Vestberg Named Next Verizon Chief Exec, McAdam to Retire

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam announced he plans to step down from his position on August 1, at which point Hans Vestberg will take over as chief exec. Vestberg joined Verizon last year as the company’s chief technology officer and EVP and president of Global Networks, after serving for seven years as CEO of Swedish telecom and networking company Ericsson. McAdam has been Verizon’s CEO since August 2011 and its chairman since January 2012. He will remain executive chairman until the end of the year and serve as non-executive chairman thereafter. Continue reading Vestberg Named Next Verizon Chief Exec, McAdam to Retire

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

GM Scheduled to Launch Cars Equipped with 4G LTE Service

General Motors released prices for its first vehicles equipped with built-in LTE 4G, essentially turning the cars into rolling Wi-Fi hot spots. The automaker will launch its 2015 models in the next month, and plans to release more than 30 new vehicles with LTE broadband connectivity, as well as numerous new communications, safety, and navigation services. The communications service will be provided by AT&T, and the cars will come with a free, three-month trial with three gigabytes of data. Continue reading GM Scheduled to Launch Cars Equipped with 4G LTE Service

Internet Giants Dispute Proposed FCC Rules on Net Neutrality

More than 100 Internet companies and two FCC commissioners are voicing their concerns over FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to regulate broadband providers. Wheeler’s plan would allow broadband companies to charge fees to content providers that want to access the fastest lanes, a proposal that does not treat all Internet traffic equally. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Yahoo are among the companies that described the proposal as “a grave threat to the Internet” in a letter to Wheeler. Continue reading Internet Giants Dispute Proposed FCC Rules on Net Neutrality

Sprint in Talks with Banks to Fund Acquisition of T-Mobile

Sprint is reportedly meeting with five different banks, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, to expedite its bid for rival T-Mobile. Insiders say that Sprint, which is owned by Japan’s SoftBank, hopes to finance much of T-Mobile’s estimated $50 billion price with corporate bonds. The remaining amount would likely be covered by syndicated loans and convertible bonds. Sprint, which is also working to ease regulatory concerns regarding the deal, is expected to make a formal offer by June or July. Continue reading Sprint in Talks with Banks to Fund Acquisition of T-Mobile

Cox Announces Plans to Increase Broadband Service Speeds

As online entertainment grows in popularity, leading to demand for faster access, Cox Communications is planning to make its broadband service for residential customers much faster this year. Cox is planning on offering Internet speeds of 1 gigabit-per-second, which is 100 times faster than the average Web access. This service will closely compete with AT&T and Google who are also trying to introduce fiber-optic broadband services, and offer customers 1 gigabit-per-second speeds. Continue reading Cox Announces Plans to Increase Broadband Service Speeds

FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

In a blog post yesterday, FCC Chairman and former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler wrote that he is “a strong believer in the importance of an Open Internet.” In response to what Wheeler views as “misinformed” commentaries regarding the Open Internet Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) currently before the FCC, he offers two points of clarification: 1) This is not a final decision, but a formal request for input on the proposal, and 2) “all options for protecting and promoting an Open Internet are on the table.” Continue reading FCC Chairman Explains Next Steps to Protect an Open Internet

Charter and Comcast Joining Forces, End Dispute Over TWC

Charter Communications may have figured out another plan to become the nation’s second-largest cable operator, despite losing out to Comcast in its bid to acquire Time Warner Cable. As part of a new three-part deal with Comcast announced yesterday, Charter plans to pick up subscribers that Comcast will be divesting. Should the deals be completed, Charter will acquire a stake in a new public company to be launched by Comcast, and swap subscribers with the cable giant. Continue reading Charter and Comcast Joining Forces, End Dispute Over TWC

Netflix Reaches New Deal with Verizon to Improve Streaming

Netflix has reached a deal for direct access to Verizon’s network that should provide subscribers with better performance of streaming video in the coming months. Despite Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ public complaints about paying extra for such connectivity, Verizon confirmed the new deal, which follows a similar approach to the agreement Netflix reached with Comcast earlier this year. As more Internet users stream movies and TV content, the debate over who should be responsible for infrastructure upgrades intensifies. Continue reading Netflix Reaches New Deal with Verizon to Improve Streaming

Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed to allow broadband providers to charge fees for high-speed Internet for faster delivery of video and other data, essentially allowing a premium Internet fast-lane for companies that can pay. Small content providers may not be able to compete because they do not have the resources to pay for high delivery speeds. The regulations would also prohibit broadband companies from blocking or slowing down individual websites. Continue reading Will Proposed FCC Regulations Create a Two-Speed Internet?

Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

Netflix has reached an agreement with cable companies RCN, Grande Communications and Atlantic Broadband that will allow subscribers to basically access the streaming video service as if it were a cable channel starting next week. Netflix will be added as an app to set-top boxes to provide subscribers with the option of viewing the Netflix content they would otherwise access via computers and mobile devices. The offer is only available for customers of the cable companies who also subscribe to Netflix. Continue reading Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

Dish Network Plans Internet TV and Wireless Data Services

Late this summer, Dish Network hopes to begin offering a low-cost Internet TV service that would allow customers to solely stream live TV channels on tablets, smartphones and computers. The company is in talks with potential content partners and has already struck a deal with Disney to offer channels such as ABC, the Disney Channel and ESPN. Dish also partnered with startup Artemis on a separate project to develop a high-speed wireless data service that is 1,000 times faster than 4G. Continue reading Dish Network Plans Internet TV and Wireless Data Services

FCC Rejects Netflix Plea for Expanded Net Neutrality Rules

The Federal Communications Commission explained that it does not plan to support the request made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings to expand net neutrality rules in order to regulate how companies connect across the infrastructure of the Internet. Hastings had asked the FCC to consider an approach that would not require companies like Netflix to pay additional fees to service providers such as Comcast for special connections that help ensure customers can access video without problems. Continue reading FCC Rejects Netflix Plea for Expanded Net Neutrality Rules

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