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Comcast settles overcharging lawsuit, will pay $50 million in cash and services

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Comcast has settled a long-running lawsuit that accused the cable provider of overcharging customers in Philadelphia and nearby counties. Reuters reports that the legal battle, which has stretched for more than a decade, will result in Comcast paying out $50 million in cash and services to current and former subscribers living in areas mentioned as part of the suit. Comcast will pay out $16.67 million in cash, but no one's in for a huge payday. Considering there are believed to be 800,000 or so people included in the settlement, that gets each subscriber a little over $20 — not even enough to pay a month's cable bill. (And that's not even counting legal fees.)

But Comcast is also throwing in more for subscribers that have stuck around through the lawsuit. The company will distribute "as much as $33.33 million in services" to those customers, Reuters says. That will come in the form of $15 bill credits, internet speed upgrades, and free video-on-demand rentals. The lawsuit slammed Comcast for buying up its local rivals to built a monopoly and eliminate any real competition in the Philadelphia market; that strategy ultimately gave the company free rein to overcharge customers.

Last year, the US Supreme Court threw out another version of the lawsuit that involved a massive pool of 2 million subscribers, finding that the class lacked the necessary cohesion to move their case forward. But this suit is now history, and Comcast is likely eager to put those monopoly-related complaints behind it as the company continues its quest to scoop up Time Warner Cable. And from that perspective, another part of the settlement is key: Comcast won't need to admit any wrongdoing whatsoever.