IP Capsule E-Newsletter, March 29, 2006

Wed, 03/29/2006 - 5:39am

IP Capsule Newsletter-011206  |  CED Broadband Direct  |  Current Issue  |  Subscriptions
March 29, 2006

The IPTV world is becoming Microsoft's oyster
Microsoft Corp.'s deepening IPTV presence just went deeper, evidenced by a recent $400 million deal with Deutsche Telekom Group to provide the telecom giant with its IPTV Edition platform for service rollouts in Germany and France.

The agreement, Microsoft's largest IPTV deal in Europe thus far, brings the number of commercial agreements Microsoft's IPTV service has to ten, with Bell Canada, Reliance, and BellSouth in trials, says Michelle Abraham of In-Stat, which reports there are 18 million cable TV households in Germany and 1.9 million digital subscribers.

Yet, she notes in an Information Alert, 15 million German homes don't subscribe to pay-TV, but instead use digital terrestrial technology to receive video programming. So, with Microsoft's IPTV agreement in hand, "Deutsche Telekom will need to be a great improvement over traditional digital TV services in order to convince German households to become subscribers," Abraham maintains.

Microsoft thinks it can do it. Here are some key elements of the deal:

  • The IPTV service will be delivered over the T-Com VDSL network at speeds up to 50 Mbps, and a launch in in mid-2006 in 10 major German cities.
  • Microsoft will support Deutsche Telekom with joint marketing to help develop IPTV in Germany.
  • The IPTV services will include standard and high-definition programs, interactive TV, VOD and PVR.
  • Also included will be pay-TV and special interest channels and connected-entertainment services across a range of consumer devices, according to Microsoft.

Whether German and French consumers will buy into IPTV will likely depend on those pesky marketing, operational and customer service issues. But make no mistake, Microsoft is definitely in the global hunt with its IPTV Edition product, and its Deutsche Telekom agreement is yet another clear indication of IPTV's growing international footprint.

Entone goes to Iowa
Entone Technologies has been chosen by Iowa Network Services (INS) to deliver its video-on-demand and IPTV gear in support of services INS will offer to its 148 independent telco partners in the state.

Entone will provide INS with its network video recorder, Armada Asset Manager and Ingest Gateway, the companies announced. INS' network of phone companies provide telecommunications and digital services to more than 500,000 customers in 330 different communities in the state.

What's the big deal? The IPTV agreement brings VOD to INS and represents one of the larger IPTV announcements.

Watchit launches Manageit
Watchit Media, Inc. is introducing Manageit Enterprise 2.0, a platform that will enable gaming, lodging and hospitality companies to manage and deliver television programming and video content via broadband IP, the company says.

Watchit will use Alpha Video's CastNET interface and Scala's software's suite of products as the additional technology required to enable Enterprise 2.0.

The upside? The gaming, lodging and hospitality markets are mushrooming.

OEN piling up the channels
Optical Entertainment Network (OEN) will add four channels to its burgeoning lineup, which is expected to top 400 channels, and include more than 50 HD networks, as it expands its IP-based, fiber-fed "Fision" service in Houston.

In addition to a full video lineup, the fiber-to-the-home platform will also offer VoIP and high-speed Internet service speeds ranging from 10 to 100 Mbps per subscriber, the company says.

Jones/NCTI on course with VoIP class
Broadband training specialist Jones/NCTI has launched "IP Voice," an "e-learning" course that covers VoIP installation and troubleshooting.

Jones/NCTI, the result of a recent merger of Jones International Academy and NCTI, said IP Voice uses a blend of full-motion video and animation to demonstrate voice service installations. Much of the training video is from an "over-the-shoulder" perspective of the installer.

Individual modules, meanwhile, range from preparation and installation in single-family homes and multi-unit buildings, installations in homes with security systems, and troubleshooting and safety.

The entire course includes three hours of video, and can be taken over a two-day period or over several days. A demonstration of the course is available on the Web.

The video component of the Jones/NCTI IP Voice course takes an over-the-shoulder approach to show proper installation technique.

CableOne Inc. is using the new courseware to train about 800 technicians, said Jones/NCTI Director of Market Strategy Michael Guilfoyle. Jones/NCTI is also negotiating IP Voice deals with two of the top four U.S. MSOs, he said.

The company said the course also marks its first to employ Confidence Based Learning (CBL), a time-saving training method created by UCLA Processor of Education Jim Bruno. CBL assessments also ask students to identify the confidence level of their answers. Among the benefits, Jones/NCTI believes the method will produce fewer truck rolls after initial installations.

"With Confidence Based Learning, the difference between employees being pretty sure versus confident of what action to take is enormous to a business in terms of operational expense and customer retention," said Jones/NCTI President Tom Brooksher, in a release.

CBL "is something that we, as an organization, philosophically believe in," Guilfoyle said, noting that a "top" MSO hopes to use the learning system in conjunction with Jones/NCTI for workforce assessment purposes.

Knology is rolling out Integra5 Communications' i5 Service Delivery Platform.

Integra5 and Knology get personal with IP
Integra5 Communications will provide Knology Inc., a triple play provider, with its i5 Service Delivery Platform (SDP), that, in turn, will enable the service operator to offer TV-based messaging and other advanced personalized IP applications and services.

The i5 SDP will also support migration to an IMS environment and multiple set-top boxes. The application is being rolled out to Knology's residential voice and video subscribers in select cities in its Southeast markets.

VoIP conference minutes rising, says Interwise
Interwise Inc., a provider of enterprise conference products, reports strong growth in the telephone and Web conferencing spaces, with a record 140 million VoIP minutes used in 2005, a 40 percent increase over 2004.

The jump in IP-based conferencing is being driven by an increase in global usage and by organizations both internally and externally, Interwise maintains.

"The need for more effective and efficient communications between all employees, no matter where they are located, is a primary driver for the IP conferencing market," says Jeffrey Mann, research vice president for Gartner Research.

Pali on the shift to IP
Yahoo!'s recent launch of a dial-out service from a PC to any phone number via a free set of software is indicative of a larger trend, says Pali Research.

Yahoo!'s move, Pali maintains, is one more signal that a clear shift to an IP-based platform by distributors battling for broadband market share is underway.

Among other findings:

  • Conditions appear ripe for exploiting the potential of software-based VoIP services such as Skype and Yahoo!
  • The key for cable operators is to realize that VoIP pricing has to come down and to price it aggressively to drive the bundle.
  • VoIP will increasingly be seen as a low-cost incremental feature of a cable operator's broadband offering.
  • If services such as Yahoo! Voice and Skype capture an increasing share of the voice communications market, with consumers increasingly expecting VoIP to be "free" or nearly free, it will make it harder for cable industry investors to believe MSO price points anywhere near the current $30-$40 are sustainable.

New name, strategy for Direcway
Hughes Network Systems LLC hit the branding reset button on its satellite broadband service this week, announcing it has replaced the old Direcway name with the HughesNet moniker.

The HughesNet brand will be used for the company's range of satellite and terrestrial data services for all customer segments, which include enterprise, government, small business and general consumer.

"This is the beginning of an exciting new era for Hughes," said Hughes Chairman & CEO Pradman Kaul, in a release. "The new HughesNet brand underscores our corporate commitment to enable our customers to realize the full potential of broadband solutions and services, utilizing the best of satellite and terrestrial technologies."

The new HughesNet organization will be divided into three "core segments": managed network services (networks based on a combination of satellite and terrestrial technologies), digital media services (business-class digital distribution services), and enhanced network services (VPNs, security, customized mail offerings).

The newly-named HughesNet division will start off with about 275,000 U.S. customers.

Spirent and Lumenare partner, get testy
Spirent Communications and Lumenare Networks are joining forces to provide integrated testing of converged network technologies in the lab and during manufacturing of triple play network components such as IPTV, IMS and new underlying carrier Ethernet services, the companies announced.

Why the merged testing elements? The combination of Lumenare's automation capabilities and Spirent's functionality are expected to give carriers significant cost savings over manual test processes.

Wayne Davis, one of the cable industry's top engineers and technicians and recently Charter Communications' EVP and CTO, will be leaving the MSO. He will serve as a consultant to the company during the transition period that will see another industry vet, Marwan Fawaz, assume those duties after Adelphia completes its sale to Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable.

Davis' tenures at Jones Intercable and Charter, and his many contributions to the industry as CTO and as a decision-making top executive helped shape both companies' technological and operational futures.

On a personal note, Davis has been a knowledgeable and trusted source. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors.

March 2006
Issue Contents »

Company: Vodavi Technology, Inc.
Headquarters: Phoenix, Ariz.
CEO: Gregory K. Roeper

Claim to Fame: Vodavi provides communications and business solutions to small and large enterprises. Its communications products include traditional telephone systems, VoIP technology and converged communications systems.

Recent news of note: Signed a deal to provide Covad Communications with multiple new phone models designed for the very small business and small business VoIP marketplace. The company's 6800 Series phones employ standard protocols MGCP and SIP and will be used with Covad's vPBX service.

NCTA National Show
April 9-11
Atlanta, Ga.
More information

ACA Washington Summit
American Cable Association
May 8-9
Washington, D.C.
More information

Summit on Intellectual Property and Digital Media "From Creator to Consumer: Working Together in the Digital World"
May 22-23
The Cable Center
Denver, Colo.
More information

Conference for the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association (BCFM)
June 11-13
Orlando, Fla.
More information

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo
June 20-23
Denver, Colo.
More information

2nd Annual C-COR Global IP Summit
June 28-29
Athens, Greece
More information


An archived version of the following webcast is now available.

Copyright © 2006 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.



Share This Story

You may login with either your assigned username or your e-mail address.
The password field is case sensitive.