Back in January Cox announced
that they'd be offering users access to a network of more than 750 Wi-Fi hotspots (you can find a network of their hotspots here
and their Wi-Fi FAQ here
). In addition to offering users access to their own hotspots, Cox also belatedly joined the "CableWiFi" initiative that allows users to access shared hotspots in Comcast and Cablevision territories.
In a press statement
, Cox notes that customers with the company's Preferred, Premier or Ultimate broadband tiers now have access to more than 200,000 hotspots located both indoors and outdoors in high traffic areas nationwide.
Cox states the bump in available hotspots comes after Cox recently expanded their backend systems to allow user access to hotspots in Time Warner Cable territory. The company similarly plans to allow access to Bright House Communications hotspots in the near future.
The entire CableWiFi initiative was originally created by Cablevision, who began offering existing customers in the NYC commuter area access to Wi-Fi along train routes as a way to intensify competition with Verizon FiOS.
The Cox Wi-Fi map
not only shows Cox-owned hotspots, but will also show you the hotspots of Cox cable partners that you can access.
Cable operators have made their dislike of broadcast industry retransmission fee hikes very clear, and as you'd expect those price hikes are being passed on to you. Curiously though, instead of just raising the price of services (which they do anyway), cable operators have taken to placing these fees below the line, where they can jack up customer prices further -- but keep the advertised rate the same. story continues..
CNBC has thrown another wrinkle in the cable merger and acquisition soap opera with a report that claims Comcast may also be sniffing around the possibility of acquiring Time Warner Cable. Anonymous sources tell the business news network
that the company has been closely examining any regulatory hurdles that could arise should they pursue an acquisition deal.
On the heels of companies like Google
rushing to encrypt server to server links after the ever-blooming NSA scandal, Techdirt
directs our attention to a new report card over at the EFF
that grades the Internet's largest companies on their use of encryption.
Just four companies: Dropbox, Google, SpiderOak and Sonic.net get a perfect score on all criteria measured, including encrypting server to server links, https support, https strict support, forward secrecy support, and STARTTLS support.
You'll of course note the dismal ranking of AT&T, Verizon and Comcast who handle traffic for all of these companies -- and then some.
Anonymous sources tell Reuters
that Comcast is exploring yet another method to sell and stream movies via the company's set top boxes. Reuters doesn't really specify how this plan would differ from Comcast's existing VOD or Comcast Xfinity Streampix
offerings, though Variety
suggests that the new effort will feature a shorter release window for new films. It won't be the kind of ultra-short "Premium VOD" window we've seen previously
(featuring $30 titles fresh from theaters), but will be in the "Early EST" window -- after hotels and airlines get films, but before titles get released to DVD or VOD.
Less than a week after Charter CEO Tom Rutledge publicly admitted that their current TV service offerings are rather crappy
, Charter has announced plans for a brand refresh for the company's broadband and TV services. Like AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS, Comcast Xfinity, and Cablevision Optimum, Charter has announced they'll be re-branding the company's broadband and digital video services under the name "Spectrum" in the hopes of changing public perceptions.
For years story continues..
the cable industry has been working on targeted ads that factor in viewing patterns, race, income, and a multitude of other factors to deliver ads specifically tailored to the viewer. However those ambitions stumbled somewhat with the sinking of the cable industry's "canoe" targeted ad venture
After signing deals to offer Netflix on cable boxes via UK provider Virgin Media and Swedish cable operator Com Hem, Netflix has signed another partnership with Denmark's Waoo! Variety
notes that Waoo! is a fiber optic provider whose 270,000 subscribers will now be able to access Netflix streaming from their traditional cable set tops. While these international deals keep expanding, it doesn't appear we'll see similar deals here in the States anytime soon. A month ago Netflix CFO David Wells stated US cable operators have been rebuffing their advances for going on two years
. On their earnings call last week, Comcast President Neil Smit stated that striking such a deal with Netflix is "not really a high priority for us
For much of the last decade Seattle has explored the idea
of building their own ultra-fast broadband network. Much of that motivation was fueled by the sub-standard service provided in the region by regional telco Qwest (now CenturyLink), which in turn resulted in regional cable operator Comcast not working very hard.
Comcast and Comcast-owned NBC Universal have joined forces with Twitter to develop a service called "See it" that will embed Tweets with links to Comcast TV programming. According to the Comcast announcement
, Tweets talking about specific programs will be embedded with a "See it" button allowing users to switch to live TV or set their DVR to record -- but only obviously if you're a Comcast subscriber. At first glance this appears more like an attempt to appear innovative and social media savvy than an attempt to develop something truly compelling, but perhaps I'm missing something commenters can clarify below.
Users in our Comcast forum
note that they're being informed of a number of rate increases, including a $2 per month hike for some users in the cost of broadband service. Users also are facing a $1 bump from $7 to $8 for the cost of renting a modem. Providers have turned to the cable modem fee as an easy way to impose a below the line price increase on customers, and executives have made no attempt to hide the fact they'd like to jack this cost as high as allowable
. As always, you're better off buying your own modem from Comcast's list of approved devices
Comcast is sending their users an e-mail noting that the company will be discontinuing their "Secure Backup & Share
" service as of December 1. Files on Secure Backup & Share will be deleted and no longer available as of December 1, 2013," notes the company, adding that "If you purchased Secure Backup & Share Preferred or Premier, you may be eligible for a refund." Comcast had included 2 GB of storage free for broadband users, but also offered plans ranging from 50 GB ($5 a month) to 200GB ($10 a month).
Users in our Comcast forum
have discovered a way to get an early sneak peak at the GUI for Comcast's new X2 set top box. Users with the company's relatively new X1 set top box (slowly making its ways to most Comcast markets) purportedly can press Exit, Exit, 9,2,9,2 on their remotes in order to load an early build of the X2's new design. Not all of the functionality is available (like the program recommendation engine) and the apps appear buggy (since it's technically not released), though users seem impressed with the speed of the GUI. The X2 is officially supposed to arrive to some Comcast customers "later this year," and will include a number of new bells and whistles including the ability for remote cloud DVR storage.
Customers in our Comcast forum
note that the cable company appears to be bumping their top-shelf 305 Mbps down, 65 Mbps up customers to 505 Mbps down, 105 Mbps up at no additional cost. Comcast introduced the fiber-to-the-home powered 305 Mbps tier late last year
to select customers, though the service will run you $400 a month, plus a steep ETF higher than $1,000, as well as a $250 activation fee and a $250 installation fee.
Comcast appears to be adding a new wrinkle to the company's X1 set top box: games. Jeff Baumgartner at Multichannel News
has noticed that Comcast is testing a new service that will use EA's Origin game service to stream games to the X1. While the Xfinity iPad app description page
insists the service offers "console quality games," we're probably talking about more casual fare, the likes of which won't have Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony losing sleep anytime soon. Comcast says their X1 is currently in around 53% of markets
, and the company is working on their X2 platform
which will add cloud-storage to the mix.
Earlier this month we exclusively reported that Comcast was already responding to Google Fiber's entry into the Provo, Utah market with several bundle promotions
, including a triple play bundle of 105 Mbps service, TV, and either Xfinity Voice or Xfinity Home Secure for $120 a month for three years. Our source also told us Comcast would be offering several double play options ranging from $70 to $100 that bundle 105 Mbps service with various TV packages.
Baltimore has complained for years
about being one of the cities excluded from Verizon's FiOS builds (including Boston, Buffalo, Alexandria, and a slew of smaller northeast cities). The country also felt snubbed by Google Fiber, who has so far focused on outside of the Northeast. With nobody in the private sector willing to give the city next-generation speeds, the city is now taking things into their own hands
, and is hiring a consultant to explore expanding the city's fiber network to help improve competition and quality of service.
In May of last year Comcast announced
that the cable operator would be eliminating their 250GB monthly cap for all users -- and would instead be testing a number of new cap and overage fee options. At the time, Comcast stated that users in some trial markets would see their monthly caps raised to 300 GB a month -- but users would also potentially be seeing overages ($10 for 50 GB was cited as an example).
Following on the heels of a similar offering by Time Warner Cable
, Comcast has launched a new trial in Fresno that involves usage caps as low as 5GB a month on the company's Economy Plus broadband tier. The company's website
list the new plan as a "flexible data option," and as with Time Warner Cable's efforts -- users are promised a $5 discount off of their monthly bill if they're willing to have their broadband line capped at a paltry 5 gigabytes per month.
As it stands Comcast is not only the biggest pay TV provider and broadband provider in the United States, they're now the nation's third-largest phone company. They're also the biggest pay TV provider in the world, though it appears that title is about to be challenged. Comcast currently lays claims to almost 22 million pay TV subscribers, though as their growth in the pay TV market slows, they may soon be overtaken by China's Jiangsu Broadcasting Cable Information Network
and their nearly 21 million customers. When it comes to the world's largest broadband provider Comcast doesn't even come close; that title is claimed by China Telecom, who serves some 90 million broadband users.
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