Cable360AM — News briefing for Wednesday, Nov. 14 »
The clocks have finally been turned back an hour in the Cable360 newsroom. Good morning.
Website Broadband Reports discusses Comcast’s possible interest in building a wireless broadband network, and the effect that might have on Wall Street investors. [Broadband Reports]
Website BloggingStocks lends little credence to the rumor that Comcast is going to buy WiMax start-up Clearwire, although it points out that offering wireless broadband to its customers would certainly help the cable giant in its battles against the telcos. [BloggingStocks]
Technology news and analysis website Ars Technica reports that cable trade association NCTA has been kept in the dark about the FCC’s plans to regulate the cable industry, and has been learning about them the same way the rest of us have been keeping up with them this week—by reading press reports. Ars Technica also says that AT&T has been lobbying the FCC to enact new cable regulations by invoking the “70/70 rule” in the 1984 Cable Act, which states that “at such time as cable systems with 36 or more activated channels are available to 70% of households within the United States and are subscribed to by 70% of those households, the commission may promulgate any additional rules necessary to provide diversity of information sources.” NCTA disputes the FCC’s assertion that cable has reached the 70/70 threshold. Martin’s proposed regulations would likely lead to a la carte cable packages, which would help him achieve his goal of enabling parents to better control what their kids are watching. Ars Technica hints darkly at other forces: “AT&T…must be thrilled with the newest developments. We expect that execs in charge of the company’s IPTV offering, U-verse, will spend the rest of the day bathing in huge troughs of champagne. But publicly, at least, the company isn’t beating the war drums.” [Ars Technica]
The Colorado Springs Gazette opines that the cable industry regulations the FCC is considering would lead to fewer programming choices for consumers. [Colorado Springs Gazette]
FCC chairman Kevin Martin wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times in which he claims that newspapers can be saved by allowing them and their parent companies to own a TV or radio station and a newspaper in the same market. Martin, who is pushing to relax local media cross-ownership regulations, also implies in the column that newspaper reporters and editors are not on his side on the issue, although they should be, considering it’s their jobs that are at stake. [New York Times]
The writer’s strike won’t hurt cable networks as much as broadcast networks because the former run a larger proportion of movies, reruns and reality series, although some cable nets are already being affected, USA Today reports. HBO, for instance, has canceled the season finale of Real Time With Bill Maher and will suspend shooting on two series due next year. [USA Today]
Leichtman Research Group reports that the 19 largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S. acquired over 2.1 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the third quarter of 2007, compared to 2.66 million in the third quarter of 2006. The top broadband providers now have more than 60 million subscribers.
The Jersey Journal reports that police in Hoboken, N.J., are warning residents that a man in a tan hat and coat knocking on doors and claiming to be a Cablevision technician is a fake. [Jersey Journal]
In CableFAX Daily: An assessment of Kevin Martin’s math skills. • Got a tip? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.