Comcast under the microscope on telephony


Seven months after federal regulators approved Comcast Corp.'s takeover of AT&T
Broadband, lawmakers are worried that the country's largest cable company is reneging
on its promise to roll out cable telephony.

Leaders of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Wednesday warned that the one
clear benefit of the merger "would be seriously threatened" if Comcast backed
away from telephony rollout, as one company official indicated recently.

"Downgrading of Comcast's cable-telephony offerings would in fact appear to
harm competitive choices for the millions of consumers in the former AT&T
Broadband franchise areas," wrote Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Herb Kohl
(D-Wis.), the chairman and ranking Democrat on the panel.

The pair said they were pleased by assurances from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts
that telephone service would be expanded.

The lawmakers' concerns were prompted by comments attributed to Comcast
president Steve Burke, who said telephony was no longer a priority for the

After the lawmakers voiced displeasure, Roberts penned an April 15 letter
insisting that the rollout would continue.