Replies in Comcast-TWC merger due December 23, AT&T-DirecTV by January 7, 2015
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced December 3 that it is restarting the informal "shot clocks" in the review of the $45 billion Comcast-Time Warner Cable and $48.5 billion AT&T-DirecTV proposed mergers. As the FCC is now allowing parties to review confidential information once again, it restarted the pleading cycles with new deadlines for each merger.
Group including Dish, Writers Guild of America and more urge DOJ, FCC to reject merger
A new opposition group emerged today to declare war on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, stressing the negative effects such a deal would present to cable and Internet markets, competition and consumers. The Stop Mega Comcast Coalition proposes in a manifesto that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reject the merger.
Roberts believes merger on track for completion in March, working on net neutrality
The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is moving along, according to recent statements from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Roberts said that his company is moving "full steam ahead" with the $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable, an acquisition that would bring an additional 11 million customers to Comcast's Internet and television services.
Confidential programming agreements requested in early October source of the delay
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped its "180-day informal time clock" in the review of the merger proposals for Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as AT&T and DirectTV. The reason for the stoppage involves the modified joint protective orders that the FCC created at the beginning of October, which content companies are now using to bar outside sources from reading confidential programming agreements.
Majority of shareholders support merger, Lexington puts resolutions in play to stop transfer
Comcast and Time Warner Cable have jumped at least two hurdles on their way to merging into one company. This week the majority of Comcast and Time Warner Cable shareholders voted to approve the deal for the merger. However, it appears that another problem has surfaced with the government of second-largest city that Time Warner Cable serves.
Procedures created to protect public interest, alleviate media firm confidentiality concerns
In the review of the proposed mergers between Comcast and Time Warner Cable, or the proposed AT&T-DirecTV deal, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) believes that reviewing the contracts and agreements made by the merger applicants and media companies is important. Last month, the FCC requested that media firms turn over information about deals with Comcast, something that the provider and media companies fought back on. However, the FCC now has plans in place to address some of their concerns in both mergers.
Clock stopped on FCC time table, grants more time to respond to 850-page response
After receiving a lengthy responses from Comcast and Time Warner Cable and several other factors, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decided to extend the "Replies to Responses and Oppositions" period for the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger. The period, which was originally scheduled to end October 8, is now extended to October 29. As a result, the FCC has paused its 180-day "shot clock" for transaction reviews.
Provider calls Dish Network, Discovery Communications, and Netflix out in FCC response
Comcast believes that a number of companies are trying to bully the cable and Internet provider in order to get favorable terms -- in exchange for their non-opposition of the merger with Time Warner Cable. In a response to the comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) over the proposed merger, Comcast claims that companies are engaging in a sort of blackmail to further their own business interests at the cost of the deal.
Competition by municipal broadband, Google, and wireless declared sufficient
In a filing with the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Comcast has spelled out why it believes it should be allowed to purchase Time Warner Cable. Saying that users have enough high-speed cable options including wireless and satellite, and that switching to one of the "broad range" of competitors it has such as Google Fiber, the giant believes it should be able to complete the merger without citizens or the government being concerned about a monopolistic situation.
Time Warner Cable blames issue during scheduled maintenance for Internet failure
Time Warner Cable's nationwide outage of its Internet and phone service earlier today was caused by a problem during routine maintenance, the company claims. The multi-hour fault, which affected a large proportion of its 15 million subscribers including 11.4 million Internet customers, has been rectified for the majority of affected subscribers.
Charter swept up in FCC info dragnet, September 11 deadline for submissions
A request for information from the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been submitted to Comcast and Time Warner Cable, demanding the pair detail its Internet and programming agreements before the merger is approved. Information sought includes broadcast deals with sports leagues, Internet network management such as that with Netflix traffic, consumer data caps, and other information deemed vital which may impact relations with customers should the deal be approved.
Deal marks fourth major deal with Internet service providers
Netflix has signed a new peering deal, this time with Time Warner Cable. The deal now gives the video streamer interconnection deals with Internet service providers that cover about 68 percent of all the broadband customers in the US. Notably, the 32 percent it doesn't have deals with are smaller providers - largely carriers that have pro-net neutrality views, and haven't been found to limit or slow down Netflix traffic for users.
Companies withdraw contributions after watch dog group call the donations suspect
Comcast and Time Warner Cable have withdrawn contributions to the Kaitz Dinner, a yearly event that celebrates diversity in the cable industry. News of the funding removal came after the Citizens of Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) objected to the contributions, as Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mignon Clyburn was being honored with an award at the event.
Austin TWC Maxx upgrade includes connection speed increases, improved TV service
Time Warner Cable is expanding the TWC Maxx initiative it launched earlier this year in Los Angeles and New York City, by upgrading its network in Austin, Texas, along with seven other markets at a later time. Subscriber speed increases for its Internet service are touted, for both consumer and business customers, alongside an expansion of the TWC Wi-Fi network into the greater Austin area, and a new "all-digital" TV line-up.
Resulting company could have means to leverage control over the broadband pipe
In a memo from Dish Network's Senior Vice President and Deputy General Council Jeffrey Blum to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), a series of meetings on July 7 indicate that the company has raised issues with the prospective merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Believing that the combined business could utilize "choke points," it could leverage control over broadband to do harm.
Company ups lobbying firms to 40 in Washington, connections to public sector
Comcast has increased the number of lobbying firms employed in Washington DC to 40 since it started the merger process with Time Warner Cable. The Hill reports that it is one of the largest lobby teams ever in Washington, which has increased an already large group from 33 firms employed by the company.
Public Service Commission to conduct investigation over customer benefit
The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) will take a deep look into the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, according to a statement released from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office. The commission will examine the proposed deal to see if the two companies coming together would be beneficial to Time Warner customers in the state.
Move to pave the way to merger will make Charter the second largest provider
Comcast Corporation and Charter Communications today announced that the companies have reached an agreement on a series of transactions that will see the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger divest approximately 3.9 million customers. The sale is part of the terms of the deal, where Comcast has agreed to cede a portion of its subscriber so that its total is less than 30 percent of total cable company subscribers overall.
Streaming set-top box being offered to TWC subscribers
Fan TV, a set-top box from Fanhattan and designer Yves Behar unveiled last year, has signed a deal with Time Warner Cable, and has opened up for pre-orders. The device, which combines a number of streaming services in a similar way to the Roku and other media streamers, aims to streamline the viewing experience for users, and will be offered to Time Warner subscribers in the future.
Bid possible due to decline in Comcast stock price since merger announcement
Just a few short days after Comcast's hearing on Capital Hill, Charter Communications is said to be evaluating the notion of starting a bidding war for Time Warner Cable against Comcast. Potentially at stake are the subscribers that Comcast has promised to divest should the merger take place -- worth hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
Transparency report from TWC offers graphs instead of figures
Following in the footsteps of many other technology companies, including Verizon and Comcast, Time Warner Cable is issuing its first ever transparency report to the public. The report gives an indication as to the amount of requests by law enforcement for subscriber data and messaging information, covering the entirety of the year 2013.
Report notes six percentage point drop on cable company market share
According to data collated by the Leichtman Research Group, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are suffering under the weight of the economy and the "cord-cutting" movement. In 2013, Comcast lost 305,000 subscribers, with Time Warner Cable shedding 825,000. Combined, the pair will have 33.1 million customers, approximately two-thirds of the US cable company market.
Four committees have vast majority of members with Comcast funding
Comcast is scheduled to appear before Congress to defend its proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Records have recently been uncovered that show Comcast's political action committee having given contributions to 15 of 18 Senate Judiciary Committe members, and 32 of 39 members of the House Judiciary Committee. Both committees have scheduled hearings regarding the merger, and can allow -- or prevent -- the buyout from happening.
Most users will see $15 or more increase in monthly bills
Claiming that an increase in billing is giving better value to customers, Time Warner Cable is hiking subscription costs in nearly all of its markets. Fees are increasing for set-top box rentals by $1.26, on-screen guide access from either $0.50 or free to $3.27 per outlet, a modem lease fee being implemented at $6, and a new Broadcast TV Fee of $2.25.
Cable company deal covers 30 million subscribers, could complete by end of 2014
Comcast has announced it will acquire Time Warner Cable, confirming earlier reports. The purchase will see Comcast acquire 100 percent of TWC's 284.9 million shares, worth approximately $45.2 billion, with the stock-for-stock transaction exchanging each TWC share for approximately 2.875 CMCSA (Comcast) shares, or effectively $158.52 per TWC share.
Deal offers $159 per share for buyout
Reports of a finalized deal between Time Warner Cable and Comcast have begun to circulate. According to CNBC reporter David Faber, Comcast will be offering $159 per share to purchase Time Warner Cable. Any deal would be subject to Federal Communications scrutiny, and would likely take over a year to finalize.
Analog TV switch-off to free up bandwidth for faster connections
Time Warner Cable is planning to improve its Internet and paid television service in Los Angeles and New York under a new initiative, the cable company has revealed. Under the name "TWC Maxx," the company hopes to provide faster Internet speeds, a new TV experience, and a more reliable network, with work on the upgrades expected to start later this year.
HTC confirms Android KitKat for HTC One in testing, certification expected next week
Users of the HTC One will soon receive an update to Android KitKat, according to a posting on the company's Twitter account. The message states that the Android 4.4 update has "entered carrier labs" for final testing, and to expect certification sometime next week, though the update will probably take longer to actually reach the devices. When asked about a similar European release, the same account advised it did not have "anything official to announce at the moment."
Exec hints at platform expansion
Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus has fueled speculation that the company is preparing to bring its TWC TV app to the Apple TV platform. Speaking at a UBS investor conference in New York, the executive noted that the company is preparing to expand the range of supported platforms for the app, which is currently available on iOS and Android devices, game consoles and smart TVs.
Programming block lasted one full month, channels returning 6PM EST
CBS and Time Warner Cable have come to an agreement for the cable company to continue to show CBS-owned programming for CBS stations in New York (WCBS and WLYW), Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL) and Dallas (KTVT and KTXA). Programming on all networks will resume at 6PM ET today. The deal covers Showtime, CBS Sports, and the Smithsonian Channel, among others. The channel block lasted for 31 days before today's deal was signed.
Free antennas for customers in four affected markets
Time Warner Cable is attempting to help customers affected by the CBS blackout by issuing free antennas. TWC is offering a free basic antenna to a limited number of subscribers in four markets, or the alternate option of $20 in Best Buy credit towards an antenna of their choice, allowing its customers access to view dark channels through over-the-air broadcasts.
Letter using incendiary remarks, may not be entirely above board
[Updated with a statement from CBS] With negotiations continuing, Time Warner Cable's CEO Glen Britt says that the cable giant is ready to continue broadcasting CBS programming -- with certain caveats. A letter from the Time Warner CEO to his counterpart at CBS proposes that "Time Warner Cable immediately agree to resume carriage with the new economics TWC resultantly agreed to during our negotiations, while employing all the other terms and conditions of our recently-expired contracts." Interestingly, the letter also suggests to CBS CEO Les Moonves that Time Warner Cable could allow the programming on an a la carte basis, with 100 percent of the price remitted to CBS, allowing the free market to dictate if the CBS programming is valuable.
Comedy Central, Nickelodeon apps go live on Xbox 360 in US
The Xbox 360 in the United States has received two more entertainment apps offering streaming video. The Comedy Central app provides unlimited access to the CC: Stand-Up library of 6,000 videos, with the Nickelodeon version offering full episodes of shows and animated shorts. Both require a paid Xbox Live Gold subscription, with Nickelodeon also needing a subscription to a relevant TV provider.
Sources claim deal still distant, clock ticking on future disconnect
Time Warner Cable and CBS may not be agreeing on much at the negotiation table, but they have both decided to set a new 5PM EST Friday, August 2 deadline for the ongoing negotiations to keep the CBS content on stations in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh. Time Warner Cable briefly cut off some customers last night after a midnight EST deal-making deadline came and went with no agreement in place.
Extended negotiations cross the wire with no deal in sight
[Update: stations stay on for now, some still seeing outages] CBS and Time Warner Cable have failed to reach an agreement in extended rebroadcast negotiations. Time Warner customers in New York City, Dallas, and Los Angeles may or may not be receiving local CBS stations, Showtime, The Movie Channel (TMC), Flix, and the Smithsonian channel as a result of the failure, regardless of whether the subscriber is paying the premium. CBS now says that the companies have "agreed to continue discussions."
Aims at pulling in fees from distributors
Apple is negotiating with "other big distributors" about Apple TV apps similar to the one it's working on with Time Warner, according to the New York Times. Sources involved in the talks explain that Apple is hoping to collect fees from distributors in return for improving their TV service. For cable providers, the deals would theoretically keep people paying for subscriptions, a worry in an age when services like Hulu, YouTube, and Netflix allow people to be free of cable or satellite packages.
Five bidders in the running to purchase the media streamer
Bids for the latest attempt to sell Hulu closed on Friday at 2PM PT, with no clear leader. Reportedly at the top of the bidding with very similar offers are DirecTV, The Chernin Group, and Guggenheim Digital Media. Two other bidders allegedly behind the top three are Time Warner Cable, and equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. Beyond just undisclosed cash considerations, the conglomerate that currently own the digital video streaming service are evaluating content licensing provisions, which vary suitor to suitor.
Subscribers would be able to access channels from within device
If a reported deal between Apple and Time Warner Cable goes through, subscribers for the latter will be able to access channels and programs directly through the Apple TV set-top box at some point in the near future, Bloomberg says. The move, if true, will be announced at some point later this year and continue the expansion of services Apple is offering directly through Apple TV so that users don't have to leave the environment to enjoy broadcast content. The negotiations follow on the heels of deals with HBO (owned by Time Warner) and Disney's ESPN.
TWC TV app boasts 300 live TV channel streams, Kinect controls
Microsoft will be providing an app for the Xbox 360 that will allow Time Warner Cable customers in the United States to view live TV. The new TWC TV app, said to launch later this summer for TWC subscribers that also signed up for Xbox Live Gold, will provide up to 300 of the cable company's channel roster to the game console, and builds upon existing versions of the app on other platforms.
Limits apply to out of home use, fewer channels, less on-demand programming
An update today by Time Warner Cable to its web portal has enabled the site's users and cable subscribers to access select On Demand and live TV channels from any Internet connection, not just the users' homes. The new utility is now parallel to the recent TWC TV app on the iOS and Android, and is available to both Mac and PC users.
Could merge TWC TV app into Apple TV
Time Warner Cable is in talks with Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft for streaming video deals similar to the one it has with set-top maker Roku, CEO Glenn Britt hinted at today's Bank of America/Merill Lynch Global Telecom and Media Conference. "You should assume we're talking to everyone who makes devices like this, whether it's Samsung smart TVs, Apple, Microsoft," said Britt. Time Warner brought a TWC TV app to Roku boxes in March, letting people watch live TV without a separate dedicated cable box.
DirecTV, Time Warner Cable interested in streaming TV service
Four parties have allegedly placed bids to purchase streaming service Hulu, with the first round of bidding apparently due to end this week. Guggenheim Digital Media, DirecTV, and Time Warner Cable are said to be interested in the company, following a bid from former News Corp president Peter Chernin for a reported $500 million.
TWC TV app to stream cable channels, local channels omitted
Time Warner Cable is revising its TWC TV iOS app, and is adding live programming outside of the subscriber's home on Apple mobile devices. As many as 11 live national news, sports, and entertainment channels will be available starting at 10AM EST on April 17, and include the Big Ten Network, the Pac-12 Network, the TV Guide channel, BBC America, MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon.
Customers to receive 15Mbps connection, up from 10Mbps
Time Warner Cable has boosted connection speeds for its Standard Internet customers for no charge. The free upgrade sees connections offered going from a downstream speed of 10Mbps to 15Mbps, an increase of 50 percent, with many customers already able to use the higher speed, though some neighborhoods will still have to wait for it to be rolled out.
New TW Cable policy charges $1 per GB above 5GB
Time Warner announced today that it would be expanding its usage-based broadband policy to all of its systems save those in Hawaii. The Essentials Broadband policy, launched in Texas this past February, charges users on a per-gigabyte basis when they exceed a certain threshold. The policy will be rolled out to all Time Warner Cable systems by the end of this year.
Verizon, Time Warner, AT&T plan gaming service
The major cable companies are looking to take a big step into the gaming sector, according to reports. Sources familiar with the cable companies' plans tell Bloomberg that they will soon be rolling out trials of a cloud-based gaming offering service, taking on game console makers such as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony. The trials are scheduled to begin later this year, with AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and Cox all working on offerings.
Verizon agrees to pay TiVo at least $250 million and the two cross-license patents
The legal patent dispute between TiVo and Verizon has been settled, with the latter paying the former about $250.4 million and monthly licensing fees. Verizon will fork over $100 million initially and then pay the remaining amount in quarterly installments until it's paid off by July 2018. The monthly fees will only apply to FiOS DVR users above a certain level.
Fiber service roll-out in Brooklyn, Flatiron, Financial districts
Time Warner Cable is investing $25 million into expanding fiber-based broadband in New York City. Boasting speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second, the new network will be built in Brooklyn and parts of Manhattan and hopes to gain new business-based customers with high data throughput requirements, including those situated in the Flatiron and Financial districts.
Carrier accuses rival of hypocrisy
Earlier this month, T-Mobile went to Washington to protest Verizon's planned purchase of Advanced Wireless Services airwaves from cable companies, writing a letter (PDF) to the FCC urging the regulatory body to block the spectrum sale. Now, Verizon is turning the tables on its competitor, accusing T-Mobile of hypocrisy in a letter of its own.
Roku set-tops to get TWC live TV streaming
A leak late Friday has revealed that Time Warner Cable is planning to offer live TV on media hubs. The Engadget tip had Roku being the first of multiple devices that would stream IP-based TV. The Roku implementation wasn't clarified, but would presumably go through a custom Roku channel.