Comcast wins in arbitration, loses in market; blackout lawsuits combined

> Dish Network (Nasdaq: DISH) is playing hardball with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) SportsNet California, to the surprise of both Comcast and industry watchers. After a federal arbitrator ruled in Comcast's favor in a programming pay dispute, Dish, which sought the arbitration, simply pulled the channel off its lineup, maintaining that Comcast's pay demands are "unreasonable," and that basically the arbitrator is wrong. Story.

> Cablevision Systems (NYSE: CVC) subscribers are still seeking a pound of flesh--or a lighter monthly bill--thanks to the MSO's blackout-inducing feud with News Corp.'s (Nasdaq: NWSA) Fox Networks. A class action lawsuit filed in federal court in Brooklyn seeks $1.4 billion in damages and asserts that while Cablevision still refuses to provide rebates, it has offered two years' worth of $20-per-month credits to angry subscribers who threaten to disconnect their service. Cablevision declined to comment (of course). Story.

> This is how the rich get richer: No doubt tapping the wealth of online discounts offered by retailers on Cyber Monday, wealthier Americans who earn $75,000 a year or more reportedly use the Internet and Internet connected devices more often than those with less accumulated wealth, a Pew Research study says. Story.

> Speaking of the financially disadvantaged and the Internet, O3b Networks (a name that stands for Other 3 Billion, or the number of people who don't have Internet access), has secured final funding and is ready to launch a "fiber-quality, satellite based global Internet backbone for telecommunications operators and Internet service providers serving the emerging markets." The provider gathered in $1.2 billion from a group of high profile investors. News release.

> While on the subject of Internet subscribers, a new report by Analysys Mason predicts that global broadband connections will hit the 720 million mark by 2015. Story.

> Fixed broadband, of course, includes fixed wireless and smart grid, so it's probably appropriate to insert the fact that Burbank Water and Power has chosen Tropos Networks' outdoor wireless IP networks as part of their smart grid "network of networks." Got that? If not, read the release.

And finally... Comcast and NBC have made it known that they don't want to play nice with their online content and they wish the FCC would back off on those kinds of conditions when they approve the merger, the Washington Post reports. Story.