NATOA Praises Comcast Broadband Pledge


The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors gave Comcast a shout-out this week for its commitment to provide low-cost broadband to low-income households and boost deployment to schools and libraries.
While it would like to see more specific commitments to PEG (Public, Educational, and Government)
programming, NATOA commended Comcast for its pledge to improve broadband employment and adoption.
Comcast has promised to provide high-speed Internet service to low-income households for $9.95 per month, with no intall or modem fees.
"NATOA continues to have concerns about the proposed merger and its potential effect on Public, Educational, and Government programming," the group said in a letter to the FCC. "While the company has stated its support for PEG services, we would like to see more concrete assurances that PEG channels will be treated in the same manner that local commercial channels....But, these concerns aside, we again voice our support for Comcast's desire to expand consumer access to news, information, and entertainment and offer to Comcast whatever services and assistance NATOA and its members can provide to make this shared goal a reality."

Comcast has also promised to "expand its existing network by at least 1,500 miles per year for the next three years
(2011, 2012, and 2013), making broadband Internet available to an estimated 400,000 additional homes" ; "upgrade for Internet service at least six additional rural communities in 2011"; and "provide an additional 600 courtesy video and high-speed Internet account locations (for schools, libraries, and other community institutions...over the next three years, at a rate of 200 additional locations per year."

It has also promised not to migrate PEG channels to a digital tier on any system until the system has converted to all-digital or a community agrees to digital delivery. That pledge mirrors one Comcast made to settle a lawsuit in Michigan over its planned PEG channel moves there.