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Broadband Direct

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

Providing access to the universe

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

Although the focus is squarely on promoting vigorous competition in a variety of telecommunications marketplaces, there are several provisions targeted directly at the public interest in the 1996 Act. One of these is the section pertaining to universal service, especially the language in Sections 254(h)(1) and (2) that provides for preferential access to basic and advanced telecommunications an...

Achieving 99.99 percent availability

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

Some excellent papers on network reliability were presented at the NCTA Technical sessions in Dallas last May, and on network availability at the SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies in San Francisco in January. Engineers and technicians responsible for planning and operating broadband networks need to become familiar with the concepts, as well as the causes and remedies, discussed in these...

Cable's interactive gateway?

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

As many predicted, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has reshuffled the deck of more than a few industries. Not only are cable operators and telcos desperately trying to figure out how to play the new hands they've been dealt, but various members of the utility industry have taken their seats at the table and are beginning to wager some interesting broadband bets.

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Lessons learned from ITV trials

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Dana Cervenka | Comments

Even as one company announces it's calling a halt to its interactive video trial, another pops up to replace it. Running counter to reports in the media of the "failure" of interactive television trials, faith that interactive services will someday take off is still running high among service providers—albeit, the paths to those services are many, and the process will be much more evoluti...

A Home Traffic Cop

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Clifford R. Holliday, P.E. | Comments

Around the world, deregulation of the telecommunications industry is resulting in competition among telephone carriers, cable TV services, utilities and other newcomers. One effect of this competition is the sudden emergence of not one, but several actual and potential broadband communications networks into homes and small businesses.

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Digital video copy protection details

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Digital Copycat and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Now, a similar deal is in the works for digital video. It directly affects the cable TV industry. It should allow earlier performance windows for hot new movies on pay-per-view, but it could raise the cost of set-tops. On balance, if movies are made available to cable earlier, it seems to me that this is a reasonable tradeoff.

Finally, here comes the digital video set-top

March 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Although digital television is off to an admittedly slow start, a number of new initiatives are pushing set-top manufacturers and component developers to develop new approaches that will ultimately result in lower-cost units, paving the way for mass deployment. More specifically, as recently as last month there were at least four different requests for proposals (RFP) on the street, and at leas...

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A unique approach

March 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Duane Elms, Director of Advanced Systems, Southern New England Telephone, and Tom Osterman, President, Comm/net Systems Inc. | Comments

Powering of hybrid fiber/coax systems remains a topic of much debate and discussion in the industry today. Operators are faced with the requirements of system reliability, concern about competition, constraints on capital and operating costs and the need to solve the powering dilemma as quickly as possible.

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Commercial availability and patents

March 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Set-Top Boxer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

One company that is headquartered in Richmond is Circuit City, a company that wants to sell cable boxes in its stores. Get the connection? If this section means what I think it means, and what Circuit City wants it to mean, it creates a direct conflict with the nation's patent laws. Let's look at the new law, and you'll see what I mean.

Advances spell end to net bottlenecks

March 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

Major advances toward commercialization of cutting edge switching, optoelectronic and millimeter wave technologies are opening the way to an explosion in broadband services to the business community in '97. At the switching level, manufacturers have begun incorporating newly standardized capabilities into ATM equipment, enabling carriers to move the technology into the core of the telecommunica...

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Stepping boldly into the digital future

March 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

With two years and $150 million invested in a state-of-the-art facility, Tele-Communications Inc. is finally poised to enter the digital age later this year when its Headend In The Sky (HITS) facility begins beaming digitally compressed video to headends around the country. Instantly, the advent of digitally compressed video channels can transform a run-of-the-mill, 36-channel cable system into...

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Mitigation of lightning-induced ingress

March 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by David Fellows, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology, Continental Cablevision | Comments

In areas of high lightning, the flash from the thunderbolt has been observed to induce optical impulses in fiber-optic cable, potentially limiting reliable transmission of analog and digital signals. This paper discusses an active pulse cancellation technique which mitigates this effect. Any architecture which uses fiber, especially passive optical networks and fiber-to-the curb, must use these...

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Money talks, but how fast can it speak?

February 29, 1996 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

CEOs of every major communications and hardware company were seemingly elated at the news. It is perhaps ironic now to realize that although the new law allows cable TV companies to get into the telephony business and telcos to offer video, neither scenario is immediately likely, except perhaps in some select markets.

How Time Warner is winning over Rochester with telephony

February 29, 1996 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

With the passage last month of the telecom reform bill, many are now predicting all-out war between cable MSOs, long distance carriers, local exchange carriers and every other communications provider as they skirmish to beat one another at their own game. In fact, battlelines are beginning to take shape in several locations, especially between the telcos themselves.

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Options abound for broadband network powering

February 29, 1996 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Just like the networks themselves, traditional thinking about powering options is undergoing a major revolution. As recently as a few years ago, there was one accepted network power design; today, there are numerous trade-offs to consider. For example, MSOs are already transitioning from 60-volt AC power to 90 volts to give them more "reach" with power.

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