Given all of the Wi-Fi related news over the past few months, an interesting press release came over the transom this morning. Benu Networks announced today that a “major North American MSO” had deployed its technology for community Wi-Fi deployments. Benu added more mystery to release by saying that it was in lab trials with two more North American service providers.
AT&T announced on Sunday that it would by DirecTV for $48.5 billion in cash and stock, which figures out to be $95 per share. The deal would give AT&T 26 million video subscriber and make it the second-largest pay TV provider behind the combined Comcast/Time Warner Cable entity that would service 30 million subscribers under the $45 billion merger that was announced in February.
Following a busy day at the FCC that saw the Commission drafting rules for upcoming spectrum auctions and revising its spectrum screen, carriers weighed in with varying degrees of praise or scorn for the new policies. The FCC’s move to set aside a reserve of 30 MHz in the 600 MHz Incentive Auctions for bidders holding less than one-third of available low-band spectrum licenses per area drew a lukewarm response from T-Mobile.
The company’s financials in the service provider market have been slipping, but it seemed to be slowing the downward slide. Its third quarter decline in orders was 5 percent year over year, an improvement compared to its Q2 decline of 12 percent.
Over the past few years, CableLabs has been cooking up information models for the cable operator industry that are designed to provide commonality across the various technologies and systems. CableLabs chief technology officer Ralph Brown said the data information architecture seeks to integrate the different networks and systems into a common platform that will improve the rate of innovation and provide a seamless experience.
MBC is using Cyan’s Blue Planet SDN software along with Cyan’s Z-Series Packet-Optical Platforms to expand its mobile backhaul business, simplify network operations, be able to configure third-party devices via SDN, and eventually migrate to Carrier Ethernet.
Dish and nTelos last year announced the fixed mobile broadband partnership. The companies activated two wireless tower test sites in the Blue Ridge Mountains using Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson equipment. The broadband antenna used by Dish can be installed directly next to Dish’s TV satellite.
When it comes to monetizing Wi-Fi services, Comcast may have forged an in-road with a trial that it’s conducting with two Asian cellular operators. On Sunday, Reuters reported that Comcast was in a trial with Japan's KDDI and Taiwan Mobile that allows their subscribers to access Comcast’s Wi-Fi hotspots when they’re in the United States, which was confirmed by Comcast.
Time Warner Cable Business Class conducted a survey in regards to small business technology trends. Among the list of small business needs, Wi-Fi rose to the top. The survey found that 80 percent of the respondents believed their customers expected free Wi-Fi, and Wi-Fi also topped the list as the best way to attract new customers, but only 43 percent of the businesses offered Wi-Fi.
Comcast has hired former Cisco executive Ken Klaer to the position of senior vice president, premises technology where he will lead the cable operator’s customer premise equipment team. Klaer’s hiring filled the gap from Steve Reynolds’ departure from the same role last year to become CTO of what later became Imagine Communications.
Cable, pursuing a Wi-Fi based wireless strategy, is enthusiastic about having the FCC open up more unlicensed spectrum in the 600 MHz Band. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the Commission needs to be creative about finding room for unlicensed spectrum in that band, while protecting incumbent services.
Bright House Networks will be offering a Wi-Fi service in Tampa Bay’s downtown area and riverfront public parks. The service is available for free for anyone to use for up to 2 hours or 1 GB a month. Once users go over the cap, they can purchase additional time.
Shaw Communications has inked a five-year deal with the British Columbia city of Pentiction to provide its residents with its Wi-Fi service. Pentiction’s council agreed to a non-exclusive deal with Shaw, which will see the Shaw Go WiFi service made publicly available in key city locations, including several city parks and other high-traffic locations.
KPN became the first network operator in the Netherlands to conduct live tests with LTE Broadcast. The test over the weekend was done with Ericsson, Qualcomm Technologies, Samsung and IBM. The trial took place in the Amsterdam Arena stadium during the soccer game of Ajax against NEC.
Last week’s Cable Show in Los Angeles was rife with Wi-Fi announcements, but even bigger days may be ahead with the rapid adoption of Hotspot 2.0. According to a recent survey by Infonetics Research, Hotspot 2.0 is the next big item on the Wi-Fi checklist, along with the monetization of Wi-Fi services.
AT&T is said to have approached DirecTV about the acquisition. As the report points out, combining DirecTV’s 20 million customers with AT&T’s 5.7 million TV subscribers would get them nearer to the 30 million customers Comcast will have if its Time Warner Cable acquisition is approved.
In the two years since five of the top six cable operators announced their CableWiFi Alliance, the Wi-Fi hot spots now total more than 250,000 access points across the nation. Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision, and Bright House Networks first announced the roaming agreement two years ago at The Cable Show in Boston.
Verizon alerted customers it’s “enhancing” it Relevant Mobile Advertising program to incorporate information gathered from desktop and laptop Internet habits. The company will assign registered users an “anonymous, unique identifier” that will gather information about what websites the user visits on their desktop or laptop.
Supreme Court justices debated Tuesday whether they can side with broadcasters in a copyright challenge to an Internet startup company without threatening the burgeoning world of cloud computing. Several justices expressed concern that a ruling for the broadcasters could hamper the continuing development of cloud computing, which gives users access to a vast online computer network that stores and processes information.
The FCC plans to auction several bands of AWS-3 spectrum, which will be used on a shared basis for commercial wireless and incumbent government operations for a transition period following the auction. T-Mobile said more work needed to be done to ensure potential bidders understand the possible impact of federal incumbency, relocation timelines, and the potential for temporary or indefinite sharing of the spectrum.
Time Warner Cable has upped its Wi-Fi game by adding Hotspot 2.0 abilities to most of its 33,000 access points across the nation. Hotspot 2.0, which is also known as Wi-Fi Certified Passpoint, allows mobile devices to automatically join a Wi-Fi network based upon preferences and network optimization whenever the user enters a Hotspot 2.0-enabled area.
AT&T is threatening to sit out the FCC’s upcoming 600 MHz incentive auctions if the Commission puts in place rules reserving portions of the spectrum for smaller carriers only. The FCC is planning to set aside up to 30 MHz in each market for smaller carriers to bid on once bidding for those markets hits a set threshold.
Finnish mobile and fixed broadband service provider Elisa has contracted with Alcatel-Lucent to upgrade its IP/MPLS network for greater broadband capacity. A-L said it will also supply a full set of services: installation and commissioning, lifecycle program management, operations support and consulting, migration of network elements and services.
Charter Communications’ residential customers will see blazing Wi-Fi speeds in their homes when the company debuts a new Netgear router starting May 16. The dual-band router is fueled by latest wireless specification, 802.11ac, which was ratified by the IEEE in January. Charter said the new router was capable of delivering more than the maximum 100 Mbps downstream speed from its Internet Ultra tier throughout subscribers’ homes.
Burger King is upgrading to a more robust Wi-Fi platform with the help of AT&T. Diners at the fast food chain will soon be able to log in to “Whopper Wi-Fi” on their smartphones and tablet devices. AT&T said Burger King was the first large-scale customer of its Wi-Fi Ready Zone.