Broadband Briefs for 11/13/09
• In the Media: Charter rate hikes
By Brian Santo
Charter Communications is reported to be raising rates in Pendleton, Ore. Pendleton is a small city in a predominantly rural area in eastern Oregon that has been hard hit by economic conditions that have only been exacerbated by the recession.
Charter has notified the city of Pendleton that the monthly fee for cable service in Pendleton will increase by $5 per month for those who subscribe to the Basic Tier service (channels 2 to 13 plus 98 and 99), and by $3 per month for those who subscribe to expanded basic service (channels 2 through 99), the East Oregonian reported. Local consumer advocates complain that the higher increase for the basic tier means basic tier subs will be subsidizing the costs of the expanded basic tier.
The paper ran a chart showing the number of channels and cost per channel in Pendleton and several nearby towns in both Oregon and Washington. Though the number of channels and the proportion of analog and digital channels varied widely, total monthly charges tended to work out to between about $25 and $31.
• Verizon service announcements
By Brian Santo
Verizon continues to make services available in dribs and drabs.
More than 2,100 homes and businesses in Gaithersburg, Md., are now getting FiOS TV, and more than 700 consumers and businesses in the Ashland area of Hanover County, more than 1,100 in the Charles City and Providence Forge areas, and more than 1,800 in Powhatan and Cumberland counties (all in Virginia) are finally getting DLS-based high speed Internet.
In Gaithersburg, FiOS is available in parts of Brighton Highlands, Candlewood Park, Deer Park, Derwood Station, Medland Station, Needwood Estates, Oakmont Manor, Parkside Estates, Walnut Grove, Walnut Hill and West Deer Park.
Some of the other areas newly covered are frequently so well-concentrated geographically that Verizon can identify the areas not at a city or town level, but by specifying the actual streets where the service is available.
Signing promotions, which vary by area and service offered, include offers of $150 back via a Visa prepaid card if a triple- or quad-play service is ordered and continued for 60 days with no past-due balance, as well as six-months-free high-speed Internet for new Verizon HSI customers.
• YouTube to support 1080p HD videos
By The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) - YouTube says starting next week it will support the same high-resolution video that can now be seen on flat-screen TVs.
The online video unit of Google Inc. said Thursday it will support video playback in the full high-definition format known as 1080p, upgrading from the current 720p.
After engineers tested its system, YouTube spokesman Chris Dale said the company is not worried about infrastructure problems or higher costs associated with supporting bulkier files.
Videos uploaded from regular users will still have a 10-minute limit, although the maximum file size will likely get a boost from 2 gigabytes.
Videos that had already been uploaded at 1080p will be automatically re-encoded to play back at the higher resolution.