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Naysayers Wring Hands Over Comcast-TWC Merger
February 13, 2014
After months of being courted by both Comcast and Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable has agreed to be purchased by Comcast for $45.2 billion in stock. The deal, if approved by the United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, will create the biggest broadband provider in the country, with 33 million customers.
Cable TV's Chilly Customer Relationships
February 13, 2014
Quality and reliability problems have been increasing with the new digital services from the cable television industry. I am a customer of both Comcast and Time Warner Cable and have noticed the issues, and it's safe to assume other cable-TV providers are having similar problems. This may cause further harm to the cable TV industry. Can it fix what is broken in time?
10 New Pilots Sweeten Amazon's Prime Proposition
February 07, 2014
Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Studios' brand-new pilot season of original comedy, drama and kid-oriented content. New to this year's lineup are dramas from the creators of The X-Files and Harry Bosch, plus comedies from Oscar-nominated Roman Coppola and Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers. In all, there are five prime-time pilots and five aimed at kids.
Dems Introduce Bills to Bring Back Net Neutrality
February 04, 2014
Democratic members of Congress this week moved to replace by legislative means the Net neutrality rules that a court decision last month suddenly rendered defunct. Lawmakers introduced the Open Internet Preservation Act in both chambers. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals last month changed the telecom and data landscape by striking down FCC rules that mandated ISPs treat all Internet data the same.
Apple TV: From High Hopes to Has-Been
January 24, 2014
When it comes to TV, Apple is starting to recede into the dark corners of my mind. Its relevance -- and even potential relevance -- is waning. A fancypants Apple-made big-screen HDTV device that seems to float in the air and function like a delightful work of art... . It not only seems unlikely any time soon, but also unlikely to really matter to anyone but rich Apple enthusiasts.
The Net Neutrality Ruling: All Sound and Fury?
January 16, 2014
A federal appeals court's Tuesday ruling on Net neutrality has sparked dire predictions: Streaming video will cost more; Internet-based multiplayer games could get expensive; and innovation might be stifled. Credo Mobile is gathering names for a petition to FCC Chair Tom Wheeler. However, nothing is going to happen for a while because "it's not a done deal," said tech analyst Dan Rayburn.
Time Warner Cable Gives Charter Cold Shoulder
January 15, 2014
Charter Communications is pursuing the acquisition of Time Warner Cable, but it seems unable to offer a price the cable giant can accept. Now, with its third offer made and spurned, the dialogue between the two companies has gone public and become somewhat nasty in tone. Charter on Monday offered to acquire Time Warner Cable for $132.50 per share, or $62.35 billion.
Net Neutrality Takes a Licking
January 15, 2014
Net Neutrality received a body slam from a federal appeals court Tuesday, but the door was left open for resuscitating the policy. In a case brought by Verizon against the FCC, the judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia found the agency lacked the authority to impose antidiscrimination and antiblocking rules on providers of Internet broadband services.
Amazon, LLBean Tie at the Top for Customer Satisfaction
January 09, 2014
Retailers performed well this holiday season in terms of customer satisfaction across multiple channels, according to the ForeSee Experience Index: 2013 U.S. Retail Edition, which was released this week. The report focuses on customer satisfaction at the company level and queried consumers about every applicable sales channel, ranging from the brick-and-mortar store to the contact center to mobile.
Verizon to Disclose Some of What It's Disclosing to the Government
December 20, 2013
Verizon on Thursday said it will release a semiannual report about the data requests it receives from the government. It is the first major telecom to make such a move. Verizon and other tech industry giants have come under fire for cooperating with government surveillance programs. Verizon and AT&T in particular were named in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
CFPB Suit Targets Predatory Online Lending Practices
December 19, 2013
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau this week put online finance companies on notice that it will not overlook them merely because they operate in cyberspace. Specifically, the bureau sued CashCall for collecting money consumers allegedly did not owe. In its suit, the bureau charged that CashCall and its affiliates engaged in unfair, deceptive, and abusive practices.
Tech Firms Vie With Telecoms for Internet Infrastructure Control
December 18, 2013
Several major tech firms are making a strong push into Internet infrastructure, leading to increasingly fraught relationships with telecoms. Google and Facebook in particular have drastically invested more in Internet infrastructure over the last year, installing new undersea and underground cables, creating their own networking hardware systems, and cutting long-term dark fiber deals.
Viber Out Aims to Out-Do Skype in International Calling Game
December 11, 2013
Viber on Monday launched v4.1 of its eponymous VoIP chat application. It includes Viber Out, a feature that lets users call anyone mobile phones or landlines anywhere. Calls to other Viber users are free; otherwise, a fee is assessed. The company also unveiled additions to its line of stickers. Viber, which has 200 million or so users, is targeting Skype, which is aiming for 1 billion.
Online Record-Busting Black Friday Spurs High Hopes for Cyber Monday
December 02, 2013
More than 131 million shoppers -- or 54.8 percent of the shopping population -- are planning to hit the online deals this Cyber Monday. That is one finding of a National Retail Federation survey conducted over the weekend. For comparison, the corresponding figure from last year's survey was 129 million. "We expect Cyber Monday to be bigger than ever," said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay.
FCC Chair Moves Network Revamp to Top of To-Do List
November 21, 2013
The FCC is ramping up efforts to transition U.S. phone networks from their current TDM technology to VoIP. The commission's January meeting will include consideration of an Order for immediate action, said Chairman Tom Wheeler, including recommendations on how best to conduct experiments that will let the commission and the public observe the impact of the transitions, he said.
AT&T and Verizon May Start to Sweat in 2014
November 21, 2013
AT&T and Verizon, the leading telecom service providers in the U.S., are growing in several different sectors. They offer the widest variety of services, including wireless, landline telephone, Internet protocol television and high-speed Internet access. They are also the biggest targets. If 2014 will see lots of change, how will that impact AT&T, Verizon -- and you?
Roku Thinks Out of the Box With AOL News
November 14, 2013
Video streaming service Roku has added an integrated news service powered by AOL to its home screen, the company announced Thursday, giving users quick access to news content. "News is among the fastest growing categories on the Roku platform, and this partnership with AOL makes it even easier for customers to find and start watching a variety of news videos," said Roku's Steve Shannon.
Amazon Puts On Its Sunday Best
November 12, 2013
Amazon and the U.S. Postal Service are partnering in a pilot project to deliver packages to Amazon customers on Sundays. The offering will start this week to customers in New York and Los Angeles but will eventually roll out to other parts of the U.S. next year, including Dallas, New Orleans and Phoenix. The service is aimed at Amazon Prime members, who already receive free two-day shipping on many items.
Get Ready for World War TV
November 07, 2013
AT&T and Verizon have quietly been building a strong TV business. In fact, I read last week that where they offer service, they have almost the same market share as the cable television company leaders like Comcast, Time Warner and Cox. That's an incredible accomplishment. Telecom is changing. If you pull the camera back, the entire communications industry is changing.
Netflix Mulls Silver-Screen Debut
October 29, 2013
Netflix has already produced original content including Emmy-nominated House of Cards, but now it looks like the over-the-top streaming service may be interested in producing feature films destined for the silver screen as well. Specifically, instead of making made-for-TV features, Netflix hopes to make movies for theaters and show them on its service at the same time.

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