Comcast launches service for devices

Xfinity Signature offers 24-hour support for home electronics

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian business editor

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Comcast Corp. is rolling out a new service today for customers who are baffled, frustrated or simply impatient about getting their digital devices working.

Xfinity Signature Support offers 24-hour maintenance and troubleshooting service to Comcast customers for a variety of technical support and equipment protection services for home electronics, including computers, gaming consoles, iPad-type devices and smartphones. The services can be purchased with monthly fees or on a one-time basis.

Monthly fees are $19.95 for full support services for home electronics, $5.95 for set-up and support for wireless networks and $4.95 for an ongoing computer maintenance program. One-time repair and support services for personal technology devices range from a minimum of $49.95 for computer and software setup to $129.95 for computer virus removal.

Comcast, with 23 million subscribers nationwide, is offering the services in response to frequent requests from customers for help with an increasingly vast array of consumer digital products, said Mitch Bowling, senior vice president and general manager of new business for Comcast Cable, in an interview with The Columbian. In addition, an independent study concluded that over half of Internet users expect their Internet provider to offer such services, Bowling said.

“We are listening to our customers,” he said.

The Philadelphia-based company began testing the support service about four months ago in several markets, Bowling said. He would not disclose the percentage of customers in those markets who used or subscribed to one of the support services but said customers who responded to surveys offered a satisfaction rating of 9 on a 1-to-10 scale.

Comcast is expecting to be able to respond to about 90 percent of queries by phone, through staff members at call centers located in North America. The company has contracted with Support.com for telephone response services and Asurion.com for home visits. All workers will be under the Comcast brand, Bowling said.

The company’s research contractor said national competitors ATT, Century Link, Verizon, and Cox Communications each charge about $15 a month for technical support services.