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Broadband Direct

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


September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor-Chief | Comments

Imagine, for just a minute, that you're the world's largest Internet Service Provider, dominating a country that has gone absolutely Internet ga-ga. You have more than 17 million paying subscribers and a market capitalization higher than some countries. You have the power to make or break certain "dot-com" companies simply by choosing to (or not to) make a deal with them.

fee, PHY, fo, Fumble

September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

What with the accumulated hyperbole that's built up about the cable industry, high-speed data and cable modems going retail, it really can't be any surprise that the industry itself got caught up in the smaller-better-faster race that's engulfed the high-tech world. No sooner does one high-tech startup company bolt out of the starting blocks, than another entrepreneurial brainstormer shoots out...

More on "open access"

September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Unbundled Accessory and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Arguments over "open access"-AOL's political play to get access to cable modem subscribers-always seem to deal with legal issues-whether or not local franchising authorities have jurisdiction, whether cable modem service is cable service or telephone service, etc. Nobody is talking about the technical and operational difficulties in accomplishing open access.


Digital broadcasting cram down?

September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Walter S. Ciciora | Comments

Things that evolve over more than a decade tend to end up in ways not originally envisioned. When powerful special interest groups get involved, the ultimate outcome can become warped and not in the best interest of the public. It appears that this is happening with broadcast digital television. Let's begin the discussion by listing the stakeholders.

A line in the sand

September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

CableLabs didn't want to touch it. The National Cable Television Association said no, thanks. Even some of the most-oft quoted sources in cable TV chose to speak only on background. What is it that's keeping so many people mum? The dreaded "open access" concept. It's simply impossible to find anyone in the cable industry who isn't emotional about the issue.

Home networking: Cable TV's next payoff?

September 30, 1999 8:00 pm | by James Careless, Contributing Editor | Comments

Home networking-connecting multiple devices to a common cable TV connection-used to be a buzzword. Now, it's becoming a reality. The proof: in Canada, Rogers Cablesystems has been quietly rolling out home data networks for its @Home subscribers. The service is known as MIPs. Short for "Multiple IPs," MIPs "gives the customer up to three IP addresses for connecting PCs in the home," says Wayne H...

Squeezing new gear into existing headends

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl, Contributing Editor | Comments

Space may not be the cable industry's final frontier, but for operators trying to find more of it for their headend equipment, it's close. The advent of advanced services and technologies, including network monitoring, high-speed data, Internet access and more, is bringing with it on-going challenges to cable operators to squeeze more hardware and sophisticated components into an already shrink...


The next wave: Wireless/wireline hybrids?

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson, Contributing Editor | Comments

Once disparate broadband access strategies are beginning to coalesce around a tightly integrated, hybrid wireline/wireless platform that could pose significant new challenges to the dominant wireline players in cable and telephony. The idea of mixing fixed wireless and wireline components into a single network to accomplish wide and rapid penetration of the local marketplace started to take off...


Lighting up the neighborhood

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor-Chief; and David Iler, Associate Editor | Comments

Recent advances in optical technology are rapidly making possible something that just a couple of years ago was considered unthinkable: The deployment of fiber to nodes so small that the network has become almost entirely passive, and fiber is pushed so close to the home that consumers can nearly reach out and touch it.


Home wireless networks

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Wireless Netwatcher and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

As we know by now, home phones and computers are often in different rooms than cable boxes, and existing in-home phone wiring may be substandard for digital transmissions. Running new wiring from room to room is time- consuming and expensive. Wireless home networks will emerge in the next year or two as an important alternative.

Distance learning moves to the head of the class

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

The Internet is not only changing how we communicate with friends or how we buy the latest gadget for the kitchen, it's rocking the very foundation of the nation's educational system, according to Bob Harris, director of affiliate network services at Road Runner. And, he believes cable's broadband pipe and new distance learning technology has a pivotal role to play in this educational revolution.


Open mouth, insert foot?

August 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Those who follow the trials, tribulations and squabbles between corporate giants are all atwitter over the recent war between Microsoft and America Online over instant messaging, the real-time, private communications service that AOL subscribers love to use. The titan-sized conflict began in late July, when Microsoft and Yahoo released their own instant messaging software that allowed their use...

Troubling questions about cable's future

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

For many of the hard-working professionals in the broadband industry, talk is cheap. Over the years, they've grown accustomed to the hype surrounding cable's broadband pipe and the new services it can deliver. But they are typically hamstrung by a lack of qualified personnel, resources and other tools.

Cable - ready TVs

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Digital Cable Dreamer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Although most of the cable TV and digital TV receiver interconnection and interface issues have been resolved, there is still work to be done, and at least one dispute. The issues are seen most clearly within the context of defining the "digital cable-ready TV set." The consumer electronics manufacturers view cable-ready TVs as those that connect to the drop cable with an F-connector.

CE straightjacket for cable

July 31, 1999 8:00 pm | by Walter Ciciora | Comments

Several things happened recently which caused me to pause and wonder about where we are headed with cable set-top boxes. Is the consumer electronics model being imposed on cable in a manner that will stifle our video future? Moore's Law In early June, I was at the Montreux Television Symposium in Switzerland attending a workshop on Electronic Program Guides.


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