T-Mobile Is Biggest Spender in Government Spectrum Auction

The results of the government’s wireless airwaves auction are in, and T-Mobile ended up as the biggest spender at $8 billion, followed by Dish at $6.2 billion and Comcast at $1.7 billion. The FCC auction, which began last year, generated $19.8 billion in bids. While the companies have yet to announce their plans for the spectrum, Comcast recently indicated that it would offer cell service to its Internet subscribers. Conclusion of the auction also means that companies will be able to resume deal discussions by April 27, now that bidding collusion is no longer a concern. Continue reading T-Mobile Is Biggest Spender in Government Spectrum Auction

CenturyLink to Take On AT&T with $34B Purchase of Level 3

CenturyLink has agreed to acquire Colorado-based, fiber-optic network provider Level 3 Communications “for about $34 billion in cash and stock,” reports Bloomberg, “creating a more formidable competitor to AT&T in the market to handle heavy Internet traffic for businesses.” The deal gives Louisiana-based CenturyLink $10 billion in tax credits. CenturyLink chief exec Glen Post will stay CEO of the merged company, and Level 3’s Sunit Patel will serve as CFO. Both companies have been struggling against bigger names in business services. “We see this as addressing the opportunities in the enterprise business,” said Level 3 CEO Jeff Storey. Continue reading CenturyLink to Take On AT&T with $34B Purchase of Level 3

In Landmark Ruling, FCC Protects Privacy of Consumer Data

The Federal Communications Commission, by a 3-to-2 vote, passed rules protecting consumers’ digital information, by preventing broadband companies such as AT&T and Comcast from collecting and distributing data including Web browsing, app use, location and financial information. Up until this ruling, users had to opt-out of broadband providers’ right to track such data. The ruling is considered a landmark since it is the first time the FCC issued privacy restrictions to high-speed Internet providers. Continue reading In Landmark Ruling, FCC Protects Privacy of Consumer Data

Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

SNL Kagan forecasts that video revenue for U.S. cable operators will decrease 4.7 percent by 2026, despite higher monthly cable TV bills. Residential video revenue for “cable operators is projected to fall from $57.7 billion in 2016 to $55.0 billion annually in 2026, declining at a compound annual growth rate of 0.5 percent over the next 10 years,” reports Variety. While basic video subs are projected to fall from today’s 53 million to 45.4 million in 2026, there will be a 13 percent jump in broadband subs, representing $11 billion. Cable broadband subs are expected to reach 71 million by 2026, driving up revenue to $47.3 billion. Continue reading Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

Zendesk Customer Service Product Built on Machine Learning

Zendesk is introducing Automatic Answers, a service that answers a business’s emails from customers, without human intervention. But it’s far more sophisticated than today’s well-known auto-responders, having been built on a machine-learning platform that in-house data scientists and engineers have been developing for some time. The platform is also used for another Zendesk service, Satisfaction Prediction, which helps determine the customer experience. Automatic Answers will be rolled out later in the year. Continue reading Zendesk Customer Service Product Built on Machine Learning

Google Readies to Ship Developer Kit for Modular Ara Device

Is Google’s Ara modular smartphone the next revolution in mobile devices, or a cynical ploy to refresh the company’s brand as an innovator? It depends who you listen to. Google’s modular Ara, which began in the company’s ATAP skunkworks program, is on the verge of shipping a developer kit, with a consumer version slated for 2017. The modular device allows users to add or replace a wide-angle or telephoto camera module, a larger battery or E Ink displays; modules can be developed by third parties. Continue reading Google Readies to Ship Developer Kit for Modular Ara Device

Comcast, Amazon Partner to Sell TV, Internet, Phone Services

Comcast now sells TV, Internet and phone service on Amazon.com in a new retail partnership that has been a year in the making. A new Amazon landing page — the Amazon Cable Store — sells Comcast’s Xfinity-branded bundles, with dedicated customer service for Amazon customers. Comcast, which hopes the relationship will improve its customer service image, also opened two customer call centers to focus entirely on Amazon-generated inquiries about Comcast sales, part of $300 million earmarked to improve customer service. Continue reading Comcast, Amazon Partner to Sell TV, Internet, Phone Services

FCC May Add High-Speed Internet Subsidy to Lifeline Program

The Federal Communications Commission is nearing approval of a plan to provide Internet access for low-income people who don’t have regular access. An update to the $2 billion Lifeline program will add a broadband subsidy of $9.25 a month for low-income households. Lifeline was established in 1985 to bring landline phone service to that same demographic; the FCC added mobile service to the program in 2008. The addition of the high-speed Internet subsidy will come up for a vote on March 31 and is expected to pass. Continue reading FCC May Add High-Speed Internet Subsidy to Lifeline Program

Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

Customer satisfaction with cable TV, Internet and phone service providers has fallen to a seven-year low, according to a study from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. When surveyed about satisfaction involving 43 industries, consumer response placed television and Internet companies tied for last place. Recent merger talks have placed TV and Internet providers under particular scrutiny, while disappointing customer service and rising prices have taken on a different dynamic in an era of streaming options such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. Continue reading Study: Declining Customer Satisfaction with TV, Internet Service

NSA Preps Shutdown of Controversial Phone Tracking Program

After the Senate declined to reauthorize the bulk collection of phone records, the National Security Agency began shuttering its controversial counter-terrorism program over the weekend. The Senate failed to reach an agreement to extend the program beyond May 31, when the law used to authorize it will expire. Some intelligence and law enforcement officials have argued that the program is crucial to tracking terrorists. While the Senate rejected two bills that would have continued the program, some believe an agreement could still be reached before the deadline. Continue reading NSA Preps Shutdown of Controversial Phone Tracking Program

Comcast Subscriber Shift Points to More Web Than TV Users

Comcast, the largest cable company in the U.S., could potentially soon have more Internet subscribers than television subscribers. During the last quarter, the company’s video users increased by only 6,000 to 22.4 million, while its broadband subscribers jumped by 375,000 to nearly 22 million. The diminishing gap could be a sign of the times, with an increasing number of consumers becoming more interested in services such as Amazon and Netflix, as opposed to traditional TV. As a result, Comcast is working to attract more broadband users. Continue reading Comcast Subscriber Shift Points to More Web Than TV Users

Operating a Car’s Air Conditioning With the Wave of a Finger

Belgian 3D vision company SoftKinetic believes the future will include using hand and finger gestures to operate some of your car’s controls, such as the navigation system, radio volume, and air conditioning. SoftKinetic’s system works by mounting a camera with radar-like technology that can recognize the slightest hand gestures, even in complete darkness. With the help of Delphi Automotive, SoftKinetic is hoping to get its product in a production vehicle later this year. Continue reading Operating a Car’s Air Conditioning With the Wave of a Finger

Slingbox Introduces Two New Updates for Television Streaming

Slingbox is ready to debut new options to facilitate watching TV over the Internet. The $150 Slingbox M1 allows customers to use a live TV signal via the Internet on any computer, tablet or mobile device. The $300 SlingTV includes the features of Slingbox M1, but also has an on-screen interface that allows users to choose shows and control the television. Both allow users to stream the shows they watch on their cable TV to their Wi-Fi-connected devices. Continue reading Slingbox Introduces Two New Updates for Television Streaming

Nielsen Teams Up with Facebook to Measure Mobile TV Viewing

Facebook and Nielsen are joining forces as part of an ambitious campaign to better measure how consumers are using their mobile devices for accessing entertainment media. As part of the mobile ratings Nielsen plans to introduce this fall, Facebook will scan its databases for the age and gender of its users who watch a TV show on their phone or tablet. The data will be shared with Nielsen and ultimately help networks and advertisers learn more about the viewing habits of consumers. Continue reading Nielsen Teams Up with Facebook to Measure Mobile TV Viewing

Amazon Fire Could Help Boost Adoption of 3D Smartphones

Amazon’s new Fire smartphone features sensors and front-facing cameras that provide a different perspective depending on how users hold, view or move the phone, leading to the expectation that it should increase demand for 3D applications. This 3D display tech is called dynamic perspective. Mobile software developers are hoping that Amazon’s advertising efforts and massive scale will promote 3D more successfully than other 3D phone makers have in the past. Continue reading Amazon Fire Could Help Boost Adoption of 3D Smartphones

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