If there’s one thing that Comcast seems to love more than anything else, it’s shafting its basic cable subscribers and pushing them to upgrade to one of its many pricier bundle plans. If you’re looking for examples, recall the company’s brilliant shakedown that made basic cable subscribers use digital adapters that degraded their signal and forced them to pay an extra $10 a month to get the same HD channels they used to get for free as part of their basic package. Now GigaOM reports that Comcast has blocked streaming of the Olympics for customers who only subscribe to its basic cable services despite the fact that the Olympics are being shown primarily on NBC, the Comcast-owned network that basic cable subscribers can already access through their subscriptions.
“Some of these restrictions may hit low-income viewers who simply can’t afford a more expensive cable package,” GigaOM writes. “But it looks as if Comcast may also be punishing some of the very viewers it was trying to attract with the internet plus HBO deal: Heavy online users who want access to HBO Go, and were on the fence about cord cutting.”
Although we knew that Comcast subscribers wouldn’t be able to stream the Olympics online if they didn’t have a TV package, restricting the streams further to only those customers who shell out more per month is a fresh twist from America’s favorite cable company.
Why would Comcast do this? Well, part of it stems from the fact that Comcast has seemingly declared war on cord cutters. Recall that last month Comcast announced that it was doubling Internet speeds for many customers… but not customers who only subscribed to its Internet services and not its TV services.
As for its latest initiative, it looks like yet another way that Comcast is trying to push cord cutters to buy into one of its wallet-incinerating monthly video packages. Many Comcast cord cutters who watch most of their content through Netflix, Hulu and Amazon often still subscribe to basic cable because it’s actually cheaper to get a bundle than standalone Internet.