FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

As expected, the Republican-led FCC voted 3-2 along party lines yesterday to reverse the media cross-ownership ban. Now, an individual company will be permitted to own TV and radio stations and a newspaper in the same town. Changes to the rules, which were originally created to prevent individual entities from holding an unwanted amount of power over local news and information, also makes it possible to increase the number of TV stations that a single company can own in a given market. The deregulation was largely supported by broadband, cable and media companies, while opposed by consumer advocates concerned about the future of local news and diversity of expression. Continue reading FCC Reverses Decades-Old Media Cross-Ownership Rules

Intel Selects 2018 Winter Olympics to Showcase 5G Network

Intel will use the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea to showcase new wireless networking technologies and super-fast data transfer speeds based on the pending 5G standard. The new wireless standard is expected to mark a new era for Internet connectivity and disrupt wired services such as cable TV, modems and phone lines. “As mobility evolves beyond the smartphone, 5G is becoming one of the most impactful technology transformations we are likely to see in our lifetimes,” wrote Intel exec Sandra Rivera in a blog post. Continue reading Intel Selects 2018 Winter Olympics to Showcase 5G Network

Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

About 6.5 percent of North American households are now accessing illegal TV streaming services per month, according to data from a new Sandvine study based on broadband service provider customers. The illegal services earn an average of $10 per month in fees, which represents nearly $840 million for the pirates, notes Variety. Meanwhile, the percentage also represents a potential $4.2 billion in lost revenue for cable, satellite and telco providers based on a estimated $50 per month fee for pay-TV services. However, it is not known whether the households in question would even consider legal pay-TV or OTT options. Continue reading Sandvine Details Households Turning to Illegal TV Streaming

Comcast Rolls Out ‘Skinny Bundle’ for Its Internet Customers

Comcast is introducing an $18-per-month “skinny bundle,” a new service the pay-TV provider has been testing and is now ready to roll out across different regions over the next few weeks. Xfinity Instant TV, which is available for Comcast’s 25.3 million broadband customers, is designed for cord cutters (and cord nevers), and will compete with OTT services such as Hulu Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. Comcast’s service can be streamed at home or anywhere with a broadband connection. The company is specifically marketing to its customers that pay for Internet but not TV, hoping they will one day switch to a larger bundle. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out ‘Skinny Bundle’ for Its Internet Customers

Service Providers Ask Supreme Court to Review Net Neutrality

AT&T, trade group USTelecom and broadband service provider CenturyLink filed separate appeals yesterday requesting that the FCC’s net neutrality rule barring ISPs from slowing or blocking content be overturned. The rule, supported by tech companies such as Google and Facebook, was enacted during the Obama era when the FCC was under Democratic control. “Now under Republican leadership, the FCC is already considering a plan to replace and weaken the rules,” reports Bloomberg. “FCC Chairman Ajit Pai wants to remove strong legal authority that critics say over-regulates telephone and cable providers and that defenders say is needed to enforce fair treatment of web traffic.” Continue reading Service Providers Ask Supreme Court to Review Net Neutrality

Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

We’ve seen a wide range of recent forecasts regarding cord cutting and the impact on traditional pay TV. According to a new survey from RBC Capital Markets, only 55 percent of respondents said they would continue their pay-TV subscriptions. While 2016 saw a loss of 2 million subscribers, a future increase exceeding 5 million per year “does not seem impossible,” wrote RBC analyst Steven Cahall. “The RBC survey found that 21 percent of current cable, satellite or telco TV customers were considering switching to a lower-cost virtual pay-TV service,” reports Variety, “like Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV or DirecTV Now.” Continue reading Pay TV Losses Could Jump to 5 Million Households per Year

Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Facebook developed mapping technology that has allowed it to create a data map of the human population in 23 countries so far. The map can zero in on any man-made structure as close as five meters, in any country on earth. Facebook says it is using the data to understand how humans are distributed around the planet, and thus be able to determine the best way to provide them with Internet access, via land, air or space. The goal is to create a “multi-pronged” Internet network to serve under-connected populations. Continue reading Facebook Uses Mapping Tech in Effort to Connect the World

Apple, Now a Content Creator, Speaks Up for Net Neutrality

After remaining quiet on the topic over the past months, Apple has finally made its position clear on net neutrality, urging the current administration to preserve it and prevent service providers from interfering or slowing Internet traffic. In its comments to the Federal Communications Commission, Apple also asked chair Ajit Pai not to end the ban against “fast lanes” that allow broadband providers to charge for delivery of specific content, something that could impact consumers of Apple’s fare. Continue reading Apple, Now a Content Creator, Speaks Up for Net Neutrality

Lawmakers Speak Out Against FCC’s Plans for Net Neutrality

The current Republican-majority FCC intends to end net neutrality rules, as spelled out in 2015’s Open Internet Order. Now, 10 members of Congress are fighting back with an official comment describing their position. Among the signers are Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Mike Doyle (D-PA), ranking members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. At the same time, 15 Senate Democrats, led by Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) have asked FCC chair Ajit Pai for more time for comments, given the record volume of public interest. Continue reading Lawmakers Speak Out Against FCC’s Plans for Net Neutrality

Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

Sony Interactive Entertainment America and the non-profit organization National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) inked a deal that will allow local cable companies to offer Sony’s PlayStation Vue’s “cable TV bundle.” NCTC is a programming-and-hardware purchasing group for 850 cable and broadband systems in the U.S., serving more than nine million customers, mainly located in rural areas. In addition to the Sony deal, NCTC also made a deal with fuboTV, a startup that offers streaming sports channels. Continue reading Sony, National Cable TV Group Ink Deal for PlayStation Vue

Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

Microsoft has a plan for providing inexpensive broadband access to underserved areas of the U.S., and its president/chief legal officer Brad Smith just declared the company’s support for that plan. The company has long advocated the use of so-called TV white-space technology — unused TV spectrum — to bring broadband especially to rural areas. As part of the plan, Microsoft would also urge the Trump administration and Congress to make sure that unlicensed white-space spectrum is available in every market in the U.S. Continue reading Microsoft to Provide White-Space Broadband in Rural Areas

Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

Charter Communications and CenturyLink are the latest operators to introduce streaming skinny-bundle options for consumers looking for alternatives to conventional pay TV. The new services join a crowded field as an increasing number of companies face the challenges involved with attracting cord cutters and new customers. Charter will test its $20 per month Spectrum Stream that offers local broadcast and cable channels, VOD titles and optional premium channels. Meanwhile, CenturyLink Stream has introduced bundles that range from $15 per month to the Ultimate 45+ channel package for $45 per month. Continue reading Charter and CenturyLink to Debut Streaming Skinny Bundles

FCC Chair Pai Begins His Promised Rollback of Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission has begun to rollback net neutrality rules established during President Obama’s time in office. FCC chair Ajit Pai, who leads the commission in creating new rules that will benefit mainly cable and wireless companies, argues that net neutrality rules have slowed down investment in broadband infrastructure. To prove his point, he cited a study showing that domestic capital investment among large ISPs has dropped 5.6 percent between 2014 and 2016, which he blames on heavy-handed rules. Continue reading FCC Chair Pai Begins His Promised Rollback of Net Neutrality

Federal Court Decides Not to Rehear Net Neutrality Challenge

A federal court on Monday declined to reconsider the telecom industry’s net neutrality challenge since the FCC and its chairman Ajit Pai plan to roll back the Obama-era rules anyway. The decision could set the stage for an eventual appeal to the Supreme Court. Despite Pai’s recent announcement regarding plans to eliminate and possibly replace net neutrality rules, telecoms and their supporters are still seeking court backing to help provide future legal protection. However, Judges Sri Srinivasan and David Tatel wrote that a rehearing “would be particularly unwarranted at this point in light of the uncertainty surrounding the fate of the FCC’s Order.” Continue reading Federal Court Decides Not to Rehear Net Neutrality Challenge

NAB 2017: Next Gen TV Will Bring Innovation, New Revenues

An NAB panel on upcoming changes in Digital TV, moderated by NAB vice president of spectrum policy Alison Neplokh, focused on the challenges and promises of deploying ATSC 3.0., or as an increasing number of industry experts are dubbing it, Next Gen TV. Neplokh noted that FCC chair Ajit Pai stated the rules will be in place by the end of 2017, enabling broadcasters to adopt it quickly. South Korea is also going online with ATSC 3.0 next month, allowing U.S. broadcasters to learn from its experiences. Continue reading NAB 2017: Next Gen TV Will Bring Innovation, New Revenues

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