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News summary for 7/06/07

Fri, 07/06/2007 - 7:21am

Illinois joins list of states with statewide franchises
By Traci Patterson

On June 30, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed into law a statewide franchising system, under which new cable companies can enter the market without having to negotiate franchise agreements with each city and town.

AT&T and Verizon can now compete with Comcast and Insight Communications for the delivery of phone, Internet and TV services.

“Under this new law, consumers in Illinois will now have more providers to choose from for cable TV service, and cable companies will be required to provide more reliable and on-time service,” said Blagojevich, in a statement.

Some provisions of the law are effective immediately, but service quality standards for existing cable operators start Jan. 1.

Similar bills have been passed this year in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Nevada.

Optibase enters tender offer to buy more Scopus shares
By Traci Patterson

Optibase has begun a tender offer to purchase an aggregate of 678,000 ordinary shares of Scopus Video Networks for $5.25 per share, in cash, minus any required withholding taxes and without interest, Optibase said.

Optibase currently owns more than three million ordinary shares of Scopus, which represents about 22.5 percent of Scopus’ outstanding shares. If Optibase purchases the additional shares, it would own about 27.6 percent of Scopus.

The initial tender offer and withdrawal rights period is scheduled to expire at 5 p.m. EST on Aug. 6.

Optibase, an Israeli company, provides encoding, decoding, video server upload and streaming solutions. Scopus’ digital video networking solutions support digital TV, HDTV, live event coverage and content distribution.

Clearwire gets $1B loan for expansion
By Brian Santo

Clearwire closed and funded its first tranche of a $1 billion loan. The remainder of the loan will be funded in approximately 45 days.

The loan was led by Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Citigroup, which the company positioned as an endorsement by the investment community

The proceeds will be used to refinance Clearwire’s existing debt and to expand the company’s operations.

Broadband Briefs for 7/06/07

* Cox adds HD films to On Demand service

Cox Communications is adding high definition (HD) movies to its On Demand library. The service is currently available in Cox's San Diego network. Northern Virginia and Oklahoma City will get the updates next, with other systems that feature On Demand to follow.

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