Light Reading

AT&T, US Cellular Eye Cox's 700MHz Airwaves

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to the cable news roundup, Hump Day edition.

  • Cox Communications Inc. intends to transfer the 700MHz spectrum it won at auction in 2008 for $304 million to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and U.S. Cellular Corp. According to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) documents, Cox wants to unload its B Block to AT&T (up to 55MHz below 1GHz in eight markets in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Virginia), and its A Block to U.S. Cellular (up to 61MHz below 1GHz in 30 markets in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma). Petitions to deny the transfers are due by May 29.

    Cox originally wanted to use that spectrum to support its ambitious Long Term Evolution (LTE) network buildout, but that plan has since been scrapped. Cox already has a deal in place to sell its Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) spectrum to Verizon Wireless for $315 million, along with an agreement that lets the carrier and MSO bundle each other's services. (See Verizon Wireless & Cox Tag-Team on U-verse, Cox Pulls Out of Wireless and Cox Preps Cellular Network, Eyes LTE.)

  • ESPN EVP of Sales and Marketing Sean Bratches expects the sports giant to have its authenticated TV Everywhere service, WatchESPN, available to about 80 million subscribers over the next year, doubling where it stands today thanks to deployments with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Bright House Networks , Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), reports Multichannel News. (See Comcast Streams ESPN (Almost) Everywhere .)

  • Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) has appointed three new board members: Comcast Ventures Managing Director Amy Banse; Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) EVP and CFO Frank Calderoni; and Starcom MediaVest Group Global CEO Laura Desmond.

  • Avail-TVN has added the ability to insert mid-roll ads dynamically in video-on-demand (VoD) streams after integrating Content Information Service and Placement Opportunity Information Service (POIS) interfaces with a range of ad-decision systems. Avail-TVN, which caters to Tier 2/3 operators, says the new system is based on Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) digital insertion standards (SCTE-130) and CableLabs specifications.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:32:58 PM
    re: AT&T, US Cellular Eye Cox's 700MHz Airwaves

    Cox offered some additional details that aren't as clearly spelled out in the FCC notices.

     -          US Cellular deal is for four 700MHz spectrum (A block) licenses, with 12MHz per license covering about 4 milion POPs in Cox cable service areas such as Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; Omaha, Neb.; and Tulsa, Okla.

     -         AT&T deal is for eight 700MHz spectrum (B block) license, with 12MHz per  license covering 1.9 million POPs in Cox cable services areas including Northwest Arkansas; Gainesville and Ocala, Fla.; Lafayette, La.; and Hampton Roads and Roanoke, Va.


    Cox isn't commenting on the financial terms of the ATT and US Cellular agreements, but, pending FCC approval, expects the deals to close this year.


    Also, Cox still has some 700MHz spectrum licenses that aren't tied to the AT&T and US Cellular agreements. The MSO still has some licenses covering Arizona; Gulf Coast (Fla.); Las Vegas; Middle Georgia; San Diego; and Baton Rouge and New Orleans, La.  JB



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