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In Brief

D-Link, the maker of routers, cameras and other Wi-Fi gear is following rival Belkin into the smart home with a $50 connected plug. The smart plug may be a gateway into a connected home, but I’d like to see it come with extra sensors, presence awareness or energy consumption data. D-Link’s plug seems fine, offering a thermal sensor to shut off devices if they overheat and energy consumption data. I also like a Kickstarter that launched Tuesday for the SAM plug. That plug contains an array of sensors that make it a bit different.

DSP W215 Side New

In Brief

Telephone and Data Systems, Inc. has agreed to acquire BendBroadband, a broadband and data center provider in Bend, Oregon for $261 million. BendBroadband is a cable provider that offers data center operations, 100Mbps broadband service, and also offered a wireless broadband offering for rural areas that is now discontinued. It had revenue of $70 million in 2013. Given the spirit of experimentation around rural broadband, and a need for new services, I expect this market to see more deals in the coming year. Last year, TDS purchased Baja Broadband, a regional provider in the Southwestern U.S.

In Brief

Highway1, the hardware incubator founded by Irish manufacturing giant PCH, is offering its next class of startups $50,000 in seed money, up from $20,000, and has moved into larger digs in the Potrero Hill area of San Francisco. It also opened the application process for its fall program (for more on the program read our story on its launch), so ship yours in before June 20 if you have a hot hardware startup idea you want to bring to reality. Based on the number of hardware ideas in my inbox, hundreds will likely enter and 15 will be chosen.

In Brief

Yesterday Cox president Pat Esser, told Bloomberg the cable operator would deliver a gigabit network in some residential markets this year. The interview was cagey on how, but an Ars Technica story notes that Cox has spread doubts about FTTH tech on its web site. Last year, I covered how next-generation DOCSIS technologies can deliver gigabit service and last year Comcast even showed off a 3 Gbps connection. But as cable providers use more of their network capacity and for IP delivery, they will also run up against a tough business problem — namely how to keep subscribers from dumping pay TV packages in favor of web-based alternative.

In Brief

While the internet debates the death of network neutrality, the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger back-and-forth continues. Sen. Al Franken released Netflix’s response to his request for its thoughts on the proposed merger. Netflix, needless to say, doesn’t like it. In details that have not been aired publicly, the letter accuses Comcast of abusing its market power to charge Netflix an interconnection fee to reach its customers — the first time Netflix has ever paid such a fee to an ISP. However, if the FCC has its way on net neutrality, this may just be one of many fees Netflix will find itself paying.

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