Mediacom Communications Corp. Chairman Rocco Commisso has proposed to freeze the company's "published rates" on its two most popular video tiers (Limited and Expanded Basic) for two years if programmers also agree to keep their rates in check during that period. Commisso made the commitment in a letter to the Senate Commerce Committee, which has set a July 24 hearing on the 1992 Cable Act. "With your backing, I am confident that a significant number of other MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] would join the freeze," he wrote. Mediacom, along with other cable operators and industry pressure groups, have urged the FCC to review retransmission consent rules as prices for programming continue to escalate and testy negotiations result in temporary channel blackouts. (See ACA: Little Cable Faces Some Big Issues.)
Comcast's National Video Operations Center (NVOC) in Colorado is now providing video transport and MPEG video monitoring to independent cable operators that receive programming via the company's Headend In The Sky (HITS) unit. In addition to linear video channels, the proprietary IP-based system monitors digital program insertion content, including ads that are spliced into individual channels.
Comcast systems in Connecticut are the latest to launch Skype on Xfinity, a new, TV-based video conferencing service that the operators is pitching for $9.95 per month to customers who take Comcast's triple-play bundle. (See Comcast Flips On Skype TV.)