Just spent 30 minutes tracking down the facts at Comcast about the whole AT&T broadband migration that the Chicago Tribune announced on Saturday. According to Comcast corporate cable/broadband spokesperson Sarah Eder:
- The estimated 1.9 million current AT&T broadband email customers who are people on your email lists with "@attbi.com" in their addresses will definitely be getting new email addresses that are "@comcast.net" sometime starting in February.
- The addresses will be not be switched over all at once, Comcast intends to do this regionally so they can troubleshoot.
- They do not have a schedule set up for which regions or when yet. When such a schedule is set up, it's definitely subject to change because if there's a problem with a region then they'll need to delay the rest until things are sorted out.
- Attbi.com customers will be notified about their own accounts, however there is no information on the Comcast public site about dates or schedules and Eder is not planning on making any sort of announcement to the press whatsoever. She told me customers would be notified, but companies that email to customers will not be notified.
- The old addresses will *not* forward email automatically to the new addresses at all. Instead of forwarding, Comcast plans to allow customers to check mail at both of their accounts, the old one and their new one, for at least 60 days after the transition. Then the old account will be shut down completely.
The annoying thing to me and many other email publishers and list owners is that Comcast clearly feels no responsibility toward companies that send emails to their customers. And to some degree why should they? By refusing to forward messages or to proactively give out scheduling information to list owners, they will save themselves money and server space because those 1.9 million customers will get a heck of a lot less email at their new addresses for awhile.
There is no incentive for Comcast to help publishers at all.
Anyway, Sarah and I will be in touch again later in February so I can bring you updates as needed. Don't start running announcements to your attbi.com names until I give you the word though, because right now you'll just confuse them as they do not have new addresses to switch to yet.
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