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News summary for 4/19/07

Thu, 04/19/2007 - 10:10am

FCC to redefine broadband, launches net neutrality inquiry
By Brian Santo, CED

The FCC is preparing for a possible revision of how it defines broadband, and how it defines broadband availability. As it does so, it will simultaneously look into issues associated with network neutrality and competition.

The Commission’s current definition of broadband is a minimum transmission rate of 200 kbps. As for availability, if a provider has a single customer in a particular zip code, the FCC assumes the provider’s service is available to every customer in that zip code.

The FCC publishes its findings in semiannual reports, but the quality of the data in those reports has been criticized as inadequate and even misleading by everyone from consumer groups to the U.S. General Accounting Office.

The FCC’s process of revising how it evaluates broadband availability and broadband competition was announced in March, and is only now just beginning with two measures: 1) the issuance of a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) into whether broadband services are being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion, and 2) a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) exploring ways to collect information the Commission needs to set broadband policy in the future.

Through the NPRM, the FCC is now asking for comments on the issue of what constitutes a high-speed data service and how it measures availability. The issue of availability will also be examined in finer detail, to evaluate the so-called digital divide between those able to afford connectivity and those who cannot.

Inquiries under the separate, simultaneous NOI are fairly wide-ranging, but all elements point to the network neutrality debate. One line of inquiry will be into how every company that has a role in transmission handles packet management. The Commission also intends to look into pricing policy, including tiering – again, with an eye to the net neutrality debate. Also, if the FCC determines some remedy is necessary for whatever conditions it discovers, it will also have to determine whether it has the authority to impose those remedies.

Camiant policy servers picked by 'top' wireless carrier
By Brian Santo, CED

Camiant said it has shipped its policy control server, the Multimedia Policy Engine (MPE), to a top U.S. wireless carrier it did not identify.

“Wireless carriers are currently adding high-speed data network capabilities and rolling out new products and services, which utilize higher bandwidth connections; and policy control is critical to supporting these initiatives,” said Dave Paolino, president and chief executive officer for Camiant. “Camiant’s policy control server has been selected by many undisclosed top wireless carriers and we look forward to expanding our presence in this space to support emerging applications such as tiered broadband access, and enhanced video and voice services.”

Separately, Camiant established a Kansas City office “to support business growth and wireless account sales activities,” according to the company.

It may be a coincidence that Sprint Nextel is based in the Kansas City suburb of Overland Park.

ViewCast, Multicast join to deliver streaming content package
By Traci Patterson, CED

ViewCast Corp. and Multicast Media Technologies have signed a reseller agreement.

Atlanta-based Multicast—which delivers live and on-demand video content over the Internet—will bundle ViewCast’s Niagara streaming media appliances with its turnkey streaming and service support package. ViewCast will begin shipping Niagara encoders to Multicast for deployment within existing infrastructures and for new customers and apps, ViewCast said.

Multicast will handle the delivery and backroom operations of the small- to medium-sized Internet broadcast productions, and ViewCast will focus on providing new streaming server hardware and software.

Multicast manages more than 3,500 broadcasts per month for nearly 1,000 clients worldwide.

Verimatrix reveals VCAS, VideoMark news at NAB 
By Traci Patterson, CED

Falcon Communications Inc. has deployed Verimatrix’s Video Content Authority System (VCAS) for IPTV with its IP/Complete IPTV delivery system.
 
VCAS for IPTV has been fully integrated with Thomson’s SmartVision service management platform, multiple Thomson IP set-top boxes (STBs) and middleware from the Grass Valley business unit within Thomson, Verimatrix said.  The integrated IP/Complete platform is currently running in Falcon’s beta site.
 
Verimatrix recently unveiled new capabilities and enhancements for its VCAS for IPTV 2.1. The MultiCAS/IP integrates the IPTV headend scrambler equipment with the VCAS software-based content security.

The remote stream manager enables end-to-end encryption of broadcast channels combined with locally-originated content. And service classes provide entitlement and blackout management by grouping channel packages at the headend.

Verimatrix also revealed that its VideoMark forensic watermarking technology is in the final process of integration with Amino’s AmiNET125 STB for commercial deployments. The VideoMark technology enables pirated content to be tracked back to its last legal recipient. VideoMark extends the security perimeter of IPTV distribution through the so-called “analog hole,” the company said.

Broadband Briefs for 4/19/07

* Nasdaq extends UTStarcom filing deadline
Threatened with imminent delisting from the Nasdaq trading board, UTStarcom  was granted a temporary reprieve when the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel extended the deadline by which the company must file its financial report from the quarter that ended last September and its annual report for its year ended December 31.

UTStarcom is struggling to account for its granting of stock options, essentially the same stock options problem reported by approximately 200 other public companies.
UTStarcom now has until May 14 to file the quarterly report, and until July 16 for the annual report.

* SCTE names Shapp scholarship winner
The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has named Justin Ko-Cheng Chang—a senior at Norcross High School in Norcross, Ga.—as the 2007 recipient of the annual Milton Jerrold Shapp Memorial Scholarship.

The $20,000 scholarship—awarded to a high school senior who is the son or daughter of a telecommunications industry employee—honors the memory of Shapp, who was a cable telecommunications pioneer and a former governor of Pennsylvania. Eligible students must desire a degree relevant to the telecommunications industry. The scholarship is funded by Motorola and administered by SCTE.

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