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Broadband Direct

Daily news and top headlines for broadband communications engineering and design professionals

Singing the digital must-carry blues

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Pushing the Cable Signal Carriage and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

But one thing is certain—the industry is relying on the NCTA to take the lead in lobbying these important techno-political issues at the FCC, but I've heard disturbing rumors that the NCTA is thinking about eliminating its Science & Technology Department. That would be a mistake. When Congress amended the Communications Act in 1992, it required most cable systems to allocate up to one...

How do you replace an industry icon?

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

If you do, the National Cable Television Association wants to hear from you — now. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know that Wendell Bailey, who held down the top engineering job at the NCTA for the past 16 years, has departed. Some even feared that the NCTA was considering not replacing him, opting instead to let Cable Television Laboratories and the Society of Cable Telecomm...

21st Century lays out its plan

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Not since the days of the notorious Al Capone has Chicago seen the all-out war that's about to be unleashed there. When the Telecom Act was overhauled in 1996, supporters promised it would lead to a new era of competition. Generally, however, that hasn't yet happened, except in a few markets. But soon, the city of Chicago will witness a shoot-out so intense, it might match the bloodletting that...


Operators dodge flak in Silicon Valley

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The Open Cable set-top initiative notwithstanding, the cable industry faces an uphill battle when it comes to any effort to insulate itself from the influence of Microsoft Corp. over the software framework for next-generation media. Industry leaders have made clear their desire to facilitate flexibility in their choice of set-top operating systems through a terminal architecture that can exploi...

Are there strings attached?

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

Up until just a couple of months ago, the cable industry seemed to be the butt of a well-worn Rodney Dangerfield joke — the industry just couldn't get no respect. It's amazing what $1 billion here and $1 billion there can do to change people's perceptions practically overnight. Suddenly this summer, cable operators were touring the Silicon Valley.

Suddenly, the team doesn't feel the same

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Reaction throughout the highest levels within the cable industry's technical community might have been similar last month when Wendell Bailey, the National Cable Television Association's venerable VP of science and technology, parted from the Washington-based lobbying organization after 16-plus years.

IP telephony plan no longer stuck on 'hold'

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

IP telephony, floated as an interesting possibility for cable interests in industry forums at the start of this year, has quickly moved to the front burner, bringing with it a seachange in MSO thinking about voice services, and indeed, about data networking in general. Cable companies and their affiliates involved in the delivery of data services are working closely with a variety of vendors in...

Place your bets

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Spectrum Auction Strategist and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Background In 1991, the FCC granted a license for 1000 MHz of spectrum in the 27.5–28.5 GHz band in New York City to a company that is now known as CellularVision of New York (CVNY). CVNY proposed to use the spectrum to offer 49 channels of analog video, in a network configuration that reused the 1000 MHz of spectrum in cells only a few miles in radius.


The effects of bit on baud demystified

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Jim Farmer | Comments

The correct answer: "affect" is usually a verb, so use that word when you mean to do something. "Affect" can also be a noun, if you are referring to someone's "emotional affect," or the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion, separate and distinct from bodily changes. "Effect" is usually a noun, so use it when you are talking about something.

Nebraska op cashes in on educational data

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis | Comments

When Galaxy Cablevision undertook a network upgrade two years ago, it seemed a logical way to save on costs by consolidating headends. This month, that upgrade turns into a moneymaker, too, as Galaxy starts collecting state funds from the Nebraska Department of Education for distance learning and high-speed data services.


Cracking the commercial telecom market

September 30, 1997 8:00 pm | by Leo A. Wrobel, President and CEO, Premiere Network Services Inc. | Comments

Whether provided by telephone or cable companies, the networks of tomorrow will require close collaboration between carriers, equipment vendors and government regulatory authorities. Does your company simply wait for its equipment manufacturers to come in and dictate the direction of technology, running the risk of becoming road-kill on the information superhighway, or do you like to dabble and...

Survey-said! Focus on purchaser preference

August 31, 1997 8:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

My grandfather, in fact, a now long-retired coal miner, is the epitome of the company man (just think of Tennessee Ernie Ford's song "16 Tons," and you'll get the picture). So I've got a bit of a feel about the turmoil the strikers are going through, especially the long-timers — proud of their association with "Big Brown" but increasingly concerned about how that association is changing.


Satellite plans pose new competition

August 31, 1997 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Satellite Skywatcher and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

First, a review. Geostationary satellites ("GEO") orbit the Earth in a circular orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km, with an orbital period exactly equal to the 24-hour rotational period of the Earth, so they appear to be stationary as the Earth rotates. (What I said in my July column about balancing of gravitational forces was wrong; the satellite's centrifugal force balances the Earth's gravity.

US West playing hardball in the majors

August 31, 1997 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Yes, it's true that the abrupt change of strategy within US West Media Group (the parent company of Media One) will throw some lives out of kilter and force some hard decisions among MediaOne employees who are native Bostonians faced with relocation. After all, when the media giant acquired the former Continental Cablevision last fall, company CEO Bud Hostetter was assured the company headquart...

Video perks give data a sharper image

August 31, 1997 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The prospects for adding innovative and high advanced types of video-enhanced content to high-speed data channels have brightened considerably in recent months, thanks to emergence of new software tools that not only support video distribution, but greatly alter the functionality within the data feed.



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