Senators Praise Comcast's Telephony Plans


Comcast Corp. won praise Tuesday from two U.S. senators for sticking with
promises to roll out local phone service and compete with the Baby Bells.

The pat on the back came in a three-page letter co-signed by Sen. Mike DeWine
(R-Ohio), chairman of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and
Consumer Rights, and Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), the panel's top Democrat.

The letter was a reply to assurances from Comcast president and CEO Brian
Roberts that some recent press reports had been incorrect in indicating that
Comcast would not make local phone service a priority.

"We were pleased to learn of your assurances that Comcast is committed to
maintain and expand its telephone offerings. We believe the cable-telephony
offerings by cable providers such as Comcast are essential to provide needed
competition to the incumbent local phone companies," the lawmakers said in their
letter to Roberts.

Comcast, the country's largest cable operator, ended the first quarter with
about 1.4 million phone customers, most of which were acquired with AT&T
Broadband last year, a Comcast source said.

Roberts offered his phone assurances in an April 15 letter to the senators. A
committee press aide said an entire copy of Roberts's letter would not be

However, in their letter, the senators quoted Roberts as saying, "Comcast's
commitment to make the telephone business successful has only grown stronger,"
and the MSO "will maintain and expand our phone service offerings as rapidly as