Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen says pay TV distributors may have to merge to even the playing field if the government doesn't curb the power of TV networks in fee disputes. His comments came amid the backdrop of a fee dispute that has cut off CBS programming to some 3 million Time Warner Cable and Bright House Network subscribers for more than five days.
Mediacom, a company whose executives are not known for mincing words, threw its support behind Time Warner Cable, which is fighting CBS over the programmer’s demands for higher retransmission fees. Mediacom said, “...millions of consumers in over 50 markets stretching from New York City to Honolulu have been blacked out by broadcast station owners attempting to pilfer billions of dollars from the pockets of hardworking American families."
Three million Time Warner Cable customers in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and other cities remained without access to CBS for a fourth day, after the MSO dropped the network in an argument over the escalation of fees CBS is demanding for TWC to retransmit its signals. Bright House Networks, long allied with TWC, has also dropped CBS stations in central Florida markets.
President Obama last week nominated congressional aide Mike O’Rielly for the FCC commissioner spot left vacant by the departing Republican Robert McDowell. O’Rielly currently serves as a policy adviser to the Senate Republican Whip, Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. Obama already nominated wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler as the next FCC Chairman, taking over for Julius Genachowski.
CED caught up with American Cable Association president Matt Polka at the recent Cable Show, who in a free-wheeling conversation talked about what to expect at the Independent Show including; how broadband and over-the-top might be the future for smaller operators, and whether Congress and the FCC are ever going to provide smaller ops with some relief from the pressures they’re experiencing.
Paid for by U.S. tax dollars, but with little public scrutiny, surveillance fees charged in secret by technology and phone companies can vary wildly. AT&T, for example, imposes a $325 "activation fee" for each wiretap and $10 a day to maintain it. Cricket and U.S. Cellular charge only about $250 per wiretap. Verizon charges the government $775 for the first month and $500 each month after that.
The Lifeline program, administered by the FCC, grants eligible individuals per household a monthly credit on their residential home phone bill. Eligible customers can now apply for the home phone discount. TWC’s Lifeline program for Home Phone customers is now available as a pilot program throughout its footprint in New York State.
The FCC has given its blessing to SoftBank’s $21.6 billion merger bid for Sprint and Sprint’s $5 per share buyout bid for Clearwire. In the order, the Commission concluded that the proposed transaction will likely result in public interest benefits.
For most people, the phone line's demise will have little impact. But there are pockets of the country where copper lines are still critical for residents. As a result, state regulators and consumer advocates are increasingly concerned about how the transition will unfold.
NCTA VP of industry affairs Mark Bell expounds on how cable is telling an effective story about how it has always been a technology disruptor, and that it continues to be so, with a tradition of innovation that shows every sign of accelerating.
A package of tax changes added to the state budget would increase the state sales tax and apply it to digital products, such as MP3s, e-books and videos bought on the Internet. The sales tax wouldn't apply to any video programming that's included in a cable service package, but viewers could expect their Netflix and Hulu Plus subscriptions to be taxed.
Charter Communications has hired former Cablevision lobbyist and Federal Communications Commissions aide Catherine Bohigian as its new executive vice president, governmental affairs. Bohigian, who starts her new job on July 8, replaces Robert Quicksilver, who is leaving the company.
Executives from Vox Media, Jawbone, Twitter, and Roku were all quite enthusiastic about being complements to the cable industry, but they all wished that cable would innovate a little faster. Tom Rutledge meanwhile essentially admonished programmers to give it up already.
We're in Washington D.C., for the 2013 NCTA Cable Show. Eight of 10 buildings surrounding the convention center are being constructed, reconstructed, or deconstructed -- even the Washington monument is wreathed in scaffolding. There's a metaphor in there somewhere...
The President is advocating for an initiative that calls on the FCC to use an existing program that funds Internet access in schools and libraries through a surcharge on telephone bills to meet the goal. He also directed the government to do a better job of using existing funds to get Internet connections and educational technology into classrooms, and into the hands of teachers who know how to use it.
The Guardian has received and published the order which outlines that Verizon is to deliver to the NSA the numbers of both parties, location data, identifiers like IMSI and IMEI numbers, and time and duration of calls. The order has been in place since April and has demanded Verizon give over the requisite information for both international calls originating in the U.S. and calls made within the U.S.
Look at a map showing broadband Internet access in Idaho and you'll see broad swaths of online nothingness. About 85 percent of Idahoans have good access to some form of high-speed Internet, but that population is concentrated in the urban areas that make up a fraction of the state's land mass. Scattered across the vast spaces that remain, rural Idahoans are often hard-pressed to communicate and do business.
According to the company's latest global Internet traffic report, M2M Internet traffic has begun to have a measurable impact on global IP networks. The latest version of the annual Visual Networking Index also attested to the ongoing nature of other well-known trends: on a global basis, more people are getting connected, data consumption is increasing, and video represents a growing constituent element of global traffic.
The FCC announced Phase II of the Connect America Fund, extending the program designed to encourage the extension of broadband networks to reach unserved and underserved Americans, mostly in rural areas. The announcement was hailed by phone companies, but was met with disappointment by the smaller cable operators who typically provide services in the areas targeted by the fund.
TV broadcasters who pull their signals off the air might risk forfeiting their spectrum licenses, Sen. Mark Warner this week warned. Fox CEO Chase Carey last month vowed to pull Fox off the air and distribute exclusively through pay TV services if Aereo were allowed to proceed with its current business model.
Sen. Rockefeller has asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of TV station shared services agreements (SSAs) on consumers. The request is a response to complaints that local broadcasters collude in order to keep retrans fees artificially high.
Senator John McCain has introduced a bill that aims to fix a grab-bag of problems in the TV industry. His bill proposes to bar programmers from offering channels only in bundles; it aims to make retransmission consent arguments easier to adjudicate; and restricts sports blackouts, among other measures.
You’ve certainly read about that notorious decision by the Librarian of Congress that made it illegal for a cell phone owner to “unlock” a cell phone so that it can be used with a different carrier. But that same decision, which came out last October, contains other elements, including some that apply more directly to our business.
A White House official says President Barack Obama plans to name a former cable and wireless industry lobbyist to head the Federal Communications Commission. Tom Wheeler is former head of both the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association and the National Cable Television Association.
Time Warner Cable announced its STEM in Sports campaign to support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The campaign will offer parents, coaches and other adults the opportunity to get kids interested in STEM by highlighting the roles these subjects play in sports. NFL player Victor Cruz will appear in a PSA for the program.