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In this edition of the latest Cable Industry News, I have chosen the top 25 stories trending currently around the web relating to technology changes, cable mergers and acquisitions, and net neutrality.

How excited are you about the new technology products and practices coming out?

The world changes every day and so does our technology. Consumers want to know how they can get information faster, when they will be able to do so, and how much it will cost them. These articles explain the benefits and drawbacks to new technology practices and products that are happening in the U.S and overseas.

  • As Apple Prepares to Disrupt The Cable Industry, Don’t Expect an Apple TV Set Any Time Soon by Andrew Tonner, he discusses
    the pros and cons of trying to break into the television industry, especially when they have made their billions in the hardware space. Is it a good idea to expand their brand, especially when the cost seems too significant to not even break even?
  • Gigasphere: The Technology Behind Gibabit Broadband by John Solit, he mentions the new technology called “Gigasphere, which allows consumers to experience internet in a faster, more advanced way than ever before with traditional broadband service. This technology is not currently on the market, but it is in the deployment stage.
  • Verizon Scores News OTT Content Deals by Mari Silbey, she announced how Verizon signed several content deals with sport related networks to feature their mobile video service. The service will focus on live events, game highlights, commentaries, and sports documents. It is also looking to attract the millennial crowd with the new “mobile first” video offerings.
  • ZTE Claims 5G Research Breakthrough by Iain Morris, this breakthrough technology is seen as a way to support the vast amount of technology that approaches in the future far beyond the idea of phones or tablets. ZTE corp has already seen a 200% improvement in overload radio capacity, what does that say about our 4G connection?
  • You Can’t Spell 5G without LTE by Sarah Thomas, she mentions the concerns and frustrations of programmers and vendors that invested so much into the 4G network, that they will now have to dump it for 5G, however the two go hand in hand. 5G is also being looked at as a means to break into new industries and grow them at a faster rate.
  • Nokie and Alcatel-Lucent: What’s Going on? by Ray LeMaistre, mentions the two companies in talks about joining forces and improving on mobile integration and virtualization capabilities, just to name a couple, and the challenges that lie ahead.
  • Huawei P8 Launch: Cue Applause! by Ray LeMaistre, discusses his interaction with the new mobile device, P8, comparable to the Iphone6, and some of its fascinating features including the: 6.8 inch screen and 13-megapixel camera.
  • Amino Certified for YouTube on TV posted by Light Reading, this article focuses on Amino’s latest OTT devices now support YouTube on TV- this will allow consumers to watch their favorite shows then seamlessly transfer over to watch videos on their big screen from YouTube.
  • Verizon Skinnies Down with FiOSposted by Mari Sibley, she mentions of news where Verizon is now offering slimmed-down pay-TV bundles that will offer a basic channel guide and have options for upgrades; the basic package will begin around $55/month; this package is similiar to what Dish Network did with Sling TV. Online video service is looking for a way to make people watch TV a little differently.

To merge or not to merge… that is the question.

In this month’s edition of Mergers and Acquisitions, the top trending story revolved around Comcast and Time Warner cable and their pending deal of $45.2 billion. Both companies are awaiting final approval from the FCC and United States Department of Justice, but speculation suggests that an answer won’t be finalized until mid-year of this year. The question that stands now, will this be in the best interest of the consumer? There are also several mergers overseas dealing in the realm of 4G and 5G LTE and combining huge corporations to keep up with the competition.

  • Corning Completes Samsung Fiber Buy posted by Light Reading, this article focuses on the acquisition between Samsung electronics and the fiber optics business. Samsung is a longtime provider for Southeast Asia, and they will be integrating their electronic fiber business with manufacturing facilities in South Korea, Gumi, etc. which will build for a better customer experience.
  • Nokia to Beef Up Indian Presence with AlcaLu Deal by Gagandeep Kaur, she writes how these two companies, if merged, would make the world’s second largest supplier of networking hardware, software, and services to communications providers globally- behind Sweden. Together they bring big players to the table, such as Nokia who has managed a contract with Bharti Airtel LTD., which would provide more 4G products and services if the merger finalizes.
  • Comcast Commits Cash, CFO to New Company by Mari Silbey, she discusses how Comcast signs an agreement to partner with Time Warner Cable, and together they will be growing the new company to focus on investing in and operating growth-oriented companies, domestically and internationally. The initial investment base is $4.1 billion with Comcast committing another $4 billion, and the new CEO putting in another $40 million. The company is keeping quiet about investments the company will engage in but discussions are arising.
  • Charter Communications Buying Bright House for $10.4 Billion by Lauren Gensier, she states how Charter has agreed to buy Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion in case and stock and will gain substantial benefits, such as their operating, financial, and tax benefits. Charter will be owning 73.7% of the new business, while the parent company Newhouse will own 26.3%
  • Telecom Italia Makes Quad-Play Move with Sky by Iain Morris, he mentions that overseas, Telecom Italia has launched a quad-package in partnership with Sky-Italia, that will allow consumers to have a telephone, broadband, mobile, and TV service all for the price of $42.80/month. This is the first major merger in over a year, and they will start to brand the new company as TIM and push to their consumers.
  • Charter’s Bright Idea: The Big Payoff by Alan Breznick, he focuses on Charter Communications, who has already taken over Bright House, is now seeking another big player, Time Warner Cable. They could end up becoming the largest cable operator in the nation after Comcast, which would also allow it to inherit TWC ‘s discounts.
  • Telenet Buys KPN’s Base in 1.4Billion Deal by Iain Morris, he states how Telenet buys KPN’s Base for $1.4 Billion dollars in order to form a stronger bond against the competition in Belgium. Also, Telenet with save over $161 million dollars per year by combining these two companies. The takeover will also give Telenet about 3 million more customers increasing their mobile market share to about 30%.
  • Nokia to Claim #2 Carrier Vendor Ranking by Ray LeMaistre, he talks about how Nokia will become the second-largest provider of networking hardware, software, and services to communication service providers pending the acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent. These two companies combining would allow for a marketing leadership position in the 4G LTE space and a number of network capabilities. The combined revenues of these two companies is about $27 Billion dollars with the intention to expand in the CloudBand platform in other countries, such as France.

Net Neutrality- who’s right, who’s wrong, and how it will affect all consumers

Net Neutrality- The idea to allow consumers the ability to post and roam the internet freely without restrictions. Consumers have mixed feelings on the FCC’s new rules that were established back in February, as well as several cable companies who are trying to overturn the rule. I have collected the top articles pertaining to this topic surrounding the FCC and net neutrality issues across other countries.

  • Net Neutrality Rules Face Court Challenge from Cable Industry Groups by Ted Johnson, who discusses how the FCC’s net neutrality rules that were put in place back in February regarding the “paid prioritization,” are now being appealed by two cable industry groups.
  • Trade Groups Mount Legal Challenges to FCC’s Net Neutrality order by Reuters, this article states how under the new FCC rules, broadband companies will not be allowed to provide services to consumers that allow for smoother delivery, but instead consumers will need to endure a slower internet pace.
  • Industry Groups Lead Net Neutrality Lawsuit Parade by John Mello Jr., he states how the FCC wasn’t straight forward in the initial attempt of giving the public enough time to understand the new rules and being able to comment on the effect the rules might have on consumers.
  • The Cable Lobby is Co-opting Netflix’s Argument on Net Neutrality by Brian Fung, mentions how months ago Netlfix argued that they were paying unfair fees to internet providers just to showcase their videos to consumers online, but now the tables have turned. Now, with the new net neutrality rules, TV blackouts could be a thing of the internet. Netflix, and other video companies online, are considering going after cable and charging them to access their exclusive content, which in term could disrupt consumers viewing pleasure.
  • Senator Proposes New ‘Title X’ for Net Neutrality by Carol Wilson, she mentions how Senator Nelson brings up “Title X” as being a way to protect consumers and competition and allow for the internet to flourish. Under the new rules of the FCC, network operators are uncertain of the status of broadband internet services and threaten to slow down investment, which ultimately will hurt the economy and tech industry.
  • Google’s Medin Urges Competition-Friendly Net Policies by Carol Wilson, she mentions how Google’s Milo Medin urges competition in the cable space, because, let’s be honest, there aren’t many options out there. Current cable providers don’t need to lower their prices because consumers continue to pay them. The only way to introduce more options to consumers at a higher bandwidth is introduce more players to the game.
  • Wheeler Pitches Net Neutrality, Incentive Auction by Alan Breznick, talks about how FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, really urged broadcasters to join his rally about Title II, because it will ultimately benefit them by being able to use the internet more freely without the interference of cable or wireless “gatekeepers.” He claimed that broadcasters and him had the same goal in mind, which was to expose consumers to a reach that wasn’t possible before.
  • Net Neutrality Suits: Only The Beginning? by Alan Breznick, he suggests the question, is this just the beginning to what may be a drawn out debate among multiple players of the broadband industry, or will the rule be finalized? With the NCTA and CTIA representing the big trade cable companies, and the ACA jumping in to battle for the smaller companies, only time will tell the verdict.

If you have an interesting story that you would like mentioned, please send the link to Kelly.Potter@Mintek.com. Mintek reserves the right to select any and all content.