Verizon Open to a Merger Talk With Comcast

Images via Flickr.

Images via Flickr.

“Comcast Verizon NBCUniversal” just might become a thing at some point in the future. Don’t believe me? Here’s what Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam told Bloomberg recently: “If Brian came knocking on the door, I’d have a discussion with him about it.”

McAdam is referring to Comcast CEO Brian L. Roberts.

A merger between Comcast and Verizon would drastically reformat the media and telecommunications world that’s already in flux. AT&T has moved to acquire Time Warner Inc. and Verizon has already swallowed up AOL and Yahoo’s internet assets. And Comcast’s acquisition of NBCUniversal happened only six years ago. Read more »

Q&A: How Comcast May Still Sell Your Online Data Even Though It’s Promised Not To

Image courtesy of the Wharton School.

Kevin Werbach. Image courtesy of the Wharton School.

Last month, Congress voted to repeal landmark online privacy rules written by the Obama administration. The rules, which were scheduled to take effect this year, required Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to get permission before collecting and sharing customers’ online information.

The repeal sent consumers into frenzy — is Comcast telling advertisers what I searched for on Internet last night and making a profit off of it? What protections do I actually have? And though Comcast, AT&T and other ISPs have released statements saying they won’t sell people’s information, how long will these pledges endure?

Now that we’re somewhat removed from the immediate outcry over the repeal, Biz Philly sat down with Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach for his take on the state of online privacy. Werbach weighs in on what the repeal means for everyday Philadelphians and what Internet privacy might look like a few years from now. He also tells us why the repeal puts Comcast in the best position compared to all of the other telecom giants.  Read more »

Comcast May Launch a Netflix Streaming Rival

SweetBabeeJay/iStockphoto.com

SweetBabeeJay/iStockphoto.com

The online video streaming landscape is already a crowded one. Netflix, Amazon and Hulu dominate the space and networks like CBS and HBO have already launched their own versions of paid live-TV streaming. Now Comcast reportedly wants to squeeze itself into the space.

The telecom giant is planning its very own standalone streaming service that’ll feature shows from its NBCUniversal TV network, sources told Bloomberg. And they’re expecting to launch the service in the next 12 to 18 months.  Read more »

Comcast Unveils Plans for Xfinity Mobile

Image courtesy of Comcast.

Image courtesy of Comcast.

Comcast is getting closer to launching its wireless service, and on Thursday, the telecom giant released more details about its upcoming plunge into the wireless phone space.

The most important detail revealed Thursday morning is that Xfinity Mobile will only be available to Comcast customers who already pay for home Internet. The goal here is to create more value for Comcast customers with even bigger bundles. The wireless service has been designed to support Comcast’s core cable business, Comcast Cable president and CEO Dave Watson said on a call with investors on Thursday. With 29 million customer relationships, Comcast plans to target its existing customer base, Watson said. Read more »

Comcast Says it Won’t Sell Your Web Browsing History

andrewhuynh265/iStockphoto.com

andrewhuynh265/iStockphoto.com

After Congress voted to repeal Obama-era FCC privacy protections last week, Comcast and other telecom companies have released lengthy statements to assure consumers that they’re committed to online privacy.

Per Comcast’s statement, the rollback of regulations doesn’t mean they’ll sell customers’ personal information. “We do not sell our broadband customers’ individual web browsing history. We did not do it before the FCC’s rules were adopted, and we have no plans to do so,” said Comcast senior vice president, deputy general counsel and chief privacy officer Gerard Lewis in a blog post. Read more »

Comcast Funds Civil Rights Groups That Rallied Against New FCC Rules

Comcast Center | Jeff Fusco

Comcast Center | Jeff Fusco

Last week the U.S. House of Representatives followed the Senate and voted to overturn new FCC rules that would have required Internet service providers like Comcast to get customers’ permission before selling their online browsing data.

Supporters of the repeal have stated that regulators failed to listen to objections from the “Internet community” when the new rules were created under the Obama administration. But a report from The Intercept reveals that many of the objections in the Internet community are coming from civil-rights groups with “extensive financial ties” to telecomm companies like Comcast. And their objections to the FCC rules seem absurd and unrelated to their core missions, The Intercept points out. Read more »

Comcast Rolls Out Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service Across Entire Service Area

Xfinity store.

Xfinity store.

Comcast announced on Thursday that its latest option for customers looking to break out of Internet contracts — Xfinity Prepaid Internet Service — is now available everywhere in its service area.

The pay-as-you-go service lets customers sign up for internet service without an annual contract or a credit check. And users can renew the service whenever, for a time span of seven or 30 days. A renewal for a week will cost $15 and a full month’s renewal costs $45. To get set up, customers will also need to invest $80 in an initial starter kit, which includes 30 days of service and equipment like a wireless gateway modem-router.  Read more »

U.S. Senators Vote to Gut Internet Privacy Rules

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The U.S. Senate sent Internet privacy down the drain on Thursday when it voted to repeal Obama-era rules aimed at protecting consumers’ online data. Without the rules, Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon can share and sell your web browsing history with advertisers without your permission.

The privacy rules, passed last year by the Federal Communications Commission, required Internet providers to get a customer’s permission before sharing their personal information such as geolocation, financial and health information, as well as children’s information, with third-party advertisers. Passed in October, the rules haven’t even taken effect yet, but a vote from the House, where the resolution is headed next, could effectively kill the consumer protection altogether. Read more »

Neil Smit Bows Out As Comcast Cable CEO

Image courtesy of Comcast.

Image courtesy of Comcast.

After seven years as Comcast Cable CEO, Neil Smit will step down from the role on April 1st, and he’ll be replaced by Comcast Cable executive Dave Watson, the company announced on Monday.

In a statement Smit cited injuries he sustained from his previous career as reasons why he’s changing positions. And approaching 60, the executive said he’s looking forward to spending more time with his family. Before entering the corporate world and working in leadership at companies like Charter, AOL, and Nabisco, Smit was a Navy SEAL, serving as a member of SEAL Team Six. Read more »

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