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Sprint & Dish Slug It Out Over Spectrum

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • If Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) are indeed talking about forging a mobile partnership, they sure aren't acting like pals-in-the-making. On Monday, Dish criticized Sprint for asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take additional steps to ensure that Dish's Advanced Wireless Services (AWS)-4 spectrum won't interfere with the H-block, which Sprint is eyeing for its Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. Dish has agreed to surrender 5MHz (2000MHz to 2005MHz) of its 20MHz of AWS-4 spectrum as a guard band. "Sprint's strident opposition to Dish's proposal is merely another merely another transparent attempt by the incumbent, Sprint, to block a new entrant from competing in the marketplace," Dish argued in the ex parte filing. The FCC will vote on the matter on Wednesday. (See Sprint Eyes Dish Partnership and Dish's Wireless Plans Could Get 'Crippled'.)

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) intends to wrap up first-round bids for its cable properties in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Utah by the end of the week, with Charter Communications Inc. expected to be among those submitting offers, reports Bloomberg. Charter's interest in the former Bresnan Communications systems, which serve about 360,000 subs, has been rumored for weeks. An industry source told Light Reading Cable last week that Charter was indeed doing diligence on the Bresnan properties, which Cablevision now refers to as Optimum West. Charter CEO Tom Rutledge is, of course, already familiar with those systems, as he was the COO of Cablevision when it bought Bresnan in 2010 for $1.36 billion. (See Cablevision Considers Bresnan Offers and Cablevision Goes Country With Bresnan Buy.)

  • If Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) tried to go national with its fiber strategy, it would cost something like $140 billion, Broadband Reports points out, citing a research note from Goldman Sachs & Co. , which took a predictive stab at the idea. Google Fiber hasn't announced any plans beyond the Kansas Cities, but it's still a fun number to contemplate. (See Google Fiber Starts to Hook Up Customers .)

  • Samsung Venture Investment Corp. has put $5 million into Delivery Agent, a startup that develops shopping apps for smart TVs and other connected devices. Delivery Agent's clients include NBCUniversal LLC , CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS), 20th Century Fox , Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), A&E Networks, HBO and Showtime. The startup's other investors include Intel Capital and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY).

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/10/2013 | 4:00:13 AM
    re: Sprint & Dish Slug It Out Over Spectrum

    It does sound a little bit like that, and other than for the incumbnets in KC, it's really an empty threat. But it will be interesting to see how TW Cable & AT&T react as Google Fiber services get deployed a bit more broadly in 2013. JB

    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    1/10/2013 | 4:00:13 AM
    re: Sprint & Dish Slug It Out Over Spectrum

    I haven't had a chance to read the full analysis , so i don't know how they arrived at that number and if it indeed included rural areas.  If anything, the report would seem to eliminate any fears that Google Fiber might start steamrolling in other markets, which quite honestly is not really the expecation....but interesting that someone took a stab at affixing a possible dollar figure to the idea of a national(ish?) rollout.

    Google's never admited as much, but I continue to hear that they are really doing this to light a fire under the cable guys (and maybe the telcos too) to add broadband speed and capacity quicker than they have been. That possibility was raised even when Google launched the project way back when but it's come up again in my discussions.  Guess I'd be surprised if they expand this project outside of the KC area...depends on how the economics shake out. But I still find their approach interesting. JB


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