IP Capsule E-newsletter, March 1, 2007

Thu, 03/01/2007 - 8:37am

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March 01 , 2007

Brian SantoIPso Facto...

Out standing in a crowd
Cable operators want features and capabilities to further differentiate their VoIP services from traditional phone service that people have been accustomed to getting from traditional carriers (which explains the enthusiasm for caller ID on TV). A variety of companies are rushing to comply. Some of the features and capabilities they're offering will certainly help fuel the growth of VoIP.

Not that VoIP seems to need much help. About a third (34 percent) of all U.S. residential landlines, or 25.5 million, will be converted to VoIP by 2010, according to the TIA's Telecommunications Market Review and Forecast. That's up from 10 percent, or 9.5 million, in 2006.

An interesting thing is that operators will not only be able to market many of the VoIP enhancements and features as differentiators, but that MSOs can also use some of these products to support their own marketing operations.

A case in point is the caller name services from TARGUSinfoCablevision Systems Corp., Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications are among the company's clients.

TARGUSinfo calculates that it has caller-name (or CNAM) data for over 250 million lines, including approximately 75 percent of the roughly 10 million U.S. cable voice and VoIP subscribers. Providers can use this data to offer superior enhanced caller ID services, such as offering callers' full names, as opposed to being limited to 15 characters. Addresses are also available to be displayed, if so desired. The data is transferable across multiple devices and platforms; it will support caller ID on the TV, for example.

on the phone
Everybody loves to talk on the phone.
Source: Prendergast Library

This data can not only be displayed at the time of the call, but can be included on bills, to help subscribers identify their calls.

The same data can be used by the provider for marketing purposes. With name and address information, marketing materials can be personalized. The data can also be used for everything from confirming lead information to helping to building friends-and-family type calling plans.

Rob Fisher, vice president of CNAM strategy at TARGUSinfo, said, "Our capabilities provide the foundation for a wide array of sticky services that subscribers love and will continue to pay for."

VoiceLog, a division of BSG Clearing Solutions, has teamed with First Marketing to create an electronic welcome program designed to give service providers the ability to communicate with their new customers immediately following the completion of third-party verification. The product, called the e-Kit, makes it easier to sell services through retail operations such as Best Buy or

VoiceLog will notify First Marketing when a new subscriber's third party verification is valid. First Marketing will then generate an electronic welcome kit via e-mail, containing everything a customer needs to use his or her new service.

CTI Group has expanded its VoIP call recording portfolio to include SmartRecord Cards and Recording-enabled SIP Trunks. Both features are expected to be attractive to business users.

The SmartRecord Cards are 800-number cards that allow the user to record calls from any location. The user enters the 800-number, enters the destination number and then retrieves the recorded conversation on-line through an on-line interface. The Recording-enabled SIP Trunks provide call recording service to professionals without investing in their own call recording systems.

Vendors beat the IPTV World Forum rush
Technically, this is about next week in IPTV, but since so few companies seem able to wait for the IPTV World Forum to actually begin on March 5th in London, here we go.

Tandberg Television said it will launch its iPlex UltraCompression high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD) IPTV head-end at the forum. TandbergTV says the product goes beyond mere encoding to aid in video processing and distribution. The iPlex system is capable of MPEG-2 SD encoding, MPEG-4 AVC HD and SD encoding, MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 AVC transcoding, MPEG-2 transrating, and picture-in-picture (PIP) service generation.

TandbergTV is claiming bandwidth improvements of up to 50 percent over previously deployed MPEG-4 AVC units. With MPEG-4 AVC HD UltraCompression, iPlex enables the delivery of two full-resolution HDTV channels on an ADSL2+ network with loops of 2-kilometers (about 6,500 feet) at data rates below 6 Mbps for 1080i video or 4Mbps for 720p video.

BitBand plans to introduce its ISIS IPTV system, which uses both RAM and hard disk storage, to deliver streaming video. ISIS works in conjunction with the company's new Auto-CDN, an automatic content distribution platform. Using these technologies, content providers can offer IPTV applications such as the ability to pause, start over, and NPVR.

Harmonic said it will demo its DiviCom Electra 7000 HD H.264 multi-service encoder, along with its Armada intelligent asset manager for on-demand systems, and its StreamLiner network video recorder, each of which is up for a show award. Harmonic reminded that its video compression, stream processing and delivery solutions are being used by CanalSatellite (serving the France Telecom, Neuf-Cegetel and Free IPTV networks), PCCW (Hong Kong), SingTel (Singapore) T-Com Germany (Deutsche Telekom), T-Online France, and Telekom Austria.

Divicom Electra 7000 encoder
Harmonic's Divicom Electra 7000 encoder

Nortel plans to go beyond just IPTV to show how TV can be converged with VoIP, instant messaging, multimedia messaging services and presence services through its IPTV system.

During a keynote speech, Ed Graczyk, worldwide director of marketing and communications for Microsoft TV, is scheduled to demonstrate IPTV on the Xbox 360. Microsoft said IPTV on Xbox 360 is expected to be available through select service providers as early as the holiday season in 2007. Possibilities include Microsoft IPTV Edition users AT&T, BT Group PLC, Deutsche Telekom, T-Online in France and Swisscom.

Jaguar deploys optical backbone in network expansion
Jaguar Communications, a CLEC serving rural communities in the southeastern Minnesota, has deployed ECI Telecom's XDM Multi-Service optical platform for the backbone expansion of its fiber to the premise (FTTP) network. Jaguar, armed with $4.6 million in funding from the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) program, is expanding its broadband network to include IPTV to its voice and data services.

U-verse trickles into Wisconsin
AT&T's U-verse has touched down in two markets in Wisconsin. U-verse is now available in limited areas in and around Milwaukee and Racine, the 12th and 13th markets for the service. AT&T said U-verse has nearly 7,000 customers; approximately 3,000 of those subscribers are in AT&T's test bed city, San Antonio, Tex.

OEN begins commercial IPTV rollout in Houston
Following a market trial begun in September, Optical Entertainment Network (OEN) now has IPTV, VoIP and symmetrical Internet services at speeds up to 10 Mbps commercially available in Houston. Tweaking Verizon's nose, OEN is staking a claim as the first FTTH company to launch in a major market. OEN's said its Fision Triple Play Plus Services are available starting in the Northwest section of Houston. OEN is using Phonoscope's metro area network to deliver services. Phonoscope's MAN has 250,000 household easements and is within 100 to 500 meters of approximately 1.6 million households in the Houston area.

Verizon connects with Revver
Verizon will beef up its FiOS TV service with user-generated content from Revver via the telco's "Surround" broadband portal. Revver is already available to Verizon Wireless customers with V CAST-enabled handsets. Verizon said it will offer the same fare on its web portal by Q1 2007, and on FiOS TV sometime later this year.

ARRIS gets a foothold in Japan for VoIP
Katch Networks, a cable operator in Aichi Prefecture Japan, has chosen ARRIS' C4 CMTS to implement the KDDI Cable Plus Primary VoIP service. KDDI is one of Japan's largest telecom providers; cable service providers such as KATCH Networks use its network to provide primary line VoIP telephony service over HFC, Arris explained. Katch provides primary line service to 227,000 homes.

George Fletcher, Arris senior VP of sales for Japan, said, "Our C4 CMTS platform exceeded KATCH's performance expectations and secures a strategic launching pad and customer reference for other operators in Japan who want to successfully and confidently deploy KDDI Cable Plus Primary VoIP service."

Brix revises VoIP monitoring product to support cable
Brix Networks has added support for cable VoIP to its BrixCall VoIP analysis and correlation application. The product, to be available in two months, aims to increase cable operators' visibility into VoIP quality of service (QoS).

The enhanced version of BrixCall provides support for the Network-based Call Signaling (NCS) protocol commonly used in cable environments. It correlates passive monitoring thresholds and active test results to help automate and streamline troubleshooting, fault isolation, and overall call quality and performance in a cable infrastructure.

Home-Phone/wireless long distance connections now free at Rogers
Rogers Home Phone customers will be able to make Canadian long distance calls from their home phone to any other Rogers Wireless, Rogers Home Phone or Fido number, at no charge. Rogers Communications calls the benefit My Home Connections.

Cisco is going out of its way
to label the Linksys dual-mode
(landline/Skype) handset an "iPhone"

Apple gets to use "iPhone."
Cisco to make one?

First The Beatles, now Cisco. Everything seems to be going Apple Inc.'s way after it secured from the latter for the rights to use the term "iPhone." Earlier this month, Apple Inc. and The Beatles' publishing company, Apple Corp., came to an accommodation that allowed the iPod maker to use the trademark in conjunction with music-related goods and services.

Perhaps more interesting, Cisco and Apple said they will explore opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications. That raises the possibility that Cisco might be able to make Apple-compatible iPhones of its own.

Vox to power CityvoiceTEL's BPL-based VoIP
VoX Communications has signed on to provide the VoIP services offered by Canadian broadband provider CityvoiceTEL's new broadband over power line (BPL) service. CityvoiceTEL is currently working with Vox to provide VoIP over BPL in areas in central and south Florida - Vox's backyard. The initial deployment aims to attract about 10,000 subscribers; a second deployment phase could double that figure, according to CityvoiceTEL CTO Roy Dell. CityvoiceTEL is also working with Vox to provide VoIP through wireless mesh networks, in addition to DSL, cable, and BPL.

Verizon makes 50 Mbps data tier available in Tampa area
Verizon is now offering its 50 Mbps FiOS Internet service in parts of five counties in the Tampa, Fla., area. The 50 Mbps tier is thus far available in six of the 16 states where Verizon has deployed FiOS. Subscribers get 5 Mbps on the upstream. Verizon declined to say how many households in Tampa could subscribe to the 50 Mbps tier; the TV franchise agreements Verizon has struck in the Tampa area cover only a few thousand households.

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With major film studio backing, BitTorrent goes legal
As it promised, BitTorrent has finally repositioning itself as a legit network - the BitTorrent Entertainment Network, which has legal access to films and programs from several major Hollywood studios.

Ohmigod! They killed P2P piracy! "South
Park" is available - legally - on BitTorrent.

Users of the BitTorrent network will be able to rent movies, purchase television shows and music videos, as well as publish and share their own content. BitTorrent told The New York Times (story here), registration required) that it has rights to sell movies, but it will not because the studios are charging too much. It also told the NYTimes that the current DRM system is too cumbersome from the standpoint of the user interface.

BitTorrent's peer-to-peer network has as many as 135 million users. The company claims to represent anywhere between 40- to 50 percent of global Internet traffic. Om Malik asks if they are going to start paying for access. (BitTorrent says about a third of its users have indicated a willingness to pay for content.) Will new users, presumably the ones willing to pay for access, have the patience for BitTorrent? And perhaps most importantly, will service providers put up with BitTorrent clogging their pipes?

2006 CMTS revenue tops $1B; Cisco still dominates
With telco rivals breathing down their necks, cable operators continue to roll out VoIP and expand both the reach and scope of data services. That required CMTS equipment, and in 2006, the cable industry was on buying spree - worldwide CMTS revenue for the first time exceeded $1 billion.

The total was up 39% from 2005, when revenue reached its previous high of $736 million, according to Infonetics Research's. The worldwide market is expected to near the $1.5 billion mark in 2010. Between competitive pressure, new services, and upgrades to DOCSIS 3.0, Infonetics expects double-digit growth in the CMTS market through at least 2010.

Worldwide CMTS Manufacturer Revenue
Source: Infonetics Research

All 4 major players in the market - Arris, BigBand, Cisco, and Motorola - saw substantial gains in both revenue and port shipments in 2006. Cisco has a grip on more than half the market.

Cable positioned to win broadband race
The cable industry and its technology arsenal is "poised to 'win' in the majority of the country," says a new report from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., titled "The Dumb Pipe Paradox."

Although the telcos are starting to deploy advanced fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and fiber-to-the-neighborhood (FTTN) networks and will create some competitive pockets, the reach of those technologies will be sharply limited, the report said, while cable is already positioned to offer voice, video and data services via a single network.

FTTH networks will reach less than 14 percent of U.S. homes by the end of this decade. Verizon's FiOS plant will be offered to just 13 percent of the U.S., Bernstein said, citing Verizon's projections. FTTN networks, akin to AT&T's strategy in brownfield areas, will reach 26 percent of the country by 2010, the report forecasted.

That means the balance of the telco footprint - about 60 percent - will continue to be served by DSL technologies which will not remain competitive with cable modem service for much longer.

Napa approves AT&T Wi-Fi deal
AT&T has won approval from authorities in Napa, Calif., to build and support a 12-square-mile WiFi network. Construction is expected to begin in the next few weeks. The first phase, covering two square miles of Napa, is expected to be finished this summer, and the additional expansion should be completed by early 2008. The network will support speeds of up to 1 Mbps. The free, ad-supported option will offer speeds of about 200 kbps, and access of up to 10 hours per month.


Current Issue

March 2007
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Company: Ericsson
Headquarters: Stockholm
CEO: Carl-Henric Svanberg

Claim to Fame: One of the pre-eminent communications equipment companies, with a particular strength in cellular systems.

Recent News of Note: The company is trying to remake itself into a soup-to-nuts IPTV vendor, most recently with its cash offer to buy Tandberg Television, trumping a previous bid by ARRIS. Ericsson would have to find a way to integrate Tandberg with previous acquisitions in the general IPTV space, including Entrisphere, Redback Networks, and Marconi.


IPTV World Forum
London, England
March 5-7, 2006
More info: Click Here

The Connected Home
March 5-7, 2006
Olympia London, UK
More info: Click Here

TV Over Net
March 7, 2007
Olympia London, UK
More info: Click Here

March 15-21, 2007
More info: Click Here

Video On The Net
March 19-22, 2007
San Jose, Calif.
More info: Click Here

Business Services Forum

March 26-27, 2007
Philadelphia Airport Marriott
More info: Click Here

March 27-29, 2007
Orlando, Fla.
More info: Click Here

April 14-19, 2007
Las Vegas, Nev.
More info: Click Here

China Broadband
Triple Play/IPTV Forum 2007

April 18-19, 2007
Hong Kong
More info: Click Here

China DSL Forum 2007
April 18-19, 2007
Hong Kong
More info: Click Here

The Cable Show 2007
May 7-9, 2007
Mandalay Bay - Las Vegas
More info: Click Here

May 22-24, 2007
More info: Click Here

China VoIP
Conference & Expo 2007

May 23-24, 2007
Hong Kong
More info: Click Here

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2007
June 19-22, 2007
Orlando, Fla.
More info: Click Here

C-COR Global IP Summit
June 28-29, 2007
Cannes, France
More info: Click Here

Wireless & Mobile
Expo & Conference

July 17-18, 2007
Toronto, Canada
More info: Click Here

CTAM Summit 2007
July 23-25, 2007
Washington Convention Center
Washington, D.C.
More info: Click Here


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