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Comcast Buys Municipal Cable System in Mich.

Comcast will pick up about 1,800 subscribers in south-central Michigan, where the city of Lowell decided to sell its municipal cable system.

The City Council there chose to sell the system, which was built in 1983, rather than investing millions of dollars to increase capacity in order to keep up with the pace of technological change. It approved the transaction April 16.

Comcast will pay $3.5 million for the system, which currently serves 1,854 video and 510 Internet customers, according to city officials. The city lost about 20% of its customers during the past three years to alternative providers, including direct-broadcast satellite and digital-subscriber-line providers. The latter can provide speeds higher than the 768-kilobit-per-second speed sold by the 450-megahertz municipal cable system.

City officials said Comcast won't take over the Lowell customers until mid-May or later.