Comcast Says: We're Helping Parents

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Comcast Corp. wants policy makers to know that it has delivered on promises to help parents block programming inappropriate for their children.

Comcast Cable president Stephen Burke recently wrote key members of Congress and Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell to outline the steps his company has completed, after pledging action in a March 1 letter to the same group.

In the April 20 letter, Burke said Comcast installed a dedicated toll-free line that consumers can call to speak with a person trained to answer questions about parental controls. A reporter who checked the system in the mid-afternoon reached a Comcast employee in 10 seconds.

Burke also explained Web site upgrades and plans to include parental-control notices in subscriber bills in May and June.

Comcast also is rolling out short how-to videos on available blocking tools to digital-video and VOD customers.

Comcast and other MSOs have agreed to provide, without additional charge, "whatever equipment is necessary" for customers to have the ability to activate parental controls.

Burke said programming networks controlled by Comcast are using or will soon use the TV rating system on all programming, except news and sports. The rating system is critical to activating the V-chip in TVs.