Comcast has sweetened and expanded Internet Essentials, a voluntary commitment linked to the company's acquisition of NBCUniversal LLC that helps low-income families access cable modem services. Among the changes, the MSO has doubled the program's downstream speed to 3 Mbit/s and has extended the qualifying criteria to include families with children that are eligible to receive reduced-price school lunches, a move that will expand the number of qualifying families to 2.3 million. It was originally offered to families that are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program. Comcast estimates that the program has connected 41,000 families and distributed about 5,500 discounted PCs. (See Comcast Goes Big With 'Internet Essentials'.)
Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) earned 12 cents per share on revenues of $144 million, $2 million better than Wall Street expectations. The impressive thing is that it did that without having Comcast as a 10 percent-or-better customer for the first time since the second quarter of 2006, noted Jefferies & Co. Inc. analyst James Kisner.
Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) says it has sold more than 10 million DTAs to North American cable MSOs. Comcast, one of the vendor's bigger DTA buyers, is using the simple, one-way channel zapper to fuel Project Cavalry, its analog spectrum reclamation initiative. Standard-def DTAs run about $35 each; a new breed of hi-def versions are expected to sell for less than $50 per unit. (See Comcast Starts to Kiss Analog TV Goodbye and Comcast HD-DTAs Reach the FCC.)
It's very interesting that Comcast is expanding Internet Essentials. There has been research showing that a high percentage of low-income people who sign up for limited-time discounted broadband keep the service after the discount ends. But Comcast doesn't have that kind of track record yet.
I can only assume the company's profit margin on the discounted service is sufficient. Maybe the company is also finding that it helps keep video subscribers, etc.
Other cable companies, including Time Warner, also have similar discounted broadband offerings for low-income users planned as part of the FCC's Connect 2 Compete initiative. It will be interesting to see if these companies eventually raise prices or whether prices remain at the discounted level.
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.
During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.
She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.