Opinions
Comcast Time Warner Cable Price Increases

America’s broken home broadband market gets perfectly summed up in one quote

By on February 14, 2014 at 11:41 AM.

America’s broken home broadband market gets perfectly summed up in one quote

During a conference call with the press on Thursday, one reporter asked Comcast executive David Cohen whether his company’s proposed merger with Time Warner Cable would lead to some relief for customers who are tired of seeing their monthly bills keep going upward. Cohen’s response was refreshingly honest but also a depressing reminder of just how broken the market for home broadband services is in the United States. More →

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Comcast TWC Merger Response

What happens when two of the most hated pay TV companies say they’re merging?

By on February 14, 2014 at 10:33 AM.

What happens when two of the most hated pay TV companies say they’re merging?

As a blizzard hammered the east coast on Thursday morning, news of a pending deal that could see Time Warner Cable merge with Comcast hammered pay TV subscribers across the country. The two national TV, Internet and phone service providers are regularly ranked at the very bottom of the industry when it comes to subscriber satisfaction, and consumers had strong reactions when they learned the two giants intend to merge. How strong? According to one report, they likened the unholy union to the Death Star in “Star Wars” and the evil Eye of Sauron from “The Lord of the Rings.” More →

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Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger

Three things that could kill the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

By on February 13, 2014 at 8:50 AM.

Three things that could kill the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

Are you feeling excited about the officially announced merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable? If not then you aren’t alone — there are plenty of other groups out there who aren’t keen on letting the two most hated ISPs in the United States combine to form a broadband behemoth. The Wall Street Journal has written a handy little primer of all the challenges that Comcast will face in its quest to become the supreme overlord of American Internet service providers. In short, here are three groups that could help kill off the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. More →

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Comcast Time Warner Merger

Giant pay TV provider is born as Comcast and TWC confirm $45B merger

By on February 13, 2014 at 7:25 AM.

Giant pay TV provider is born as Comcast and TWC confirm $45B merger

Comcast and Time Warner Cable on Thursday confirmed the rumors, announcing a $45.2 billion all-stock merger plan, though the deal is yet to be approved by the shareholders of the two companies, and also by regulators including the FCC and the Justice Department. “This transaction will create a leading technology and innovation company, differentiated by its ability to deliver ground-breaking products on a superior network while leveraging a national platform to create operating efficiencies and economies of scale,” Comcast said in a press release. More →

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Comcast Olympics Live Streaming

Comcast comes up with yet another way to shaft cord cutters

By on February 11, 2014 at 4:32 PM.

Comcast comes up with yet another way to shaft cord cutters

If there’s one thing that Comcast seems to love more than anything else, it’s shafting its basic cable subscribers and pushing them to upgrade to one of its many pricier bundle plans. If you’re looking for examples, recall the company’s brilliant shakedown that made basic cable subscribers use digital adapters that degraded their signal and forced them to pay an extra $10 a month to get the same HD channels they used to get for free as part of their basic package. Now GigaOM reports that Comcast has blocked streaming of the Olympics for customers who only subscribe to its basic cable services despite the fact that the Olympics are being shown primarily on NBC, the Comcast-owned network that basic cable subscribers can already access through their subscriptions. More →

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Opinions
Internet Service Quality

In the age of content creation, why don’t upload speeds match download?

By on February 6, 2014 at 11:10 AM.

In the age of content creation, why don’t upload speeds match download?

For a brief period of time, the Internet at large served the consuming masses. For those who can recall the day the mainstream public discovered YouTube, you’ll fully grok this concept. Janitors, executives, students, engineers, hippies, and baby boomers all sat down to watch video after video (after video). In a way, this defined the consumption era. The public began yearning for home-based Internet services, not satisfied with having to report to work, a local library, or a coffee shop in order to catch up on the latest news and converse over AIM. The thirst for knowledge shaped the business models surrounding Internet service providers, but those days are long gone. Unfortunately for us, the ISPs haven’t yet realized it.

A decade ago, the average Internet user logged on in order to be quenched. They desired to consume news. To read articles. To watch multimedia. There were exceptions, of course, but the vast majority of those breaking into the Internet scene were doing so in order to swallow up content produced by professionals. Pros produce, the masses consume.

Because of that, asymmetry became an accepted Internet delivery method, but as the technology continues to empower mere mortals to produce richer and more engrossing content, I’m left to wonder: when will the upstream get the respect it deserves? More →

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Comcast Router Wi-Fi Hotspot

Did you know that your home router is broadcasting free Wi-Fi to the whole neighborhood?

By on February 6, 2014 at 10:49 AM.

Did you know that your home router is broadcasting free Wi-Fi to the whole neighborhood?

You’re probably a good person who tries to help your fellow man whenever you can, but did you know that you might be lending your home Internet connection to anyone and everyone in your area? Last June, Comcast became the latest Internet service provider to offer up its subscribers’ home Internet connections to any other Comcast customers who might be in the area. By default, newer Comcast routers enable a second public Wi-Fi network that anyone within range can connect to using their Comcast account login credentials. As Minnesota’s Pioneer Press recently learned, however, not all Comcast customers knew of the change and some of them were horrified to learn about it. More →

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Targeted Ads Coming to TV

Commercials are about to get personal as targeted ads expand to TV

By on January 31, 2014 at 3:10 PM.

Commercials are about to get personal as targeted ads expand to TV

It’s time to accept the fact that targeted ads are no longer restricted to your browser. Facebook is stuffing them inside your mobile apps, Apple might put them in your thermostat, and now The Washington Post is reporting that Comcast and NBC Universal are bringing targeted advertisements to your television. Much like the intelligent political ads that Dish and DirecTV announced earlier this week, the newly-minted NBCU+ service will “allow marketers to target groups of consumers that fit certain demographic and interest profiles.” More →

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Comcast Data Speeds

Internet speeds are about to double for some Comcast customers (not you, cord cutters)

By on January 21, 2014 at 3:15 PM.

Internet speeds are about to double for some Comcast customers (not you, cord cutters)

In a bit of good news for Comcast subscribers — a rare bit of good news, some might argue — a new report suggests that the company is about to double or even triple its Internet data speeds for some subscribers. DSLReports on Tuesday afternoon cited an anonymous source in claiming that Comcast is preparing to increase data speeds for some subscribers. Speeds were already boosted for many users less than a year ago, but the ISP apparently isn’t done widening pipes for its customers. More →

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Comcast Lawsuit TV Tracking

Comcast sues former employee over software that tracks everything you watch on TV

By on January 16, 2014 at 10:35 AM.

Comcast sues former employee over software that tracks everything you watch on TV

In a federal copyright-infringement lawsuit filed recently in Philadelphia, Comcast is suing a former employee over the rights to software he developed while working for the pay TV giant in Colorado. Defendant Robert Orlowski helped form the company Tuning Analytics, LLC to market and sell software he developed that tracks a TV watcher’s viewing habits by being installed on his or her set-top box. Orlowski also filed two patents protecting the technology used in his software. According to Comcast’s suit, however, it has rights to Orlowski’s software and to all related patents. More →

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Net Neutrality ISP Responses

ISPs try to convince us net neutrality’s death won’t sting

By on January 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM.

ISPs try to convince us net neutrality’s death won’t sting

Don’t worry, American consumers: the death of net neutrality is no big deal and it won’t harm your online experience at all. That’s the takeaway from the various responses U.S. Internet service providers offered up to the public following Tuesday’s U.S. appeals court ruling that killed net neutrality rules. Some believe the ruling will ultimately lead to the destruction of the Internet as we know it today, giving service providers free rein to squeeze money out of companies looking to give their services an edge by allotting them additional bandwidth that standard service will not enjoy. But according to companies such as Comcast and Verizon, that won’t be the case at all. More →

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2014 Olympic Games 4K Coverage

Comcast’s 2014 Olympics coverage to include ‘some stuff’ in 4K

By on January 8, 2014 at 9:30 PM.

Comcast’s 2014 Olympics coverage to include ‘some stuff’ in 4K

With the increasing number of ultra-high definition (UHD, or 4K) TV sets and displays being launched by various companies – including affordable models that were just introduced at CES 2014 – content providers are apparently trying to provide more 4K content that can take advantage of the higher resolution screens. Comcast has confirmed during a panel on UHD content that it will start offering 4K content as soon as February, the Hollywood Reporter says, when it will stream “some stuff” in 4K from the 2014 Winter Olympic Games that take place in Sochi from February 7 to February 23. More →

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FCC Comcast Time Warner Cable Merger

FCC commissioner says Comcast-TWC merger likely dead on arrival

By on December 6, 2013 at 12:20 PM.

FCC commissioner says Comcast-TWC merger likely dead on arrival

Like a good exorcist, the Federal Communications Commission looks set to drive back the merger sent from hell. In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Republican FCC commissioner Ajit Pai says that the FCC is very unlikely to sign off on any proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable because the Obama administration has shown itself much less likely to approve major telecom mergers — such as the blocked AT&T-T-Mobile merger — than a Republican administration might be. A merger between Time Warner Cable and Comcast, which are the two largest cable providers in the United States, would further consolidate an industry that is already uncompetitive in many major markets. In addition to Comcast, smaller cable provider Charter has also been rumored to be interested in buying up Time Warner Cable.

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