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

Capital Currents: FCC broadcast spectrum incentive auctions

March 6, 2013 5:42 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

The big picture on FCC incentive auctions of broadcast spectrum, includes two key elements: 1) The transfer of at least 120 MHz of spectrum for mobile broadband use; and 2) The generation of enough revenues to pay broadcaster relocation costs, the funding of a national broadband public safety network, as well as support for deficit reduction.

Schools shift from textbooks to tablets

March 6, 2013 2:46 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Schools are increasingly looking to the hand-held tablets as a way to sustain students' interest, reward their achievements and, in some cases, actually keep per-student costs down. News Corp. just introduced its $299 Amplify tablet designed for the education market; some 2,000 schools use Google's $199 Chromebooks.

Comcast achieves goal of hiring 1,000 veterans

March 6, 2013 12:14 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast announced today that it and NBCUniversal reached their three-year goal of hiring 1,000 veterans two years ahead of schedule. Comcast will double down on its pledge, which was made through U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s "Hiring Our Heroes,” by hiring an additional 1,000 armed services veterans by 2015.

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Google Builds White-Space Spectrum Database

March 5, 2013 2:16 pm | by Ben Munsen, Wireless Week | News | Comments

 Google has unveiled a searchable map of the available white-space spectrum in the U.S. The company said this new effort is in order to help promote dynamic spectrum sharing. The FCC is in the process of evaluating the map for accuracy.

Comcast expands access to Internet Essentials

March 5, 2013 2:10 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Comcast said it has connected more than 150,000 families thus far through its program to provide Internet access to low-income students and their families. Eligibility criteria for the program will soon be expanded to include parochial, private and homeschool students, bringing the estimated total number of eligible families to nearly 2.6 million.

Omnitel extends fiber to the home

March 4, 2013 1:52 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Using Broadband Stimulus financing, OmniTel Communications has deployed Adtran’s Total Access broadband platform in parts of Iowa. Omnitel is a RUS grant winner; its network expansion is in accordance with efforts by the Iowa Broadband Deployment Governance board to make high-speed broadband service more widely available in rural areas of the state.

Videotron's streaming service challenged

March 1, 2013 1:50 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Canadian Broadcaster Astral Media is attempting to force Videotron to drop or severely modify a streaming video service the latter recently announced. Astral filed a complaint with Canadian regulatory agencies claiming Videotron’s new illico Club Unlimited service violates a number of statutes. Videotron considers the complaint to be without legal merit.

Comcast announces legal, policy hires in D.C

February 27, 2013 1:37 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

Comcast announced that it has hired Ryan Wallach as senior deputy general counsel and Madura Wijewardena as senior director, public policy. Wallach’s responsibilities include legal analysis and advocacy regarding regulatory and litigation matters while Wijewardena is tasked with identifying emerging public policy issues of significance to the company.

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FCC moves to open more unlicensed spectrum

February 21, 2013 12:46 pm | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to make more unlicensed spectrum available for robust public Wi-Fi networks. The Commission proposed to make up to 195 MHz of additional spectrum in the 5 GHz band available to unlicensed wireless devices.

Ergen: Dish has time to mull many options for wireless

February 21, 2013 12:43 pm | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen said his company has seven years to use its spectrum, which was recently approved by the Federal Communications Commission for use in deploying an LTE-Advanced wireless network. Clearwire is still mulling its options.

FCC adopts new guidelines for signal boosters

February 21, 2013 12:40 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

The FCC issued a Report and Order concerning cellular signal booster use and preventing them from interfering with wireless networks. Under the new rules, consumers are required to obtain permission from and register their signal booster with their wireless carriers in order to continue using it.

Dish video subscribership flat in 2012

February 20, 2013 3:03 pm | by Brian Santo | News | Comments

Dish Network added about 14,000 net new video subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2012, ending the year with 14.05 million, compared to 13.96 million at the end of the prior year. Dish also added about 78,000 net broadband subscribers in 2012.

Hesse: Sprint looking for more spectrum

February 20, 2013 3:00 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said his company is seeking to acquire more wireless spectrum in order to stay competitive with AT&T and Verizon. Sprint hopes to scoop up more of the precious commodity by either buying it from other companies or from the government.

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Rogers nets $455M in Q4 on $3.26B in revenue

February 19, 2013 1:18 pm | by The Canadian Press | News | Comments

A record quarter for smartphone sales helped Rogers Communications exceed analysts’ expectations in the fourth quarter. The company reports a 3 percent gain in quarterly revenue to $3.26 billion and 88 cents in earnings per share – beating estimates of $3.19 billion and 72 cents per share.

Kansas House approves telecom deregulation bill

February 19, 2013 12:58 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Kansas would lessen its regulation of telecommunications but begin to phase out consumer-financed subsidies for universal landline service under a bill approved by the state House. The House's 118-1 vote sends the measure to the Senate, where it also is expected to have bipartisan support.

Dish: Without wireless partner, selling spectrum an option

February 12, 2013 2:58 pm | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen reiterated that his company will sell its AWS spectrum if it can’t find a suitable partner to help it deploy an LTE Advanced wireless network. Ergen made the comments at The Wall Street Journal’s All Things D conference.

FCC aims to improve completion rate of long-distance calls to rural areas

February 8, 2013 11:35 am | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

The FCC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), which seeks comment on rules to help address problems in the completion of long-distance telephone calls to rural customers. The NPRM is specifcally aimed at intermediate carries that complete long-distance calls for long-distance providers.

Idaho panel: Let telecoms call existing customers

February 8, 2013 11:26 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A House committee agreed that Idaho should lift a 13-year-old restriction barring phone and cable TV companies from calling existing customers to market new products or services, rejecting an argument from the attorney general's office that the change would erode people's privacy protections.

Malone’s Liberty Global to fork out $23B for Virgin Media

February 6, 2013 3:27 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

The acquisition, which needs to pass regulatory approvals and is slated to close in the second quarter, would not only pit mega moguls John Malone and Rupert Murdoch against each other in the United Kingdom, but it would also give Malone’s Liberty Global the crown as the world’s largest cable operator.

FCC Sandy field hearings emphasize modernizing infrastructure

February 6, 2013 3:19 pm | by Ben Munson, Wireless Week | News | Comments

At the Superstorm Sandy field hearings, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski made it clear the wireless communication outages experienced during the storm couldn't happen again. When Sandy hit the U.S. East Coast, approximately 25 percent of cell sites across 10 states were rendered inoperational.

Malone’s Liberty Global eyes Virgin Media

February 5, 2013 3:02 pm | by Mike Robuck | News | Comments

John Malone’s Liberty Global is in the process of cooking up a deal to buy Virgin Media. Virgin Media’s price tag could be in the range of $24 billion, while its market capitalization stands at $10.4 billion. Including debt, its enterprise value is around $19.4 billion.

FTC issues mobile privacy guidelines

February 4, 2013 3:19 pm | by Andrew Berg, Wireless Week | News | Comments

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a set of guidelines for mobile application developers. While not legally binding, the new rules were released on the same day as regulators announced a settlement with social networking provider Path.

Ciciora's Corner - Should you get a patent?

February 4, 2013 12:16 pm | by Walt S. Ciciora, expert on cable and consumer electronics issues | Articles | Comments

Have you ever considered getting a patent yourself? Should you? This is not an easy decision. It’s a lot of work, and it is expensive. Done right, it’s very expensive. And that’s just the beginning. A patent is the right to exclude someone from making, using or selling your invention.

Engineering-Wise - United and prepped for battle

February 4, 2013 11:41 am | by Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of the SCTE | Articles | Comments

I’ve always been impressed by the coordination required to keep our country safe. From our nation’s earliest skirmishes to the invasion of Normandy and Operation Desert Storm, teamwork across all branches of the armed services has been essential to the protection of our nation, and the world. It’s much the same in our industry.

Capital Currents - Video quality assessment

February 4, 2013 11:26 am | by Jeffrey Krauss, president of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Articles | Comments

The FCC has a proceeding underway to update its cable TV technical regulations. For the most part, there is agreement that the version of SCTE 40 adopted last year contains the appropriate technical specifications for digital cable systems. But the FCC also asked whether it should regulate the picture quality that is delivered to viewers.

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