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Trying for a Smooth Transition

Comcast Corporation plans to roll out brand changes for Adelphia customers over several months.

Comcast Corporation's recent buyout of Adelphia Communications Corporation means many residents will be seeing changes to their cable, Internet and phone services in the coming months.\par

"For now, customers probably have not noticed any immediate changes," Lisa Altman, Comcast's spokesperson said.

In April 2005, Adelphia, which filed for bankruptcy in 2002, accepted a $17.6 offer from Comcast. Comcast serves approximately 23.3 million cable customers and is a partner of Time Warner. However, the county cable system is still operating under the Adelphia name, with Comcast management, Altman said. \par

"There are a series of things we have to do over the next months to complete the brand transfer," she said.

UNTIL THE BRAND transfer is complete local Adelphia customers can continue to use their services as normal. Altman said customer services numbers, channel numbers and e-mail services will all continue to work under the Adelphia format until customers are informed directly by Comcast.

"We will be communicating with customers as changes are happening," Altman said.

The first change that Adelphia customers received was the cancellation of online bill pay through Adelphia. The online bill payment option stopped Oct. 25, and customers were informed they would begin to receive mailed bills from Comcast. Subscribers were

invited to set up online bill payment on Comcast's Web site.

"Through both mailings and e-mails we will explain the process as it happens," Altman said.

AS WELL AS providing personal and business services to residents, Adelphia had a franchise agreement with the county. In January, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the transfer of the franchise agreement to Comcast.

The change from Adelphia to Comcast does not change the services provided to the county much, Jim Barnes, director of the county's Office of Public Information, said.

The franchise agreement with Adelphia expired around the time that Comcast took over the management, Barnes said. The contract was extended through the end of November to allow for negotiations between the county and Comcast.

"We're in the middle of negotiations now," Barnes said. "There hasn't been much of an obvious change because we would have to have negotiated a new contract anyway."

AS PART OF the agreement with Adelphia all of the Board of Supervisors' business meetings, public hearing and special work sessions were broadcast on Adelphia's Channel 2 for residents to watch. The Planning Commission's public hearings were also broadcast through th

e cable company.

Barnes said that the county hopes to be able to continue those services through Comcast, once the new agreement is settled.

"Those are some of the things we are negotiating," he said. "Hopefully, it should all be happening over the next couple of months."

In the meantime, both Barnes and Altman are confident that Adelphia cable subscribers should not see any disruption in their service during the transition.

"It should all be seamless to them," Barnes said.

"Of course, even if they have questions now, they can call their same customer service number and get the answers they need," Altman said.