Comcast customers in the Philadelphia region now have access to gigabit Internet service, the company announced on Monday.
One-gigabit-per-second internet has been all the rage over the last few years as Internet Service Providers say customers can do more with the faster speed. For example, the service allows users to stream high-definition video content with fewer delays and little buffering or play games with high-quality video over a more stable connection. Video conferencing via services like Skype is smoother and having multiple users signed on to an internet network doesn’t mean more interruptions or slower browsing speeds across connected devices. Read more »
It’s no secret that Comcast is threatened by cord cutting, but it’s not the type of company to sit around and be played. There’s a growing faction of people (read: millennials) who just hate cable (read: bills), and the telecom giant has a plan to reel them in. On Thursday’s earnings call, company executives said they plan to launch a streaming TV service, known as “Xfinity Instant TV.”
The service would launch later this year, executives said, and would be available to subscribers without a set-top box, offering the same skinny-bundle flexibility as AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Dish’s Sling TV, Youtube TV, PlayStation Vue, and Hulu’s Live TV. Read more »
Back in November, Comcast and the University of Pennsylvania announced the Comcast-Pennovation Challenge, a joint initiative out of Penn’s Center for Innovation (PCI) that motivated teams of students to develop Internet of Things technologies using Comcast’s machineQ network.
On Monday, Comcast and PCI announced that a team of students behind an infrastructural solution called Viewpoint became the competition’s first winners.
The results were announced after more than six months of project development. The Viewpoint team, graduate students from Penn’s Integrated Product Design and Historic Preservation departments, used the time to develop their machineQ application, which can effectively collect live information on the structural stability of a city’s railway and roadway bridges.
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Image via Comcast
The next step for Comcast’s machineQ network service is a big one. After conducting trials of the network last year in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and a subsequent launch in Chicago, Comcast announced this week that it will expand machineQ to cover 12 additional major U.S. cities.
As we’ve noted before, the expansion could lead to an uptick in Internet of Things (IoT) technologies that can solve urban problems. While factors like high cost and limited coverage may have previously prevented some businesses and cities from pursuing large-scale IoT solutions, the Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) technology used by machineQ eliminates many of those restrictions.
“We believe that Comcast has a unique opportunity to leverage our existing network assets and Semtech’s LoRa technology, to fuel IoT innovation with disruptive new business models and smarter cities,” said machineQ GM Alex Khorram. “We’ve seen excitement about a Comcast solution that is opening a whole new world of use cases that were previously not commercially viable.” Read more »
Photo: Fight For the Future
If you’re getting random net neutrality pop-up messages today on sites like Facebook, Amazon, and Google, that’s because these web giants are among thousands of businesses taking a stand to protect net neutrality.
Wednesday is the internet’s self-declared “Day of Action” on net neutrality, a vast effort (an estimated 70,000 sites are participating) to prevent the FCC from rolling back Obama-era net neutrality regulations. The rules currently prevent Internet Service Providers from blocking, throttling, or favoring select web content, keeping the internet free and open. For example, without the rules, ISP’s like Comcast could slow down certain websites or even completely block pages, advocates say, thereby creating fast and slow lanes on the internet.
Participating sites across the web are expected to place prominent alerts on their pages urging visitors to submit comments in favor of net neutrality to the FCC and Congress. Grassroots internet advocacy groups like Fight for the Future (FFTF) are encouraging sites to display banner ads across web pages and apps to send push notifications about the protest. Some sites are even displaying explainer videos and blog posts on why they support net neutrality. Each alert will have a link that connects visitors to sign various petitions or submit feedback to the FCC. Politicians like U.S. Senator Bob Casey have taken to Twitter to express their views on the Day of Action. Read more »
From left: Attorney Rupali Patel Shah with Philadelphia United for Progress; Melissa Robbins, delegate for the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women; and Daisy Cruz, 32BJ SEIU Mid-Atlantic District leader at City Hall.
For the first time since Philadelphia’s wage equity law has come under attack, members of the public came forward on Tuesday to express their support for the legislation. At the same, the advocates — all gathered at City Hall—expressed strong disproval of the 13 city businesses that have attached their names to the Chamber of Commerce’s lawsuit against the law.
“The Chamber and the corporations who stand behind the lawsuit are always on the wrong side of progressive legislation,” Katherine Black, treasurer of the Philadelphia Coalition of Labor Union Women, who helped organize the event told Philadelphia magazine. “They say they care about pay equity but they don’t want anything mandated. They can’t take any scrutiny, and we can’t count on them to do the right thing.”
Black added that most of the 13 businesses and institutions are run by white men and have histories of leadership that lack both women and minorities.
The wage equity law, which was unanimously passed by City Council last year and signed by Mayor Kenney at the start of 2017, was supposed to take effect on May 23 this year and would have prevented employers from asking applicants about past earnings. The law’s intention is to close the pay gap between men and women, the city has said, but the Chamber of Commerce, along with thirteen member businesses, says the law would unnecessarily complicate business operations. Read more »
Image via Flickr.
Comcast has entered into exclusive talks with Sprint as the Philly telecom giant looks for more ways to boost its new Xfinity Mobile wireless service, the Wall Street Journal reported [paywall] on Monday.
And recall, at the beginning of May, Comcast and Charter Communications, the country’s second largest cable provider, forged their own agreement, with the explicit requirement that neither company would enter into a major deal in the wireless space without the other’s consent for a year. Hence, Charter is in on the Sprint talks, too.
Sprint, Comcast and Charter have reportedly entered a two-month, exclusive agreement for discussions through late July, which will stall any plans for a Sprint-T-Mobile merger. Read more »
General views at the Comcast Xfinity Store Thursday, June 1, 2017, in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. (Jeff Fusco/AP Images for Comcast)
If you plan to ditch your Verizon or AT&T phone bill for a Comcast one, you can now do so at your local Xfinity store. Comcast announced on Wednesday that it has officially rolled out Xfinity Mobile at all stores across Philadelphia, the surrounding suburbs, New Jersey, and northern Delaware.
Comcast began selling Xfinity Mobile online and through call centers in all of its service areas on May 17 after months of testing the new service. The hybrid model relies on Verizon’s 4G LTE network and Comcast’s Wi-Fi network of around 17 million hotspots nationwide. Read more »
Image via Bloomberg.
Bloomberg’s The David Rubenstein Show kicked off its latest season last week with a tell-all interview featuring Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. The leader typically operates behind the scenes but spoke candidly with David Rubenstein on some hot topics including the company’s poor customer service record, stance on net neutrality, and push against the growing cord-cutting movement.
A question on Rubenstein’s mind was why cable companies like Comcast aren’t liked in the same way that Apple or Amazon are loved by the public. Roberts gave him two answers. Read more »
Photo by Jeff Fusco
Comcast, one of Philadelphia’s largest companies, has an impressive, growing record of looking after smaller ones.
Since 2011, reports Philly.com, Comcast’s ventures unit has invested a combined valuation of billions of dollars in 105 different early-stage companies, numbers that recently earned them the number four spot on CB Insight’s 2016 Global Corporate Venture Capital list of the world’s top startup investors.
Amy Banse, managing director and head of funds for Comcast Ventures, calls the program the “Lewis and Clark” of Comcast, an apt nickname in a time when innovation has more frequently begun to stem from smaller companies. “We are witnessing a change that is as fundamental as the Industrial Revolution, and we are in the first or second inning of that,” Banse told the Inquirer. Read more »