Comcast recently intervened against a company in Colorado that it said has been selling its Internet service illegally—but doing so has left hundreds of people in that state suddenly without the Internet during a pandemic.
According to The Denver Channel, the shutoffs came as a result of a dispute between the cable giant and AlphaWiFi, a company that installs Internet and Wi-Fi at apartment complexes in the Denver area. Comcast says the shutdown came about because AlphaWiFi illegally resold Comcast’s Internet services.
“Comcast learned that AlphaWiFi has been improperly reselling Comcast’s Internet services to individual residential customers throughout the Denver area,” the company said in a statement to the news channel, about the matter. “We take the unauthorized resale of our services very seriously—as it violates our contracts and the law, and can negatively affect services provided to customers across our network. We notified AlphaWiFi well in advance that its service would be terminated and asked that they notify impacted users of the need to transition their services. We also provided multiple advance notices to the residents we believed would be affected and have been working to transition those who are interested to our residential services.”
However, customers quoted in the article didn’t seem to be made aware in advance that such a shutdown was coming, and it also appears that customers weren’t made aware of any dispute that could affect their service.
AlphaWifi’s CEO, however, strongly disputed Comcast’s version of events.
“We absolutely dispute Comcast's take on this matter. Comcast knew our business plan, and we made it clear to Comcast that despite our disagreement, we wanted to work with them in order to transition these accounts with no disruption,” Keith Lawton, the company’s president, told the local news outlet.
“Unfortunately for these customers, Comcast opted to cancel their service instead of working with us and unnecessarily impacted these consumers. AlphaWiFi continues to work diligently to support our customers and get their internet access reinstated.”
Comcast, in recent months, has been losing cable TV customers by the millions but has somewhat offset those numbers by adding new Internet customers. In the first quarter, it lost 400,000 subscribers but more than made up for that in Internet subscribers, by adding 477,000. In the second quarter, the company lost about 477,000 cable subscribers, but gained 323,000, which the company called its best second quarter by that metric in thirteen years.
Speaking at a Goldman Sachs conference this week, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts talked about the company’s strategy when it comes to video.
“One of the big pivots of Comcast the last decade is to really follow our customers’ needs and try to anticipate them and be a company that meets them. So in video with some customers who want it all,” he said. “And other customers want to just be streaming. That may be because of financial reasons, habits, age, you name it . . . so video is very much part of our strategy and the DNA of the company.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.