Viacom, CBS are officially back under same roof | FCC scraps 4G Mobility Fund for $9B 5G rural subsidies | Comcast intros ASL option for customer-service calls
December 5, 2019
SCTE SmartBrief
Industry News and Information for Cable Telecommunications Professionals
Today's Cable Buzz
Viacom, CBS are officially back under same roof
CBS and Viacom completed their merger into ViacomCBS, with Shari Redstone, the group's controlling shareholder, expressing confidence the new entity will be large enough to hold its own against its fellow media giants. Some analysts maintain the company -- which includes Viacom's lineup of cable networks -- will need to shed some non-core properties to help boost its bottom line.
Variety online (12/4),  Variety online (12/4),  The Hollywood Reporter (12/3) 
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Wireless & Broadband
FCC scraps 4G Mobility Fund for $9B 5G rural subsidies
The Federal Communications Commission will eliminate its 4G-oriented Mobility Fund II in favor of a new $9 billion program aimed at equipping rural areas with 5G wireless networks, with $1 billion going to precision agriculture and other technologies to help farmers. The decision comes after the agency found that maps designed to pinpoint the extent of 4G services were inaccurate.
CNET (12/4) 
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Trends in Technology
Comcast intros ASL option for customer-service calls
Comcast became the first cable company to provide American Sign Language support on customer calls, with the ASL Now feature available for its Xfinity and Internet Essentials services. The cable company teamed up with the Connect Direct program to introduce ASL Now, and has also implemented an accessibility page for Internet Essentials.
Forbes (12/3) 
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NFL will seek to head off landmark TV rights trial
NFL will seek to head off landmark TV rights trial
The National Football League will appeal to the Supreme Court to reverse a federal appeals court decision involving DIRECTV's NFL Sunday Ticket that could result in giving teams the rights to distribute their own games. Individual channels could potentially be able to purchase games by team or even a la carte if the Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling and allows an antitrust suit to go forward.
The Hollywood Reporter (12/3) 
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Report: Intel puts home chip unit on the block
Sources say that Intel might be selling its division that produces chips for connected homes, which would create uncertainty around one of the sources for chips that Comcast and other providers use in their broadband devices. The split would also occur while cable companies are gearing up for DOCSIS 4.0.
Light Reading (12/3) 
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IP Download
Comcast tests sports app at Philly businesses
Comcast tests sports app at Philly businesses
Comcast Business is testing a GameOn app that lets customers in selected Philadelphia restaurants and bars win prizes by predicting the outcomes of live sports events. The company has plans to expand the app to more businesses around the US, and GameOn, a startup that originally developed the app for Comcast's X1 business platform, has already introduced a free Android and iOS version.
Light Reading (12/4) 
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Digital Trends
AT&T CFO offers bullish outlook for video services
AT&T's video subscriber losses will moderate after peaking last quarter, John Stephens, the company's chief financial officer, predicted, telling an investor conference that the company's upcoming HBO Max streaming service is "the key aspect" of its strategy. The telecom, which has projected that HBO Max will reach 50 million subscribers in the US within the upcoming five years or so, will also benefit from having fewer customers paying discounted prices and from its new AT&T TV live streaming service, Stephens said.
The Hollywood Reporter (12/3),  Variety online (12/3) 
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Get a New CAP Membership for the New Year
Cable is moving headlong into the New Year with an agenda that includes 10G, IoT, Mobility, Smart Cities and more, and the SCTE•ISBE Corporate Alliance Partner (CAP) program is helping to lead the way. Join more than 50 operators, technology suppliers and contractors that are helping to advance the science of cable telecommunications. Go to to learn more about what CAP membership can do for you or receive a customized proposal for your company by contacting
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Can you Fill the GAP at the Standards Table?
There's never a shortage of activity within the SCTE•ISBE Standards Program but one of the real hotbeds of late has been the GAP Working Group that's knee-deep in Generic Access Platform development. GAP took the spotlight at SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo® in October and continues to show how it can help the industry optimize innovation where it is needed most. Learn more about how you can get involved at
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