Broadband Briefs for 11/06/09
• FiOS TV extends to 5 more Mass. communities
By Traci Patterson
Consumers and small businesses in five Massachusetts communities now have access to Verizon’s FiOS TV service.
The latest communities are Billerica, Fitchburg, Milford, North Attleborough and Westford. They are among 104 Massachusetts communities where the telco’s TV service is, or will soon be, offered.
FiOS TV now offers more than 600 total channels in Massachusetts, including 123 HD channels – “more than any local cable TV company, including Comcast,” Verizon said.
• AT&T completes Centennial acquisition
By Monica Alleven, Wireless Week
It’s been a long time in the making, but AT&T today said it has completed its $945 million acquisition of Centennial Communications. The Federal Communications Commission announced its conditional approval of the transaction yesterday.
As a result of the FCC and Department of Justice reviews, AT&T will need to divest operations in eight service areas. Earlier this year, AT&T agreed to divest five of those service areas to Verizon Wireless.
The transaction extends AT&T’s wireless network coverage in primarily rural areas of Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio and Texas, as well as enhances coverage in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. About 893,000 subscribers will be added to AT&T’s roster. The transaction also marks the first significant wireless merger approval from the new FCC.
• Amdocs shares jump on solid Q1 forecast
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) – Shares of Amdocs rose Thursday after the telecommunications equipment maker posted higher fourth-quarter earnings and gave a solid forecast for its fiscal first quarter, a sign that demand for its products may be stabilizing.
The latest quarter's revenue fell 14 percent from a year earlier, but it improved sequentially. For the fiscal first quarter ending in December, Amdocs expects a profit of 38 cents to 44 cents per share. Excluding some one-time items, the company sees a profit of 51 cents to 55 cents per share.
Kaufman Bros. analyst Karl Keirstead said that "the mood of its [telecom] clients improved, and the decision-making and [technology] spending paralysis eased." He said the company is seeing a stabilization of "new project-based spending, as well as add-on work for existing contracts" a quarter or two sooner than it expected. In addition, the stabilization was broad-based and not confined to any particular client, region or service offering, he said. Keirstead reaffirmed a "Hold" rating on Amdocs and raised his target price to $28 from $26.
Shares rose $2.35, or 9.6 percent, to $26.82 in afternoon trading. In the past 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $14.61 and $27.65.
• EBay settles suit with Skype founders
By The Associated Press
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – EBay Inc. says a group of investors who are buying the majority of its telecommunications service, Skype, agreed to settle a legal skirmish with Skype's founders.
The online marketplace operator said Friday the settlement gives Skype ownership of software that had in the past been licensed from Joltid Ltd. – a company that was founded by Skype co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis. It also settles lawsuits that had been filed against the investor group and eBay once the sale of Skype is completed.
Under the settlement, Zennstrom and Friis will become part of the investor group buying Skype and will get a 14 percent stake in the company. This means that the investor group will own 56 percent of Skype once the deal closes. EBay will own 30 percent.