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Comcast, Michigan Towns Bury PEG Hatchet

Comcast's Michigan division has officially settled a lawsuit with four communities in the state that had sued the MSO over its plans to deliver public, education and government channels in digital-only format.

Under the settlement with three of the communities -- Dearborn, Bloomfield Township and Meridian Township -- Comcast will continue to deliver existing PEG channels in an analog format on the limited basic cable tier in Michigan until the company digitizes its entire lineup or until a community voluntarily agrees to the digitization of the PEG channels.

In addition, Comcast agreed to pay Meridian Township a one-time grant of $250,000 to be distributed proportionately among the three communities.

Comcast has also reached a separate agreement with the city of Warren, Mich., which will be joining in the filing of the consent judgment and order of dismissal.

The four communities had filed a federal suit in January 2008 in response to Comcast's announcement that it would move PEG channels throughout the state to digital-only delivery in new statewide channel locations; Comcast had wanted to eliminate the analog versions of the channels to free up bandwidth for additional digital services, as it has been doing with Project Cavalry in multiple markets nationwide. However, that would have required some Comcast customers to obtain a digital cable box or digital terminal adapter (DTA) in order to continue to view PEG programming.

The tentative settlement was disclosed last month in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. The settlement will be final once the court accepts the proposed consent judgment and order of dismissal.