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Broadband Direct

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

MSOs take VoIP for a test drive

January 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson Contributing Editor | Comments

Now that the cable industry has united behind a uniform approach to delivering IP voice services over its networks, a growing number of MSOs are pushing ahead with plans to deploy the new platform on a wide scale as quickly as possible. Time Warner Cable, Comcast Corp. and Le Groupe Videotron have made it known they're testing the technology in preparation for commercial launches, and vendors r...

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Ops adopt migratory node size strategies

January 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl Contributing Editor | Comments

Passive and near-passive may be the operative words when deciding how many homes warrant a single fiber node, but when it comes to the economics of fewer homes per node, cable operators are showing signs of passive and near-passive mentalities. Fiber costs are falling, glass and optronics costs are stabilizing, and other key components to reducing node sizes are generally more affordable than e...

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The biggest decision

January 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Local Loop Loiterer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

What was the FCC's biggest, most important decision in 1999? I think it was the local loop line sharing decision that came out in December. It requires incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) to lease the high frequency portion of their wire pair local loops to competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) for digital subscriber line (DSL) services.

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Avoiding the demise of broadcast TV

January 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Walter Ciciora HDTV is Essentially Doomed by the FCC's Rules on Simulcasting. | Comments

This column asks a difficult question: Does DTV mean the demise of broadcast television? And it presents a possible disastrous outcome which is an unintended consequence of DTV. This is not a prediction, but an inquiry into a possibility. Note that the issue is not whether broadcasters will cease to exist.

Meet the new boss

January 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

So, just who is this guy, this Steve Case, this soon-to-be new top dog of the nation's second-largest cable company? Like him or not, Case is a pure, in-your-face, entrepreneurial marketing genius. Starting as a youth, he brainstormed with his brother Dan, searching for ways to make money. Making the most out of the daily contact he had with people on his paper route, he sold seeds, Christmas c...

Flexing your bandwidth

January 31, 2000 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

Increasing bandwidth demands from the roll-out of new services, coupled with falling costs of optical components and fiber cable, are forcing broadband network operators to once again review the way they're designing their networks. More often than not, they're becoming increasingly interested in reducing node sizes-sometimes to a level considered economically impossible just a few short years ...

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Packet Man

December 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director | Comments

Mark Coblitz has everyone faked out. His vast knowledge of arcane RF transport issues, the intricacies of TCP/IP protocol stacks, packet-based telephony and myriad other subjects often lead people, including engineers, to think he is one, but surprise! He's not. Similarly, some might see the bookish redhead as little more than a quiet, introspective thinker.

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New millennium, new revenue streams

December 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson, Executive Vice President, CBG Communications | Comments

According to a recent study by Standard & Poor's, the cable industry will need to rapidly escalate revenues to the equivalent of just under $100 per subscriber per month in order to recoup acquisition costs (and this does not include capital expenditures related to network upgrades). While growth in residential market revenue streams is key, the time is certainly ripe for the business infra...

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Modernizing network power

December 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by CED staff | Comments

Four or five years ago, when competitive pressures were leading many cable operators to consider offering telephony services over their networks, the process of upgrading cable networks to carry power for telephone services topped engineering discussions. Those conversations covered a range of issues, from the shift to 90 volts from 60 volts, to technician safety and the corrosive effects of pa...

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The COFDM problem

December 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Digital TV Dawdler and and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Broadcasters have a problem. Sinclair Broadcasting has petitioned the FCC to allow the use of COFDM (Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) modulation as an alternative to 8-VSB for digital broadcasting, because it appears that COFDM does a better job of correcting dynamic multipath interference.

Serendipity in Philadelphia

December 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director | Comments

During my meeting with Mark Coblitz in Comcast's opulent Philadelphia headquarters, it became obvious to me that it was extremely wise to select him as CED's Man of the Year. I had heard him speak before, most recently at a CableLabs-sponsored PacketCable briefing. I recall being impressed by his ability to "talk tech" and also being surprised when he said he wasn't an engineer by trade.

Aiming for eyeballs

December 31, 1999 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

The two leading cable data service providers are putting a new generation of broadband content tools to use in aggressive growth strategies that represent clashing views of cable's future. With some 1.5 million cable subscribers between them, Excite@Home Inc. and Road Runner are pulling out all the stops to capitalize on their advanced infrastructures to deliver eye-popping content and ads that...

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Evaluating VOD deployment options

November 30, 1999 7:00 pm | by Quintin Williams, Director of Sales, Eastern Region, Concurrent Computer Corp | Comments

The digital age is now upon us. With millions of digital set-tops now deployed in cable networks, and thousands more being installed every week, network operators are beginning to look beyond simple broadcast services toward new, interactive services, One service that many operators are banking on is video-on-demand.

Products of the Millennium

November 30, 1999 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

It allowed cable to penetrate major U.S. markets, and most experts agree this single event forever changed the cable industry and defined it as a legitimate communications medium. Yet with each step the industry takes, cutting-edge technologies and dazzling new hardware are proving to be its hallmark, and are expected to lead cable into a new millennium of great promise, great technologies and ...

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What ever happened to digital radio?

November 30, 1999 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Enhanced Digital Listener and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Sometimes, the development of new technology takes much longer than expected. Consider, for example, CD-quality, terrestrial digital radio broadcasting. Work has been underway for at least 10 years on various schemes to migrate from analog FM radio broadcasting to digital broadcasting. (See June 1991 "Capital Currents.

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