Comcast defends Boston cable rates, says market is 'highly competitive'

Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) says that there's no need to re-regulate cable television in Boston because the city is a hotbed of competition.

Mayor Thomas Menino created headlines when he petitioned the FCC to reinstate its power to regulate cable services in the city because he said there is no effective competition to Comcast. A statement issued by Comcast rebutted that, noting that its service in Boston "continues to be nearly half the cost of any other provider's entry level service."

In addition to RCN Telecom Services, a competing cable provider, the MSO said it is battling with satellite providers and over-the-air TV. Price-wise, it said its $15.80 a month basic cable fee was less than the $17.50 RCN charges for basic cable and much less than the higher basic prices typically charged by satellite providers who offer a package with many more channels than the Comcast basic plan.

The arguments didn't convince telecom industry analyst Jeffrey Kagan, who told the Boston Globe that pricing-wise, "the whole cable industry has been broken for many years. It's unfair to the consumer."

Verizon (NYSE: VZ), incidentally, has no plans to stir the competitive mix in Boston with its FiOS service.

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