Comcast to begin charging for free digital converter boxes

Did you get a free digital box from Comcast during the transition? Soon, you may have to pay to use it.

Beginning March 1, Comcast is going to start charging for the boxes. Most midstate customers will have to pay $1.99 per converter, per month. And some aren't happy about it.

“What they advertise is not what they give you,” said Barbara Keisch, a Comcast customer. “I don't feel that they should charge people for that. If they're supposed to be giving it for free, then it should be for free.”

Susan Kretovich is also a customer — and she's not surprised.

“They keep upping their prices it seems every six months anyhow,” she said.  “Another way for them to charge, it doesn't surprise me.”

Comcast released this statement, explaining the charge:

“In addition to providing customers with additional channels – including History International, Biography, C-SPAN 3, G4, Sprout, Bloomberg News and Hallmark Movie Channel – at no change in price, DTAs also provided customers improved picture quality. The deployment of DTAs allowed us to increase the number of HD channels from about 30 to as many as 100 channels and faster internet speeds. We are also beginning the deployments of HD-DTAs which will provide customers a less expensive way to access HD services on additional outlets, as well as deployments of an interactive guide for the DTAs. Bringing these enhancements to our customers requires significant investment, and we feel the nominal fee now being implemented for DTAs appropriately reflects the additional value of the service.”

There is an exception to the fee. Limited basic customers will not be charged for up to three converter boxes.

Some other cable providers already charge for the boxes. Verizon, for example, charges about $6 per converter box.

Comcast said customers will soon be notified of the charge, if they have not been already.

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