Comcast won’t disrupt high-speed Internet service


[email protected]

Residents who use Comcast’s Internet service won’t experience a disruption in service as the company cut a deal with [email protected]Home to continue providing access to the Web, pending a bankruptcy judge’s approval.

Comcast had warned subscribers last week that service was in jeopardy.

Comcast will pay $160 million to [email protected] for three months of continued high-speed Internet service.

The deal will provide Comcast’s Internet subscribers with service until they are switched to the cable company’s own network, now in the works.

Comcast president Steve Burke said that the company is “in the final stages of developing a 100 percent Comcast managed network,” that will help to “avoid future situations like this.”

Company spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick could not say exactly when the network would be operational but the company expects all customers to be transferred before three months of extended service with [email protected]

Comcast is one of several cable companies, including AT&T and Cox, that relied on the [email protected] network to provide high-speed cable Internet service to customers.

A bankruptcy court judge ruled Friday that [email protected]‘s contracts with the cable companies were burdensome and could be dissolved, creating the possibility that the network’s 4 million Internet users nationwide would be left without service.

[email protected] officials said that providing Internet service for the cable companies was costing them about $6 million a week.

The cable operators, who charge customers about $50 a month for Internet service, were paying [email protected] about $12 a month per customer.

After Friday’s ruling, the cable companies were given the choice of renegotiating their agreements with [email protected] or face service shut-offs.

Frustrated Comcast customers were told they might have to use dial-up service to get online if [email protected] cut service.

But local service was not disrupted after Comcast and other cable companies, excluding AT&T, reached an agreement with [email protected]

In a statement on its Web site, [email protected] said that it ended service to AT&T “after determining that it would not be able to reach agreement.”

AT&T initially offered to buy [email protected]‘s assets for $307 million, but creditors dismissed the bid as inadequate.

–The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Staff writer Kate Bissell can be reached at (703) 878-8068.

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