IP Capsule E-newsletter, May 3, 2006

Wed, 05/03/2006 - 9:55am

IP Capsule Newsletter-011206  |  CED Broadband Direct  |  Current Issue  |  Subscriptions
May 3, 2006

There's joy in the bundle
Based on Comcast Corp's. recent Q1 earnings report, the bundle of video, voice and data services is providing lots of joy for not only the cable giant, but for the industry as a whole.

The company gained 211,000 phone customers, and about 75 percent of them are buying high-speed Internet or another service through the MSO's variety of bundle packages.

No surprise to analysts such as Bruce Leichtman of Leichtman Media Research, however, whose fresh study on the bundle reports that "consumers are increasingly likely to be in bundles."

Indeed they are. Leichtman found that 43 percent of consumers say that they live in a household that currently receives a bundle of TV, phone or Internet services from a single company. And, cable subscribers are less likely to switch from cable TV than those not in a bundled service agreement.

Another key finding: 88 percent of Internet subscribers also get cable TV service, while only 48 percent of DSL subscribers subscribe to cable-fed video services.

"The combination of TV, high-speed Internet and telephone services is becoming increasingly important for both providers and consumers. Those who are most likely to receive bundled services tend to be younger and wealthier than average. And, bundles appear to be providing the desired 'stickiness' for operators," Leichtman concluded.

Once wireless service enters the bundle, it should get even stickier.

Siemens, Widevine go global
Siemens Communications Inc. has made Widevine Technologies Inc. a certified content protection provider for carriers delivering IPTV services to viewers via Siemens' SURPASS Home Entertainment platform.

Siemens' SURPASS portfolio middleware provides a range of IP-based video and on demand entertainment apps and offerings, the companies said.

Why the deal? Copy protection is fast becoming a big issue among IPTV and other content providers, with a host of tricky back-office integration questions still being addressed.

Globecomm's SkyBorne headend coming to town
Globecomm has introduced its pre-engineered IPTV Regional Headend (RHE) for telephone companies, broadband carriers, enterprises and other video service providers.

SkyBorne, as the platform is called, will provide content acquisition, content management, subscriber management, content packaging and delivery to a carrier's distribution network. Some key options include advertising insertion and video-on-demand.

What's the big deal? SkyBorne is allowing for origination of more satellite-based IPTV services.

Oregan gives DaVinci the code
Oregan Networks, a media browser company, has licensed its IPTV client software to set-top box company Sentivision, the companies reported.

Oregan provides Sentivision with a set of silicon and OS-independent software building blocks for enabling network entertainment, with the flagship product of the two companies' collaborative effort being powered by Texas Instruments' "DaVinci" advanced video and graphics DSP technology.

Why the collaboration? Sentivision believes Oregan's software "will resolve many end-user related issues, such as poor user interface responsiveness, slow switch between applications and limited interactivity," said Yoichi Akase, Sentivision's CEO, in a statement.

A new set-top from Dasan
Dasan Networks, a Korean-based set-top (STB) manufacturer, is launching a new IP-based device, the H920, that will support HD and the H.264 codec. It is based on the Sigma Designs SMP8634 media processor.

The H920 is the first IP STB from Korea developed and mass-produced with Sigma's media 8634 media processor, the company said.

So why the new STB? It is designed to implement business scenarios for broadband subscribers, including T-commerce, T-banking, T-game, T-securities in addition to core services of IPTV and VOD. Dasan, which was acquired by Siemens in 2004, is mapping a course for VoIP into its line of set-tops.

And the research says...
Free Internet distribution of ABC shows like "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" will help connect the parent company (Disney) to 22 million U.S. homes that regularly stream video, predicted Strategy Analytics, a global research and consulting firm.

The fast-growing broadband audience will soon rival traditional TV, with more than 44 million U.S. households now subscribing to high-speed Internet access via cable and telephone companies, the research firm found.

It's also expected to test the patience of Disney-ABC's broadcast and cable partners. "Using a still-developing broadband channel to distribute flagship TV programming carries significant risks for Disney," said James Penhume, director of Strategy Analytics' Broadband and Communications Group.

"Disney has frequently clashed with cable and satellite companies over licensing fees, and this move increases the potential for further conflict," he added.

Cisco partners up with Intel, Nokia, RIM
Cisco Systems, Inc. is now working with Intel Corp., Nokia and Research in Motion (RIM) among others, to drive adoption of voice-ready wireless networks, the company announced.

Voice-ready wireless addresses the convergence of VoIP and wireless networks and allows enterprises to extend the mobility benefits of wireless networks to their voice communications, Cisco says.

So what's the big deal? The partners feel that by working together, they can better allow enterprises to simply deploy high secure clients that are interoperable and capable of supporting advanced features required for voice.

Translation: There's strength in numbers and spreading the risk around probably isn't a bad idea.

Interlink focuses on its XO's
Interlink Global Corp. will partner with XO Communications to feed its U.S.-based VoIP service.

Interlink will use XO's infrastructure and IP transport services to deliver VoIP to business and residential customers in the US. The company will also use XO's services to support its "NetTalk" point-to-point and multiparty video phone service for home and business, the company added.

Why the agreement? Interlink Global is pushing into new business and residential markets in the U.S., and using XO's VoIP infrastructure is part of the push.

Minacom tests positive for triple-play
Minacom, a service level test automation provider, will support triple-play service validation using AM Networks' DOCSIS power supply transponders as remote test probes, the company announced.

The remote SMRP testing technique will allow cable MSOs to deploy IP-intensive, real-time applications such as VoIP and assure network test visibility at the service, network and RF layers, Minacom said.

What's up with this testing? It's a testing technique designed to accurately gauge a network's performance and quality.

And the research says...
VoIP users in Europe will generate nearly $2 billion in revenue by 2009, with the phone service growing in importance as European companies adopt IP strategies, reports Visiongain.

And IP-based services are the key. "Operators should focus on deploying IP-based networks rather than worrying about possible threats from VoIP. They ought to look at VoIP as an opportunity to develop new revenue streams," says Dr. Jean-Pierre Aubertin, a Visiongain analyst.

RCN unbundles modem tiers
RCN Corp. has introduced a range of cable modem service tiers that do not require the customer to tie them to other services.

On the low-end, RCN is offering a 1.5 Mbps tier for $16.95 - a potential draw for dial-up Internet users. The operator is coupling that with a $29.95/month 5 Mbps service, and a $39.95/month 10 Mbps service. All price points for these unbundled, "naked" data services are considered "promotional," and require new customers to commit to a 12-month service contract.

RCN also markets a 20 Mbps tier, but requires those customers to bundle it with other services. In addition to drawing new customers, RCN hopes the approach will entice them to tack on other cable services.

"We also expect that [new customers] will find the RCN experience a positive one and will migrate over time to our bundled Internet, phone and cable services," said RCN EVP and Chief Technology Officer Timothy Dunne, in a release. "Bundles will continue to be the heart of the RCN value proposition."

Cogeco gooses modem speeds, expands consumption caps
Canadian MSO Cogeco Cable has increased the downstream cap of its flagship cable modem tier from 5 Mbps to 7 Mbps.

The company is presently selling that tier for $34.95 when customers bundle it to video service and agree to a 12-month service commitment.

Cogeco also continued the controversial practice of enlisting consumption caps, but is providing customers with a bit more headroom. The operator said it boosted the monthly upload/download bit cap for its "Pro" service from 30 gigabytes to 100 gigabytes. Likewise, the consumption limit of its "Standard" tier rose from 15 gigabytes to 60 gigabytes, and its "Lite" service (known as the "Mini" tier in Quebec) will jump from 2 gigabytes to 10 gigabytes per month.

Cogeco, which serves 1.46 million homes, said it added more than 17,000 new cable modem subs in fiscal Q2.

Separately, the operator said it has extended IP telephony services to customers in Stoney Creek, Ontario. Cogeco said 41 percent of its homes passed now have access to digital phone service.

Cox giving away some upgrade freebies
Cox Communications is providing some free automatic upgrades to its high-speed data service, offering up to seven e-mail accounts, increasing e-mail storage to 250 megabytes, and coupling that with greater spam control and mail management tools.

Why the freebies? Better value for customers in a very competitive market.

AT&T getting faster too
AT&T has added a higher-speed tier for its AT&T Yahoo! high-speed Internet service. The "Elite" tier will offer downstream speeds between 3 Mbps and 6 Mbps and upstream speeds of 384 Kbps to 768 Kbps.

Elite will sell for as low as $27.99 per month under a promo that requires customers to bundle it with other services and to commit to a 12 month service contract.

Following the promo, the monthly fee rises to $39.95 per month.

Company: The HomePlug Powerline Alliance
Headquarters: San Ramon, Calif.
Chairman: Pete Griffen

Claim to Fame: The HomePlug Powerline Alliance promotes open standards for interoperable powerline communications technologies and certifies powerline-based products. It is comprised of 65 members that have shipped more than 4.5 million HomePlug-certified products worldwide. Some of its key member companies include Comcast Corp., Intel Corp., Motorola, Samsung and Sony.

Recent news of note: Recently announced its "Call for Submission" for technical submissions in several key areas related to the alliance's access BPL specification, which will address such topics as repeating, redundancy, network management and provisioning.

Summit on Intellectual Property and Digital Media
"From Creator to Consumer: Working Together in the Digital World"
May 22-23, 2006
The Cable Center
Denver, Colo.
More information: 303-871-7722, or Click Here

Walk of Fame Gala
Rocky Mountain Chapter of Women in Cable & Telecommunications
May 25, 2006
Hyatt Regency Tech Center
Denver, Colo.
More information: Click Here

ACA Washington Summit
American Cable Association
May 8-9, 2006
Washington, D.C.
More information: Click Here

Conference for the Broadcast Cable Financial Management Association (BCFM)
June 11-13, 2006
Orlando, Fla.
More information: Click Here

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo
June 20-23, 2006
Denver, Colo.
More information: Click Here

2nd Annual C-COR Global IP Summit
June 28-29, 2006
Athens, Greece
More information: Click Here

IPComm 2006
Sept. 25-27, 2006
Nashville, Tenn.
More information: Click Here

CTHRA Fall Symposium
Oct. 18, 2006
Philadelphia, Pa.
Park Hyatt Hotel
More information: Click Here


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


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