Comcast Trashes C-SPAN 2

Cable subscribers in my city no longer have C-SPAN 2. There’s just a test pattern at channel 23 now for Hartford residents, but I’m guessing we’ll have additional coverage of sports like poker and street-fighting in due course.

The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN) was grudgingly given by the cable industry to the TV-consuming public, along with public access channels, in return for monopoly status in local TV markets. C-SPAN operates three television stations and broadcasts public affairs programs continuously day and night. C-SPAN 1 has gavel-to-gavel coverage of the U.S. House of Representatives and C-SPAN 2 has complete coverage of the Senate.   C-SPAN 3 has miscellaneous governmental, civic, educational, and literary meetings, and that’s what fills up the time on the other two channels when Congress isn’t in session.

Until last week, Hartford cable subscribers had channels dedicated to C-SPAN 1 and C-SPAN 2.  C-SPAN 2 was occasionally preempted by basketball or hockey, usually during the evening, but it always came back the next day. Now it seems to be gone forever. As far as I know, subscribers weren’t consulted.

I hollered (by email). I tune in C-SPAN 2 every weekend when the station becomes “Book TV,” featuring lectures and panel discussions about books, and I watch Senate coverage when there’s an important debate (a rare event, but a revealing one for responsible citizens). I won’t have that anymore, and so I emailed customer service and asked why.

“Dear Stephen

“Thank you for contacting Comcast.

“I apologize, C-Span 2 was moved to allow us to expand our Digital line-up. This change was made by both Comcast and C-Span 2..

“If this doesn’t resolve your issue to your satisfaction, please reply to this email for further assistance.

“Thank you for choosing Comcast.



“Comcast Customer Care Specialist”

I’m still waiting for a response to my further inquiry. I asked to talk to somebody. Here’s what I want to ask:

  • Was there any effort to find out whether viewers would support this change?
  • Did the decision-makers consider whether this is a good time to cut back on public affairs programming, with an election just ahead and a two wars going on?
  • What’s planned for channel 23?
  • Did other markets lose C-SPAN 2, or was it just Hartford?
  • Were pressures applied by any government official or agency to prompt this decision?
  • Did anybody dissent from this decision?
  • Why wasn’t this decision announced publicly in advance?
  • How many other subscribers have complained about this?

4 Responses to “Comcast Trashes C-SPAN 2”

  1. Liam Ryan Says:

    I share your outrage. C-Span channels are two windows on our democracy.Easily the most instructive TV channels available.

    Perhaps we could mount complaints through the CT Public Utilities Commision. And also State Reps and State Senators,

    Years ago I complained about the fare offered Hartford viewers by AMC. Why could we not have Turrner Classic Movies instead? I bleated. I was given by the C PUC the name of a CPUC Rep in Bloomfield. Nothing was accomplished except talk.

    Brian Lambe is a top-drawer interviewer. of authors, elected al. He understands the role of interviewer.

    I’ll help. however I can. Even contribute some money. It is that

  2. admin Says:

    An exchange betweem Bill Ryan and State Senator John Fonfara, of Hartford:

    Dear Senator John Fonfara,

    You have often and eloquently communicated to your voters about increasing support for our struggling Hartford-area schools.

    Here is an opportunity to continue that support. And with no cost to our burdened taxpayers.

    Here’s how: Demand that Comcast Cable return C-Span 2 to its regular lineup. C-Span 2 has been missing from the TV screen for over a week. To view it now, a Comcast subscriber must install a digital box, etc. and add to the swelling profits of that State-licensed company.

    No longer can the regular subscriber and his children learn from After Words, where the latest nonfiction books are discussed. Or This Week on Book TV

    Or Brian Lamb’s interviews of America’s best living writers: Gore Vidal, William Buckley, et al.

    Blue Rage, Black Redemption by Stanley T. Williams will be discussed this weekend, December 15.

    Certainly a book that Hartford residents and their children could benefit from. Sadly that is not to be.

    Senator, to borrow your expression, Comcast –2 is a way ” …that we can turn things around for Hartford’s schools.”


    Bill Ryan
    315 Capitol Avenue
    Hartford, CT

    Dear Mr. Ryan,

    Thank you for your email, and for alerting me to the recent action of Comcast in deleting C-Span 2 from its non-digital channel line-up. I agree that this decision is detrimental to Hartford students and to all cable subscribers in the Comcast Greater Hartford area. The elimination of informative, non-commercial and educational programming (unless one pays a higher fee) is a move in the wrong direction. I will do my best to encourage Comcast to restore C-Span 2 to their non-digital line-up.

    Thank you,

    John Fonfara
    State Senator, 1st District
    Legislative Office Building
    Hartford, CT 06106-1591
    Phone 860 240-0043
    Fax 860 240-5306

    From: wjryan7318 []
    Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2007 11:59 PM
    To: Senator Fonfara
    Subject: Save C-Span 2 from Comcast’s Greed

  3. admin Says:

    The channel has been restored on number 186

  4. Stuart Sxchy Says:

    I read your “Clomcast trashes C-Span 2″ blog today (Jan. 22, 2011). Your outrage is matched by ours here in Santa Rosa, California. This is not the first time that Comcast has transferred some channels to a higher level service. We were subscribed to their Basic service and then upgraded to Enhanced Basic when we went digital. Our current service costs 22.76 plus taxes. We only look at about 10 - 15 channels with C-Span the top of the list. For a while we have had all three C-Span channels. Then, two days ago, C-Span 1 and 2 both disappeared, leaving C-Span 3. Comcast changed the names of the various categories of service and told us that we would have to pay 64.95 per month to get C-Span 1 and 2. I doubt if we will get any help from Comcast since the recent FCC ruling allowing them to purchase NBC indicates that FCC is not working for the people’s interests.

    The fa

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