Cable Study Highlights Broadband Stimulus Waste

Today's cable news roundup leads with a look at cable lobbyists hammering the feds over the wasteful use of some broadband stimulus funds.

  • A National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) -commissioned economic analysis of some broadband stimulus projects awarded by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) found that duplicative broadband networks allocated big bucks to reach a small number of unserved homes. The NCTA said the study, which examined three large Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) awards in Western Kansas ($101.2 million), northeastern Minnesota ($66.4 million) and southwest Montana ($64.1 million), raises issues not addressed in new rules that let RUS continue funding duplicative broadband networks, even in communities where most homes have access to broadband.

  • For viewers who really like to watch a lot of TV, TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) is reportedly working on a DVR that would allow owners to record four programs at the same time. (See TiVo: $99 Premiere DVR Revving Retail.)

  • Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has unleashed its next-gen media guide for FiOS TV, touting more than 25 upgrades, including automatic 3-D programming detection, DVR chaptering, support for external eSATA drives, and new search capabilities. Customers in Buffalo, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y., and in the Harrisburg, Pa., region are the first to get them. All other FiOS markets will get them "during the coming months."

  • Targeting guys with money who like cars, sports, leisure and travel Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is renaming its HD Theater network as Velocity.

  • With major cable programmers producing a limited amount of 3-D programming, DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) is investing in its own original programming for its n3D channel. Women surfers will star in its new Gone Until December series, which premieres this summer. (See DirecTV Gets More 3DTV Game .)

  • Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) can breathe a bit easier today amid word that it won't repeat as champion of The Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" tournament, as it was thrashed by BP in the Final Four. BP moves on to face Bank of America in the finals. Here's the landslide tally that kept Comcast from moving on:

  • Making it easy for CE manufacturers to stream video to broadband-connected TVs, Adobe Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ADBE) demonstrated an update to its Flash Media Server that allows publishers to deliver Flash-enabled video to connected devices, along with browsers for PCs and mobile phones and tablets. (See TV Everywhere Starts Getting Somewhere .)

  • It looks like Limelight Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: LLNW) may have a competitive answer to Verizon Digital Media Services after hooking up with mgMEDIA to bundle in elements such as encoding/transcoding, advertising and storage. They'll be targeting SPs, but Samsung Corp. is already using mgMEDIA's system to port on-demand video to tablets, smartphones, TVs and PCs. (See Will Cable Buy What Verizon DMS Is Selling? and Verizon Fires Up Digital Media 'Factory' .)

  • YouTube Inc. is trying to teach users about copyright laws, forcing members that receive copyright notifications to watch this PSA-style video:

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

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