Comcast has sweetened and expanded Internet Essentials, a voluntary commitment linked to the company's acquisition of NBCUniversal LLC that helps low-income families access cable modem services. Among the changes, the MSO has doubled the program's downstream speed to 3 Mbit/s and has extended the qualifying criteria to include families with children that are eligible to receive reduced-price school lunches, a move that will expand the number of qualifying families to 2.3 million. It was originally offered to families that are eligible to receive free lunches under the National School Lunch Program. Comcast estimates that the program has connected 41,000 families and distributed about 5,500 discounted PCs. (See Comcast Goes Big With 'Internet Essentials'.)
Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) earned 12 cents per share on revenues of $144 million, $2 million better than Wall Street expectations. The impressive thing is that it did that without having Comcast as a 10 percent-or-better customer for the first time since the second quarter of 2006, noted Jefferies & Co. Inc. analyst James Kisner.
Technicolor (Euronext Paris: TCH; NYSE: TCH) says it has sold more than 10 million DTAs to North American cable MSOs. Comcast, one of the vendor's bigger DTA buyers, is using the simple, one-way channel zapper to fuel Project Cavalry, its analog spectrum reclamation initiative. Standard-def DTAs run about $35 each; a new breed of hi-def versions are expected to sell for less than $50 per unit. (See Comcast Starts to Kiss Analog TV Goodbye and Comcast HD-DTAs Reach the FCC.)