Comcast® Expands Services into Two Seattle Neighborhoods

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Comcast® will reportedly begin serving two neighborhoods in Seattle for the first time starting on August 18, 2018. The cable and internet services of Comcast® will become accessible for the Capitol Hill and First Hill residents. The cable giant says that they are moving into the neighborhoods since Seattle city lifted franchise restrictions 3 years ago. The restrictions previously limited the number of neighborhoods, which cable TV providers could serve. They were stipulated to serve all neighborhoods in a district but without encroaching on other franchise locations.

The franchise boundaries in the city were in place for a long time. They were also meant to limit rivalry between companies, said Bill Schrier a former CTO for Seattle. It is expensive to set up cable infrastructure and the thought was to motivate companies to move into city neighborhoods by making sure that they could get back the investment.

Only the US Federal government has the authority to regulate internet services but the Federal Communications Commission authorizes local governments to set cable franchise rules of their own. The cities across the US set the regulations and boundaries and the Commission necessitates cable providers to get franchise consent from local authorities. However, those regulations were written at a time when internet and cable services relied upon separate infrastructure to function.

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“Today, of course, the distinction between those three services … is largely non-existent, which leads to all sorts of regulatory and legal issues,” Schrier said. The franchise boundaries were lifted 3 years before since Seattle administrators wanted to provide more service providers to residents. “The concern was that lower-income neighborhoods also get this service from … all the franchisees. So at that time, geographic restrictions were lifted for the cable companies as well.”

Once the franchise limitations were lifted, Comcast® started to assess First Hill and Capitol Hill and develop a plan to expand into the said neighborhoods in Seattle. “The primary driver really is continuing to look at locations that are outside of our footprint but near enough [to] our footprint that our ability to grow our network into those areas makes business sense,” said the Comcast XFINITY® spokesperson, Sam Hassan. “So as we looked at Capitol Hill and First Hill, those franchise boundaries didn’t cover the entire neighborhoods fully. We actually serviced parts of Capitol Hill and First Hill to begin with, so the ability to bring our network into the rest of the neighborhood really was a no-brainer for us.”

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