Comcast sets amnesty program

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In its quest to combat signal theft in one of the worst markets in the
country, Comcast Corp. is launching an amnesty program that will be followed by a new
customer audit.

The amnesty program encourages customers stealing service in Washington, D.C.,
and nearby suburbs to hook up legally or turn in pirate boxes without
penalty.

The program carries the threat that if a house-to-house audit finds that they
are stealing service, Comcast will seek legal action. An audit looks for illegal
connections, such as obvious taps into the lines of apartment buildings.

Industry executives believed Washington's District Cablevision, which Comcast
took over a year ago, suffers from rampant theft, with at one point one-third of
the homes in the city stealing some form of service.

Amnesty programs tend to work only in areas where theft enforcement is
consistently strong.

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