Comcast plans New England rollout of cable upgrades

With its $45 billion purchase of AT&T Broadband now history, Comcast is beginning to roll out video-on-demand (VOD) and HD service to its New England, Mass., digital cable TV customers.

By May, Comcast said it plans to offer VOD access for 800 to 1,000 hours of movies and cable shows to a limited numbers of its digital cable subscribers. The company also said it expects to make its “On Demand” service available to all of its 2.2 million regional customers next year. In addition to 24-hour movie rentals for $3 or $4, the cable operator plans to make hundreds of hours of shows available free for viewing any time as part of digital cable subscriptions.

Subscribers in the Boston, Mass., area who own HDTV sets will be able to get five channels of HDTV programming by paying an extra $2 a month for a special set-top box. The service will include about 50 to 100 hours of shows available each week from the HBO and Showtime cable channels and from Boston area network affiliates including WCVB-TV (Ch. 5) and WHDH-TV (Ch. 7).

Over the next six weeks, Comcast said it would replace the AT&T Broadband brand with the Comcast name on all of its customer invoices, trucks, employee uniforms and offices.

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