Charting Charter’s Progress

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Charter Communications’ launch of a new app that can stream more than 130 live TV channels in the home to tablets and smartphones (with some out-of-home access expected down the road) marks the latest step in the operator’s transformational process under Tom Rutledge, who took the helm more than two years ago.

A big piece of this shift involves other services as well as a fresh brand that Charter will use as it completes all-digital upgrades.

Following up on plans first revealed by Rutledge last November, the company confirmed (subscription required) that Charter (hat tip: DSL Reports) has already introduced that new brand, “Spectrum,” in two markets — Fort Worth, Texas, and Greenville, S.C.

Similar to Comcast’s Xfinity playbook, Charter is introducing the brand with new services that are tied to this analog-reclamation process. At this stage, Spectrum means the doubling of max Internet download speeds – from 30 Mbps to 60 Mbps – at no additional cost, alongside a hefty expansion of live HDTV channels, a larger VOD library, and advanced voice service paired with unlimited nationwide calling

As this site shows, Charter is using the new brand to tout a set of new triple-play packages: Select, Silver and Gold.

And expect the brand to reach several more Charter markets in the coming weeks and months, as the MSO expects to complete its all-digital shift in all markets by the end of 2014. Those efforts are already underway in markets such as southern California, and parts of Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Massachusetts and Missouri.

– See more at: http://www.multichannel.com/blog/bauminator/charting-charter-s-progress/373747#sthash.Lh5RryoI.dpuf

Comcast, NCTA cheer FCC 5 GHz Wi-Fi order

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March 31, 2014 | By 

FCC commissioners agreed to open up 100 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band available for use with Wi-Fi services, in a big win for Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA)  and other broadband providers that have said they need more unlicensed spectrum to support advanced services.

“Today’s decision is a win for every consumer who uses Wi-Fi.  It will help alleviate congestion and pave the way for next generation Wi-Fi technologies that will operate at gigabit-per-second speeds,” Comcast VP of Regulatory Policy David Don said in a prepared statement.

The move was also cheered by National Cable & Telecommunications Association CEO Michael Powell, who said the FCC action will drive a “substantially faster Wi-Fi experience” for American consumers.

The FCC said the new rules will remove the restriction on indoor-only use for the 5 GHz band. “This in turn will allow U-NII devices to better integrate with other unlicensed portions of the GHz band to offer faster speeds and reduce congestion at crowded Wi-Fi hot spots such as airports and convention centers,” the commission said.

 

 

 

Energy Efficiency Voluntary Agreement Expands its Reach

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In a hyper competitive Pay TV marketplace, cable, DBS and telco TV providers all know that they have to continually innovate in order to compete for a spot in today’s connected home. They also know that a big part of that innovation has to come in the form of creating a more energy efficient set-top box.

That’s why we’re pleased to report that the voluntary energy conservation agreement (VA) among multichannel video providers, device manufacturers and energy advocacy groups continues to expand and progress. The agreement works to deliver energy efficiency solutions for 90 million American homes. The VA includes commitments to efficiency standards that will improve set-top box efficiency by up to 45 percent, and are expected to rack up more than $1 billion in consumer energy savings annually.

On February 25, 2014, energy advocacy representatives who joined the expanded VA in December 2013 met for the first time as voting members of the steering committee. Highlights from the meeting include:

  • Pace, plc, a major manufacturer of set-top boxes, joined the VA, further expanding its reach.
  • As part of the significant transparency and monitoring requirements of the VA, service providers will be making the energy usage of new set-top boxes available for consumers to review. For example, the new set-top boxes of the six largest cable operators are posted to a web site hosted by CableLabs Energy Lab, the lab established by the cable industry to pursue energy efficient solutions.
  • The VA also includes commitments to conduct industry-funded field verification testing. The steering committee finalized a Request for Proposal to be issued next week, seeking bids for a contractor to conduct verification testing in households to confirm that the posted efficiency levels are being achieved in the field. Potential candidates are invited to contact Paul Glist at the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine (PaulGlist@dwt.com) to request a copy of the RFP.
  • The Independent Administrator of the VA will continue its operations to assess each company’s compliance, produce an annual report, and handle many other transparency and verification functions. The Independent Administrator is already collecting the data to be used in its first annual report of progress during the first year of operation under the VA.

The Agreement Signatory organizations that participated in the meeting are (listed according to number of customers): Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems Corp., Bright House Networks and CenturyLink; manufacturers Cisco, ARRIS (including Motorola), EchoStar Technologies and Pace; and energy efficiency advocates Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which also represented its affiliate the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP). The VA was embraced last year by the US Department of Energy, as it terminated its regulatory approach in favor of the VA.

Charter CEO Working to Reduce ‘Cable Guy’ Visits

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Tom Rutledge also says he is “observing” the Comcast takeover of Time Warner Cable but adds, “We don’t need M&A to be a successful company.”

1:00 PM PDT 3/10/2014 by Paul Bond

Tom Rutledge is no fan of multiple visits from the “cable guy,” he said during a conversation at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference in Florida on Monday.

The Charter Communications CEO said he is working hard to minimize the need to roll out personnel and trucks to customers because “getting that out of the business” improves the quality of the product. One way Charter is accomplishing that is by selling triple-play services so that multiple products can be installed with a single visit and fewer “transactions.”

“Taking transactions out of the business actually increases customer satisfaction,” Rutledge said. “The opportunity for things to go wrong are legendary. I mean, people make movies about it — Cable Guy. Getting that out of the business dramatically improves satisfaction.”

Rutledge also talked about “a whole bunch of opportunities” for Charter and other cable companies that will come by way of looming 10-gigabyte-per-second Internet speeds and wireless Internet connections in every home.

“We’ll have the ability to probably do something along the lines of a ‘wireless drop,’ meaning a wireless connection for every household, which might not even require a physical connection between the house and the street,” he said.

He said that he does not anticipate that consumers will want to navigate giant TV screens with their fingers the same way they do with iPads and other tablets, therefore Charter is focusing on improving remote controls for such functionality.

Of the impending Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable — a company Charter once coveted — Rutledge said, “We’re observing them.” He added, “We don’t need M&A to be a successful company.”

Charter shares, meanwhile, were rising 1 percent to more than $128 a share on Monday during midday trading. Wall Street analysts have been friendly to the stock lately, and, on Monday, Jefferies Group upgraded shares to “buy” with a $150 price target. On Friday, Northland Capital upgraded the stock to “outperform.”

Sources: Senate Hearing On Comcast/TWC Moving To April 2

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Will Make Way for Hearing on STELA

By: John Eggerton Mar 10 2014 – 04:07pm

According to sources, the Senate Judiciary Committee is moving its hearing on the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger from March 26 to April 2.

That move will be to make room for a hearing on the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), said multiple sources. The committee would be unlikely to hold two big hearings on the same day.

STELA has been heating up, with a draft of a bill in the House Communications Subcommittee and movement in the Senate Commerce Committee as well, where Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D- W. Va.) has asked for input on what should be in the bill.

The House Communications Subcommittee is holding a STELA hearing March 12, with witnesses from across the stakeholder spectrum including National Cable & Telecommunications Association President Michael Powell.

Pay-TV Firms, CEA, Energy Agree On Set-Top Standards

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Voluntary Pact Aims At Saving $1B Per Year By Conserving Power

By: John Eggerton Dec 23 2013 – 11:20am

The cable and consumer electronics industries, energy efficiency groups and the Department of Energy have struck a deal on voluntary energy efficiency standards for set-top boxes that they say will result in “significant energy savings for more than 90 million U.S. homes” while avoiding regulations that cable operators had argued would hurt, not help.

The new standards — including energy-use monitoring by pay-TV providers — are predicted to boost set-top box energy efficiency between 10% and 45%, depending on the box, by 2017.

That is expected to translate into more than $1 billion annually, a figure that could grow with the growth of whole-home devices and increasing demand for DVRs and HD set-tops.

The standards agreement applies to all types of boxes from pay-TV providers: cable, satellite and telco. Energy use monitoring will be subject to an independent audit. DOE also reserves the right to test the boxes under the federal Energy Star verification process.

“As Americans increasingly rely on more electronic devices and gadgets, managing energy consumption is both an environmental and economic priority for consumers and industry alike, Michael Powell, NCTA’s president, said in a statement. “The cable industry is working hard to improve the overall consumer experience and we are proud to develop solutions that will reduce our energy footprint and result in real energy savings for millions of consumers.”

Also signing on to the agreement were the Consumer Electronics Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project. Multichannel video providers onboard include Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, AT&T, Verizon, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems, Bright House Networks and CenturyLink.

Back in June, NCTA asked DOE to pause an effort to come up with government-mandated energy efficiency standards because such regulation would foreclose innovation and “sabotage” a voluntary agreement among equipment manufacturers and the top multichannel video providers.

Under the voluntary agreement reached last fall, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Verizon, Charter, AT&T, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and CenturyLink – along with consumer-equipment companies Cisco, Motorola, EchoStar and Arris – said new set-tops would meet Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star 3.0 levels. Devices that meet that standard are 45% more efficient than ones that don’t, according to the EPA.

Also, “light-sleeper” mode software will be employed by cable operators to more than 10 million DVRs already in use, and satellite operators will include a power-down feature in 90% of the set-tops they deploy.

Energy conservation advocates did not sign on to that agreement, and the Energy Department restarted the process, which will now officially be terminated with the agreement to the new standards.

Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has been pushing for the standards, praised the agreement, but said she would monitor its progress to insure industry follows through.

“In 2011, I urged the CEOs of every major television service provider to work together to introduce more energy efficient set-top boxes,” the senator said in a statement. “At the time, set-top boxes were costing Americans $3 billion in electricity charges each year — with $2 billion wasted when televisions were not being used. Today’s voluntary announcement demonstrates the television industry took this matter seriously, and I commend industry and efficiency advocates for agreeing to make 90% of all set-top boxes as efficient as today’s most energy efficient boxes by 2017.”

She said she would “monitor the situation carefully to ensure the industry remains committed to building on today’s substantial progress in future years.”

The National Resources Defense Council issued a statement by Noah Horowitz, one of the lead negotiators for the voluntary agreement and a senior scientist and director of the Center for Energy Efficiency at NRDC: “This historic agreement promises to put $1 billion back in the pockets of U.S. consumers every year because the new set-top boxes will use less energy. We appreciate the industry’s renewed commitment toward making the devices that bring pay TV into 90 million-plus U.S. homes more efficient and look forward to working together to reduce their future energy use.”

Comcast and Khan Academy Announce Multi-Year, Multi-Million Dollar Partnership to Help Close the Digital and Educational Divide

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The combination of low-cost internet service and free, world-class education has the power to help level the playing field for low-income families.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA

Today, Comcast’s Executive Vice President David L. Cohen and Salman Khan, founder of the non-profit Khan Academy, announced a comprehensive partnership that will combine the free, world-class educational content of Khan Academy with the transformative potential of Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program.

For Comcast, this is one of the largest commitments the Company has made to a non-profit partner. The commitment includes hundreds of thousands of PSAs, significant digital promotion in both English and Spanish, as well as multiple joint promotion opportunities around the country over the next few years.

“While Comcast has made great progress connecting more than 1 million low-income Americans, or more than 250,000 families, to the Internet through our Internet Essentials program, there are many more families who are still eligible to participate, but have not yet signed up,” said Cohen. “Research consistently shows that the number one barrier to broadband adoption is a bucket of digital literacy issues, including a lack of understanding of the relevancy of the Internet and of the value it provides. Khan Academy is almost uniquely positioned to help lower that barrier because its content is the ultimate proof point of the value of the Internet.”

In a survey by Comcast of its Internet Essentials program subscribers, 98 percent indicated their kids use the Internet for homework and 94 percent feel that Internet access in the home has had a positive impact on their child’s grades. Khan Academy offers a personalized learning experience which includes over 5,000 free educational videos and 100,000 practice problems, in areas from basic Math to college level Biology and Art History. Khan Academy is helping kids do better in school and is preparing them to compete for 21st century jobs.

“In order to scale our free resources to the world, Khan Academy developed our materials on an online platform,” said Khan. “This approach helps us reach millions of individuals. In order to get the full value of Khan Academy, you need access to broadband. We’re excited to partner with Comcast, so we can help expand the number of people who can gain access to our site.”

Khan Academy is a non-profit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. In the last two years, Khan Academy has delivered over 330 million lessons and 1.6 billion exercise problems. Currently, it has 10 million users per month and over 4 million exercise problems completed each day.

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive program designed to help close the digital divide. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person.

For more information, visit www.comcastcorporation.com or follow Comcast on Twitter and Google+.

About Khan Academy:

Khan Academy is a 501(c)3 non-profit with a mission of providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Khan Academy provides free online educational material (e.g., practice exercise, instructional videos, dashboard analytics, teacher tools) that support personalized education for users of all ages in a scalable way. In the last two years, the organization has delivered over 330 million lessons and 1.6 billion exercise problems. Currently it has 10 million users per month and over 4 million exercise problems completed each day. Khan Academy covers subjects from basic Math to college level Biology and Art History. For more information, visit www.khanacademy.org.

About Internet Essentials:

Internet Essentials from Comcast is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides low-cost broadband service for $9.95 a month plus tax; the option to purchase an Internet-ready computer for under $150; and multiple options to access free digital literacy training in print, online, and in-person. A household is eligible to participate if it has at least one child eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), is located where Comcast offers Internet service, has not subscribed to Comcast Internet service within the last 90 days, and does not have an overdue Comcast bill or unreturned equipment. Families that enroll in the program can continue to enjoy the service as long as one child eligible to participate in the NSLP is living in the household.

For more information about Internet Essentials visit InternetEssentials.com for English and InternetBasico.com for Spanish. Educators or third-parties interested in helping to spread the word can find more information at InternetEssentials.com/partner. Parents looking to enroll in the program can call 1-855-846-8376 or, for Spanish, 1-855-765-6995.

About Comcast Corporation:

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is a global media and technology company with two primary businesses, Comcast Cable and NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone provider to residential customers under the XFINITY brand and also provides these services to businesses. NBCUniversal operates 30 news, entertainment and sports cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, television production operations, television station groups, Universal Pictures and Universal Parks and Resorts. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information.

FREE CALLS TO THE PHILIPPINES FOR TIME WARNER CABLE PHONE CUSTOMERS

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TimeWarnerCable

For Immediate Release

FREE CALLS TO THE PHILIPPINES

FOR TIME WARNER CABLE PHONE CUSTOMERS

New York, November 12, 2013

 

– Time Warner Cable today announced that all call placed by its Home Phone and Business Services customers to landline and mobile numbers in the Philippines will be free through November 30th, and is retroactive for all calls placed since November 8th.

 “It is a difficult time for those who have loved ones in the Philippines and our thoughts go out to those impacted by Typhoon Haiyan. To help the Filipino-American community keep in touch with family and friends, we are making all calls placed to the Philippines free for our Phone customers,” said Rob Marcus, Time Warner Cable’s President and COO.

 TWC Phone customers who make calls to the Philippines during the eligible time period do not need to make any changes to their accounts. Customers who were charged on or after November 8th will automatically be credited.

 In addition, Time Warner Cable has made The Filipino Channel available at no additional cost to digital TV subscribers through November 15th to help customers better connect to news and information about Typhoon Haiyan recovery efforts.

About Time Warner Cable

Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) is among the largest providers of video, high-speed data and voice services in the United States, connecting more than 15 million customers to entertainment, information and each other. Time Warner Cable Business Class offers data, video and voice services to businesses of all sizes, cell tower backhaul services to wireless carriers and managed and outsourced information technology solutions and cloud services. Time Warner Cable Media, the advertising arm of Time Warner Cable, offers national, regional and local companies innovative advertising solutions. More information about the services of Time Warner Cable is available at   twc.com, twcbc.com and twcmedia.com.

 

# # #

 

Media Contacts:

Bobby Amirshahi                                                                Shelley Loo

Bobby.Amirshahi@twcable.com                            Shelley.Loo@twcable.com

(212) 364-8292                                                                  (212) 364-8293

 

 

WICT Names Best Companies For Women In Cable

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By: MCN Staff Oct 17 2013 – 03:25pm
Comcast, Cox, NBCU Share First Place Nods Based On PAR Survey Results

Women in Cable Telecommunications (WICT) picked the current “Best Companies For Women In Cable” today, based on results of the 2013 WICT PAR Survey. After each survey is conducted, distinguished operators and programmers are recognized as the highest achievers based on the survey data. This year two companies tied for the first-place position of best operator, Comcast and Cox Communications. NBCUniversal attained the first-place position of best programmer.

The PAR Survey gauges gender-related qualitative and quantitative employee data, and assesses companies’ practices as to how they support Pay equity, Advancement opportunities, and Resources for work/life support. Mercer, a leading global consultant on human capital issues, gathered and analyzed the data, creating an executive report that will be available in December 2013 on WICT’s web site, www.wict.org. This year marks the tenth anniversary and the ninth cycle of the PAR Initiative, which is now administered biennially.

In all, 25 companies participated in the survey, representing 59% of the overall cable work force.

Other companies singled out for recognition were:

  • Cable providers: Bright House Networks, second place; Time Warner Cable, third place; Midcontinent Communications, fourth place, and Suddenlink Communications, fifth place.
  • Programmers: Discovery Communications, second place; Disney ABC Television Group, third place; Scripps Networks Interactive, fourth place, and Turner Broadcasting System Inc., fifth place.

The PAR Survey is administered in partnership with the NAMIC AIM Survey. The PAR Initiative is underwritten by the Walter Kaitz Foundation and supported by each of WICT’s local chapters.

“This is the 10th year of the PAR Initiative, and as the industry continues to raise the bar on equitable gender employment standards, the data over time shows gains for women in several key areas, including a higher percentage of women at the executive and senior levels,” Parthavi Das, WICT Chief of Staff, said in a release. “However, promotion rates are lower for women as compared to men and departure rates are higher, and the concern is that if the trend continues the number of women in management will decline over the next five years.”

“We applaud those companies recognized as the best for women in cable. They offer great lessons that we will share as part of an ongoing advocacy campaign to help the industry absorb and enact best practices,” Maria E. Brennan, CAE, President & CEO of WICT, said in the release. “We appreciate the commitment of time and resources that companies dedicated to participating in the PAR Initiative this year. We are also grateful to NAMIC for their partnership, as well as to the Walter Kaitz Foundation and the WICT local chapters for their support of PAR.”

Initial findings from the 2013 PAR Initiative were released during a joint Town Hall with NAMIC, as part of Diversity Week. The Executive Summary may be downloaded from www.wictparinitiative.org; a full report will be released later this year.

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