Baltimore turns eyes to Comcast after being spurned by Verizon

Verizon, despite what its executives say, isn't bringing FiOS to Baltimore anytime soon. Why is a matter that will probably be debated for as long as it takes until Verizon does bring FiOS to Baltimore. For now, the digital TV ball is in Comcast's court and the MSO has the rapt attention of city officials and residents.

Comcast claims in Baltimore, as it has everywhere else, that transitioning to an all-digital service is a minor inconvenience and a major help for the system as well as a big plus for Comcast subscribers who will be able to see 39 new HD channels. As a story in the Baltimore Sun points out: "the basic equipment is free if you install it yourself."

Baltimoreans, though, have been educated on another truism of the digital telecommunications age: they are caught in the crosshairs of what is being called "broadband equity"--who does and doesn't get information available to others in "Digital America"--the story in the Sun says.

The Sun story adds one more bit of history that might eventually muddy the whole situation. Some believe that Verizon backed off Baltimore because city officials were tighter than a belt on Thanksgiving with TCI, the cable franchise that Comcast swallowed. While the word is those relationships are long gone, it's a thorn that could have ruined the rosy picture of a FiOS-Comcast duel.

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