Broadband Briefs for 03/10/09

Tue, 03/10/2009 - 8:00am

Comcast spent more than $3.8M lobbying govt. in Q4
By The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Comcast spent more than $3.8 million in the fourth quarter to lobby on sports programming, network management, digital TV and other issues, according to a recent disclosure report. On sports, Comcast lobbied on carriage of the Big Ten Network and the NFL Network. Comcast is in litigation with the NFL, which wants the cable operator to carry the channel in its most popular cable package instead of a premium sports bundle. A similar complaint sits before the FCC.

The FCC sanctioned Comcast over its network management practices in August, charging that the company throttled certain peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic online. Philadelphia-based Comcast was not fined, but it was told to end such practices and disclose its new network management plan to customers and the FCC.

Comcast also lobbied on the transition to digital TV, which was supposed to occur nationwide last month but has been postponed until June, as well as carriage of independent programming, public, educational and government channels. In addition, it lobbied on privacy and phone competition in the October-December period.

Insight promotes Talente, appoints Brown
By Traci Patterson

Insight Communications, the nation’s ninth-largest cable operator, has promoted Jeff Talente to director of fixed assets and purchasing, and the operator has also appointed Ian Brown to director of operational finance.

Talente is responsible for all fixed asset accounting and reporting, as well as contract negotiations with Insight’s major vendors. He also works with field operations and central operations to procure fixed asset and customer premises equipment (CPE) requirements.

In his new capacity, Brown will work with the field operations team to increase operational and financial efficiencies by understanding cost drivers and building tools to help Insight control costs.

Verizon gets $2.5B for DOD telecom system
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Defense Department said Monday that it has awarded a $2.5 billion contract to a division of Verizon Communications Inc. for work on military telecommunications systems.

The five-year contract, with options for extensions, is for work on the Pentagon's Defense Information System Network in the Pacific region.

Shares of New York-based Verizon fell $1.10, or 4 percent, to close at $26.18 Monday.

Dish launches History Interactive
By Traci Patterson

Dish Network has released History Interactive, a 24/7 interactive television (iTV) experience produced by Dish Network and developed by History Interactive and Ensequence.

History Interactive offers history factoids, daily questions related to History’s programming content, and the ability to set DVR timers and recorders for upcoming History shows.

With help from Ensequence, the interactive experience will also be integrated into History’s new TV series, Battles BC. Dish Network subscribers must have an OpenTV-enabled receiver to use the iTV application.

RCN names Cecin to board
By Traci Patterson

RCN Corp. has appointed Jose "Joe" A. Cecin Jr. to the company’s board of directors, effective April 1.

Cecin is the founder and president of Lumina Advisors, a strategy, operations and corporate development advisory company. Prior to forming Lumina, Cecin was a managing director and group head of the Communications Investment Banking practice of BB&T Capital Markets, the investment banking division of BB&T Corp. In 1999, he co-founded Cambrian Communications, a facilities-based telecommunications service provider, where he served as chief operating officer. Cecin was also a founding member of Wave International.

Cecin currently serves as an independent director of SkyTerra Communications, a 4G satellite services company. He also serves as a director of Arbinet-thexchange Inc., where he serves on the audit committee and compensation committee.

VeriSign sells Communication Services Group to TNS
By Traci Patterson

VeriSign Inc., which provides Internet infrastructure services, has sold its Communication Services Group to Reston, Va.-based Transaction Network Services Inc. (TNS) in a cash transaction valued at $230 million. The transaction is expected to close within the next two months, subject to customary regulatory approvals and successful financing.

"The sale of the Communications Services Group is another important step toward our divestiture goals as we continue our commitment and focus on our core businesses in Internet infrastructure," said Jim Bidzos, VeriSign’s executive chairman of the board and interim CEO.

TNS intends to integrate the acquired group into the Telecommunication Services Division (TSD). With the acquisition, TNS will more effectively scale its existing SS7 network and database offerings, add a group of blue chip customers, deepen the TSD management team and augment product development within TSD, the company said.

More Broadband Direct 03/10/09:

•  Clearwire hires operations expert as CEO
•  Itaas broadens support for TWC's application developers
•  Cox appoints Knaub executive director of wireless business
•  Comcast Media Center, enableTV team up on iTV apps
•  TWC debuts Primetime On Demand channel
•  FCC asks for input on broadband policy
•  CableLabs picks This Technology to facilitate VOD metadata transition
•  Color promos pay off for cable op
•  Arris issues reminder of compact CMTS
•  Texas Instruments narrows Q1 outlook
•  Broadband Briefs for 03/10/09



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