Decision on Comcast’s Time Warner Cable Acquisition Not Likely Until Summer

Carl Weinschenk

It seems that Comcast is reconciled to the fact that regulators won’t decide on its agreed-upon acquisition of Time Warner Cable until summer. Originally, the company said that word was likely by early this year or even late 2014.

That was one highlight of a fairly quiet week. From other bits of news and good analysis, here are some highlights:

Wayward Developers

IBM commissioned The Ponemon Institute to do a study of the security state of mobile apps. The results are troubling, as is common in such studies.


The study looked at the activities of 400 large enterprises. Forty percent, the study said, build apps that are insecure. These companies, ADT Magazine reported, dedicated only 5.5 percent of the average of $34 million spent on apps on security. About half of the companies have no security app budgets; 40 percent don’t scan mobile app code for vulnerabilities and the average company tests fewer than half the apps it builds.

Sort of Like Waiting for the Cable Guy

Lightreading’s Mari Silbey noted that the closing of Comcast’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable, if it indeed is approved by The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will be later than anticipated.

Now, the companies expect to learn the fate of the deal in the summer time frame. The initial estimate by Comcast was that the $45 billion transaction would have closed last year or the beginning of 2015. Paperwork and related legal proceedings have elongated the process:

Currently, several of these records requests are being held up in court because programmers are concerned about sharing the details of their contract negotiations with Comcast and TWC. The FCC has stopped its own review shot clock until the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decides whether programmers have a right to withhold contract details from an extended merger review committee.

Light at the End of LightSquared’s Troubles

Almost three years after filing for bankruptcy, the LightSquared saga apparently is over. The company, which aims to use wireless spectrum for telecommunications offerings, never got the necessary signoffs from the FCC because of fears that the service would interfere with GPS signals. The firm and hedge fund owner Philip Falcone became involved in a legal fight with Dish Network chairman Charlie Ergen.

The Wall Street Journal offers details on the settlement and what led to it. The company is not yet free to execute on its plan, but has moved away from the precipice:

What happens next for LightSquared is unclear. The company will need to wait for various basic regulatory approvals just to get out of Chapter 11, and then seek the approvals that will allow it to use the network. But for now, the company at least has the financial security to continue operating while it waits.

Biometrics Grows

ABI Research reports that biometric security will generate $3.1 billion this year. That figure, the firm says, covers both the consumer and enterprise sectors. The release describes a rapidly changing environment:

Existing smartphone hardware provides a relatively stable foothold for some authentication modalities but rapid advances in the biometrics field will drive further smartphone hardware upgrades. Meanwhile, pioneering algorithm design and cloud computing services are transforming user authentication.

The release says that Apple and Samsung are market leaders, but less known companies such as EyeVerify, ImageWare Systems, KeyLemon, and Nok Nok Labs also are important contributors.

Broadband Faster

And, finally, comes a story that describes a great improvement in something we all use every day. Engadget reports that Ookla’s Speedtest for March showed that average download speeds in the United States are 33.9 Mbps. That’s a 10 Megabit per second (Mbps) increase compared to last April.

The U.S. now is ahead of the UK (30.18 Mbps), Germany (29.95 Mbps), Spain (28.28 Mbps) and Ireland (27.29 Mbps). There is little uniformity between the states, however. Washington, Missouri, New York, California and Utah offer rates between 40 and 45 Mbps. Kentucky, Idaho and Maine come in at a pokey 17.7 to 20.9 Mbps.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at cweinsch@optonline.net and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.



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