Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is close to creating new rules that will let Dish Network Corp. offer a terrestrial-only wireless service, but they are expected to include a provision that will require Dish to shed some holdings to avoid interference with an adjacent PCS H Block that Sprint Nextel Corp. has been eyeing for Long Term Evolution (LTE), reports The Wall Street Journal. That provision "would be a game changer for us" and make Dish's proposed wireless buildout plan "increasingly risky," Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen told the paper. Ergen has outlined a wide range of scenarios for Dish's spectrum, including partnerships with other carriers or an outright sale of those holdings. The purported FCC decision essentially places "a higher priority on ensuring Sprint has sufficient LTE spectrum" and moving ahead with an auction of the H block than the Commission has on "trusting Dish to become a new entrant in the wireless market," TMF Associates analyst Tim Farrar stated on his blog.
(See Google & Dish Mull Mobile Connection and Dish May Seek Spectrum Sale .)
Vdio has launched a private beta test in the U.K. and U.S., and instead of bringing forth a subscription-based Netflix Inc. rival, the service appears to be taking on iTunes and Vudu with a transactional model for videos and TV shows, reports NewTeeVee. Vdio, a startup helmed by Skype Ltd. co-founder Janus Friis, describes itself as: "A better way to watch. Rent or buy movies and TV shows worth tuning in to." The landing page touts a mix of new titles such as Prometheus and older catalog fare such as Pulp Fiction and Monsters Inc..
Viggle Inc. has put up US$25 million in cash and 48.3 million shares to acquire GetGlue in a deal that combines two New York-based startups that are focused on social TV apps delivered via tablets and other secondary screens. The combined company will have nearly 4.5 million registered users and clearly hopes that the combo will bring enough scale to the category to attract more advertising dollars and programming partners. Viggle, which counts DirecTV Group Inc. as a customer and was launched in January, will also take on GetGlue's 34 employees. But the deal is not all rainbows and unicorns, as it's contingent on Viggle raising an additional $60 million in funding, says TechCrunch.
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