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Comcast Faces $875M Class-Action Suit

Jeff Baumgartner
8/31/2011

Here's a look at what's making the cable market snap, crackle and pop today.

  • A class-action lawsuit against Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) over allegations that the MSO violated antitrust laws is moving ahead after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit declined Comcast's appeal in a 2-1 ruling (PDF) handed down last week. The suit (Behrend v. Comcast Corp), which seeks more than US$875 million in damages, alleges that the MSO overcharged customers after engaging in a number of system swaps in the Philadelphia area starting in 1998 that increased Comcast's share of the pay-TV market and established a monopoly position there in violation of sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. The suit also contends that Comcast engaged in similar conduct in the Boston and Chicago markets.

  • Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) has tapped Icontrol Networks Inc. to power the Canadian MSO's new broadband-fueled home monitoring and automation service. Comcast also uses iControl for its recently launched Xfinity Home Security offering. (See Comcast Picks iControl.)

  • Comcast has begun to deploy a new line of managed broadband gateways outfitted with Docsis 3.0 and Wi-Fi and made by Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) and SMC Networks Inc. , reports CED.

  • Pace plc has launched Elements, a cloud-based user interface and management platform that lets MSOs and other pay-TV providers extend and personalize services to smartphones, tablets and other connected devices, a move that puts the set-top maker in competition with similar products such as SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC)'s new Nitro platform. (See SeaChange Navigates TV Everywhere.)

  • Baldwin Telecom, an operator serving about 4,000 subs in Baldwin, Wis., is the latest service provider to deploy a hosted switched digital video (SDV) system from Adara Technologies Inc. that relies on Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) set-tops and the vendor's Reference TV Navigator middleware and user interface. (See Cisco Partner Tries to Break Moto's Grip on Tier 2s.)

  • With its sights set on "the next-generation of widescreen digital television," the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has started a standards effort for a super-wide 21:9 aspect ratio. The CEA-861 effort aims to establish specs for signaling video in the budding format to digital TVs, and digital cable, satellite and terrestrial set-top boxes.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



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    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner
    12/5/2012 | 4:55:00 PM
    re: Comcast Faces $875M Class-Action Suit


    I wonder if this will embolden others to file similar types of suits against other cable operators. It was pretty common to see MSOs swap and buy cable systems particularly in the late 1990s and early 2000s when they were looking to gain efficiencies by clustering systems together as they got ready to introduce new services like broadband and voice. But anyone else who tries it would have to first get the court to go along with the notion that clustering detered the entry of overbuilders and caused some sort of price gouging, or go along with it enough to warrant a suit that could be tried.  


    There's much more competition from telco TV providers now than there was a decade ago, but as  a more recent example  this map shows why TWC would even consider buying Insight -- their systems line up pretty well. JB








     







    naomihome
    naomihome
    12/5/2012 | 4:45:38 PM
    re: Comcast Faces $875M Class-Action Suit


    Hello, my name is Eddie .   I had Comcast for almost ten years.  I'm not sure how long.  I paid astronomical prices just for High speed internet and cable TV.   I'm talking $300-$400.00 a month. I paid it and didn't complain because the service was dependable.  But they began to do outrageous things.  An example being when I ordered new services they would not work correctly.  I ordered a business account for my residence and everything went hay wire. Services got shut off and jumbled. As I said over the years I put up with this for another reason being because I thought comcast was the best and I figured other cable companies would just do the same thing. It got to the point where I just decided i've had enough.  After almost ten years at $300.00 - $400.00 a month (do the math) I ordered dish network.  I now have double the channels for half the price.  I have rcn cable services and have never never been happier. They are just as fast as Comcast and half the price. If anyone has information on how I could become part of any class action suit against Comcast that would be a dream come true.  Please email me with the info at
    [email protected]


     


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