Comcast Responds to Hotspot Lawsuit

We told you this morning that Comcast is being sued in federal court over its Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot program, which piggybacks on customers’ residential routers to provide Internet service to other customers who are out and about.

Late this afternoon, the company sent a statement to Philly Mag on the subject:

“We disagree with the allegations in this lawsuit and believe our Xfinity WiFi home hotspot program provides real benefits to our customers,” the company said in the release. “We provide information to our customers about the service and how they can easily turn off the public WiFi hotspot if they wish”

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Comcast “One of America’s Most Community-Minded Companies”

Here’s the good news:

For the second consecutive year, Comcast NBCUniversal was recognized today as one of America’s most community-minded companies by , an annual initiative that identifies and recognizes companies for their commitment to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business. The company also ranked first among its communications industry peers. Points of Light, the largest organization in the world dedicated to volunteer service, conducted the survey in partnership with Bloomberg LP. All companies with $1 billion in revenue or more are invited to apply for The Civic 50

The Comcast Foundation has donated more than $18 million in 2014 to nonprofit organizations in the communities it serves nationwide, and since 1999, it has donated nearly $158 million. In addition to the grants from the Comcast Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal also responds to community needs through local sponsorships and in-kind support, such as airing public service announcements, employee volunteerism, and providing technology equipment and services to organizations across the country.

Unfortunately, we’re compelled also to recall the New York Times’ story last February pointing out that Comcast’s philanthropy often has the effect of building support for its private initiatives — like, say, its merger with Time Warner Cable — though Comcast’s David Cohen pooh-poohs the notion.

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Stop Mega Comcast Coalition Forms to, Uh, Stop Comcast

Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Opposition to the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger has been in no short supply. But that dissent seems to be coalescing a bit with the formation yesterday of the Stop Mega Comcast coalition, which pools the voices of several organizations that have previously expressed concerns about the union of the country’s two biggest cable outfits.

The group, which includes Dish Network, Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, Writers Guild of America West, the Rural Broadband Association, the Future of Music Coalition, the Sports Fan Coalition and Public Knowledge, among others, has come together to encourage the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to reject the merger.

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Forbes: Flyers 7th-Most Valuable Team in NHL

Comcast has a few quirky items in its portfolio. Comcast Ventures backs a sports gambling site. Comcast owns theme parks based on a fictional boy wizard. The company also owns a ticketing company that is worse than Ticketmaster.

But the strangest business Comcast owns has to be the Philadelphia Flyers, a hockey team that usually does pretty well — but hasn’t won the Stanley Cup in almost 40 years, and sometimes still seems to be stuck in the 1970s. But not in how much the team is worth! Yesterday, Forbes posted its annual valuations of NHL teams, and the Flyers are the 7th-most valuable team in professional hockey.

Forbes values the Flyers at $625 million, based on revenue of $136 million last season and an operating income of $11 million.

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5 Reasons We Should All Be Thankful for Comcast


This holiday season there are plenty of reasons to give thanks. Sure, there are challenges that we face. But the economy is rebounding. People are more educated. Our standard of living has never been higher. Poverty is at an historical low. Life expectancy is at an historical high. Natural disasters are killing fewer people. Fewer are dying in wars. And, of course, we have Comcast.

Yes, you haters, Comcast. We have Comcast. The media and entertainment giant that people love to hate. The company that, with just a brief mention of its name, turns seemingly reasonable, charitable, kind and loving human beings into angry, violent lunatics. The company that is the butt of 78.53% of the jokes on late night TV. The prime example of what customer service should not be. The target of lawsuits and scathing blog posts. People just love to hate Comcast.

Well, you can deservedly blame Comcast for a lot of things. But when you watch the Eagles this Thanksgiving, look up a recipe for pumpkin pie online or just make a simple phone call to Grandma because you didn’t feel like going over the river and through the woods this year, you can thank Comcast. And be grateful. Because Comcast is doing great things. Don’t believe me? Here are five things Comcast did … just this past month!

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Comcast’s New App Will Tell You When Tech Is Coming


Comcast has always had customer service issues — this is putting it lightly — but never has it been easier to share stories of bad Comcast service and spread them online (using high-speed Internet service with XFINITY® from Comcast!).

This summer, a customer was left on hold for three hours until Comcast closed. In October, a man said he was fired from his job after he complained about Comcast service.

To perhaps try to stem the tide, Comcast has launched an app that allows you to track the contractor coming for a service visit.

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Comcast: Are Vultures Circling the Merger?

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

OK, so it’s probably a bit much to say the vultures are circling over the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. After all, the “vulture” in question is John Malone of Charter — the guy who originally was trying to buy Time Warner before Comcast swooped in — and he still gives Comcast’s efforts an 80 percent chance of succeeding.

Only thing: Those odds are less impressive than they used to be.

Deadline Hollywood reports:

Liberty Media Chairman John Malone hasn’t lost his lust for Time Warner Cable. That’s the unmistakable message he delivered today at Liberty’s Investor Day gathering when he was asked whether Charter — where he’s the top shareholder — would take another run at TWC if its current $45 billion deal with Comcast falters. “Hell yes,” Malone said, reaffirming his reputation as one of media’s most reliable straight shooters. The answer could be important: A small, but growing, group of investors question whether the Comcast-TWC deal will survive FCC and Justice Department scrutiny.

Multichannel News adds:

Liberty Media chairman John Malone said he would pursue Time Warner Cable again if Its current deal with Comcast is rejected by regulators.  However, he noted that his current arrangement with both companies is probably the best outcome.   “Oh yes,” Malone said in an immediate response to a question in whether he would want Charter Communications to restart its pursuit of Time Warner Cable in the absence of a Comcast deal. “That said, we’re happy with the deal that was negotiated. In many ways it’s a better deal than going after 100% of Time Warner Cable.”

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SOLD: NBC Universal CEO’s Rittenhouse Home


Photo: Drew Callaghan

Steve Burke, the “still handsome” former COO of Comcast and now CEO of NBC Universal, has finally sold his exquisite home at 1817 Delancey Street — or it’s under contract, at any rate.

Burke bought the six-bedroom townhome with elevator and two-car garage in 2010 for $5.85 million from Acorn Development, which had purchased the home in 2004 for $2.45 million, renovated it, and listed it for $6.6 million. When he decided to put the home up for sale in 2013, the first asking price was $5.6 million, but that was reduced to $5.2 million and then $4.75 million.

Gallery below.

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Comcast and the “Digital Divide”

Photo | Jeff Fusco

Photo | Jeff Fusco

The Financial Times over the weekend had one of the better articles we’ve seen offering an overview of the Comcast-Time Warner merger, net neutrality, and how the two issues seem to intertwine.

“What is clear is that the FCC faces two important decisions: how to proceed on net neutrality and whether to approve Comcast’s takeover,”  FT’s David Crow writes. “Both have huge implications for broadband in the US, and will affect a swath of media and telecoms groups, as well as millions of consumers – including those on the wrong side of the digital divide.”

Three takeways from that piece:

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