Welcome to the broadband and cable news roundup, Hump Day edition.
While usage-based pricing for broadband is a "useful tool" to help ISPs manage growing network loads as more consumers use high-speed connections to access video, it's a tool that can also be abused, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski warned during a speech given Tuesday at the VOX Media headquarters in Washington, D.C. He didn't provide any round-numbered suggestions, but said consumers "need sufficient monthly broadband capacity to make e-commerce routine and unconstrained," and that he's "concerned about practices that harm competition, including from over-the-top providers," depress broadband usage or prevent ISPs from boosting broadband speeds and capacity. His comments come as several U.S. ISPs launch or test usage-based broadband policies that charge extra when customers exceed soft, monthly data caps. (See Mediacom Unleashes Usage-Based Broadband , Comcast Turns On Usage-Based Broadband, Comcast to Try On 600GB Data Cap and Suddenlink Puts Broadband Overage Fees on Ice .)
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is closing three call centers in north California, a move that will affect about 1,000 employees as the company shifts those jobs to centers located in states such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon. Comcast is moving those jobs due to the high costs of doing business in the Golden State, according to a local CBS affiliate.
Online video sources are making strides, but cable still owns the market for on-demand movies on a paid, per-use basis, according to a study from NPD Group Inc. . Comcast was responsible for 48 percent of all paid VoD movie rentals in the first half of 2012, followed by DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV) (14 percent) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) (9 percent). Telco VoD was the fastest-growing segment, noting a year-over-year growth rate of 24 percent, outpacing Internet VoD's 15 percent.