News briefing for Monday, Feb. 11 »

Cable360 newsroom staffers have been fined for not using the phrase “at the end of the day” enough. Good morning.

Comcast’s Performance Plus high-speed data customers in the San Francsico Bay Area are being automatically upgraded to the new Blast service, which doubles download speed to 16 megabits per second. Those customers’ monthly rate will remain the same, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Blast, which also offers an upload speed of 2 Mbps, “widens Comcast’s lead over AT&T, whose top broadband speed is 6 Mbps locally for its U-verse customers,” the Chronicle says. AT&T is expected to double its download speed for U-verse this year. Blast will cost $52.95 per month for those Comcast customers who also receive cable TV service, $62.95 for those who get phone service from Comcast and $66.95 for those who buy Internet service only; triple-play subscribers can get Blast for an additional $10 per month.
    This is just the beginning of a new era in fast Internet speed for cable customers, Comcast promises. The company expects to roll out download speeds of up to 100 Mbps after its wide-scale rollout of DOCSIS 3.0. [San Francisco Chronicle]

All TV content distributors in the metro Detroit area are raising their rates, the Detroit News reports. Charter, WideOpenWest, Bright House Communications, DirecTV and Dish raised rates from 3% to 6.5%, compared with a 2.85% inflation rate in 2007. [Detroit News]

Yahoo is sending a formal rejection of Microsoft’s purchase offer to the software company today. The Times of London reports that Yahoo is in merger talks with AOL that, if successful, could prevent Microsoft’s aggressive acquisition plans. [New York Times | Times of London]

The Writers Guild of America reached a tentative agreement with Hollywood production companies. Guild members are expected to vote in favor of the agreement on Tuesday and be back at work—if they have work—on Wednesday. According to the terms of the agreement, in the third and final year of the contract, writers will receive a percentage of revenue from content streamed on the Internet, the New York Times reports. The writers will not share in advertising revenue generated by the streaming of their shows, the Wall Street Journal says. [New York Times | Wall Street Journal]

Market research company Centris has estimated that 5.9 million televisions will lose their signals after the switch to digital-only broadcasts in February 2009, the New York Times reports. In addition, getting a converter box or a new digital TV may be no guarantee that a household will receive digital broadcast signals after the switchover. [New York Times]

Kung Fu HD is Cablevision’s HD Channel of the Day. Friday’s news briefing. 

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