360AM: Google to Bid on Wireless Spectrum; Cable Looks for Wireless Leadership

Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, Nov. 16 »

It’s No Carbs Friday in the Cable360 newsroom. Good morning.

Google is preparing to bid on wireless spectrum, a first step in its plans to offer consumers mobile phone and Internet services. The company will make its bid without any partners, the Wall Street Journal reports. Google is already testing a wireless network at its Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, in anticipation of buying wireless spectrum, says the Journal. The company’s plans to offer low-cost high-speed mobile Internet access, along with its deployment of Google applications for cell phones, could “antagonize” its current telecom partners. [Wall Street Journal]

The Houston Chronicle picked up an Associated Press story saying that cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox and Advance/Newhouse Communications are jointly looking for people to manage their wireless business, which is just getting off the ground. The cable companies’ relatively new Pivot wireless service, developed with Sprint, has gotten off to a rocky start. [Houston Chronicle]

Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), House Commerce Committee chairman, and Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), chairman of the telecommunications panel, sent a letter yesterday to FCC chairman Kevin Martin suggesting that he and the other commissioners should not rush into loosening rules that limit ownership of newspapers and TV stations in the same market. [Wall Street Journal]

Advertisers are following viewers to the Web, which continues to draw people away from TV with its ever-expanding supply of original video entertainment, reports the New York Times. If the writers’ strike goes on too long and repeat episodes become the norm, that trend may accelerate. [New York Times]

TV production studios are sending show-runners who have taken part in the writers’ strike breach-of-contract letters, the Wall Street Journal reports. A show-runner is generally the head writer of a series who also functions as the top producer, and is an easy target for a studio that wants to create divisiveness among the strikers. [Wall Street Journal]

The holidays really must be right around the corner. We just got word that HSN officially launches HSN on Demand service for Cox digital subs in Las Vegas and San Diego today. The new service has been in trials for a few weeks. It lets subs shop 24/7 and will include original and repurposed content, including shows with celeb chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck. Content will constantly be updated, HSN says. Smaller systems Buckeye CableSystem and Service Electric launched HSN on Demand in June. [Seth Arenstein]

Comcast announced that it has entered into a three-year partnership with the National Urban League, the nearly century-old organization that aims to bring African-Americans into the economic and social mainstream. Comcast will be providing in-kind support to NUL and will produce and air public service announcements highlighting NUL programs and services.

In CableFAX Daily: Cable CEOs confer on Capitol Hill about the FCC’s impending regulations. Yesterday’s 360AM.

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