Comcast Excite-ment Nears End

Comcast Corp. is nearing the finish line for its conversion from the failing
Excite@Home Corp. network.

The MSO is completing the switch in its Philadelphia home base, with plans to
convert another 50,000 customers Wednesday night.

'So this time tomorrow [Thursday], we are done with the transition,' Comcast
Cable Communications Inc. president Steve Burke said during an earnings call
with analysts Wednesday.

The move did cost Comcast in the fourth quarter, carving an extra $140
million from the company's cash flow.

Comcast added about 2,000 customer-service representatives to handle the
migration and $75 million in capital for the network conversion itself.

Originally, Comcast and fellow Excite@Home affiliate Cox Communications Inc.
had planned to exit the network in June.

But after Excite@Home filed for bankruptcy, Comcast and other affiliates
agreed in November to kick in additional cash to keep the network up and running
through Feb. 28 while they transition to their own services.

Comcast's share of that payment totaled $160 million.

In the earnings call, Comcast president Brian Roberts praised his transition
team for the speedy switchover.

'If we made one mistake in '01, it was not fully anticipating Excite@Home
going into bankruptcy,' he said. 'We had some consumer interruption, and we were
unhappy about that, but it was very much minimized by the way we went about this
transition given the unexpected nature of the bankruptcy.'

Despite Excite@Home's troubles, Comcast added 155,400 new high-speed Internet
customers in the quarter, a 33 percent increase compared with the third

The MSO finished the year with 948,100 cable-modem customers at a penetration
rate of 9 percent of all marketable homes.

Burke added that now that the conversion is nearing completion, the MSO is
seeing new subscriber additions bounce back.

'We did have a slow period the first week or two of January, but right now,
we are at weekly add rates that are comparable to last year,' he said. 'That is
essentially behind us. So what we are seeing on a go-forward basis is a business
that looks just like it did before the conversion, and the good news is that it
is over.'