grow viewership. Read more »

Why Comcast Wants to Sell You Solar Panels

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Comcast and residential solar installer Sunrun announced on Thursday that they launched a 40-month partnership to provide consumers with rooftop solar energy panels. Following the announcement, stock of San Francisco-headquartered Sunrun surged 11 percent Thursday afternoon.

You’re probably wondering what Comcast, the country’s biggest cable TV company, has to do with clean energy, but recall, as Comcast continues to pick up cable subscribers, it’s picking up customers in its Xfinity Home business, too. Last year, the company said it had more than 500,000 Xfinity Home subscribers as it continues to make acquisitions in the home security and automation space to bring consumers more smart home capabilities. Rooftop solar energy — a market projected to nearly triple in size in the U.S. by 2025 — will compliment the Xfinity Home’s offerings. Read more »

Comcast Promised to Expand Philly’s Low-Cost Internet—But Now It’s Not Showing Proof

Left to right: Mayor Kenney, David L. Cohen, Darrell Clarke and Internet Essentials spokeswoman Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Photo by Fabiola Cineas.

Last week, Comcast announced that 9,700 more families in Philadelphia have enrolled in Internet Essentials — the company’s low-cost service for low-income residents — since the start of last school year, bringing the total number of families to 31,000. But local broadband advocates say that Comcast isn’t forking over information necessary to prove that the company is keeping the Internet Essentials promises it made in a 2015 cable franchise agreement with the city government.

“With the franchise agreement, we pushed Comcast to do more to help low-income families and seniors, to bridge the digital divide with Internet Essentials as a vehicle,” said Councilman Bobby Henon, who led the franchise agreement negotiations with Comcast as chair of City Council’s public property committee. “In side letters, we got them to say they would broaden eligibility so that more people can get online, but we haven’t seen any numbers since then that speak to the status or effectiveness of these specific expansions.”

When Comcast first rolled out Internet Essentials in Philadelphia, applicants, in order to be considered eligible, had to have at least one child who qualified for free school lunch under the National School Lunch Program. But in its 2015 negotiations with the city, Comcast agreed to conduct a pilot program to extend Internet Essentials to low-income seniors who are not connected to the Internet. Read more »

Comcast Just Launched Gigabit Internet Service in Philly

Comcast customers in the Philadelphia region now have access to gigabit Internet service, the company announced on Monday.

One-gigabit-per-second internet has been all the rage over the last few years as Internet Service Providers say customers can do more with the faster speed. For example, the service allows users to stream high-definition video content with fewer delays and little buffering or play games with high-quality video over a more stable connection. Video conferencing via services like Skype is smoother and having multiple users signed on to an internet network doesn’t mean more interruptions or slower browsing speeds across connected devices. Read more »

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