Thursday, October 27, 2005

Comcast Launches Amnesty Program in Wash. DC Area

Comcast will implement a cable amnesty program from November 1-14, allowing anyone who is receiving unauthorized cable service in the certain Washington D.C. area communities to turn themselves in and become authorized, paying customers with no questions asked. In 2003, the last time Comcast executed this campaign, the company received more than 8,000 calls and thousands of leads.

As part of the amnesty program, residents currently receiving unauthorized cable services may choose to become paying customers over the phone or have the unauthorized service disconnected without facing legal action. In addition, residents receiving cable television through unauthorized cable boxes will have the opportunity to turn in their boxes to Comcast in exchange for new, legal boxes.

Comcast said its amnesty program will also educate communities about "active" and "passive" cable theft. Comcast defines "active" cable theft to be when people knowingly and willfully make illegal connections to the cable system or tamper with equipment so they receive cable service without paying for it. It defines "passive" theft to be when an individual moves into a new residence where cable is already installed and fails to notify Comcast that the billing should be transferred to the new occupant.

Following the amnesty program, Comcast officials plan to complete a house-by-house electronic audit of its cable systems to identify cable thieves. As these homes and businesses continue to be identified, the information will be turned over to the appropriate authorities for possible prosecution, with possible fines and jail time if convicted.