Historically, wireless cable service (known as MMDS) hasn't posed enough of a competitive threat to keep wireline cable operators up at night—but that's about to change. Soon, MSO execs may be haunted by nightmares of giant microwave towers, sporting coats-of-arms with the letters RBOC, as they trample everything in their path.
The passage of the Telecom Reform Act has dramatically changed the structure of the communications industry. Suddenly, everybody can get into everyone else's business. The bill's advocates hope the new lack of regulation will allow unfettered competition, which should be good for consumers by driving down prices.
He claims he wants to let the marketplace make the decisions. But there's a chicken-and-egg problem. In this case, we'd all be better off by having the FCC, not the marketplace, decide to go ahead with HDTV. Otherwise, we risk losing our lead in this technology to other countries. Remember VCRs? Testing of the Grand Alliance Digital HDTV system was completed last summer.
Anyone who made the trek to Los Angeles last month for the National Cable Show and visited only the hardware booths could have easily mistaken this "cable TV" show for a "computer" show like Comdex. While certainly not as massive as a Comdex, the NCTA show did set a record for number of registrants (more than 30,000), and the clear focus was on high-speed data delivery and little else.
Computers have changed the way people work, play and even create and the cable industry is certainly no exception. Yet, as the 20th century careens toward its inevitable conclusion, computer hardware and software applications have finally vaulted over the last bastion of hardwire, creating fundamental changes in headend design and operations.
These rules were required to implement Section 17 of the 1992 Cable Act. Shortly after these rules were issued, numerous Petitions for Reconsideration were filed by both the consumer electronics and the cable sides. The FCC has issued its reconsideration in a Memorandum Opinion And Order released April 10, 1996 and has modified the rules.
Some excellent papers on network reliability were presented at the NCTA Technical sessions in Dallas last May, and on network availability at the SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies in San Francisco in January. Engineers and technicians responsible for planning and operating broadband networks need to become familiar with the concepts, as well as the causes and remedies, discussed in these...
Around the world, deregulation of the telecommunications industry is resulting in competition among telephone carriers, cable TV services, utilities and other newcomers. One effect of this competition is the sudden emergence of not one, but several actual and potential broadband communications networks into homes and small businesses.
Even as one company announces it's calling a halt to its interactive video trial, another pops up to replace it. Running counter to reports in the media of the "failure" of interactive television trials, faith that interactive services will someday take off is still running high among service providers—albeit, the paths to those services are many, and the process will be much more evoluti...
The shifting interplay of technical and strategic developments in PCS is redefining the cable industry's options in telephony, posing both a challenge and an opportunity to MSO strategists. Where much of cable's focus has been on making wireline delivery of telephony technically and commercially viable as a prerequisite to deep involvement in wireless services, developments on the wireless fron...
Now, a similar deal is in the works for digital video. It directly affects the cable TV industry. It should allow earlier performance windows for hot new movies on pay-per-view, but it could raise the cost of set-tops. On balance, if movies are made available to cable earlier, it seems to me that this is a reasonable tradeoff.
Although the focus is squarely on promoting vigorous competition in a variety of telecommunications marketplaces, there are several provisions targeted directly at the public interest in the 1996 Act. One of these is the section pertaining to universal service, especially the language in Sections 254(h)(1) and (2) that provides for preferential access to basic and advanced telecommunications an...
Most of those working in the cable industry should know what virtual circuits are, but have they ever stopped to think about how those circuits might apply to their industry? Everyone talks about the use of this technique in traditional telephone networks. In that network environment, the idea is that the paths between central offices would be used in a virtual way to conserve resources.
As many predicted, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has reshuffled the deck of more than a few industries. Not only are cable operators and telcos desperately trying to figure out how to play the new hands they've been dealt, but various members of the utility industry have taken their seats at the table and are beginning to wager some interesting broadband bets.
One company that is headquartered in Richmond is Circuit City, a company that wants to sell cable boxes in its stores. Get the connection? If this section means what I think it means, and what Circuit City wants it to mean, it creates a direct conflict with the nation's patent laws. Let's look at the new law, and you'll see what I mean.