Comcast Town Meeting

Senator Bernie Sanders has received around 300 complaints from Vermonters about their service from Comcast Corp. The cable television behemoth is the dominant television provider in Vermont, and the largest in the nation. It is the sole provider of cable television in 142 Vermont cities and towns, with roughly 106,000 subscribers state-wide. Sanders recently wrote in a column that Comcast is an "unregulated monopoly." The company has effectively raised prices on consumers by cutting channels

Senator Bernie Sanders has received around 300 complaints from Vermonters about their service from Comcast Corp. The cable television behemoth is the dominant television provider in Vermont, and the largest in the nation. It is the sole provider of cable television in 142 Vermont cities and towns, with roughly 106,000 subscribers state-wide. Sanders recently wrote in a column that Comcast is an "unregulated monopoly." The company has effectively raised prices on consumers by cutting channels from some cable packages and requiring the lease of a digital box in order to access the same channels consumers could watch last year. "People are just getting sick and tried of getting ripped off by large corporations, whether it's oil companies, credit card companies or the local cable company," Sanders told the Burlington Free Press. White River Junction resident Cliff Avery told the Valley News that Comcast "never said ‘We're going to slowly wipe those channels out.'"

The company has eliminated some channels from its most basic packages without lowering the price, and in some cases raising it. Sanders wrote in his recent op-ed piece, "In Vermont, we all know that when you get less for the same price, it is a price increase."

Meanwhile, in order to keep the channels they had before, consumers will have to lease a digital cable box (from Comcast of course) for a monthly fee. This happens to be at the same time as many consumers are hearing about an unrelated digital broadcast (i.e. not cable) television transition mandated by the federal government for next year.

In an op-ed from a Comcast executive in the Rutland Herald, they wrote: "we will continue to offer analog cable service after the federally mandated digital broadcast transition in February of next year." It is true that they will have analog cable after the federally mandated digital broadcast transition. But they fail to point out that those things have nothing to do with each other. They are a cable company. The mandate is for broadcast television.


You can read the Burlington Free Press article here.

You can read the senator's op-ed regarding this situation here, or his letter to the company here.