Comcast Extends Amnesty Period for Pirates


Comcast Corp. has decided to give cable pirates in Maryland, Virginia and
the District of Columbia another 15 days to fess up and pay up.

The MSO announced that in cooperation with law-enforcement officials in those
states, it is extending its amnesty program for those receiving unauthorized
cable services from June 15 until June 30.

Comcast said it extended the deadline due to the success of the program.

Those filching cable services can turn themselves in
with no questions asked by calling a toll-free number or logging onto
, where they can
sign up to become legitimate paying customers without facing any further legal
penalties. They can also turn in their illegal cable boxes to be replaced by
legal ones.

"We are very pleased to have such a great response to our amnesty program
throughout the Washington metro/Virginia region," regional senior vice president
Jaye Gamble said in a release.

"Unfortunately, there will be some people who continue to receive
unauthorized service once the amnesty period ends," he added. "As a result, we
will be conducting an electronic audit at that time and turning over leads to
the appropriate authorities."

The cable industry loses about $6.6 billion yearly from cable theft,
according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. About 80
percent of all illegal devices are able to tap into pay-per-view services,
further boosting the loss estimate.