blah blah broadband blah blah blah
Broadband policy is back, which should be a cue for everyone's eyes to glaze over. Problem is,every time you succumb to that urge, you end up with CableCards or something.
There were two congressional hearings on the subject in the last week. The general theme was that something has to be done to increase broadband penetration, which is lagging in the U.S., now matter how you slice it, or who's doing the slicing.
On the positive side, recent testimony given before Congress emphasizes that the opportunity for anyone other than incumbents in the business services market is still enormous. The downside for MSOs (and telcos) is that there's growing enthusiasm in D.C. for a third-pipe supplier with a viable product.
A week ago, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Sen. John Kerry, held hearings on broadband policy.
"We cannot expect small businesses to fairly compete against more technologically advanced competitors," Kerry said. "Some experts estimate that universal broadband would add $500 billion to the U.S. economy and create 1.2 million jobs. With numbers like these beckoning, we need to focus on reestablishing our technological edge."
The two Democratic appointees to the FCC board, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, both testified, and both presented evidence to back up claims greater broadband penetration has salutary affects (Adelstein's comments here, Copps' here).
Both reported that one of the biggest complaints small businesses have is a lack of choice for broadband services. Their recommendations, in summary: more grants, more incentives, more regulations, more anything that would encourage more competition. And if that includes more competitors, so be it.
The House Telecommunications Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Edward Markey (what is going on in Massachusetts that Congress is giving all these telecom assignments to Mass. pols?), met this week.
One of the main topics that day was special access - the ability of third parties, such as Sprint, to use the physical assets of incumbents, notably AT&T and Verizon, to reach business customers. Copps quoted the GAO, which has found that 94 percent of all commercial buildings are served by incumbents. Sprint wants regulations to encourage more effective competition through special access. AT&T and Verizon, hate the very idea and are trying desperately to change the subject.
Verizon EVP Tom Tauke dismissed special access, then launched another attack on the Universal Service Fund (USF), an outgrowth of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Tauke said the USF is desperately in need of reform.
USF underwrites access to low income citizens, subsidizes access where the cost is especially high, provides for access in rural health care applications, and provides subsidies for access in schools and libraries.
Days after Tauke's testimony, the FCC's Office of Inspector General (FCC-OIG) issued a report, which contained the conclusion that "In general, the audits indicated compliance with the Commission's rules, although erroneous payment rates exceeded 9% in most USF program segments."
Scott Wallsten, a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, another think tank funded in part by the three remaining incumbents, chimed in with written testimony claiming regulation bad, market forces good, no evidence, hey, what's that over there?
Why, it's better reporting of broadband statistics - something just about everybody is in favor of. Months and months ago, the FCC said it was looking for comments on how to get better statistics. Copps and Adelstein in their testimony said they are for it. The FCC might actually adopt a better definition of broadband than service of at least 200 kbps.
If I were to bet, I'd look at recent historical precedent and put my money on the outcomes desired by AT&T and Verizon.
|Brian Santo, IP Capsule Editor & CED Magazine Editor
TWC launches IPTV for biz customers
Time Warner Cable Business Class introduced an IPTV service that delivers broadcast TV directly to the computers of its customers. Called BusinessLink.tv, the service is available in some of TWC's New York and New Jersey markets. The 10-channel IPTV line-up requires a LAN with a core bandwidth capacity of 4 Mbps, and is delivered via cable modem. The company is offering free 30-day trials of BusinessLink.tv.
AT&T's trumpets U-verse in Houston, Connecticut
AT&T announced its U-verse service TV and Internet services are now available to 400,000 homes in the Houston area and another 135,000 homes in Connecticut.
RGB debuts video system optimized for telco IPTV
RGB Networks introduced a video processing system specifically designed for telephone companies as they deploy video. RGB is billing the Modular Video Processor (MVP) as a complete carrier-class IPTV solution. RGB said it consulted closely with several large telecom carriers in designing the MVP.
The TUB is going FTTP
Tullahoma Utilities rides Wave7 to FTTP
The Tullahoma (Tennessee) Utilities Board (TUB) has selected Wave7 Optics' Trident7 Universal Access Platform for a municipal FTTP network that will begin service to homes, businesses and schools in late Q3, 2008. TUB will begin construction of the $16.9 million network migration project later this year and expects to complete the project in 2010. The network will offer a voice, high-speed data (20+ Mbps) and a 200-channel IPTV with VOD.
Entropic bows new triple play software for MDUs, home
Entropic Communications said today that its new software, called c.Link Access 1.5, is available for purchase. The software was designed to deliver triple-play services over cable connections in multi-dwelling units, high-density dwellings and single-family homes.
Two more choose Alloptic system
Alloptic has added Bend Broadband to its client list. Bend Broadband will use Alloptic's MicroNode products for an FTTP rollout. Separately, Lexcom Communications has selected Alloptic's hybrid RF PON system to supply triple play services.
Huawei, investment firm, to buy 3Com
Bain Capital and Huawei Technologies will buy IP networking specialist 3Com for more than $2 billion. Bain would be the majority owner. 3Com and Huawei were partners in a joint venture, Huawei-3Com, founded in 2003. 3Com bought out Huawei's share in the venture late last year. At the time, Huawei said its divestment would allow it to concentrate on its core technology of fixed-mobile convergence (FMC) systems.
Intel joins MoCA
The Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) announced that Intel has joined as a contributing member. (MoCA) is an open, industry driven initiative promoting distribution of digital video and entertainment through coaxial cable in the home. MoCA technology is designed to provide the backbone for whole home entertainment networks of multiple wired and wireless products.
Ciena to upgrade AboveNet's network
Ciena said that AboveNet has deployed its CN 4200 FlexSelect Advanced Services Platform throughout its metro networks to support a variety of private networks transporting Ethernet, IP and other managed services.
Company: Acme Packet
CEO: Andy Ory
Claim to Fame: A specialist in the area of session border control (SBC) - assuring the connections from one IP-based network to another. Customers are an international who's who of service providers, including British Telecom (BT), Broadwing, Centurytel, Charter Communications, China Unicom, Covad, Earthlink, France Telecom, Global Crossing , Hanaro, KDDI, Korea Telecom (KT), Neuf Cegetel, NTT Com, Qwest, Speakeasy, Sprint, Telecom Italia, Telmex (Telefonos de Mexico), Telus, and Time Warner Cable.
Recent News of Note: Bandwidth.com became the latest provider to use the company's SBCs.