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Originally published Sunday, February 7, 2010 at 10:00 PM

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Comcast says new name Xfinity is a signal of innovation

The Comcast cable guy and his truck are getting a new look. The Philadelphia cable giant last week said it would rebrand its TV, Internet and telephone services as Xfinity on Friday to signal to customers that this isn't the same old company.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

PHILADELPHIA — The Comcast cable guy and his truck are getting a new look.

The Philadelphia cable giant last week said it would rebrand its TV, Internet and telephone services as Xfinity on Friday to signal to customers that this isn't the same old company.

Comcast will remain as the corporate name, but the company will emphasize Xfinity in advertisements and on 24,000 service trucks and thousands of employee uniforms.

The new brand name will first appear in Comcast ads around the time of the Winter Olympics in 11 markets, including Seattle, and will then appear in Comcast's cable franchise areas in other parts of the country.

"This is a pretty big moment where we are upgrading every product area," said David Watson, executive vice president of operations.

He said the new brand name communicates Comcast's constant product upgrades and innovation.

Comcast officials said the new brand name will not change any customer's e-mail address. The new name will appear eventually as a logo on the Comcast TV guide and Web sites, and will also appear on customer bills under headings for different services. For example, instead of being called Comcast Internet, it will refer to Xfinity Internet.

Comcast has a Web site, Xfinity.com, that says, "A new era of entertainment is about to begin." The words appeared on a background of clouds and bursting sunlight, but no other content was available.

Xfinity seems to position the company to compete with Verizon Communications, which markets its TV and Internet services as FiOS, and AT&T, which uses U-verse. Cablevision, the New York-based cable company, sells its services under the brand Optimum.

"Verizon has FiOS. Comcast now has Xfinity. It's rebundling it in a high-tech package. You are rebundling an improved product, an enhanced service," said Marc Brownstein, president and chief executive of the Brownstein Group, a Philadelphia brand-communication, public-relations and advertising firm.

This re-branding comes as Comcast has struggled to rebuild its reputation because of poor service and problems with its network that resulted in telephone and Internet outages. Its customer-satisfaction rating is among the lowest in the industry, but has improved slightly in the past year.

Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said the re-branding was not an attempt to distance the service from the Comcast name.

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"This is about our product," she said. "It is about providing our customers with products that just keep getting better."

Claes Fornell, a business professor at the University of Michigan and head of the American Customer Satisfaction Index, said Comcast has improved its satisfaction ratings lately but that the Comcast name "still has some baggage."

He said of the new name, "I'm not sure whether it will stand out. Comcast stands out."

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