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

Canada may impose a la carte on pay TV providers

October 14, 2013 3:11 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

The Canadian government plans to introduce legislation that will force the country’s multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) to offer television channels on an a la carte basis. The country's Industry Minister promises to introduce a plan next week.

Broadcasters petition Supreme Court to kill Aereo

October 14, 2013 1:51 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

In a maneuver that has important ramifications for retransmission consent arguments, ABC, CBS, Fox and Comcast-owned NBC, along with Univision, Telemundo, PBS and several individual TV stations have signed the petition asking the Court to decide that Aereo's methods violate copyright law.

Aereo on its way to Android

October 11, 2013 1:21 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Aereo, a service that delivers broadcast television stations over the Internet, will come to Android devices on Oct. 22. Earlier this week, a court in Boston denied a request by an ABC station owned by Hearst, WCVB, for a preliminary injunction to stop Aereo's service.

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SCTE announces new board appointments

October 11, 2013 1:10 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) recently announced the selection of members for its SCTE Board of Directors for the upcoming 2013-2014 term. For the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 terms, Tony Werner, executive vice president and CTO of Comcast, was newly appointed as a director while Terry Cordova, senior vice president and CTO of Suddenlink, was reappointed. 

Venech signs on with Charter as vice president, communications

October 10, 2013 12:18 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Charter Communications announced this morning that Justin Venech was hired for the position of vice president, communications. Venech joined Charter from Time Warner Cable where he was vice president, public relations. In his new job, Venech reports to Alex Dudley, senior vice president, communications and public affairs.

CVAA and CALM mandatory requirements -- why and how

October 8, 2013 7:14 pm | by Jim Welch, senior consulting engineer, IneoQuest Technologies | Articles | Comments

As of this month, all pre-recorded programming edited for internet distribution must now be close captioned. That's on top of video description content and the requirements of the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act designed to eliminate huge volume spikes in video ads.

AT&T CEO: Federal default the “height of irresponsibility”

October 4, 2013 1:47 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

The federal government shutdown continues, the possibility of the U.S. going into default is getting closer. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson issued a strongly worded statement for any elected official who’s considering letting that happen.

Internet for low-income families in KC area

October 3, 2013 1:32 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A consortium of nonprofit groups has been trying to bridge the digital divide by building what, for Kansas City, is a new kind of Internet service using microwave dishes and Wi-Fi systems. One that for now is absolutely free to the 1,000 people who already can get it in Kansas City and Kansas City, Kan.

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Cable One blacks out Turner stations

October 2, 2013 12:45 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Cable One has just removed several Turner Network channels, and Media General blacked out programming from Dish Network subscribers in 18 markets. With two months to go in the year, TV consumers have already been subjected to 101 blackouts in 2013, versus 91 in 2012 and 51 in 2011.

Charter hires Hoehn-Saric as new policy exec

October 2, 2013 12:32 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Charter Communications has hired Alexander Hoehn-Saric as its senior vice president, government affairs. Hoehn-Saric most recently served as policy director in the office of Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. 

Dish working wireless broadband proposal

September 30, 2013 1:02 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Dish Network is petitioning the FCC for waiver of certain technical rules governing a terrestrial deployment on its 20 MHz of AWS-4 spectrum as well as a one-year extension for that deployment. In return for the FCC granting the waiver and time extension, Dish has promised to bid in the upcoming H Block auction for the paired 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz bands.

Engineering-wise: Creating the cable generalist

September 17, 2013 7:09 pm | by Steve Harris, Senior Director, Advanced Network Technologies, SCTE | Articles | Comments

As the industry is dismantling its video, voice and data silos, it is creating new opportunities for cable professionals to increase their value to their employers, their industry and themselves. By mastering the entire landscape of the network, service offerings and customers, the next-generation professional is able to drive deployment of high-quality, highly reliable services that are helping cable maintain its competitive edge.

Capital Currents: The Dish “Hopper” Case

September 16, 2013 3:30 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

To create the AutoHop functionality, Dish technicians in Cheyenne, Wyoming manually view Fox’s primetime programming each night and technologically mark the beginning and end of each commercial. The program content is not altered in any way. The electronically marked files are then uplinked in Wyo., and eventually transmitted to subscribers.

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Comcast's Burke: NBC/U will be seeking higher retrans fees

September 12, 2013 12:32 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

If the U.S. cable industry was looking for the largest MSO to help push for reform of retransmission consent, it can forget it. Comcast’s programming arm is far behind its direct competitors when it comes to collecting retrans fees, but it is about to get aggressive on that front.

In Perspective: Marriage counseling

September 11, 2013 7:02 pm | by Brian Santo | Articles | Comments

Rep. Greg Walden is trying to revive legislation to reform the FCC that he’s failed to get passed before and is a good bet to fail again. He describes it as a bill that would make the FCC more transparent, though what it will mostly do is make the FCC even less effective than it is now.

Capital Currents: 5 GHz Unlicensed Devices

September 11, 2013 6:40 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

 The FCC regulates the 5725-5850 MHz “WiFi” band under Section 15.247 of the FCC Rules. But much of the current interest deals with the bands known as U-NII. An important part of the FCC proceeding deals with two bands in the 5 GHz range that are not currently allocated for either WiFi or U-NII use. The big dispute is over interference.

Comcast hires Stutts as new regional VP of external affairs for California

September 10, 2013 12:43 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast has named Mary Stutts to the to the newly-created position of regional vice president of external affairs for Comcast California. In her new job, Stutts will report to Hank Fore, regional senior vice president for Comcast California. She will oversee all aspects of Comcast’s communications, government affairs, community investment and telecommunications policy matters throughout the state. 

Time Warner, CBS reach accommodation, end blackout

September 2, 2013 7:58 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The companies were in dispute over how much Time Warner Cable Inc. would pay for CBS Corp. programming. Terms of the deal haven't been disclosed. The agreement includes retransmission fees the cable operator pays to CBS per subscriber, which had been a sticking point.

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.

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."

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