Wireless spectrum: it’s what powers mobile communications and wireless carriers have an insatiable taste for more, more, MORE of it. The need for more spectrum is the reason Sprint keeps bailing Clearwire out of financial hot water and why AT&T is pushing so hard for a merger with T-Mobile. Verizon has pretty much been the only major carrier that hasn’t engaged in major spectrum-related deals this year – until now, that is. Today, Verizon announced it has reached a $3.6 billion deal to gobble up 122 spectrum licenses from three major cable companies.
Just days after its plans were leaked, Universal Studios has decided not to go ahead with $60 at home rentals of an upcoming film while it was still in theaters. The service was slated to go through trials in Portland and Atlanta, but theater chains strenuously objected to the proposition. Faced with a possible nation-wide boycott, Comcast’s movie studio relented.
It’s no secret that Microsoft has intentions to make the Xbox 360 a more robust home entertainment device, and the rumors have been that they intend to do that by getting more video content. According to Bloomberg, Redmond is in talks with Comcast and Verizon to get pay TV content on the console. New streaming offerings could be announced as early as next week.
A leaked user guide has outed Comcast’s upcoming AnyPlay service, which will let customers stream live TV to assorted mobile devices. On initial offering will be iPad support, but other tablets are expected to be added as well. The service will rely on in-home Wi-Fi, and users will have to get a special Motorola cable box from the cable provider.
Comcast has officially expanded its low-cost Internet Essentials program nationwide today. This service offers $10 per month internet access to low-income families, as well as access to $150 computers. The speeds aren’t what users of the regular cable internet service will see, at just 1.5Mbps, but Comcast has agreed to keep Internet Essentials alive for at least three years.
Remember Jim Carrey as the Cable Guy? He was obnoxious, overstepped numerous boundaries, and even broke a few laws. Be he never stole jewelry from Matthew Broderick. Perhaps Hollywood viewed such an act as too low for the big screen, one in which a cable company adds insult to injury by having its customers wait around all day for an installer to show up, only to have valuables go missing at the end of the day. It wasn't too low for Comcast.
When Comcast scooped up NBC Universal earlier this year, regulatory officials made the Internet service provider promise to boost its broadband coverage to include 2.5 million low income households at a price of less than $10 per month (among many other conditions - PDF). Comcast is making good on that promise by rolling out its Internet Essentials program, which offers high-speed Internet to qualifying families for $9.95.
Does Facebook, as a company, make your blood boil? What about MySpace? And should we even bother asking about Comcast, one of the largest cable companies in the world, and also No. 4 on the list of companies customers hate most, as indicated in the American Customer Satisfaction Index? Those three scored 64, 63, and 59, respectively, on a 0-100 scale intended to represent company-level satisfaction.
While so-called “three strikes laws” have been passed in several countries to kick those repeatedly accused of copyright infringement off the Internet, Cnet is reporting that some US ISPs are not waiting for the government to impose such a system. Several companies including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are reportedly deep in talks with entertainment companies to establish tough punishments for alleged file sharers.
Nobody at Comcast was tarred and feathered after the ISP was voted worst company in America last year by readers of Consumerist.com. They didn't have to be; turns out the shame of finishing behind every other company in the country is motivation enough to try and improve things, and the way Comcast plans to do that is by shortening its cable repair and installation windows in all markets from as much as four hours to no more than hours in 2012.