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Broadband Direct

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

Eliminating the access network choke point

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Bob Scott, Director of Marketing, Optoelectronics, Scientific-Atlanta; and Robert Loveless, Director Strategic Planning and Technology, Scientific-Atlanta | Comments

Pressure on network and cable operators is escalating as new competitors enter the market and subscribers demand more applications and interactive services. Advances in Wide Area Network (WAN) technology are leading to huge bandwidth increases, a cost-per-bit that is quickly approaching zero, and content that can be virtually anything, and come from just about anywhere.


Tripping the light fantastic

August 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

When the word "laser" is uttered, you might think about compact discs. You might think about the latest in eye surgery and the miraculous return of 20/20 vision. You could even think about a jiggly red dot darting back and forth across a long-forgotten PowerPoint presentation in some darkened auditorium.


Open Access court decision

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Open Access Explicator and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has overturned the Oregon District Court decision and has prohibited Portland from imposing an Open Access requirement on AT&T Broadband. Amazingly, the losers have claimed victory! Anyway, the real question now is how Open Access will be implemented, not whether.


Spectrum sales and must-carry

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora, Ph.D., Recognized Industry Expert on Cable and Consumer Electronics Issues | Comments

In September, the FCC proposes to auction off channels 60 to 69. This is expected to generate a huge amount of money for the U.S. Treasury, making the FCC a profit center for the U.S. government. This has potentially unpleasant ramifications for the cable industry. Why? In 1983, television broadcast channels 70 to 83 were reassigned to cellular phone service.

The return of MMDS

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editorial Director, Broadband | Comments

It wasn't all that long ago that cable operators had total control over their markets. Oh sure, they hated being called monopolists and fought desperately to convince national and local governments that they didn't have a stranglehold on local multichannel video services, but in fact, they were the only game in town.

Residential gateways carve out market niche

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

The emergence of the "residential gateway" as an entry point to the burgeoning home network market and the impressive revenues it promises is sparking increased interest among a growing collection of service providers, set-top box and cable modem manufacturers, and a host of other entrants. The home network market is expected to be valued at $5.

Taking the set-top out of the equation

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Roger Pience, CTO; and Dan L. Trayler, VP Sales; Macrodyne | Comments

The technical capabilities of cable TV systems are being constantly enhanced and expanded beyond the traditional entertainment services to provide cable operators with new revenue streams. For many years, the cable industry has attempted to implement methods to improve the cable/consumer electronics interface while protecting the cable operator's investment in programming.


VCR functionality gets up close and personal

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

It wasn't all that long ago that when people talked about time shifting, they were one of two things. They were either rabid film buffs that had a lock on MGM's 1960 semi-classic sci-fi flick, "The Time Machine," starring Rod Taylor; or they were rabid "Star Trek" fans that got off on episodes featuring the Federation's time-traveling nemesis, "Q.


MPEG - 4: Cable's new hope for streaming media?

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Dana Mendell, Executive Editor | Comments

As the consumer's hunger for ever more bandwidth and new applications such as broadband multimedia over the Internet grows, cable operators are compelled to keep up with demand by finding more bandwidth-efficient solutions and even more creative ways to deliver content. One technology that's currently piquing the interest of cable operators and manufacturers alike is the MPEG-4 standard, often ...

Welcome to the 'SMART HOUSE'

July 31, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor | Comments

Thanks to the potential of the residential gateway, the home of the future is starting to take on Jetsonian proportions. Get ready, George and Astro, the future may not be very far away. Serving as the "brains" of the "smart home," the residential gateway is being touted as a portal device that distributes and shares the bandwidth that runs in and out of homes, enabling a cadre of voice, video ...


June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Staff | Comments

Following a series of fits and starts and well-publicized trials like Time Warner's Full Service Network in Orlando, video-on-demand (VOD) finally appears ready to erupt as the cable industry moves further into 2000 and beyond. That time couldn't get here soon enough for the domestic cable industry, which continues to lose market share to orbital competitors like DirecTV and EchoStar, and which...

Vendors put VOD on front burner

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor; and Mike Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

Spurred by aggressive moves by cable MSOs such as Time Warner Cable, Insight Communications, Cox and Comcast, the lucrative promise of video-on-demand (VOD) is finally morphing from a mere broadband pipe-dream to a budding reality. Though 2000 has been witness to a surge of VOD deployments and market trials, VOD's true day in the sun won't likely arrive until next year.

Time is money, Part 2

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Thomas G. Robinson, Executive Vice President, CBG Communications | Comments

Ah, summer! In television land, the shows now run the gamut from summer re-runs to innovative try-outs, such as the latest programming phenomenon, "Survivor." In comparison, you could say that the cable industry's forays into the business and institutional marketplace have seemingly run more toward the retreads and less toward the cutting-edge.

Regulate the Internet?

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Internet Irregular and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Loudly they shout, "Don't regulate the Internet!" And then softly, they add, "unless it gives us some business benefit." Who? Well, practically anyone might, but this time I caught the TV set manufacturers saying it. They want the government to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs), and particularly cable operators who provide cable modem service, because they think it will help their busi...

Skirting Disaster

June 30, 2000 8:00 pm | by James Miller, CBCP, Business Continuity Planning Manager, MediaOne Broadband Services | Comments

In 1988, the Illinois Bell Telephone system suffered a catastrophic fire in its Hinsdale switching center. The fire impacted 38,000 customers, caused an estimated $60 million in damage and left many commercial customers without reliable service for more than four weeks (1). In the summer of 1998, the Bell Canada Central office in Toronto experienced a fire that impacted 113,000 telephone lines,...


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