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Response to Comcast’s Statement in Westword

The City of Denver’s partnership with Comcast is A-OK to continue and co-exist even with the repeal of Senate Bill 152. Comcast has brought major investments to the City of Denver like wifi on the 16th Street Mall or a Cable TV Franchise Agreement and as technologists, we are thrilled that they’ve made these investments.

Comcast, one of Denver’s largest broadband providers, sent this statement to Westword regarding the proposed initiative:

“We know Denverites have a lot of choices when it comes to internet providers, and Comcast has made enormous investments to provide the best possible products and services in the City of Denver, and we are focused on continuously improving our customers’ experience. We believe it should be the collective priority for the City and Comcast to continue the strong partnership we’ve established, and foster an environment for innovation and technology advancement that connects more people to what matters most and that reduces barriers to connectivity,” wrote Comcast spokesperson Leslie Oliver.

Oliver pointed to Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” program, which offers Internet to anyone eligible for federal aid at a rate of $9.95 plus tax per month.

Onto the bigger matter at hand. If you’re not familiar, Comcast offers what they dub an “Internet Essentials” package. This package is $9.95 + taxes (if you qualify for various Federal/State Aid) and includes 15 Mbps download speeds, wifi, and forty 1-hour sessions at XFinity wifi hotspots around town.

In our opinion, this is a drastic shortcoming and needs to be addressed.

Broadband, as defined & benchmarked by the Federal Communications Committee (FCC), is 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” might work out OK for a single-person household, but if you are a single-family household with multiple kids or a bunch of smart home enabled devices (TV’s, speakers, security cameras, etc) odds are that you need more bandwidth than what the “Internet Essentials” package provides.

The FCC recommends Advanced Service (>25 Mbps) if you have more than 1 device streaming HD video, teleconferencing, online gaming, or something similar.

For more information, you can also take a look at the FCC’s broadband speed guide located here.

We want these Private-Public Partnerships to still exist and flourish. But, we also want more choices. By voting to opt-out of SB-152, you are helping give Denver more choices.