Senate Majority Leader Offers Support for Open Internet Rules

Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid explained in a letter Monday that he would support “any Open Internet rules” passed by federal regulators. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler proposed rules that would allow companies such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon to charge more for faster Internet access. Meanwhile, opponents view such arrangements as a direct threat to net neutrality. Reid’s letter could help provide cover for the FCC in regulating Web services similar to a utility. Continue reading Senate Majority Leader Offers Support for Open Internet Rules

Tech Companies Argue the Internet Should Be a Public Utility

Tech companies of all sizes are urging the Federal Communications Commission to enforce net neutrality by reclassifying the Internet as Title II. This reclassification would mean that Internet providers would have to abide by the same laws as public utilities and there would be no Internet “fast lanes.” Representatives from Kickstarter, Spotify, Vimeo and others met with the FCC to discuss the issue last week. Netflix also submitted a filing to the FCC about the proposed net neutrality laws. Continue reading Tech Companies Argue the Internet Should Be a Public Utility

Aereo Competitors Moving In Following Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court ruled against Aereo in a case brought by TV networks, citing violation of copyright laws. Aereo, which provided an Internet-based alternative to cable by capturing broadcast signals on tiny antennas and transmitting them to subscribers, has since suspended its operations. Meanwhile, rivals such as Simple.TV and Mohu are moving in, and hope to avoid the ruling by selling over-the-air antennas to their subscribers along with hardware to access streaming services. Continue reading Aereo Competitors Moving In Following Supreme Court Ruling

Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo in Favor of Broadcasters

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in favor of broadcasters in a decision that could have far-reaching implications for the media industry. The court found that online video startup Aereo violated copyright law by allowing its subscribers to watch and record over-the-air broadcasts from electronic devices via a system of miniature antennas. Broadcasters including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC have been battling Aereo, arguing that the startup was accessing their programming without authorization. Continue reading Supreme Court Rules Against Aereo in Favor of Broadcasters

FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

Netflix and other entertainment companies have started paying Internet providers for faster service, a concept that some believe will adversely affect competition. In order to discover whether the consumers are getting the speed and quality of service that has been promised, the FCC has opened an investigation. The agency begins this process just as it decides whether it actually holds jurisdiction over their businesses as no laws give the FCC the power to enforce Net neutrality. Continue reading FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

Comcast to Provide Streaming Service Through X1 Set-Top Box

Comcast will test a streaming service later this year in order to give audiences access to a wider variety of content through its X1 cable set-top boxes. The service will be similar to YouTube in that is will allow people to upload videos directly to a server. A dedicated app will then make the content available on a streaming basis along with mobile apps in 2015 or 2016. SVP of Video Matt Strauss explains that the focus will be on professionally-produced and serialized content. Continue reading Comcast to Provide Streaming Service Through X1 Set-Top Box

Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

Last week it was reported that Netflix had begun posting on-screen messages blaming Verizon for congestion that was slowing video streams. While Netflix claims the message was simply one step in notifying customers about how an ISP can impact the viewing experience, Verizon described the move as “a PR stunt” and suggested the message “is not only inaccurate, it is deliberately misleading.” Later in the week, Verizon sent a cease and desist letter to Netflix. Continue reading Streaming Delay Messages: Verizon Threatens to Sue Netflix

Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

SoftBank’s Sprint unit is reportedly poised to make a $32 billion offer to acquire T-Mobile that could take place early this summer. According to people familiar with the matter, the two telecoms have agreed on the broad outlines of a merger, but are still working on a formal contract. If completed and approved, the deal would combine the country’s third- and fourth-largest wireless operators, and potentially establish stronger competition for industry leaders Verizon and AT&T. Continue reading Sprint Edges Closer to a $32 Billion Deal for Rival T-Mobile

Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

The Center for Copyright Information released official figures on Wednesday regarding the first 10 months of the anti-piracy program initiated by movie studios, record companies and Internet providers. The group reports that it has forwarded 1.3 million copyright alerts thus far to consumers that have been accessing infringing media content. The voluntary industry agreement was designed to educate consumers and curb online copyright infringement. Continue reading Report: Copyright Alert System Distributes 1.3 Million Notices

Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

The Fox Now video app allows users to watch recent episodes of Fox series the day after they air. In a new update to its version for Apple devices, Fox has added a feature that suggests shows to the user based on preferences and viewing history. The upgraded user interface, which is based on the iOS 7 design, intends to keep fans watching more video by providing useful recommendations. Fox Now also features expanded TV Everywhere access with more current and past programming. Continue reading Fox Now Video App Offers Personalized Recommendations

Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

According to Netflix CFO David Wells, the streaming service plans on spending $3.2 billion on streaming content in 2014. Netflix acknowledged that a large fraction of the currently available material is not necessarily popular with its audience and plans to spend more money on shows with higher potential. A content shift through the next few quarters toward more original series along with licensing exclusive and higher-rated shows will account for this extra spending. Continue reading Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

Comcast Unveils CDN Service for Content Delivery via Last Mile

Comcast has introduced a commercial content delivery service targeting large and mid-sized content owners that can offer competitive SLA and pricing, since the company already owns the network. Comcast’s CDN allows content owners to go directly to the ISP to store and deliver content via the “last mile.” While this approach can displace traffic delivered by third-party CDNs such as Akamai and Limelight, it should not be confused with a “fast lane” or “prioritization” of content. Continue reading Comcast Unveils CDN Service for Content Delivery via Last Mile

FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

The following is on the schedule for the Federal Communications Commission: whether to approve or block AT&T’s newly announced $49 billion acquisition of DirecTV, whether to allow Comcast’s proposed $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, establish rules for next year’s auction of TV airwaves to wireless carriers, and determine whether and/or how to regulate the way broadband providers treat traffic over networks (and possibly face a busier calendar if Sprint makes a bid for T-Mobile). Continue reading FCC Faces Busy Year of Acquisitions, Auctions and Regulation

Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

AT&T has agreed to acquire DirecTV for $49 billion. The two companies’ boards approved the agreement yesterday. The deal, which comes just three months after Comcast’s $45 billion agreement to purchase Time Warner Cable, will create a new pay TV giant as video consumption continues to move online. Combining AT&T and DirecTV would result in a company with 26 million pay TV subscribers in the U.S., second only to Comcast and Time Warner Cable if regulators approve their deal. Continue reading Pay TV: AT&T Agrees to Purchase DirecTV in $49 Billion Deal

Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 yesterday in favor of moving forward with proposed rules that would allow broadband providers to charge individual companies extra for preferential handling of online traffic. The ongoing debate has divided tech companies regarding the best path to keeping the Internet open. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal would ban providers from blocking or slowing sites, but leaves open the possibility of deals for access to so-called “fast lanes.” Continue reading Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

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