US round-up: FCC starts 180-day review clock for cable merger; Google Fiber starts Austin rollout; Block buys Mississippi MetroCast systems

15 Jul 2014

After nearly five months of delays, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has finally started its 180-day review clock on the proposed mega-merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The formal process started on 10 July, just days after the watchdog selected a team to oversee the review process. Comments and petitions to deny the deal are due by 25 August, with replies and oppositions to deny the merger permitted until 23 September. Final comments are due by 8 October.

Google Fiber’s rollout in Austin, Texas is underway, Multichannel News reports, although it appears that the 1Gbps broadband provider is running behind schedule and will miss its original self-imposed deadline to start connecting homes by mid-2014. Company spokeswoman Jenna Wandres told the news outlet: ‘Construction is underway, and we plan to open sign-ups and start hooking up our first Austin customers later this year.’ Google Fiber announced Austin as a rollout site in April 2013, joining Kansas City and Provo, Utah.

Block Communications has agreed to buy MetroCast cable systems serving 45,000 subscribers across northern and central Mississippi from Harron Communications. Terms were not announced for the deal, which is expected to close by the end of 2014. MetroCast cable systems in New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina were not included in the sale.

Zhone Technologies is partnering with Fujitsu Network Communications to develop a fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network for Kit Carson Electric Cooperative (KCEC). The infrastructure will cover Taos, Colfax and Rio Arriba counties in northern New Mexico.