Tech 2.0 for Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Facebook is in talks to buy Titan Aerospace to step up its efforts to provide Internet access to remote parts of the world, according to reports in the technology blog Techcrunch and financial news outlet CNBC. Both websites cited anonymous sources who were familiar with the deal and put a purchase price at $60 million. Facebook spokesman Tucker Bounds said Tuesday that the company does not comment on rumors and speculation. Titan Aerospace representatives did not respond to requests for comment. If Facebook does buy Titan Aerospace, the purchase could fit with the goals of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Internet.org project. The Facebook-led partnership aims to connect the more than 5 billion of the world's 7 billion people who are not already online. Google has a similar project called Project Loon.
Comcast says it will continue to offer low-cost broadband Internet connections to low-income families beyond the three-year commitment it made when it bought NBCUniversal. The extension beyond this June comes as Comcast seeks approval for its $45 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable, which will extend its lead as the nation's top pay TV and Internet access provider. Regulators are expected to spend around a year reviewing the deal. Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. plans to list the program's extension as one of the deal's benefits. It also pledged $1 million in grants to non-profit organizations to help pay for computer literacy sessions, buy computers and set up Wi-Fi hotspots. Comcast's Internet Essentials has so far connected 300,000 low-income homes with Internet access for $10 a month.
Dish Network and Disney have reached a landmark deal that envisions the day when Dish can send subscribers a range of TV programming over the Internet without the need for a satellite receiver on the roof. The deal announced late Monday paves the way for Dish to offer live local broadcasts from ABC TV stations and programming from ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN and ESPN2 over mobile devices, set-top boxes and other means, similar to how Netflix's video streams are delivered today. No start date for such a service was announced. In exchange, Dish Network Corp. would disable for three days a function on its Hopper digital video recorders that allows people to automatically record and strip out commercials from prime-time weeknight programming. But that's only for programs on ABC, which is owned by The Walt Disney Co.