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Comcast Opens Asian Channels

A number of Comcast cable systems across the country, including in the San Francisco Bay area, New England, North Jersey, Portland, Ore., and Dallas, are offering premium South Asian channels International Channel, Zee TV and TV Asia diginets for free to their subscribers through the end of the month.

The move is  meant to allow viewers, particularly South Asian Americans, a chance to follow the tsunami recovery efforts. In addition to making the digital networks free on systems where they have been pay, Comcast has now been given permission by the three nets to offer their channels free to all its systems through the end of the month, whether or not they had previously carried the channels.

The idea for the freebie came from Natalie Rouse, a multicultural marketing manager for Comcast in the San Francisco area. "It just took off from there," according to Robert Smith, a Comcast corporate spokesman.