Comcast sustains smaller fine than feared
A judge in Washington State early this month fined Comcast (CMCSA) $9.1 million for violating the state’s consumer protection law. The fine stemmed from a 2016 lawsuit that accused Comcast of charging tens of thousands of its customers in Washington without their consent. In addition to paying the $9.1 million fine, Comcast has also been ordered to refund the affected customers in the state within two months. Nearly 31,000 Comcast customers were affected by the problem.
Although the ruling is a blow to Comcast because the company will have to part with some of its millions, thereby shrinking its bank account, it’s not all bad news for the company. The $9.1 million fine is only a tiny fraction of the $171 million penalty that the lawsuit sought, so the ruling delivers a huge saving for Comcast. Additionally, the judge rejected part of the accusations that the lawsuit made against Comcast.
Comcast sitting on $3.6 billion cash reserve
Parting with $9.1 million or a little more to settle the Washington State lawsuit won’t paralyze operations at Comcast. The company finished the first quarter with $3.6 billion in cash reserves. Walt Disney (DIS), Fox (FOXA), and Charter Communications (CHTR) exited the first quarter with cash reserves of $10.2 billion, $2.8 billion, and $1.6 billion. US cable companies like Comcast are trying to spend their cash prudently as they invest in upgrading their services to support faster broadband speeds as a guard against losing customers to 5G mobile Internet providers. Wireless providers AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) have begun offering 5G Internet service in parts of the United States.