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Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

Facebook: Governments demanded data on 38K users

August 27, 2013 12:19 pm | by Associated Press | News | Comments

Government agents in 74 countries demanded information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of this year, with about half the orders coming from authorities in the United States, the company said Tuesday. The social-networking giant is the latest technology company to release figures on how often governments seek information about its customers. Microsoft and Google have done the same.

FCC: IPTV subject to same fees paid by cable ops

August 14, 2013 1:28 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The FCC has decided to apply to IPTV companies some of the same regulatory fees that have long applied to cable operators. The Commission made no determination, however, on whether direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers should be similarly subject to the same regulatory fees.

CableLabs pulls in Euro Cable Labs, goes global

August 13, 2013 12:15 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

CableLabs has taken over Euro Cable Labs, with nine European cable operators becoming members of the consortium; a smaller handful of companies from both Asia and Latin America have also become members. All members have agreed to standardize on a common version of the still-developing DOCSIS 3.1.

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AMC's Q2 income triples with Dish payment

August 9, 2013 1:42 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

AMC Networks saw net income more than triple during the second quarter thanks to a $132.9 million payment from a dispute with Dish Network. Removing one-time items like that, however, the company fell short of Wall Street profit and revenue expectations and its stock slid 5 percent Thursday.

Time Warner Cable, CBS remain at loggerheads

August 7, 2013 1:48 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

CBS chief executive Les Moonves rejected an offer from Time Warner Cable to end a blackout over fees that lingered into its fifth day Tuesday, calling it a clever public relations ploy. In a letter released Tuesday, Moonves rebuffed Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt's offer to allow CBS to sell its programming to consumers "a la carte" instead of bundled with other channels.

Ergen: mergers needed to offset programmer leverage

August 7, 2013 12:35 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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 calls excessive retrans demands “pilfering"

August 6, 2013 1:19 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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."

Time Warner Cable - CBS blackout persists through 4th day

August 5, 2013 1:17 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

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Obama Taps Top GOP Aide for Republican FCC Post

August 5, 2013 11:45 am | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

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.

Polka: Fight for the future; fight for your rights

July 23, 2013 2:32 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

You're paying to have your own phone tapped

July 11, 2013 1:23 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Time Warner Cable launches Lifeline telephony

July 10, 2013 1:29 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

FCC approves SoftBank-Sprint-Clearwire transaction

July 8, 2013 1:04 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

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.

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Big disconnect: Telcos abandon copper phone lines

July 8, 2013 12:48 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Live from the Show: NCTA

June 26, 2013 4:45 pm | by CED | Videos | Comments

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.

Ohio internet sales tax exempts cable products

June 26, 2013 2:00 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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 hires Bohigian as EVP, governmental affairs

June 17, 2013 12:14 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

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.

From the Cable Show: "Disruptors" not so disruptive

June 10, 2013 6:25 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

Live From the Show: Cable Show 2013 intro

June 10, 2013 1:06 pm | by Brian Santo | Videos | Comments

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...

Obama pushes plan for fast Internet in U.S. schools

June 7, 2013 1:44 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Report: NSA demands Verizon hand over all U.S. call records

June 6, 2013 2:04 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

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.

Idaho mapping extent of broadband deserts

June 3, 2013 1:38 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

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.

Cisco: M2M manifests; video still driving global traffic

May 29, 2013 1:51 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

FCC kicks off Phase II of Connect America Fund

May 23, 2013 1:32 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

Cranky broadcasters could get their licenses yanked

May 15, 2013 2:08 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

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.

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