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Broadband Direct

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

Here comes the new FCC

December 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Watcher and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy of Rockville, Maryland | Comments

And most recently, we learned that the chief of the cable bureau plans to resign. Among other things, all of this change guarantees delays in decision-making. But considering some of the decisions made under the last FCC chairman, delay is just fine, thank you. Once upon a time There used to be seven FCC commissioners, but now there are five.

Cablephone flies in the Netherlands (A2000 signs $100M contract to build network)

December 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Dana Cervenka | Comments

Reports of cable telephony's demise may have been greatly exaggerated, especially outside of the U.S., where different dynamics are at work, making the service an attractive offering in cable operators' multi-service arsenal. One case in point is cable operator A2000 Cable Television and Telecommunications, a Netherlands-based joint venture between United & Philips Communications (UPC) B.


Where do we go from here? (Four CTOs bring us up-to-speed)

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Heading into this year's Western Cable Show, the cable industry stands at a crossroads. It is about to embark on a historic journey that will take it into an era that includes digital video, high-speed data and potentially other services, including interactive TV and telephone-over-cable. To determine how the MSOs are preparing for this new future, we brought together four highly-respected seni...


Broadband telecom center explores last-mile technology

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Craig Kuhl | Comments

The Georgia Institute of Technology's Broadband Telecommunications Center (BTC), with nearly $3 million in funding from the Georgia state lottery, is establishing itself as a valuable research center for the cable and telecommunications industries, and has the attention of a growing number of member cable operators and telecommunications companies.


Regulatory goo buys more time for groups to craft LMDS plans

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The movement of terrestrial wireless broadband technology into commercial deployment is shaking up thinking in the telecommunications arena just as the moment has arrived when decisions must be made regarding soon-to-be auctioned LMDS spectrum. "We have about two weeks to go before we have to reach a decision on LMDS, so there's a lot of focus on the question," said one official at US West Comm...


Two-way wireless cable in the works

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Wireless Cable Wiring Expert and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Wireless cable background Wireless cable operates in the 2500–2690 MHz range. It is comprised of two kinds of radio licenses, Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS) and Instructional Fixed Television Service (ITFS). The ITFS licensees are educational institutions that use the channels for distributing educational coursework and lectures, but they are permitted to lease their ...

In the case of high-speed modems, it's buyer beware

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Of course, interoperability between modem vendors is the key question. When the MCNS consortium (consisting of cable MSOs TCI, Time Warner, Comcast and Cox) first began drafting a standards document, it was with interoperability in mind. The intent was to eventually make modems available at retail and to make sure that no matter where the subscriber lives, any vendor's device would work in any ...

Making a modulation choice (Which one is right for you?)

November 30, 1997 7:00 pm | by Aravanan Gurusami (, Senior Engineering Manager, Digital Transmission Systems; and Michael Nekhamkin (, Senior Staff Engineer, Digital Transmission Systems, Philips Broadband Networks Inc | Comments

Deciding which return path (multipoint-to-point) modulation technology is right for your HFC network is a complex task. You must consider a number of criteria for a number of technologies, some of which are just beginning to be tested in the field. How do you make a sound decision? First, of course, you learn all you can about your choices.


Port mismatches pose challenge

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Mark Laubach, Chief Technical Officer, Com21 Inc. | Comments

The deployment of high-speed data services over all-coax and hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) networks has always been anticipated to follow a relatively straightforward implementation strategy. However, recent industry experience deploying cable modem termination systems (CMTSs) has uncovered an unforeseen and challenging system engineering issue when deploying new services over HFC systems.


Want the whole story? The eyes have it

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

Early on, television's strong and lasting visual imagery pegged it as the "cool fire." Moreover, now that TV has become the top source of news and information for many in our nation, the imagery that we see can significantly influence our attitudes. This is one reason why it is especially important to get the words along with the picture in order to get the whole story that is being conveyed.

Singing the digital must-carry blues

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, Pushing the Cable Signal Carriage and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

But one thing is certain—the industry is relying on the NCTA to take the lead in lobbying these important techno-political issues at the FCC, but I've heard disturbing rumors that the NCTA is thinking about eliminating its Science & Technology Department. That would be a mistake. When Congress amended the Communications Act in 1992, it required most cable systems to allocate up to one...

How do you replace an industry icon?

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

If you do, the National Cable Television Association wants to hear from you — now. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know that Wendell Bailey, who held down the top engineering job at the NCTA for the past 16 years, has departed. Some even feared that the NCTA was considering not replacing him, opting instead to let Cable Television Laboratories and the Society of Cable Telecomm...

21st Century lays out its plan

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

Not since the days of the notorious Al Capone has Chicago seen the all-out war that's about to be unleashed there. When the Telecom Act was overhauled in 1996, supporters promised it would lead to a new era of competition. Generally, however, that hasn't yet happened, except in a few markets. But soon, the city of Chicago will witness a shoot-out so intense, it might match the bloodletting that...


Operators dodge flak in Silicon Valley

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

The Open Cable set-top initiative notwithstanding, the cable industry faces an uphill battle when it comes to any effort to insulate itself from the influence of Microsoft Corp. over the software framework for next-generation media. Industry leaders have made clear their desire to facilitate flexibility in their choice of set-top operating systems through a terminal architecture that can exploi...

Are there strings attached?

October 31, 1997 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

Up until just a couple of months ago, the cable industry seemed to be the butt of a well-worn Rodney Dangerfield joke — the industry just couldn't get no respect. It's amazing what $1 billion here and $1 billion there can do to change people's perceptions practically overnight. Suddenly this summer, cable operators were touring the Silicon Valley.


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