RealTime IT News

Comcast Rebrands Its Services as 'Xfinity'

Comcast has decided to rebrand its products and services to something that sounds more appropriate for a high-end video card or an energy drink. Starting in 11 cities next week and eventually going nationwide, Comcast's cable TV, phone service and Internet service shall be known as Xfinity TV, Xfinity Voice and Xfinity Internet.

The corporate name remains Comcast. The launch cities, according to the Comcast Blog, are: Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Chicago, Portland, Seattle, Hartford (CT), Augusta (ME), Chattanooga (TN), and parts of the Bay Area and San Francisco.

"Xfinity is the culmination of years of work to transition Comcast’s network and products to a platform that will now offer 100+ HD channels, 50 to 70 foreign-language channels, approaching 20,000+ VOD choices, incredibly fast Internet speeds (50 Mbps growing to 100+ Mbps) and thousands of TV shows and movies online for our customers to watch whenever and wherever they want," wrote David Watson, executive vice president of operations in the blog announcement.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is a major communications provider, with 25 million cable television subscribers in 39 states, 15 million Internet service customers and 6.4 million phone customers. It became the center of controversy in 2008 when it was found to be throttling the performance of people downloading large quantities of data.

After considerable complaining by rights groups to the Federal Communications Commission and a public forum at Stanford University that Comcast did not attend, the company instituted a monthly download limit where individuals could download up to 250GB of data per month (and risk banishment from using the service if they went over that limit).

The company is currently attempting to take a majority stake in NBC Universal but that is being met with some fierce opposition by some of the same groups that complained about its throttling practices as well as government scrutiny.

Comcast on Wednesday announced it earned $955 million, or 33 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2009, more than double the $412 million, or 14 cents per share, earned in the same period last year. Excluding a one-time tax gain in the recent quarter, Comcast would have earned 29 cents per share.

Revenue rose 2.9 percent to $9.06 billion, slightly above the $8.96 billion estimated by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.