Too Much Information -- Or Is Obfuscation The Preferred Policy?

I'm a Comcast customer. Recently, included in my monthly billing statement was an "IMPORTANT Information" alert about Service, Installation & Equipment Prices for myself and my neighbors:

Level of Service

Current Price

New Price February 1, 2008

Basic (3,5)



Expanded Basic Service





Standard Cable (2,3)



Digital Starter (4)



1) The minimum level of cable service you may purchase is BASIC SERVICE. As a cable customer, you must purchase BASIC SERVICE to subscribe to any other video service offered by Comcast Service, programming and equipment are subject to availability. All pricing, programming channel locations are subject to change. Please call 1-866-660-6137 for further information. The purchase of premium channels, packages and a la carte services including iN DEMAND, Pay-Per-View and Channel 1 On Demand) requires the appropriate equipment (c)2008 Comcast. All Rights Reserved.

2) The price for Standard Cable includes Basic Service and Expanded Basic Service.

3) A cable box/converter may not be necessary to view Basic Service or Standard Cable. Please visit or call 1-866-660-6137 for further information.

4) Digital Starter includes Standard Cable, a discounted Digital Cable Box, a remote control, Interactive Program Guide, MusicChoice and limited Channel 1 On Demand content. To upgrade to a discounted high definition cable box and remote control, an additional $6 equipment fee is required.

5) Discount available to subscribers who are age 65+ and not more than 1 person under age 65 in household. Customers must complete and submit application to Comcast Cable at 21 Old Route 6, Carmel, New York 10512. Restrictions apply.

I'm fine with all this information, although I must admit that the fine print didn't really help clarify exactly what I was getting for my dough. Being the curious type of guy that I am, with trepidation I turned to the next page and the next and the next -- and then my head imploded. Too many pricing choices, each with its own arcane definition. Take a look for yourself (left and right, at two out of the three pages. Perhaps this printed exercise was meant to satiate the government as well as obfuscate instead of clarify. Beats me. Don't get me wrong -- I enjoy my Comcast service (though I wish my HD/DVR wouldn't freeze up so often and the set top box would be cooler than a hot griddle). However, there must be an easier, more inviting way to communicate viewing and service options to consumers.

Then again, I should be thankful that the Comcast services pricing litany was at least in decipherable English. You should see my family plan monthly wireless billing statement...

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