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Broadband Direct

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

Inside wiring - The next FCC attack

February 29, 1996 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Wiring Wizard and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Part 68 Part 68 of the FCC Rules contains detailed technical rules that were adopted to limit hazardous voltages that might be produced by customer-owned telephones, in order to protect the health and safety of telephone company employees. But it was quickly expanded at the request of telephone companies to prevent customers from bypassing the telephone network billing systems.

Cable on track to get what it wants in data

February 29, 1996 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

What would have seemed a dream list of capabilities for high-speed modem and data support systems just six months ago is now within reach for commercial rollouts this year. "We're much further along then I'd hoped to be at this point in the process," says Richard Green, president of Cable Television Laboratories, in reference to the industry's push for agreement on protocols.

Cable modem mania is beginning to build

February 29, 1996 7:00 pm | by Thomas W. Carhart, Product Marketing Manager, Motorola Cable Data Products; and Raja Natarajan, Principal Staff Engineer, Motorola Multimedia Group | Comments

Broadband data services have recently received a lot of well-deserved attention from the media and cable system operators. These novel data services provide extremely high-speed and cost-effective access to the Internet and other electronic services to residential and commercial subscribers. They create new value for cable system operators by capitalizing on cable systems' most unique asset...

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Power (and telecom) to the people

February 29, 1996 7:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

For many across this country, power to the people has meant the provision of public power. In fact, there are over 2,000 public power systems in operation today. Because some of these are currently expanding, modifying or upgrading their infrastructures to provide telecommunications services, and many more are taking a hard look at such developments, one day soon, public telecommunications in s...

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Multimedia distance learning networks

January 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Bob Beaury, President, and Tom Donahue, VP Sales and Product Development, Broadband Networks, Inc. | Comments

Cable television operators have a long history of providing service to institutional customers such as schools, businesses and government users. In the past 18 months, the combined factors of increased competition and demanding franchise renewals have made the provision of distance learning service mandatory for many operators, and for some, an opportunity to generate new revenues.

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Filling the potholes on the road to digital

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

The past year saw many gains in engineers' understanding of the performance parameters of hybrid fiber/coaxial networks, but the technical cost/benefit equation that is the key to the digital future remains nearly as elusive as ever. "The key pacing item is our ability to upgrade our networks," says David Woodrow, senior vice president for broadband services at Cox Communications.

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'Manageable' fear a handy safety tool

January 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

As fiber optics continues to spread throughout broadband communication plants, and new fiber equipment is beginning to feature higher power outputs, many safety and training professionals in the industry are re-energizing their fiber optic training efforts. Kevin Wilkes, director of field services for Integration Technologies, says that while fiber optic technology continues to change, fiber op...

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Brouse wins 1996 Polaris Award

January 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown and Leslie Ellis | Comments

John Brouse, director of network development at Jones Intercable, was named the 1996 Polaris Award winner at the SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies in San Francisco last month. The Polaris Award is sponsored by the SCTE, Corning Inc. and CED magazine and was created to recognize the efforts of the "next generation" cable engineer who exemplifies an aggressive and innovative approach to fi...

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Access charges for the Internet

January 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Perpetrator of Techno-Babble and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The last time the FCC wanted to impose access charges on "enhanced service vendors" like packet data networks and data retrieval services, it encountered a firestorm of grassroots opposition and threats from Congress. The FCC backed down. Now, an FCC staffer has been quoted as saying that this time, Internet users could be hit with this tax.

Hazards of retail set-top sales

January 31, 1996 7:00 pm | by Walt Ciciora | Comments

The topic covered here is the hazards of retail sale of set-top boxes. Congressman Bliley has put forth an amendment requiring the sale of set-top boxes from consumer electronics retailers such as Circuit City, one of his constituents. As I mentioned in a previous column, the consumer electronics industry has positioned set-top boxes as evil things, the work of the devil.

Seems like deja vu all over again

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

This isn't the first time that in-home cabling issues have risen to the top of the priority list. For years, the industry has been trying to deal with substandard in-home wiring and connectors that are typically installed by do-it-yourselfers. Often, the equipment used comes from retail hardware and electronics stores and is of poor quality, with little or no shielding.

Cable modems put industry on fast track

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

The cable television industry's intent to deploy high-speed data modems was shouted out loudly and ratified by nearly every large MSO during last month's Western Cable Show, where an unprecedented show of support for universal communication standards took place. Operators and vendors alike appeared to be in lockstep during a press conference at which they called for a set of common network inte...

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Is there a fly in the standards ointment?

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

While granting its historic proportions, one has to be skeptical of its chances for immediate success. This truly is one assignment that is easier said than done. For those who haven't heard yet, an impressive list of MSOs and hardware manufacturers shared the dais with CableLabs during the Anaheim show.

Out in front on new network technologies

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by CED Staff | Comments

Wilt Hildenbrand's office doesn't look like those normally inhabited by vice presidents of technology at the big multiple system operators-it's small, almost Spartan in its appointments. It's also more cluttered than most, and it's filled with toys. Not kid toys, mind you, but fun things like personal computers attached to high-speed modems, and a TV outfitted with interactive guides and services.

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MSOs ready to draw on compression

December 31, 1995 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The cable industry is finding itself forced to reopen the book on compression just as the primary supplier of digital technology to MSOs is preparing to deliver on its long-standing commitments. Leading companies are rethinking earlier decisions to launch General Instrument Corp.'s proprietary DigiCipher extension of MPEG-2, with issues ranging from the costs of memory versus costs of bandwidth...

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