Weekly Technology News


technologyAfter a long layoff, here is your Weekly Technology News: Starring Netflix, Altice, and the UN whining about WIFI in Cuba!

Altice CEO Says Buying Spree Paused After Cablevision Deal – Altice CEO Dexter Goei said the European company, which last week agreed to buy Cablevision Systems, will take a break from its buying binge to focus on trimming costs and integrating cable systems. Unless, that is, closely held Cox Communications becomes available. Pausing doesn’t mean Altice is done with making deals. Goei’s boss, Patrick Drahi said last week that Altice wants to buy more cable providers and may eventually acquire a wireless carrier. The cable operator, which made a surprise entry in the U.S. market in May with a deal to buy a controlling stake in Suddenlink Communications, is on a campaign to consolidate the industry into three or four major cable providers.

netflixNetflix Data Reveal When Viewers Commit to Shows – New data from Netflix revealed the point at which users fully commit to some of the most popular TV shows on its service. For instance, it took only two episodes of “Breaking Bad” for the vast majority of viewers to buy into the crime drama and complete the first season. “How I Met Your Mother,” on the other hand, didn’t hit a critical mass of loyal Netflix viewers until its eighth episode. Netflix examined viewing patterns in the first season of 25 of the most-watched TV series in its catalog and identified the episode where 70 percent or more of viewers went on to finish at least the show’s first season. Netflix uses such data to predict viewing patterns and determine how much money to spend on original or licensed shows.

Cuba Clamors for Wi-Fi – Cuba’s new Wi-Fi hotspots – 35 nationwide since July with more promised soon – are a sensation in a highly controlled country with Internet penetration among the world’s lowest. And residents want the government to provide more, cheaper and less restricted Wi-Fi for Cuba’s 11 million people. U.S. technology firms are keen to step in and help provide better service, especially in the wake of a diplomatic detente between Washington and Havana and an easing of some half-century-old U.S. trade restrictions. The potential is obvious: less than a third of Cubans have access to the Web, with only 3.4 percent of homes connected to either the Internet or a local Cuban Intranet, according to U.N. data. Cuba says it wants broadband in 50 percent of homes by 2020.

Kids Prefer Mobile Devices for Gaming – Smartphones and tablets are now the most popular devices used for gaming among children in the age range of 2 to 17, according to a report released Wednesday by the NPD Group. The report, titled “Kids and Gaming 2015,” found that 63 percent of kids said they play games on a mobile device. On the flip side, 45 percent of kids use a home PC for gaming, a drop of 22 points since 2013. The decline is most prominent among children ages 2 to 5. Video game consoles are also losing ground –  used by 60 percent of kids surveyed compared with 67 percent in 2013.

United NationsU.N.: 4 Billion People Are Still Without Internet – A new report from the United Nations’ Broadband Commission found that 57 percent of the world, or a total of 4.2 billion people, don’t have regular access to the Internet. Internet access is worst in least developing countries (LDCs), where only one in 10 people is online, the report found. The report called on countries to adopt “effective policies and strategies to make broadband available, affordable and accessible, as a vital enabler of sustainable development in modern-day knowledge societies.” It also called for all countries to draw up a National Broadband plan. Currently only 148 countries have such a plan.

Instagram Hits 400 Million Users – Facebook-owned Instagram announced that it has hit 400 million users. This comes just nine months after announcing that it hit the 300 million mark. Instagram’s newest 100 million users propel the app well ahead of Twitter, at 316 million monthly active users. Among the last 100 million to join, more than half live in Europe and Asia with Brazil, Japan and Indonesia adding the most Instagrammers. The app said 75 percent of its users live outside of the U.S. The latest numbers will be a big boost for Facebook as it looks to monetize Instagram. It has recently introduced a number of features such as sponsored posts and is planning to introduce targeted ads too

BT Pledges Major Upgrade to Broadband Network – British telecommunications provider BT has vowed to upgrade its Internet broadband network in the U.K. By 2020, the provider wants 10 million homes and small businesses to have access to speeds of 300-500 Mbps, with gigabit Internet on the horizon, too. Until then, BT will focus on delivering a new universal minimum broadband speed of 5-10Mbps. The “majority” of homes in BT’s service area should have super-fast 300-500 Mbps service within the next decade.

Sources: Bloomberg,CBS News; CNBC; CNET;Consumerist; Engadget;Fast Company; Forbes; Fortune;Gizmodo;Light Reading;Mashable; PC Magazine; RCR Wireless News;Reuters;TechCrunch;USA Today; Wall Street Journal; Wired;The Verge; Variety;  Washington Post; VentureBeat.

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