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Comcast to increase Internet speeds for free


Comcast to increase speed for free

Comcast announced Tuesday that it will be increasing Internet speeds for customers in its Northeast division, stretching from Virginia to Maine, at no additional cost. The company says speeds will increase by at least 25 percent, resulting in 80 percent of customers having speeds of 150 megabits per second. Customers with updated modems will simply need to restart them to experience faster Internet. Those who lease modems through Comcast will be contacted if an upgrade is required, and can request a free self-install kits from Xfinity if needed. Customers who own older modems will have to purchase or lease a new one to access higher speeds. The company says it has been increasing Internet speeds over the past year, including hiking speeds in the Boston area from 15 Mbps to 2 Gbps for residential customers and up to 100 Gbps for business customers. — MARGEAUX SIPPELL



S&P Global to buy Kensho Technologies

Cambridge technology startup Kensho Technologies Inc. is being bought by S&P Global for about $550 million, the New York firm said on Tuesday. Kensho, which was started five years ago by Daniel Nadler, is focused on so-called next generation machine learning and analytics. It works with various banks and financial institutions, as well as the national security community. S&P said that Kensho will continue to operate out of Cambridge after the deal closes, which is expected early in the second quarter of this year. — GLOBE STAFF


Survey finds that automation and robotics will mean job losses

Are the robots coming for our jobs? A survey conducted for Waltham edtech firm MindEdge doesn’t offer much by way of reassurance. Nearly half (42 percent) of the 1,000 US managers who were surveyed say that automation and robotics will lead to a net job loss in their respective industries, compared with 18 percent who say automation will create jobs. Among companies that have already adopted automation, 52 percent say the technology will lead to more job losses. About one-third of the respondents said that they’ve adopted robotics at their companies or some other form of advanced automation. Adoption was highest among manufacturers, and lowest among retailers. — JON CHESTO



Whoop Inc. to double its workforce

Whoop Inc.’s team keeps getting bigger. The Boston tech firm that specializes in athlete performance plans to roughly double its 45-person workforce over the next 24 months, in part with help from a new $25 million funding round. Whoop provides wristbands and software that allow athletes — as well as coaches and trainers — to track and study their performance and physiology. The latest funding round was led by UAE71 Capital of the United Arab Emirates, with participation from other new investors such as the National Football League Players Association, Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, and Thursday Ventures. A number of previous Whoop investors also participated. CEO Will Ahmed said the company has raised about $50 million through various funding rounds so far. — JON CHESTO


AG’s office reaches $7m settlement with National Grid over service fees

Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has reached a $7 million settlement with National Grid that will provide credits or refunds to thousands of customers who were improperly charged $50 service fees. The company had agreed in 2010 to eliminate a $50 reconnection fee for residential customers whose gas service was shut off for nonpayment. But Healey’s office found that the practice continued through 2016. The company blamed a coding error in its billing system. The refunds will total $3.8 million, according to Healey’s office. The settlement also requires National Grid to pay $3.2 million, which will be primarily dedicated to helping consumers pay or lower their natural gas bills. A spokeswoman for the attorney general says 53,800 customers were improperly charged the $50 fee, and many were charged multiple times, resulting in more than 76,000 improper fee assessments. The company has already begun issuing the credits, she said. — JON CHESTO



Managing director of Harvard’s endowment is leaving

Melinda Barber, who earlier this year was promoted to managing director at Harvard University’s endowment, is departing, according to a person familiar with the matter. Barber, who focuses on private equity at Harvard Management Co., is joining Pilot House Associates, which manages money for billionaire Amos Hostetter Jr., said the person, who asked not to be identified because the move hasn’t been announced publicly. Barber, a Dartmouth College business school graduate, joined Harvard Management in 2012 from Boston money manager Raptor Capital Management, according to her LinkedIn profile. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


French advertisers and broadcast watchdog launch campaign against sexist ads

Leading French advertisers and the country’s broadcast watchdog launched a nationwide plan Tuesday to fight sexist stereotypes in ads — from half-naked women selling vacuum cleaners to violent video games marketed to boys. France is seeing an upsurge in such moves in favor of women’s rights, notably in the wake of sexual abuse revelations in Hollywood that raised awareness of sexual violence and harassment around the world. Some, however, worry that things are going too far. At Paris Fashion Week, attendees questioned whether the advertising crackdown would infringe on artistic or sexual freedoms held dear by many in France. The head of France’s advertising regulator sought to allay those fears. ‘‘Nudity can be acceptable’’ in advertising for bathtubs and body creams, for example — ‘‘but not to sell a car,’’ Stephane Martin said. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Deal to buy Weinstein Co. falls through

A group of investors pulled out of a deal to buy the beleaguered Weinstein Co. on Tuesday after discovering tens of millions of dollars in undisclosed debt, according to people familiar with the negotiations. Maria Contreras-Sweet, who has been leading the group of buyers along with billionaire investor Ron Burkle, said in a statement that ‘‘disappointing information about the viability of completing this transaction’’ had led her to call off the sale. She didn’t offer further details. But two people familiar with the proceedings said the buyers came across documents showing liabilities beyond the $225 million the buyers had been prepared to take on. One of the people said the documents showed $64 million in additional debt. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss private negotiations publicly. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


UnitedHealthcare to pass on drugmaker rebates to customers

The nation’s biggest health insurer will pass drugmaker rebates along to some customers starting next year, giving a potential break to those taking expensive prescriptions. UnitedHealthcare said Tuesday it will let people covered by certain employer-sponsored health plans collect rebates when they fill prescriptions or at the point of sale. Those rebates could amount to a few dollars or several hundred dollars, depending on the drug. Drugmakers frequently give rebates for prescription drugs, but those discounts rarely flow directly to the people filling prescriptions. How these rebates are used has become a growing source of debate in recent years as the cost of some treatments has soared. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



RBS to pay $500m to N.Y. over mortgage-backed securities

The Royal Bank of Scotland agreed to pay $500 million to New York for using deceptive practices while marketing and selling mortgage-backed securities before the 2008 financial crisis, under a settlement announced on Tuesday. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said the settlement includes $100 million in cash to the state and $400 million worth of consumer relief for New York homeowners and communities. As part of the agreement, RBS admitted it sold investors residential mortgage-backed securities that failed to comply with underwriting guidelines. Schneiderman said the bank’s actions harmed ‘‘countless New York homeowners and investors’’ by contributing to the crash in home values. The British taxpayer-owned bank announced last month its 2018 earnings could be hit by a pending multibillion-dollar settlement with the US Department of Justice over its pre-financial crisis mortgage-backed securities. — ASSOCIATED PRESS