Charter Gives Broadband a Speed Bump

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

  • Charter Communications Inc. is adding juice to its broadband service tiers with significant speed increases in 95 percent of its footprint, where it's completed Docsis 3.0 upgrades. The MSO is upping downstream burst speeds from 12 Mbit/s to 15 Mbit/s for the Charter Internet Express tier, while increasing uploads from 1 Mbit/s to 3 Mbit/s. The Charter Internet Plus tier is jumping to 30 Mbit/s down by 4 Mbit/s up (versus 18 Mbits/2 Mbit/s). The MSO's fastest residential tier has been renamed Charter Internet Ultra100, and now offers bursts of 100 Mbit/s down and 5 Mbit/s upstream. Charter's business date tiers are also on the rise. Its Business Internet Essentials16 tier is being bumped to 20 Mbit/s downstream and 3 Mbit/s up, while Business Internet Essentials25 moves to 30 Mbit/s down by 4 Mbit/s up.

  • Pace Micro Technology and Rovi Corp. will combine Pace's hybrid video gateways with Rovi's cloud-based TotalGuide. Like many other hardware and software providers, the two companies are working to develop a product that eases cable's transition to IP video delivery, and takes advantage of cloud-based services to encourage faster content and service updates. Buckeye CableSystem is among Rovi's early TotalGuide wins. (See Buckeye Goes With Rovi's TotalGuide.)

  • Following an earlier decision to launch ad-supported video channels, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) has given YouTube a facelift. The update includes a new home page with a customizable channel line-up, new channel templates for video uploaders, and "a fresh coat of digital paint across the whole site." (See Google Crafting YouTube 'Channels' .)

  • Turner Broadcasting System Inc. Chairman and CEO Phil Kent says the company's TV Everywhere initiative is "vitally important" as a competitive measure, but noted that adoption has so far been disappointing. Speaking at the OnScreen Summit hosted by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News in New York, Kent suggested that lack of uptake is due to not having enough content available, and poor marketing.

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s been called out for its claims that FiOS TV ranks "#1 in HD picture quality." The National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) told the operator it should discontinue those ads because there's a lack of head-to-head testing comparing Verizon with its competitors. The NAD's statement was a response to a complaint about the Verizon ads by Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK).

  • Verizon launched a live simulcast of the Longhorn Network, making the linear sports channel available via broadband to all FiOS TV customers. The move follows a trend in which operators are offering more live content to online platforms. The channel is available on PCs today. Verizon plans to extend coverage to mobile devices next year. (See also Verizon Takes FiOS TV to the Xbox.)

    — Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable

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