Anaheim, Calif. -- Comcast Corp. CEO Brian Roberts, the sole panelist at the
Western Show's opening general session here Wednesday, was blunt about the
challenges of fixing the AT&T Broadband systems he bought.
He noted that AT&T Broadband bled 525,000 subscribers in the past year,
while Comcast picked up about 75,000.
"We're going to rebuild those systems. That's job No. 1," he said.
While some investors may want Comcast to hold off on big capital investments
in order to drive up its stock price, Roberts said that's not the plan. "We will
not hold back on capital spending," he added, although he stressed that
improving margins and enhancing the "customer experience" remain key
Roberts also warned attendees about the dangers of signal piracy, noting that
the industry needs to develop products that protect content. "The world of the
bad guys is moving as fast as the good guys," he said.
The post-merger AT&T Broadband-Comcast was originally to be called
AT&T Comcast. Roberts surprised some attendees when he said it was former
AT&T Corp. CEO C. Michael Armstrong's idea to drop the AT&T brand and
call the company Comcast Corp., noting that it'll reduce confusion when Comcast
and AT&T eventually compete in telephony.
Moderator Bill Griffeth of CNBC ended the session by asking Roberts if he was
king of the world. "We're king of the borrowed world," responded Roberts, whose
company has about $30 billion in debt.