Virgin Widens 100-Meg Footprint, Tests 1.5-Gig

Here's a quick look at what's cooking in cable.

  • Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) said its 100Mbit/s (downstream) cable modem tier is now available to 6.5 million homes in the U.K., and expects to complete the rollout and offer it to 13 million homes by mid-2012. The tier sells for £45 (US$73.43) per month as a stand-alone, or £35 ($57.11) when bundled with a phone line. The MSO also talked up a Docsis 3.0 field trial that's pumping out speed bursts of 1.5Gbit/s downstream and 150Mbit/s upstream in a part of the Old Street area of London that's full of tech startups. (See Virgin Gives 1.5-Gig Wideband a Whirl.)

  • AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) kept the pressure on MSOs in the second quarter by adding 202,000 U-verse TV subs, extending its IPTV base to 5.3 million subs. (See AT&T Ups Capex to $20B to Develop 3G & LTE.)

  • Comcast Media Center (CMC) is pitching a local video-on-demand content service for Tier 2/3 MSOs. Its new HITS Express Lane product covers VoD encoding, metadata creation, quality control and storage. (See CMC Expands MSO VoD Roster.)

  • Charter Communications Inc. 's TV Everywhere ambitions got a lift with the launch of HBO GO and MAX GO.

  • Add Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) to the list of companies that may be weighing an offer for Hulu LLC , but The Wall Street Journal notes that Apple's interest is only in the "earliest stages".

  • Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) says it will keep 1,500 Blockbuster Inc. stores open, after being forced to close as many as 200 of the movie rental outlets. (See Dish's Latest Buy Is a Blockbuster .)

  • RealD teamed with Cinemark to roll out an additional 1,500 3-D theater screens in North America and Latin America, which could eventually result in more 3-D content making its way to pay-TV homes. (See 2010 Top Ten: 3DTV Hype Builders .)

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) COO Lowell McAdam will become CEO when 64-year-old Ivan Seidenberg retires on Aug. 1.

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable, and Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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