Massachusetts Sen. Kerry steps into Comcast-Boston brouhaha

As the saying goes, all politics is local. Boston Mayor Thomas Menino thinks Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is taking advantage of a deregulated situation in his city to raise its basic cable rates and he's taken his point to the FCC. Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry has taken up the cause and asked the FCC to report on rate changes in Boston and other communities in the commonwealth. What started as a local fray is now on the national stage.

In a letter to the FCC, Kerry, who chairs a Senate subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, wrote that he wanted to "ascertain whether rate hikes are specific to Boston or systemic, if the hikes are justified, and what factors are that can effectively check those rate hikes."

Menino has complained that Comcast charges Boston subscribers more for its 35-channel basic package than it does surrounding communities. Comcast, pointing to competition from cable overbuilder RCN, satellite and broadcast TV, disagrees. It also points out that it has "invested more than $4.9 million in the City of Boston through foundation grants and in-kind services."

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