Comcast endures more scathing remarks during first day of Philly franchise hearings

Two weeks after Philadelphia lawmakers issued a blistering 571-page report on the cable provider, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) faced more unpleasant commentary during the first day of hearings to discuss the MSO's 15-year franchise renewal with the city.

"You've taught your people very well how to be politely rude," said one South Philly woman, who was quoted by Philadelphia Magazine. "And that's an understatement."

Another woman held a sign: "Tax Comcast, Not Teachers," complaining that the cable company didn't do enough to support local Philadelphia schools. "Why don't they want to pay their share?" she asked.

For Comcast, it's yet another challenging negotiation, fraught with the influence of an angry public, as the cable company tries to resecure its home city, where it competes with only one other franchisee, Verizon (NYSE: VZ), and the two major satellite pay-TV companies, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) and DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV).

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter has said he will seek better customer service and access to broadband for local impoverished families, but he otherwise hasn't publicly gone into detail on other demands being made by the city, which already has quite a bit of leverage.

The city says the cacophony of rhetoric will be used against Comcast in the negotiations 

The cable company has already dismissed the earlier report, calling it "inaccurate, overrated and misleading."

In an April 9 blog post, LeAnn Talbot, regional senior VP, Freedom Region for Comcast Cable, said the consultant who prepared the report never contacted Comcast "to solicit objective, verifiable data, resulting in conclusions that are not based on easily available and decisive data, and that are simply untrue."

For more:
- read this Philadelphia Magazine story
- read this CBS story

Related links:
Comcast's Roberts comes out in support of merger 'general' Cohen
Comcast performance dissed in City of Philadelphia report
As Comcast franchise renewal nears, Philadelphia solicits resident opinions

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