IP Capsule E-Newsletter, April 5, 2006

Wed, 04/05/2006 - 1:14pm

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April 5, 2006

Records fall as high-speed Internet
piles up the numbers

It was a quarter both DSL and cable broadband providers should be smiling about. At least that's the indication from the latest numbers from Leichtman Research Group. LRG's fresh report found that the 20 largest cable and DSL providers in the U.S., representing about 94 percent of the market, achieved record net high-speed Internet additions in 2005, as more than 9.6 million new subscribers signed up for Internet service. DSL service provider smiles may be a bit wider than cable's, however, as that group had the bulk, 57 percent, of the gains in Q4 2005.

Some key findings include:

  • By the end of 2005, the top broadband providers accounted for nearly 43 million high-speed Internet subscribers.
  • The top cable broadband providers now have a 57 percent share of the overall market versus DSL. That equates to 24.3 million high-speed subs for cable, and 18.5 million for DSL.
  • The top DSL providers netted 54 percent of the broadband additions in 2005.
  • DSL providers added 5.2 million broadband subscribers in 2005-about one million more than in 2004.
  • Cable operators added about 4.4 million broadband subscribers in 2005-about the same as they did in 2004.
  • The fourth quarter of 2005 was the best ever for DSL providers, as they added nearly 1.5 million net additional subscribers and captured 57 percent of the net 2.64 million high-speed Internet additions for the quarter.

It doesn't take a Phi Beta Kappa to figure out that DSL is gaining on cable. Yet, sustaining those numbers will be difficult, and the effect of DSL gains are having little impact on cable's high-speed growth, concludes LRG Principal Bruce Leichtman.

"Cable keeps growing at the same rate. What's changed the market is DSL expanding the market by lowering the price. The misconception, however, is that DSL's gains are at cable's expense. They're not. For 2006, prudent business models will be important because the pricing may be attracting bad subscribers, and causing more churn. So, are they adding too many subscribers too fast? The market has expanded because of those lower price points," Leichtman says.

Top Broadband Internet Providers in the U.S.
Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* Adelphia subscriber counts are adjusted from prior quarters to account for the sale of some properties.
** Includes combined LRG estimates for Cox and Bright House Networks.
^ Total includes wireline broadband connections along with DSL.
Top cable and DSL providers represent approximately 94% of all subscribers. Company subscriber counts may not represent solely residential households.

Tandberg closes on SkyStream
Tandberg Television has closed its previously announced $80 million acquisition of SkyStream Networks Inc. SkyStream brings to Tandberg TV the VOD technology and market presence Tandberg was seeking as it adds to its existing suite of standards-based products for IPTV, HDTV, VOD, advertising on-demand and interactive TV applications.

Why the deal? SkyStream allows quick entry for Tandberg TV into the growing Telco regional headend business, with the prize being the burgeoning IPTV market.

Tandberg also found much to like in zBand, a "push" VOD system from SkyStream that MovieBeam is using to manage content delivery.

eWan1 completes test, adds IP Guide
eWan1 Inc. has completed the engineering, testing and integration of its proprietary international IP-based electronic program guide.

It will offer the EPG, dubbed, "IPtv Guide," within the company's Global Internet Television service offering, which is set to launch and begin IP broadcasting in near HD quality to subscribers April 19.

IPtv Guide will be accessible "anywhere on the planet," the company says, and in 36 languages. Subscribers will be able to access program listings from their local markets and time zones in addition to 75 channels of traditional broadcast television initially offered by eWan1.

So what's the big deal? The guide will include interactivity with eWan's time-shifted feature set, "EVO," which is similar (hey, it even rhymes) to TiVo. The guide will also allow travelers to tune in to personal preference programs at anytime, anyplace.

Modulus now packing MPEG-4

Modulus Video's standard definition
video encoding platform, ME1001,
is hitting the shelves.
Modulus Video Inc. has launched its ME1001, a compact version of its standard definition video encoding platform, replete with the technology to maximize bandwidth efficiency, along with new features to enhance IPTV services, including an embedded low resolution proxy solution for enabling Picture-in-Picture for Microsoft TV and Electronic Program Guide applications, the company says.

The ME1001 is a full resolution MPEG-4 AVC video encoder with support for Main Profile video encoding at Level 3, which Modulus says can deliver quality video at about half the bandwidth of traditional MPEG-2.

The upside? Modulus says the ME1001 "directly addresses the economics of IPTV," says Modulus Chairman and CEO, Bob Wilson.

Motorola Inc. is a key Modulus reseller.

Verso Technologies' newly announced partnership with Acme Packet will include products such as its Clarent Border Agent.
Verso and Acme get connected
Verso Technologies, Inc. and Acme Packet have announced a strategic partnership to jointly develop integrated network solutions for service providers using Acme Packet Net-Net session border controllers (SBC), the companies report.

SBCs provide control functions to enable interactive communications across IP network borders. The partnership will allow Verso to deploy complete solutions for interconnecting IP-based voice, video and multimedia networks using Acme Packet's Net-Net SBCs.

Centillium leapfrogging to VoIP
Centillium Communications Inc. is launching an Optical Services Gateway platform that hooks into optical as well as VoIP systems, the company announced.

The platform will enable systems vendors to immediately offer an integrated services gateway to their customers. The gateway carries Centillium's Ethernet passive optical network system chip with the VoIP, routing and advanced security capabilities of its Atlanta product family, the company adds.

What's the big deal? The platform will allow faster time-to-market and lower costs and development expenses, Centillium says.

E911 support has Vonage feeling like a million
Vonage America now has more than a million subscriber lines with Enhanced 911 service, a service that automatically associates a physical address with the calling party's telephone number, the company says.

Vonage, the all Internet-based phone service company, has been working with local 911 centers, also known as PSAPs (Public Safety Answering Points) to address the on-going VoIP issue of enabling E911 service with its Internet telephony service.

iBasis using Stealth tactics, peering
iBasis Inc. will use Stealth Communications' Voice Peering Fabric (VPF) to offer call termination to more than 100 countries through a single interconnection, the companies announced. In addition, with iBasis joining the VPF, a peering network that allows members to exchange VoIP traffic without relying on traditional telephone networks, the company can take advantage of the VPF ENUM Registry.

Why the connection? With iBasis joining the peering network, it adds to Stealth's VPF's global footprint. And for iBasis, its use of the registry will allow its VoIP calls to remain within the IP domain, and reduce operational costs.

Cox looks to Next Generation
Cox Communications has enhanced its subscriber self-activation capabilities through a partnership with Next Generation Broadband (NGB).

Under the deal, Cox will use Auto Install III, a platform that enables customers to install cable modems and activate broadband service without operator intervention.

Cox high-speed Internet customers will be able to purchase a cable modem in a store or online, plug it in, open the Internet browser and be guided through service activation.

The bottom line? Automation, automation, automation translates to fewer truck rolls, fewer customer service calls and, overall, lower operational expenses.

A Cox spokesman noted that the MSO has offers the self-install option for cable modem service for about three years, but the arrangement with NGB marks the latest version, which accounts for a set of new technologies that accommodate customer preferences.

Inukshuk is getting Canada covered
Inukshuk Wireless Inc. has completed the first phase of its new wireless broadband network, which will serve 20 centers across Canada serving more than five million households, the company announced.

Inukshuk, a joint effort of Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, is a next generation IP wireless network based on pre-WiMAX standards. Rogers and Bell will spend about $200 million (Canadian) to build out the network by 2008, when the wireless grid will cover 100 urban and rural areas. The pooled wireless platform leverages existing cellular towers of both Bell and Rogers, and will allow secured data transmission over licensed spectrum.

Amperion, Corinex pumping up the power
Amperion, Inc. and Corinex Communications Corp. are partnering to deliver a turnkey platform for Broadband over Power Line (BPL). The platform, comprised of software, hardware and the services themselves will be marketed to operators around the world.

The agreement combines Amperion's Corinex 200 Mbps Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Multi Dwelling Unit Powerline equipment with Amperion's MV Couplers and network design capabilities.

What's the big deal? Amperion's customers can receive end-to-end BPL solutions less expensively because of its access to Corinex's powerline hardware for utility power grids and in-building networking systems.

Choice One, CTC acquire Conversent
Choice One Communications and CTC Communications have teamed to acquire Conversent Communications, an integrated services provider.

The three companies combined serve more than 150,000 business customers representing more than 1.3 million access lines equivalents, the companies report. With an emphasis in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and upper Midwest regions, the network will include a variety of voice and data services.

Kagan Research and JupiterResearch are now teammates, and the combined company will be called JupiterKagan, Inc. The merger creates an organization of more than 100 employees operating out of six offices in the U.S., UK, Germany and France.

The two companies will continue to provide research and consulting in the areas of media, telecommunications, the Internet and emerging consumer technologies.

April 2006
Issue Contents »

Company: Narrowstep Inc.
Headquarters: New York City
CEO: Stephen Beaumont

Claim to Fame: Provides Internet-based video content delivery. Its products and services enable customers to distribute channels of video-based content and provide related services over the Internet. Narrowstep's system, TelvOS, enables delivery of video content and television-like programming to mobile, wireless, Internet, broadband and broadcast services to clients from around the globe.

Recent news of note: Announced Stephen Beaumont as its new CEO. Beaumont is late of Parker Pen and Gillette. The company also launched Real Estate TV, a 24/7 broadband video channel.

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


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


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