Category Archives: Blog

Tesla reveals a new Roadster, due in 2020

At Tesla's Semi event, the automaker dropped its new Roadster. It'll have a 620-mile range via a 200kWh battery pack."You'll be able to travel from LA to San Francisco and back without recharging," CEO Elon Musk said. The new Tesla Roadster will do zero to 60 in 1.9 seconds, and it'll blast through a quarter mile in 8.9 seconds, before reaching a top speed of over 250 MPH.

Oh, and it's a four-seater.

Musk called it, "a hardcore smackdown to gasoline cars." The car is due in 2020 so start saving up all your nickels and dimes now -- the cost is $200,000, with a $50,000 reservation to get in line for a base model. Of course, there are also 1,000 "Founders Edition" Roadsters also available, provided you're willing to pony up for the full $250k price right away.

A limited number of folks that attended tonight's event and put down a $50,000 deposit on the Roadster will get a ride in the car.

Sprint, Altice Aim to Solve MVNO Puzzle

November 14, 2017
Sprint (NYSE:S) has been pretty busy in November, announcing the demise of its attempt to merge with fellow wireless provider T-Mobile and the initiation of a multi-year strategic agreement with Altice USA (NYSE:ATUS).

Under the terms, Altice will be able to use Sprint's network, under an MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) model, to provide mobile voice and data services. In return, Sprint will densify its network using the Altice broadband network.

In a conference call last week, Tarek Robbiati, CFO of Sprint, called the deal "unique" in terms of an MVNO arrangement.

"It is not a simple resale of capacity," Robbiati said. "There is from the Altice standpoint, but the infrastructure swap is what makes the deal the first of its kind."

Sprint plans to deploy several thousand small cells in the Altice footprint in order to densify its network to bolster the future of 5G. Robbiati noted that the deal is part of Sprint's overall strategy and referred to a joint venture parent company SoftBank announced in October with Australian-based Lendlease Group. Each company has committed $200 million in equity to acquire and restructure 8,000 existing telecom sites, including rooftops, across the United States.

Under the terms of its agreement with Sprint, Altice can only sell wireless within its footprint. However, as it expands this footprint, it has the right to sell wireless in the new areas. Likewise, Sprint may piggyback on expansion of the Altice infrastructure. Robbiati said he is "comfortable" with the investment of tower companies and partnerships with the likes of Altice.

"I think we have a compelling proposition in the near term," Robbiati said, noting that Sprint's priority is to begin upgrading its existing footprint in terms of towers and also in parallel to densify.

Robbiati said the agreement with Altice was not contingent on the failure of the T-Mobile deal.

"(Altice) would have taken place anyway," he said. "(Densification) is a critical part of our strategy. We started with trials with Altice six months ago. We spoke about the trials in prior earnings announcements."

The Sprint/Altice deal is not exclusive, meaning that Spring is free to make similar agreements with other players as well. The mobile operator also is free to deploy fixed wireless offerings; there aren't any restrictions in the terms.

There is monetary compensation involved on top of the infrastructure sharing, but Robbiati wouldn't share specifics with regards to the volume rate card for gigabytes or voice minutes. He also wouldn't provide detail about the performance measurements saying only that Sprint feels "good" about the fact that Sprint's performance hurdles are the right ones.

"We intend as true partners that we deliver those," Robbiati said.

Source: http://www.broadbandtechreport.com/

ATS announced as new Mediacom Communications repair facility

September 2017

Advanced Technical Services announced that they have been added as a new cable distribution equipment repair facility for Mediacom Communications.

When asked about the addition, ATS Company President, Dave Vikartofsky, said that “being an authorized repair facility for Mediacom Communications will allow us to expand our repair offerings to a new customer base allowing us to continue to grow our support services within the cable industry”.

For more information about ATS product and service offerings please visit the company’s website www.ats4solutions.com or info@ats4solutions.com.

ATS Supporting Play Network with Equipment Repair Services

August 2017

Advanced Technical Services announced today that that they have added Play Network to the list of Entertainment Industry customers they are now supporting.

When asked about the addition, ATS Company President, Dave Vikartofsky, said that “we are excited about the opportunity to help support Play Network with their equipment repair needs.”

The addition of Play Network allows us to expand the breadth of our repair offerings within this industry, and to deepen our existing relationships with the existing customers we already support”.

For more information about ATS product and service offerings please visit the company’s website www.ats4solutions.com or info@ats4solutions.com.

ATS Successfully Completes Automotive Quality Audit

July 2017

Advanced Technical Services announced today that is has successfully completed an automotive quality audit for a major automotive OEM.

The successful completion of this audit verifies that the Quality Management System implemented and maintained by ATS meets the standards and requirements set by this automotive OEM.

Company President Dave Vikartofsky said, as an approved quality supplier to this customer, we can now participate in any relevant electronic remanufacturing RFQs that may become available in the future.

ATS adds this successful quality audit completion to the list of other automotive and non-automotive quality certifications already in place.

Comcast partners with SunRun to market residential solar

solar panels
Under terms of the deal, Comcast will need to commit to spending $10 million on sales and marketing to receive a cut of consumer sales.

ATS Successfully Completes Annual ISO Audit

Advanced Technical Services has successfully completed a re-certification audit by NSF in June of 2017.

The certification verifies that the Quality Management System implemented and maintained by ATS meets the requirements of the ISO 9001-2008 standard for our repair processes.

ATS has been ISO certified since 2007 and is proud of the ongoing commitment from our entire team.  We have begun the transition to the ISO 9001-2015 version, with an expected completion date of summer of 2018.

Charter surges as Japan’s SoftBank considers bid

(Reuters) - Charter Communications Inc's shares surged to a record high on Monday after a source said Japan's SoftBank Group Corp was considering an acquisition offer, even as Charter shot down the possibility of it being the acquirer in any merger with SoftBank's U.S. wireless carrier, Sprint Corp.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday that SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son is considering making a bid for Charter as soon as the end of August, in what would be by far the Japanese telecommunications conglomerate's biggest ever deal.

Charter has a market capitalization of more than $100 billion and another $60 billion in debt.

The bid would be at least 50 percent in cash and the rest in stock, the source said.

SoftBank is working with JPMorgan Chase & Co, Deutsche Bank AG and Mizuho Financial Group Inc on raising debt financing for its bid, sources close to the matter said. It may enlist more banks in the future, the sources added.

The prospect of a Sprint-Charter tie-up comes at a time when the telecom industry is preparing for a wave of deal activity. Regulators lifted a ban on merger discussions among telecom companies following the conclusion of an auction of broadcaster airwaves for wireless use in April.

Analysts and investors have said that tie-ups between cable companies and wireless carriers increasingly make sense as the distinction between broadband and wireless connectivity blurs, and consumers demand seamless connections for their devices.

Cable companies have the infrastructure that wireless carriers need for the growing amounts of mobile data customers are using. Cable companies could benefit from ownership of cellular networks as they launch their own mobile services.

Charter is currently planning to launch its own wireless service on Verizon Communications Inc's network next year, and analysts have said that renting a network from a wireless carrier will be more costly long term than owning one.

Sprint, which is in the middle of a turnaround plan, has been looking to boost its financial status and better compete amid a fiercely competitive and saturated market for wireless service. The company has been exploring deal options with T-Mobile US Inc but faces the hurdle of reaching an agreement on price as well as getting the deal approved by regulators. Both companies have said they are open to other partners.

Charter's shares closed at $391.91, up 5.8 percent, after hitting a record high of $399.95. Sprint shares closed down 2.9 percent to $7.98.

A Charter spokesman declined to comment on Monday on whether the company would sell to the wireless carrier.

A deal between the two could be complex and disruptive, analysts said, noting financing issues, complicated ownerships and the possibility of upending existing partnerships.

Investors said a deal with Sprint would be negative for Charter bondholders as it would likely increase leverage significantly.

JPMorgan analyst Philip Cusick wrote in a research note that a base case scenario would assume a $500-a-share bid for Charter, paid for with $20 billion of new cash from SoftBank and $40 billion of new debt. The deal could drive $2 billion in annual synergies, but he noted that SoftBank could lever Charter up significantly. A deal could also nullify part or all of Charter's network resale agreement with Verizon.

It would also require the blessing of cable provider Comcast Corp. Comcast and Charter announced a wireless partnership in May aimed at finding cost savings as both companies enter the wireless market with their own mobile services. That agreement bars either company from tying up with a wireless carrier for a year without the other company's consent.

Comcast’s Roberts: ‘I don’t see anything in the industry … we don’t already have today’

by Daniel Frankel | Jul 27, 2017 10:49am

Waving off the latest flurry of merger speculation, Comcast reported a strong 5.5% year-over-year revenue increase in its cable operation during the second quarter, based on what the company said was rate increases and customers signing up for additional services.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization increased 5.4%, despite slightly lower-than-expected performance in customer metrics and a sharp spike in programming costs.

"The standout result in the cable segment was stable EBITDA margins, despite a 12% increase in programming expense," said Jonathan Chaplin, analyst at New Street Research.

Comcast lost 34,000 video customers in the second quarter, roughly in line with industry consensus forecasts for losses of around 24,000. Video revenue increased by 3.9%, with Comcast targeting a third-quarter launch for its new IP-video-over-managed-network service, Xfinity Instant Video.

Comcast added 175,000 high-speed internet customers in the second quarter, narrowly missing consensus estimates of 188,000 users. Revenue from broadband increased 9.2%.

Revenue from business services increased 12.6%

“There is significant runway ahead in broadband,” said Comcast Cable CEO Dave Watson, citing Comcast’s 45% penetration of broadband services in its footprint.

With revenue from Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit surging 17.3%, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts took time to shoot down the latest merger rumors, which have speculated on Comcast merging with everyone from Verizon to Charter.

“I thought we were really clear last quarter,” Roberts said. “Yes, we always look at the world around us and do our jobs related to the opportunities that are out that. But we love our business… No disrespect to wireless, but that’s a tough business. We like what we’re doing with Xfinity Mobile. It really improves what we hope it will improve. It will be a long road, and I don’t see anything in the industry where we envy a position we don’t have today. I think we have a really special company, and I wouldn’t want to do anything to change that."

Here is a breakdown of some of Comcast’s other key second-quarter metrics:

NBCUniversal: The turnaround at Comcast’s 2011 acquisition has yet to peak, with revenue from theme parks up 17.3% and adjusted EBITDA up 22.6%. Filmed entertainment spiked 59.6% in the second quarter, thanks largely to the $1.23 billion raked in at the global box office by the latest iteration of the long-running "The Fast and the Furious' franchise. EBITDA from broadcast and cable networks was up 5.5% and 11.7%, respectively.

Streaming: After testing its IP-delivered video service, Xfinity Instant Video, in Boston and Chicago, Comcast will deploy the service across its footprint in the third quarter. “This is not something we’ll do broad-based,” Watson said. “It will be very targeted [toward millennials]. We love our full video positioning with X1, but Instant TV gives us one more part of the portfolio to go after.”

More on mergers: MoffettNathanson analysts echoed Roberts’ sentiment on merger speculation in a morning memo to investors. “We can only imagine that all this mind-numbing nonsense is met with a mixture of frustration and amusement in Philadelphia,” Moffett wrote. “Incremental cost savings from additional scale in cable would be de minimis; relative valuations versus wireless are wholly unappealing; and the regulatory hurdles to any and all of these scenarios are daunting at best, and insurmountable at worst. And more to the point,” he added, “why in Heaven’s name would Comcast want to do any of them?”

Report: Charter Looking To Buy Cox Communications

While it was rumored that Charter said “no thank you” to Verizon’s estimated $100 billion merger offer earlier this year because it just wasn’t enough money, new reports suggest the rejection was actually because Charter wanted to go on its own shopping spree, snatching up Cox Communications. 

The New York Post, citing sources familiar with the matter, reports that Charter is considering a play to purchase Cox Communications.

Cox, which has about 21 million customers, provides service in 18 states scattered through the U.S., including Massachusetts, Florida, Virginia, California, and Arizona. Charter, on the other hand, offers service to 27 million people in 28 states, including California, Missouri, and Michigan.

The sources say that Charter CEO Tom Rutledge is very interested in the Atlanta-base cable company, but that no formal approach has been made yet.

Still, Charter’s desire to acquire Cox could be all talk, as Cox has brushed off many advances from the company in the past.

DSLreports suggests that Charter has approached Cox several times since 2013 and been rejected each time.

That’s likely to be the case this time around, as well.

“Cox has been very clear and consistent that we are not for sale and, in fact, we’re aggressively investing in our network, products and strategic partnerships and investments of our own,” a rep for the company tells the NY Post.

But with a change of leadership poised to take place next year, sources say that Charter is hoping that Cox will be singing a different tune when it comes to a marriage.

Charter, of course, is no stranger to mergers. The company spent about $55 billion on acquiring Time Warner Cable and another $10 billion on Bright House Networks. But just because the company has experience in mergers, doesn’t mean it’s a pro at actually brining the companies together.

In fact, the combination with Time Warner and Bright House Networks has been a lengthy, complicated, and sometimes messy process.

Speaking of Charter’s merger woes, the New York Department of Public Service announced it had reached a potential $13 million settlement [PDF] with the company for its failure to meet deadlines to expand its network, a condition of its acquisition with Time Warner Cable.

“The Commission conditioned its approval of the merger on Charter’s agreement to undertake several types of investments and other activities,” Department Interim CEO Gregg C. Sayre said in a statement. “While Charter is delivering on many of them, it failed to expand the reach of its network to un-served and under-served communities and commercial customers in the time allotted.”

The settlement, which must still be approved, would require Charter to pay $1 million in grants for equipment to provide computer and internet access to low-income users, and to set aside $12 million as a security to meet its network expansion commitment going forward.