When AT&T announced in October that it would spend $85 billion to acquire Time Warner, the plan was met with strong headwinds right out of the gate. A surprisingly broad array of lawmakers, from both sides of the political aisle, immediately voiced concerns. Among the concerned parties? The Senate Judiciary Committee, which today held a hearing examining the impact on competition, and potential antitrust concerns, the merger could raise. [More]
Fans of all-you-can-eat classic American food may have a tentative reason to rejoice: Golden Corral will be taking over empty restaurants that were closed, sometimes abruptly, by the company that operates buffet brands Old Country Buffet, HomeTown Buffet, Fire Mountain, and Ryan’s. The competing buffet chain is taking the opportunity to move into some markets where it has never had restaurants before. [More]
One city at a time, Comcast is upgrading its cable internet networks to a fast new high-speed standard, called DOCSIS 3.1. In Chicago, the launch of the tech itself seems to be fine… but finding out how much it costs, if you can sign up for it at all, has proven much harder for consumers.
They already dominate in home broadband and in cable TV. But Comcast knows as well as anyone else that your attention is increasingly leaving the living room and going on the road — or at least, split between two screens at once. And if you’re going wireless, well, Comcast wants to meet you there so it can keep taking your money.
The FCC’s got a proposal in the works right now that Comcast doesn’t like. This is not a shock; Comcast has generally not liked any headlining proposals from the FCC in recent years. Some of the cable giant’s complaints are undoubtedly just sound and noise, signifying nothing other than “we like profit, don’t screw with our thing.” But maybe some of its technological complaints have merit.
The Amazon Echo can do just about everything — order pizza, pay your credit card bill, and answer all your spur-of-the-moment questions, among other things — but can it compete with other connected home speakers? That’s something Google is poised to find out with its own connected-device that could launch later this year. [More]
A week after European regulators announced an investigation into Google’s requirements that Android-based devices come pre-loaded with Google apps, a similar stateside probe is finally getting off the ground. [More]
Yesterday, only weeks after the FCC voted to draft rules that would require pay-TV companies to open up the set-top box market to competitors, Comcast announced a deal with Samsung that will allow owners of certain TVs to access their cable TV without the need to pay for a cable box every month. The industry and its supporters are heralding the news as a clear demonstration that the FCC should just shut up and stop all its regulating, but the reports of the set-top box’s death are greatly exaggerated. [More]
While Android smartphones may allow you to install all manner of apps that compete with the pre-installed Google products like Maps, Gmail and its namesake search engine, is the fact that these apps are required to come pre-loaded on Android devices hurting competition and innovation just to benefit Google’s bottom line? That’s the question being asked by the European Commissioner for Competition. [More]
While the cable industry hasn’t fessed up to how much it makes leasing set-top boxes to their customers, in July, lawmakers crunched some numbers and found that it could be a $20 billion industry, with consumers paying up to $232 every year on that equipment. Two advocacy groups are now asking the Federal Communications Commission to begin a rulemaking proceeding to reform the video set-top box market, saying cable and pay-TV companies are overcharging consumers by $6 billion to $14 billion annually. [More]
If you want to curl up on the sofa on a cold winter night and watch a movie, that’s what Netflix is for. And if you want to watch music videos, mash-ups, or cats doing foolish things, you’ve got your YouTube. That’s how it’s been since approximately the dawn of time, by which we mean roughly the last five or six years. But it looks like the times, they are a-changing, and YouTube wants to be your one-stop shop for video of any and all sorts.
When two major companies decide to get along, it’s not quite so simple as exchanging friendship bracelets — each side usually sees some benefit. For example, airlines United and Delta want to get friendly, so they’ve agreed to swap slots at two New York City-area airports. One hitch, however, is that the United States Department of Justice isn’t a fan of the plan.
Beginning tomorrow, October 1, Target will price-match the websites of 29 major retailers in stores and for purchases from their website. These include the usual big names that you might expect, like Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy, but also some major specialty retailers like Sports Authority and cosmetics retailer Ulta. [More]
Under federal law, a city can regulate cable TV rates for its residents if there is not “effective competition” in that market — that is, if one cable operator dominated the TV landscape in that area. But the Federal Communications Commission recently revised its way of looking at things so that it now presumes that satellite providers offer effective competition for the cable industry. This change hasn’t gone over well with broadcasters, who have petitioned a federal appeals court to challenge the FCC. [More]
Sen. Ed Markey of Massachussetts and Sen. Dick Blumenthal of Connecticut recently posed a handful of questions to the nation’s cable and satellite providers about their set-top boxes — Are they required? How many customers have them? Is there an option for customers to purchase their own? etc. While some providers were more transparent in their responses than others, there was one thing they all agreed on: We’re not telling you how much we make from leasing these devices. [More]
15 Years Into Agreement To Provide St. Paul’s Elderly A Cable Discount, Comcast Reps Have Never Heard Of It
The Minnesota city of St. Paul sits, like its twin Minneapolis, squarely in Comcast territory, with nary a competitor in sight. But the franchise agreements that create local monopolies can also be used to residents’ benefit: as part of the contract that lets them be the exclusive cable company in town, Comcast offers low-income and elderly St. Paul residents a discount off their cable bills. Great, right? Well, it would be… if anyone in town could actually sign up for it.