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Cable Catchup

Jeff Baumgartner
11/23/2010
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6:05 PM -- With Turkey Day drawing near, it's high time to take a look at what else is making waves in the cable world:

  • Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski is reportedly putting together a new network neutrality proposal and could take action on it as soon as next month.

    If so, the move would come about three months after House Energy and Commerce chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) pulled the plug on his network neutrality bill after it was clear he didn't summon up enough Republican support for it. (See Net Neutrality Bill Is DOA .)

    It's not clear if Genachowski's purported proposal will follow the Waxman bill, which closely mimicked one from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) that takes a lighter regulatory touch on wireless networks. (See Verizon & Google Define an 'Open Internet'.)

    The FCC has not announced plans to introduce a new network neutrality item. However, speculation that it will went into high gear on Tuesday after the agency pushed its public meeting date from December 15 to December 21.

  • FilmOn Content Systems Plc , a virtual MSO that operates a Website that that retransmits live streaming of major broadcaster feeds, is temporarily off after a New York judge issued a temporary restraining order. (See Court Puts Noose on FilmOn.)

    FilmOn claims that it's attracted "more than 30 million individual users" in just a few weeks after its free broadband-fueled service went live. And it's undaunted by the court's decision. "We do expect to bring major networks back to our lineup in the near future, all in a legitimate and collaborative business model," FilmOn CEO Alki David said, noting that it intends to filing a motion arguing that "FilmOn is indeed a cable system."

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) says it will introduce several advanced cable services, including video on demand, in several Colorado mountain towns after signing a deal to lease access on the Colorado Department of Transportation's (CDOT's) fiber network. Under the 20-year deal, Comcast is leasing two dark CDOT single-mode fiber optic strands along the 1-70 corridor, boosting capacity along the interstate between the towns of Golden and Vail. The deal marks the first time CDOT has leased a portion of its network. (See Comcast Accesses Mountain Fiber.)

  • Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is stirring up the pot again as Comcast closes in on its acquisition of NBC Universal , arguing that the MSO is guilty of "gun-jumping" and may have violated antitrust laws when the MSO appointed more than 40 people to new positions at NBCU.

    Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice countered that there's nothing unusual about it, and that Comcast has had no role in NBCU business operations. "Transition and integration planning is common, proper, and expected in a transaction of this type," she said.

  • Following in the footsteps of Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC)'s new "TV Essentials" package, Charter Communications Inc. is also considering a lower-cost video package for customers who are being hit hard by the economy. (See No-Frills Cable TV .)

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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