Austin ready to fight Time Warner Cable digital channel move; lobbyists continue to profit

> Yet another Texas city has weighed in--not happily, of course--on Time Warner Cable's (NYSE: TWC-WI) plan to digitize seven analog public TV channels. The Austin City Council will be voting on a resolution instructing the city manager to "take all actions he deems necessary, individually or jointly ... to ensure that access by Time Warner subscribers to Austin PEG channels remains uninterrupted. Elsewhere in the state, that action has included hiring a high-powered Washington, D.C. law firm to represent communities. Story.

> Pay TV subscribers are abandoning ship in record numbers--partially because it costs too much for service--and yet their service providers, Verizon (NYSE: VZ), AT&T (NYSE: T) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), along with the NCTA are helping lobbyists light cigars with $100 bills. The four spent a combined $33.1 million in lobbying in the first half of 2010. Story.

> Netflix may be making inroads into the traditional pay TV space, but it's going to have to do it without one of the premium content members. HBO, maintaining that there is "value in exclusivity" won't be sharing its content. Story.

> Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) is aiming at a fourth quarter launch date to start delivering addressable advertising to its 2.9 million subscribers in the New York metro area. Story.

And finally... here's some good news for world-watchers. The United Kingdom and Wales, two countries separated by a border, a language and other oddities while inhabiting the same small island, are closing their digital divide as Welsh customers become increasingly tech savvy. Almost two-thirds of the Welsh population now has a broadband connection compared to 71 percent in the U.K. Now, if the two countries could decide on a common language... Story.

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