Comcast, DirecTV Add On Demand

Comcast and DirecTV Group announced separately that they each plan to start selling top-rated TV series through a service that allows users to skip commercials and watch shows when they want. Cable provider Comcast partnered with CBS to sell shows including "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," above, the companies said. Satellite firm DirecTV said it will offer shows from NBC networks.

The on-demand offerings will permit commercial-free viewing within hours after the shows air for 99 cents an episode.


FCC Offers Reprieve on 911 Rule

The Federal Communications Commission gave a reprieve to Internet phone companies that fail to meet its Nov. 28 deadline for routing 911 calls to emergency response centers.

The FCC said it would not force companies that miss the deadline to cut off existing customers where the providers do not have 911 capability. However, it said it expected these companies to stop marketing their services and signing up new customers in these places.

The FCC this spring required Internet phone providers to set up 911 systems by Nov. 28 that send the phone number and location of a caller to emergency call centers or face unspecified punishment.


Qualcomm Sues Nokia

Qualcomm, the world's second-biggest cell phone maker, filed a patent-infringement suit against Nokia seven days after the company joined a group that accused Qualcomm of charging excessive royalties. The suit claims that Nokia phones sold in the United States in the past two years violate 11 of Qualcomm's patents, a Qualcomm lawyer said.


Firms Urged to Protect Free Speech

An alliance of investors and researchers is pledging to monitor technology companies that do business in countries with shaky human rights reputations and is asking the companies to proclaim their commitment to freedom of expression.

Twenty-five investment groups, representing about $21 billion in assets in the United States, Europe and Australia, are signatories to the initiative, which was spearheaded by the media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders, which has condemned technology firms that do business in repressive countries.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.