Comcast Tries Self-Installs in S.F.

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Comcast has been conducting a trial of self-install kits among new phone-service buyers in the San Francisco Bay area, and the test is going well enough that the company anticipates offering the option to phone buyers in other Comcast cities within the next six months.

Self-installation has been offered on a test basis since April. Consumers are the ones who decide whether they are comfortable installing the service themselves or whether they should request service from a professional. Company officials declined to state how many consumers have opted for self-help during the test.

The consumer kit includes an enhanced digital cordless phone that has the ability to access Internet-based features, such as news, sports, horoscopes and weather content. The retail handsets were customized by VTech Holdings and the user interface is provided by Campbell, Calif.-based Casabi, a digital home-content and services provider, according to Charlie Douglas, director of corporate communications for Comcast digital voice services. The kit also includes a modem, a phone base station, extra wiring and a cable splitter.

The phone kit is just the latest self-service option by Comcast; the company has offered a self-install kit for its Internet services for about five years, and a year ago launched a video kit as well.

The next cities on the schedule for testing of self-install kits include Philadelphia, Denver, Boston and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Douglas said.

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