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News summary for 7/02/07

Mon, 07/02/2007 - 8:19am

ACA asks Congress to put FCC on a leash
By Brian Santo

The American Cable Association (ACA) blasted the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), saying it was inexplicable that the commission granted a set-top box waiver request to communications giant Verizon while denying similar waivers to any more small cable operators.

The organization called for increased Congressional oversight of the commission.

“At a time when consumer prices are rising, it is inexplicable that the FCC Media Bureau would deny small cable operators’ waiver requests and force their subscribers to pay $2 to $3 or more per month for new cable boxes,” said Matthew M. Polka, ACA president and CEO.

“Policymakers at the FCC appear out of touch with consumers in underserved areas whose cable companies are already trying to manage the costs of upgrading their facilities to provide advanced voice, video and data services, and to prepare for the digital transition.

Unfortunately, under the FCC Media Bureau’s decisions, once again big companies like Verizon are the winners, and smaller market cable companies and their consumers are the losers, the ACA said.

Yahoo! launches new online ad platform
By Traci Patterson

Yahoo! Inc. has debuted Yahoo! SmartAds, a new advertising platform that allows marketers to customize and tailor online ads.

For example, if a consumer is browsing for hybrid cars in Yahoo! Autos, and San Francisco is the person’s default location in Yahoo! Weather, the new ad platform can display ads in real time that market a hybrid vehicle from a major auto brand, as well as a local dealership with current information and pricing, the company said.

The patent-pending platform also allows advertisers to design a single set of individual creative components; with the artwork, SmartAds will then generate hundreds of ad combinations based on the components.

Yahoo!’s rival, Google Inc., has dominated the Internet advertising space as of late. On June 18, Terry Semel stepped down from his position as Yahoo!’s CEO, and Jerry Yang was appointed to the role. Yang has overseen Yahoo!’s acquisition of Rivals.com and the company’s announcement that its Search and Display ad sales teams are combining in the U.S.

AT&T offers free Wi-Fi service to subs
By Traci Patterson

AT&T Inc.’s nationwide Wi-Fi network is now available, for free, to AT&T’s high-speed Internet subscribers.

The network comprises nearly 10,000 hot spots in locations such as airports, coffee shops, McDonald’s restaurants, and Barnes & Noble bookstores.

AT&T is also offering a wireless gateway that enables its broadband customers to roam, untethered, throughout their homes with multiple Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

Ambient stays alive with debt payments
By Brian Santo

Ambient Corp., which since 1998 has been trying to find a market for its broadband over power lines (BPL) products, announced it has made a payment on its debt, a step that will keep the company viable for at least a few more months.

Ambient is best known for a long-standing project with Con Ed in New York City that only recently was expanded – on an R&D basis – beyond a single building, and a relationship with EarthLink that hasn’t seen much fruit since 2005. Last year the company picked up an order from Duke Energy for $3.5 million, and boasted of several small pilots with a handful of U.S. utilities.

In March, the company reported it recorded $2.3 million in revenue in 2006, a 900 percent increase over 2005. The company managed to attract $4 million in capital in June, some of which was undoubtedly used to make its July 2007 payment on its 8 percent senior secured convertible debentures in cash, as well as an additional $1,952,700 pre-pay on those debentures. The company said the two payments, totaling about $2.4 million, will make it easier to attract future funding.

Broadband Briefs for 7/02/07

* 2Wire hits 11M gateway mark
2Wire, a provider of broadband service delivery platforms, has shipped its 11-millionth HomePortal residential gateway. 2Wire launched an intelligent gateway in January 2000 and a wireless gateway a year later. According to In-Stat, 2Wire is now the second-largest global provider of broadband residential gateways, in both unit and revenue market share.

* Public stations seeking copyright exemptions 
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) has formed the Digital Rights Coalition to represent public broadcast stations as they advocate for updates to current exemptions in copyright law that will allow them to distribute content to educators, students and other parties.

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