News : Comcast Sweetens Philadelphia Deal
Philadelphia, PA, USA, Oct 30, 2015 -- In renewing its 15-year franchise with the city, Comcast Corp. has agreed to offer its low-income discount program to seniors and veterans, open a call center to handle Philadelphia subscriber problems, and pay penalties if customer service goals are not met.
The agreement, introduced Thursday in City Council, includes substantial concessions by Comcast, particularly in customer service. In other areas, the telecommunications provider pushed back on priorities laid out by Mayor Nutter.
"We got to a place where each party isn't necessarily getting the entire pie, but they have enough of what they want," said the city's chief innovation officer, Adel Ebeid, who led the negotiating team.
The group met with its counterparts at Comcast for a session Wednesday that stretched until 4 a.m. the next morning. The bill introduced Thursday will be vetted at a Nov. 12 Council hearing, with the goal of an agreement being signed by year's end.
Comcast spokesman Jeff Alexander said in a statement that the company was pleased to see progress and looking forward to finalizing "an agreement that is satisfactory to the city, Comcast, and our customers, and enables us to continue investing and innovating in Philadelphia." He offered no details.
At stake are four franchises, each covering different sections of the city, that allow the company access to the public right-of-way, including space under streets to install wires. All have expired, but the terms are in effect until new agreements are signed. The deals are nonexclusive, and other providers, including Verizon FiOS and satellite-TV companies, compete with Comcast throughout the city.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Comcast Corporation, founded in 1963, is a cable operator in the United States, providing cable television, broadband Internet, and telephone service to both residential and commercial customers. Comcast is headquartered in the One Comcast Center in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Published: Monday, November 2, 2015