Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, T.G.I.F. edition.
Ryan Harris, a cable-modem hacker who operated under the online alias "DerEngel," was sentenced
to three years in prison for selling "rooted" cable modems, reports The Boston Globe, noting that the Oregon man earned between US$400,000 to $1 million selling products that enabled users to steal broadband access or increase their speed settings by cloning modem addresses and removing filters that are set by the MSOs. He even wrote a 320-page book -- Hacking the Cable Modem: What Cable Companies Don't Want You to Know -- on how to do it. Harris's lawyer tried to argue that Harris's hacking stemmed from his ire that big companies ruled the speed and price of broadband access. "He acted on a grievance, as a lot of young people do," federal public defender Charles McGinty said. Harris is to report to prison on Sept. 4 unless a court stays the sentence pending an appeal.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has apparently said "no thanks" (at least for now) to a proposal by two local groups in Rosedale to offer discounted Wi-Fi services that feed off the company's budding 1-Gig fiber network in the Kansas Cities. The groups told The Kansas City Star that Google informed them that their Wi-Fi idea didn't line up with the company's planned licensing agreements for Google Fiber. Those groups -- Rosedale Development Center and a non-profit called Connecting For Good -- have already posted a draft plan that includes a free Wi-Fi tier that would provide speeds of 2 Mbit/s but restrict access to streaming media services like Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX). It's also proposed speedier, less restricted tiers that would cost $10, $25 or $35 per month. (See Google Drops Another Video Hint and Google Fiber Goes 100 Miles & Counting .)
HBO is licensing some of its shows to Hulu LLC , but only via the Web TV hub's Japanese service, notes TV Week. Despite consumer interest in the idea, HBO has so far resisted the temptation to offer its HBO GO service as a standalone service and risk upsetting the lucrative partnerships it enjoys with cable operators and other pay-TV providers.
Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s carriage dispute with AMC Networks took another turn as the satellite TV giant announced it would replace three AMC-run networks -- the flagship AMC channel, IFC, WE -- with three other channels on Saturday: HDNet Movies and HDNet (networks owned by Mark Cuban) and Style. Dish has balked at renewing its carriage deals over claims that AMC, which is about to start the fourth season of hit series Breaking Bad, is overcharging the provider and devaluing its programming by making shows available on iTunes, Netflix and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN).
Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) claimed victory this week as cable technicians and installers in the Bronx rejected a unionization proposal. Cablevision said the vote (74 percent rejected the idea) came soon after the Communications Workers of America (CWA) abandoned its attempt to represent Cablevision outside-plant employees in the Bronx. Union officials claimed that Cablevision management intimidated workers to vote against the plan, and the operator denied those allegations, reported Crain's New York Business.