5 Devices That Spell Trouble For Your Comcast Bandwidth Cap

One of the problems with Comcast’s new 250 GB bandwidth cap is that, as Om points out on GigaOM, it’s metered without a meter. Comcast doesn’t provide you with a central tally of all your data use. The company instead suggests its customers install bandwidth metering software on their machines and then add up the numbers. Its FAQ reads: “Customers using multiple PCs should just be aware that they will need to measure and combine their total monthly usage in order to identify the data usage for their entire account.” Got multiple home machines consuming data every day? Better bust out that spreadsheet — and get ready for some wild guesstimates. After all, you can’t just install a bandwidth metering application on your Slingbox.

The Slingbox is only one example of why the absence of a central bandwidth meter for your account is not inconvenient, but a central flaw in Comcast’s cap. More and more devices are bringing video to the living room, in turn consuming huge amounts of bandwidth. Most of them are not computers, but home entertainment devices with simplified interfaces that don’t burden their users with complicated stats and settings. That makes for a good user experience — unless you’re a Comcast customer that’s already using a lot of data and the box in your living room is busting your bandwidth-capped behind.

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Rumor: AT&T May Bid For Cable & Wireless

AT&T, the largest phone company in the U.S., may buy UK-based Cable & Wireless, according to The Guardian. The rumors were prompted by a research report by a local stock broker.

Cable & Wireless is one of those telecoms whose fortunes have followed the trajectory of William Shattner’s small screen career. It may have been Captian Kirk at one time, but now all it does is pitch cheap tickets and hotel rooms. Sorry, I meant it is a telecom company selling services to businesses.

Regardless, it is not such a bad rumor and makes sense for AT&T, which needs to make a move that moves the needle on its revenues, and C&W fits the bill. Cable& Wireless has a market capitalization of $8.5 billion and sales of $6 billion. AT&T clearly needs to do something — it is losing traction in the U.S. residential market at a dangerous clip, with customers defecting to wireless or cable companies.

A few months ago, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, in an interview with USA Today, talked about making an audacious move — a big global partnership or a deal. “If you’re not pushing forward hard, nothing happens …. You don’t do that by making little incremental moves. You’ve got to make big moves,” he told the daily. Maybe this (buying C&W) qualifies as a big move in Dallas San Antonio!

image courtesy trekcore.com

HP Completes EDS Buy, Heads for the Clouds

HP said today it has closed its $13.9 billion acquisition of Plano, Texas-based IT services provider EDS, which was first announced in May. The success of the deal will depend on HP’s ability to integrate such a large buy into its already mammoth corporate structure. HP has tackled such a large integration before, via its $18.6 billion merger with Compaq in 2002, but many would argue that that deal was a blundering mess rather than a streamlined corporate integration success story.

Now that the EDS deal is closed, HP can start to work out its nascent cloud strategy. As Om opined earlier, with EDS, HP gets a mature service provider, which means it could offer computing clouds backed by a team experienced with delivering remote services (I’m not saying hosted computing requires the same skill set as cloud computing, but it’s closer). Both HP and IBM have announced cloud computing initiatives in recent months; HP has even created an entire business unit called the Scalability Computing Initiative to sell both cloud hardware and services.

And if the cloud idea doesn’t work out, there’s plenty of business process outsourcing and other consulting firm jargon inside EDS to help HP compete with IBM on the services side. One thing is for sure: Dell now looks like less of a competitor to these guys than ever.