Cable360AM — News briefing for Friday, Nov. 2 »

The FCC was petitioned yesterday by a coalition of consumer groups and legal scholars to stop Comcast‘s bandwidth management policies limiting peer-to-peer file-sharing on its network, reports AP. The petition was co-signed by the Consumer Federation of America; Consumers Union; Media Access Project; and law professors at Yale, Harvard and Stanford. Comcast, not wanting to become the poster ISP for the net neutrality debate, issued a response attributed to EVP David Cohen.

"Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services, and no one has demonstrated otherwise," Cohen stated. "We engage in reasonable network management to provide all of our customers with a good Internet experience, and we do so consistently with FCC policy. As the FCC noted in its policy statement in 2005, all of the principles to encourage broadband deployment and preserve the nature of the Internet are ‘subject to reasonable network management.’ The Commission clearly recognized that network management is necessary by ISPs for the good of all customers."

Meanwhile, Comcast is fighting the FCC on a separate front, filing a federal suit seeking to reverse the agency’s rejection of its set-top box waiver request. Broadcasting & Cable has more.

Verizon will increase the number of HD channels on FiOS TV fivefold next year, starting in the spring, as it aims to 150 HD nets in 2008 as part of a major expansion of HD and standard-definition programming, including more sports and multicutural content. FiOS TV customers next year also will be able to record HD shows and watch them anywhere in the house with an HDTV and an HD set-top box. [Release]

The entertainment industry is bracing for a writers’ strike "as early as Monday," AP reports. The Writers Guild of America, which held a meeting attended by nearly 3,000 of its members last night in LA, is holding a board meeting this morning to authorize a walk-out that will impact TV series and movie now in production. Comedy Central‘s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report would also be forced into reruns, notes Reuters. [More coverage: New York Times | Wall Street Journal | Variety | Hollywood Reporter]

Following yesterday’s news Sprint Nextel has suspended the roll-out of its cable j.v. Pivot-branded cellphone service in its retail stores, Sprint execs will meet this weekend to discuss other options to turnaround the struggling wireless company, including merging its nascent WiMax business with wireless broadband start-up Clearwire, reports the Wall Street Journal. Sprint is also close to signing an agreement with Google to create mobile devices for Google’s new wireless operating platform.

AT&T yesterday received a DPUC-issued video franchise in Connecticut for U-verse, making AT&T the first company to offer TV services under a new state law designed to increase competition with the cable industry. [The Day]

Time Warner Inc. will "likely" spin off its remaining 84% stake in Time Warner Cable next year, sources tell the New York Post. The timing hinges on CEO Richard Parsons’ succession plans.

Charter Communications closed on a trade of its West Sacramento, CA cable system for WaveDivision’s Los Angeles-area cable systems serving Cerritos and Ventura, where Wave has already launched telephone services. Charter divested about 19,000 analog customers and acquired approx. 14,200 analog customers from Wave in the transaction.

Rogers‘ "hunch" on GSM wireless paid off in the Canadian operator’s third quarter earnings results, reports the Globe & Mail. Rogers is also testing peak download speeds of 7.2 Mbps, about double its current speed.

Showtime will "be spending less on feature film" as its output deals with studios come up for renewal, CBS Corp. CEO Les Moonves said on yesterday’s third quarter earnings call with analysts.Moonves also said a "significant part" of Showtime’s growth is due to rollouts on Verizon’s FiOS TV and A&T’s U-verse. "These telcos are the same companies that obstruct retransmission consent deals for CBS programming as well," Moonves commented. "They have actually built the price of retransmission fees into their business models. We believe this recognition of the value of our content can only help as we move forward selecting retrans from their cable competitors."

Viacom reported a solid third quarter in which net income jumped 80%, revenue was up 24% and its media / cable networks unit was up 9%, spurred by 7% worldwide growth in ads and 14% growth in affiliate fees.

Cablevision will add CNN HD next week, a simulcast of the network’s standard-def channel. [TV Predictions]

Comedy Central cut-up Stephen Colbert’s presidential run was blocked by the South Carolina Democratic Party yesterday, which voted to keep his name off the state’s Democratic Primary ballot. Colbert, who has said he wouldn’t run for the state’s Republican Party, lost a roll call vote, 13-3. [CNN]

Yum Brands, the 2nd biggest advertiser on A&E‘s Dog the Bounty Hunter, pulled its ads from the series, which has suspended production, reports the Wall Street Journal. An attorney representing Duane "Dog" Chapman told AP that Chapman’s son Tucker tape-recorded their phone conversation and then sold it to the National Enquirer.

New York Times‘ sports writer Richard Sandomir, in an article on the stand-off between the Big Ten Network and cable operators, comments that it’s "commonplace … with the addition of regional networks like YES and national ones like the NFL Network and the Big Ten Network, fans are victimized by battles between networks and cable systems."

Headline News’ Glenn Beck has started reading the "Brought to you by…" voice-overs during his show, in a throwback to the roots of television and a bid to appease advertisers worried about DVR ad-skipping, reports the New York Times.

MySpace joined the Google-led OpenSocial alliance to create open standards for online social neworks and counter Facebook. More in the New York Times.

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The Daily


Sohn FCC Vote Next Week

Senate Commerce announced late Wednesday that FCC nominee Gigi Sohn is on its agenda of nominations to consider during a Feb. 2 executive session. More than a dozen nominations are to be voted on that day

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