Comcast Corporation will pay $50 million to 800,000 “cable-TV subscribers in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties and Philadelphia” after U.S. District Judge John R. Padova ruled against the cable giant in a class-action lawsuit on Friday.
The consumers will each receive either $15 in credits or services such as “temporary Internet upgrades, six free pay-per-view movies, or two free months of the Movie Channel.” Another proviso of the settlement was that Comcast notify its customers of the settlement via monthly bills, as well as local Philadelphia newspapers and magazines.
The lawsuit, filed in December 2003 for about two million customers, alleged that Comcast had acted in an anticompetitive fashion by inundating the broader Philadelphia area with its services, thus inhibiting RCN from placing its telecommunication services in the area. Comcast, thus, could dominate the market and raise its prices.
The original suit filed for $875 million to be remunerated by Comcast. In 2013, the Supreme Court ruled for Comcast, forcing the plaintiffs to narrow their case to a smaller area. The Court ruled that the original lawsuit did not meet federal standards requiring predominance of an issue; therefore, it did not merit class certification. Padova then ruled that the plaintiffs could narrow the class certification for approval.
After the Friday ruling, Comcast spokeswoman Jenni Moyer said that the money Comcast paid could also be given to former Comcast cable television customers, who would only have the option of receiving $15 in cash. Those eligible for payment included anyone who had subscribed to Comcast between Jan. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2008.