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Also: WaveDivision rolls in $1B in funding; FCC set to vet Charter's set-top plan; Comcast taps northeast biz unit lead

Google & Dish Mull Mobile Connection

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
11/16/2012
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Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) have talked "in recent weeks" about forming a wireless service partnership that would look to compete with the likes of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless , reports The Wall Street Journal, noting that the discussions "aren't advanced." Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen, in typical fashion, was coy about the rumor, telling the paper only that Dish has had talks with a number of potential partners that "would like to be in the industry" but don't yet have a wireless business. A partnership with Google is just one of an array of possible scenarios that have emerged as Dish mulls what to do with its wireless spectrum. Dish has considered building its own Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, but would need some help to finance it. (That's where Google's deep pockets could come in handy.) Short of a partnership, Ergen has acknowledged that Dish might have to sell its wireless capacity as it continues to wait for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to loosen up spectrum-usage rules that would let the company move forward on a network buildout plan. (See Dish May Seek Spectrum Sale , Dish Stashing Cash for Its 4G Run and Dish Chairman Ready to Back Up Wireless Bet .)

  • WaveDivision Holdings LLC has raised $1.052 billion in a recapitalization that the company will use to help it accelerate the expansion of its networks along the West coast. The funding came the way of "substantial" equity investments from Oak Hill Capital Partners and GI Partners, with some help from Deutsche Bank AG and Wells Fargo & Co. The company, which does business as WaveBroadband and Astound Broadband, serves almost 400,000 customers in greater Seattle, Portland, Sacramento and San Francisco. In San Francisco, Astound Broadband competes with Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). Kirkland, Wash.-based Wave said the focus of its expansion plans will be its business services unit, adding that it will also use funds to "selectively acquire other companies." Among recent M&A activity, Wave has snapped up some systems from Charter Communications Inc. and RCN Corp. (See Wave Broadband CEO Leads Buyout Bid.)

  • The FCC Media Bureau is seeking comment on Charter's request for a two-year waiver on set-tops with integrated security. Charter wants the waiver to give it ample time to deploy a downloadable video security system that would spur the MSO's all-digital transition. Charter's plan would essentially duplicate one that Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) recently pulled off. The important dates: Comments and oppositions are due Nov. 30, 2012, with reply comments due Dec. 10, 2012. (See Charter Sets All-Digital Path for Video and Charter Video Plan Good News for Cisco, Samsung.)

  • Comcast's fast-growing business services unit has elevated Jeff Buzzelli to SVP of business services for its Northeast division, which includes 14 states from Maine through Virginia and Washington, D.C. He most recently served as VP of business services for Comcast's Chicagoland region, where he led the MSO's acquisition and integration of Cimco Communications, a Chicago-based CLEC. (See Comcast Makes Hay With Metro Ethernet and Comcast Snares a CLEC .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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