The Big Ten Network and Comcast have reached a deal and if you’re one of the lucky folks living in a Big Ten state (sans Iowa and Philly), you will finally receive the network in all her glory starting August 15th.
Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will initially launch the network as part of its expanded basic level of service to promote it to the majority of its customers residing in states with Big Ten universities (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, with the exception of the Philadelphia region which will launch on a broadly distributed digital level of service) starting August 15th. (Comcast does not have systems in Iowa, the eighth Big Ten state.)
There is also this little tidbit, however:
In Spring 2009, Comcast may elect to move the network to a broadly distributed digital level of service in most of its systems in these states. Comcast’s digital customers in the Big Ten states will also have immediate access to live Big Ten games and events in high definition, Big Ten programming via Comcast’s video-on-demand platform, and a wide array of conference-related content through Comcast.net.
Should Comcast choose to make such a move after this year, it probably wouldn’t be too debilitating to the heavy majority of subscribers since they already have basic digital packages. I would only start to get concerned if Comcast decided to get greedy and force its patrons to purchase their “sports tier” package in order to watch BTN programming. Given the reason for the year-long holdup however, I sincerely doubt such a scenario will ever come into fruition.