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Broadband Direct

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

Installing the future

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

High-speed data-over-cable. Telephony. Digital video and interactive TV. These are the new buzzwords of the '90s as cable network operators rush to take advantage of their high-bandwidth networks by deploying new, feature rich services in their drive to derive more revenues from their customers. The hardware side of the house, which has had problems keeping up with it all, is nearing the point ...


Shaping the competitive landscape

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

Two years after its passage, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 is finally producing some new competitive alliances. A heretofore obscure section of the legislation (Section 103) allows previously-restricted public utility holding companies to create subsidiaries that can provide telecommunications and information services without prior SEC approval.


Broadband battle shaping up in Denver

May 31, 1998 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty, Associate Editor | Comments

It's not news that Denver has long been considered the center of the cable universe. It's home to a host of MSOs and cable-centric businesses. The industry's most important research and development work is being done at CableLabs, located just west of town. And it won't be too long before ground is broken on the University of Denver campus for the National Cable Center and Museum.


Dancing to a happy tune

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

When it comes to digital video, Tele-Communications Inc. is out there on its own, boldly forging ahead with deployment, while nearly every other major MSO has taken a more cautious approach. Some even say the digital economic model is broken because new set-tops are wildly expensive, and there are so many analog receivers in existence.

Competitive Nightmares Taking Shape

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by CED Staff | Comments

Depending on which technology master you serve, telecommunications competition is either the dream you've always hoped for, or the nightmare that has you sitting bolt upright in the middle of the night. In the two years since telecommunications was overhauled via legislation, true competition has been largely nonexistent.


HDTV interference to unlicensed devices

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, HDTV Observer and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

Low-power communications transmitters can be operated in the United States without radio licenses, provided that their power is low enough that they will not cause interference. Garage door openers, wireless LANs, wireless headphones and motion sensors are all examples of unlicensed low-power transmitters.

TCI lures the big fish

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Leslie Ellis, Contributing Editor | Comments

It's been nine months since the cable industry, with TCI Chairman and CEO John Malone at the helm, penned a letter on CableLabs stationery that will long be remembered as the shiny lure that attracted the trophy fish. That two-page letter, signed by Malone, CableLabs CEO Richard Green, and Continental Cablevision President Bill Schleyer, was sent to a "Who's Who" of consumer electronics and inf...

Shoehorning digital into analog

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

Ask anyone where video is headed and they'll tell you it's going digital — eventually. But even the most bullish digital proponent will tell you it will take years before the hundreds of millions of analog TVs and VCRs are truly obsolete. So, what should cable operators do in the meantime? Here's one idea: Deliver both.


DWDM ready for cable's prime time

April 30, 1998 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

Technological advancements and cost reductions in optical dense wavelength division multiplexing technology are causing cable operators to re-examine their fiber optic architectures, and are giving them an opportunity to increase bandwidth while lowering system maintenance costs. A case in point is cable giant Tele-Communications Inc.


ADSL's dirty little secret

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, AM Radio Listener and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

ADSL has been around in concept for about 10 years. The idea is simple. Those same copper wire pairs that carry analog voice telephone calls can also be used to carry digital data. The voice signal uses only the frequencies up to about 4 kHz. Copper wires have a larger bandwidth than that. But getting from concept to practice has been difficult.

It's easier than you might think

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Linc Reed-Nickerson, Tektronix Inc. | Comments

You've just been told you need to start using the reverse path in your system for digital services. From what you've heard and read, it's going to be a major headache. You're expecting the worst. You're filled with fear, uncertainty and doubt . . . but you shouldn't be. Making the reverse path work correctly has the potential of being a big project in a small system, or a huge project in a big ...


Ready? Set . . . Go! (in reverse)

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

For, as much as the industry would like the world to believe differently, the vast majority of cable plant in existence today isn't ready for two-way service. Equipment manufacturers say that almost all the gear being shipped out today is two-way, but according to our research, less than one mile out of five is currently two-way active.

Squashing the Millennium Bug

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Roger Brown, Editor | Comments

In a mere 21 months, the world is going to stop. At least that's the impression you get by reading some of the stories about the "Year 2000 bug," that odd affliction that is threatening to affect countless computers and the software that runs them. Already, major consumer magazines are talking about how everything from the U.

Mapping out a modem strategy (MSO finds fast track to profitable data)

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Dan Spoelman, TCA Cable TV; and Gary Law, Terayon Communication Systems | Comments

College Station, Texas (population: 63,000) is the site where TCA Cable TV Inc., the 16th-largest U.S. cable operator, with systems passing 1.2 million homes, has tested out its options in the cable modem business. TCA is now moving ahead with a refreshingly innovative approach. Many data service deployments by major cable operators have depended on expensive and time-consuming plant clean up, ...


Interactivity draws viewers in (betting the farm on interactivity)

March 31, 1998 7:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty and Dana Cervenka, CED Staff | Comments

When it comes to interactivity, it seems that the old axiom of "if you wait long enough, everything comes back in style," can now be applied. Just like the bell-bottom jeans that are flopping all over the place again, and the return of the Volkswagen Beetle, interactivity is making its comeback. In 1992, it was just "around the corner," and then it dropped off the scene faster than a powder-blu...



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