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FCC May Force Comcast to Unbundle Modems

Happy hump day, cable guys and gals. Welcome to a brief summary of today’s cable news headlines.

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is likely to force Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) to unbundle its cable modem service and market high-speed data as a standalone product as a condition of its merger with NBC Universal , according to analysts at Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. Inc. (See Comcast-NBCU Faces Full-Court Press .)

  • Not only does Verizon Wireless get the iPhone, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) will also give it a version of the iPad that can connect directly to its network. We wonder how this could affect plans to deliver live video to FiOS TV subscribers with an iPad. (See Verizon Goes iPad Crazy and Bite Into Our CDMA iPhone Coverage.)

  • The New York Post takes a closer look at the "hornet’s nest of legal issues" tied to Comcast's dance with cable programmers over distributing content to the iPad. (See Comcast, Networks Spar Over iPad App .)

  • Long Term Evolution (LTE) can interfere and even knock out cable-TV services when an LTE device is operating near a set-top box or modem and is tuned to the same frequency, finds a new report funded by U.K. regulator Ofcom . [Ed note: Be on the lookout for a more detailed story from us on this report.]

  • Karin Gilford, an exec who has played a big role in Comcast's TV Everywhere initiatives, is joining Disney/ABC Television Group, where she was named SVP of digital media. (See Fancast's Newest Fan .)

  • MediaPost has some fun with Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) PR exec Jeff Simmermon's confession that he used to be a "passionate cord-cutter" who "survived without cable." (See Comcast CEO Dismisses Cord-Cutting Trend .)

    — Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable

  • Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:15:33 PM
    re: FCC May Force Comcast to Unbundle Modems

    The interesting thing here is that Comcast already does this voluntarily, but the condition would enforce it for a while. Multichannel News has some more detail on this, noting that the operator would be required to offer a standalone 6-meg (down) cable modem service for at least 3 years for $49.95/mo.


    Bloomberg has more sources speculating conditions that will be put on the Comcast-NBCU deal, including being bound to open-Internet conditions for 7 years even if the FCC's new rules end up getting overturned.  So that would mean no favorable access to any of its own content sent via broadband. Apparently there's a provision that would prevent Comcast from using set-tops from "unfairly" directing subs away from competing programming, which would not bode well for a new line of internet-connected hybrid gateways on the way.


    Also, consumption caps would have to apply to Comcast's web tv content and web video coming from other sources... something it already does via its monthly 250GB cap on "excessive use."


    There's more... but the caveat is that these conditions aren't final, but it offers a sense of the direction the thinking is headed. JB


     


     

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