Comcast changes name to 'XFinity' -- though not because of NBC deal, they say

Comcast will undergo an extensive image overhaul beginning this Friday, when it officially rebrands its Internet and cable services as "XFinity."

The name change will appear this week in 11 of the provider's largest markets, including Boston and Philadelphia, with more to come soon. However, the overarching company will retain the name "Comcast," even as its services, bill statements, service trucks and equipment reflect the new "XFinity" brand, according to its spokeswoman.

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Ultimately, the image overhaul arrives amid manifestly increasing criticisms from Comcast subscribers, about everything from the price of its cable and Web packages to the reliability of its services. The name change also occurs as Comcast, the parent company, plans to purchase NBC -- an unprecedented, sizable merge that has earned the scorn of both customers and lawmakers alike.

But Comcast took care this week to emphasize its name change has nothing to do with that merger, which is still pending a congressional review.

Rather, spokeswoman Angelynne Amores suggested to reporters that the re-branding is part of Comcast's larger strategy to appear more digital and innovative, at a time when other companies are doing the same.

"XFinity is part of a new customer experience that will be backed by great customer service," she said. "Our goal is to deliver outstanding products and customer service that our customers can always depend on."