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Dish Pays $80M for Cablevision Spectrum

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) has agreed to pay US$700 million to Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and its AMC Networks unit to settle a legal spat over the defunct Voom HD service, but there's a big wireless broadband angle in there, too. About $80 million of that money will go toward Dish's purchase of Cablevision's 500MHz of Multichannel Video and Data Distribution (MVDDS) licenses covering 150 million people in 45 metro U.S. areas, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Cablevision is using a portion of its MVDDS licenses for OMGFAST!, a wireless broadband service that delivers up to 50 Mbit/s in Florida's Broward and Palm Beach counties. MVDDS relies on equipment installed on cell towers and is capable of delivering Internet or TV services. Dish, meanwhile, still has some serious wireless broadband ambitions of its own and already owns a chunk of MVDDS spectrum. (See Dish May Seek Spectrum Sale and Dish Chairman Ready to Back Up Wireless Bet .)

    In September, a Cablevision spokeswoman likened OMGFAST! to a small test so the company could learn more about MVDDS technology, noting that the company had no plans to expand the service beyond its isolated deployment in Florida. In the meantime, OMGFAST!'s latest marketing promos have featured NFL Hall Of Fame quarterback Joe Namath and his daughter, Jessica:

  • Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has launched a cloud-based software-as-a-service for small and medium-sized businesses that includes remote access to email, calendars, contact lists and documents accessible from PCs, smartphones and tablets. The MSO-managed SaaS offering supports apps such as Hosted Microsoft Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010 and Outlook. TW Cable began to ramp up its cloud efforts after acquiring NaviSite in 2011 for $230 million. (See TW Cable Makes Cloud Progress With NaviSite.)

  • Last week's Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando drew 9,200 attendees, down from the more than 10,000 that the show attracted for the 2011 event in Atlanta. International attendance, meanwhile, was up 3 percent, with attendees representing a record 69 countries. Attendance for the pre-Expo, full-day symposium on "The Digital Home" jumped 47 percent on last year's numbers. Next year's Cable-Tec Expo is set for Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans. (See Cox CTO to Chair 2013 Cable-Tec Expo.)

  • HBO Nordic, the standalone subscription streaming service, has completed its rollout in Scandinavia following launches in Norway and Finland, reports The Hollywood Reporter. HBO Nordic, which is also pursuing deals with pay-TV providers, has already introduced the streaming service in Sweden and Denmark. (See HBO, Netflix Set for OTT Video Clash and HBO Nordic Aligns With Starz.)

  • The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has voted in favor of adopting "Ultra High-Definition" and "Ultra HD" as the consumer label for 4K, an emerging video format for giant-screen TVs that will support at least eight million pixels of resolution, about four times what's on the market now. To get the label, display makers will need to support an aspect ratio of 16x9 and at least one digital input capable of carrying and presenting native 4K video at full 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. (See Study Sees Small Demand for 4K TVs, A Glimpse of Ultra-HD and Photos: Comcast/NBCU Ultra-HD Demo .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:18:47 PM
    re: Dish Pays $80M for Cablevision Spectrum

    There's no near-term changes underway for OMGFAST! and its customers following this deal.  Dish is getting all of Cablevision's MVDDS licenses, but "OMGFast continues to have rights to the spectrum they are currently licensing," a Cablevision spokeswoman tells us. Cablevision has not disclosed how many customers it has for the wireless broadband service. JB


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