Light Reading

Comcast Won't Throttle Suspected Pirates

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F edition.

  • Comcast Corp. on Thursday detailed its anti-piracy policy for broadband customers suspected of obtaining or distributing copyrighted content, noting that the operator will not slow down their connections or suspend their accounts. Under its version of the so-called "six strikes" program, the operator will, however, distribute a progressive number of in-browser alerts. The first two alerts will provide customers with details about the alleged infringements and, on the second instance, will also require them to log-in to their Comcast accounts to acknowledge and remove the in-browser alert. For alerts three and four, they'll receive a "more pronounced and urgent" warning, and will need to acknowledge receipt of the alerts. The last two "mitigation-focused" alerts give customers a 14-day window to appeal the alerts before facing a persistent in-browser warning that requires them to call the Comcast Security Assurance (CSA) to resolve the matter and/or have the pesky alert removed. Comcast's policy comes to light as a handful of major U.S. ISPs (the others are Time Warner Cable Inc., AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Cablevision Systems Corp.) began to implement their respective six-strikes programs this week. The program is being run by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), whose members include the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), a batch of independent content producers, and the aforementioned ISPs. (See See ISPs Boot Up 'Six-Strikes' Anti-Piracy Plan.)
  • UPC Cablecom's launch of Horizon TV in Switzerland appears to be off to a rough start, repeating some issues that Liberty Global Inc. encountered when it debuted the IP-capable product in the Netherlands, reports Broadband TV News, citing Swiss newspaper Tagesanzeiger. Customers complaints have ranged from freezing set-top boxes (made by Samsung Corp.) to problems figuring out the service's fancier, but more complicated user interface (the NDS/Cisco Systems Inc. Snowflake UI). UPC Cablecom has shipped about 20,000 Horizon TV units so far, and just cut the price, but told the paper that the reduction had nothing to do with the recent backlash.
  • Hey, Dish Network Corp. actually notched a win in the courts. Reuters reports that the satellite TV giant was awarded $4.86 million in a breach-of-contract suit against Walt Disney Co. and ESPN stemming from a complaint that they forced Dish to pay more for ESPN Deportes than rivals such as Comcast and DirecTV Group Inc. The victory was somewhat hollow, however, as the court dismissed most of its claims and awarded Dish a small fraction of the $152 million in damages it was seeking.
  • Telefónica SA got an early jump on the UltraHD wave, demonstrating a hiccup-free 4K video streaming at a speedy 100Mbit/s at this week's Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, notes Engadget. (See A Glimpse of UltraHD.)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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