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Broadband Direct

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

Taking the PC out of the data comm loop

July 31, 1996 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

Remember that classic scene in Moonstruck where Cher gives Nicholas Cage a swift high-five upside the face and yells, "Snap out of it!"? Consider yourself slapped and duly instructed. For the past year or so, as many in the industry have paced the floor, wrung their hands and consumed mountains of Zantec to calm roiling stomachs churning with cable modem distress, it seems everyone's attention ...

Universal telephone service as a weapon

June 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, High-Definition Anticipant and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

The funds are hidden in the access charges that long distance carriers pay for the use of local telephone channels. This system was intended for a regime of monopoly local phone service, but the 1996 Telecommunications Act has ended that regime. The current system is broken: it fails to target the neediest subscribers, it rewards inefficient phone companies and it is inconsistent with the goal ...

MMDS standing tall on digital technology, RBOC $$

June 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Dana Cervenka | Comments

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.


Narrowband on road to high-tech social scene

June 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

A growing band of innovators in multimedia entertainment is driving changes in the Internet environment that represent major new challenges to strategists in the high-speed data services arena. Where on-line content to date has been largely defined by the bandwidth limitations and latency factors of Web links, providers of on-line multiplayer games and other content tied to community interactio...


Road work continues on the public I-way

June 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

The point of all this, though, is not to talk about the literal meaning of the phrase, but rather the analogous meaning that there are a number of ways to accomplish a given task or reach a needed goal. Such is the case with the continuing construction of critical portions of the public I-Way. For example, New York City's Institutional Network (I-Net), profiled in this column in November 1995, ...


Execs spin, wait on modems

May 31, 1996 8:00 pm | by CED Staff | Comments

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.

Building the headend of the future

May 31, 1996 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

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.


Reed Hundt and the chilling of HDTV

May 31, 1996 8:00 pm | by Jeffrey Krauss, High Definition Anticipant and President of Telecommunications and Technology Policy | Comments

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.


Will small ops get squeezed?

May 31, 1996 8:00 pm | by Roger Brown | Comments

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.


The FCC's compatibility rules: good news and bad

May 31, 1996 8:00 pm | by Walt Ciciora | Comments

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.

MSOs search for a role in PCS delivery

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

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...


Virtual circuits and the cable cloud

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Wendell Bailey | Comments

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.

Providing access to the universe

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Tom Robinson | Comments

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...

Achieving 99.99 percent availability

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Fred Dawson | Comments

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...

Cable's interactive gateway?

April 30, 1996 8:00 pm | by Michael Lafferty | Comments

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.



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