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News summary for 6/12/07

Tue, 06/12/2007 - 9:30am

Cablevision rallies support for RS-DVR appeal
By Brian Santo, CED

Cablevision Systems, having lost a lower court ruling that undermines its attempts to provide networked DVR service, is lining up industry support to back its appeal.

The fellowship is unusual in its breadth. Supporters include the Consumer Electronics Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and USTelecom, which represents the major phone companies. The three organizations on Friday jointly filed an amicus brief in support of Cablevision's appeal.

The proposed remote-storage digital video recorder service (RS-DVR) was designed to provide customers with network-based storage. A group of copyright holders, however, including the Cartoon Network, Disney Enterprises, NBC, CBS and Turner Network, sued Cablevision arguing that the proposed RS-DVR violated copyright law. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York found in their favor in March 2007, preventing Cablevision from rolling it out.

The joint filing by the consumer and trade bodies makes two arguments. Legal precedent is that a company that provides the means for recording is not liable for copyright infringements. The second is that the ruling will frustrate technological innovation that is ultimately of benefit to consumers.

"Network-based services may prove to be both cheaper and technologically superior, providing better service at reduced costs to consumers," USTelecom Chief Executive Walter McCormick said in a statement.

Forrester: Consumers’ pricing estimates for à la carte warped
By Traci Patterson, CED

About half of American consumers are interested in à la carte cable pricing, but their estimates of what they would pay for the service aren’t realistic, according to the Forrester Research Inc. report, “Cable à la carte pricing creates more problems than it solves.”

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has touted à la carte - where consumers choose which cable channels they want instead of accepting the bundles that cable providers offer - for several months now.

Forrester found that, on average, current cable subscribers would spend $24 a month for 26 channels, which is 53 percent less than they pay today to get one-fourth of the number of channels. To appease the FCC and avoid legislation that could disorient consumers, Forrester is suggesting that cable operators offer the benefits of à la carte pricing through smarter bundling of family, sports or news programming, in addition to traditional tiered packages.

And the Fortune 500 winners are . . .
By Traci Patterson, CED

Well, Wal-Mart Stores placed first in the 2007 Fortune 500. Go figure.

Companies in the top 100 include: 13) Verizon Communications; 27) AT&T; 48) Time Warner; 49) Microsoft; 52) Motorola; 53) Sprint Nextel; 77) Cisco Systems; and 84) Comcast.

Other mentionable companies are: 121) Apple; 160) DirecTV Group; 178) Qwest Communications; 241) Google; 252) EchoStar Communications; 256) Alltel; 317) Qualcomm; 357) Yahoo; 380) Cablevision Systems; 409) Charter Communications; and 465) Level 3 Communications.

CSG to acquire ComTec for $23.5 million
By Traci Patterson, CED

CSG Systems International Inc., a provider of customer care and billing solutions in the cable and satellite markets, has reached an agreement to acquire ComTec Inc., a provider of print and electronic customer communications supporting the cable and telecom markets.

CSG will acquire ComTec for approximately $23.5 million, in cash, with a close date expected in early July and subject to satisfactory and customary closing conditions.

The acquisition increases CSG’s presence in its core video market, as well as in new industry verticals such as telecommunications, the company said.

AT&T selling small business Internet services in retail stores
By Traci Patterson, CED

AT&T Inc. is offering small businesses the option to buy broadband Internet services in its more than 780 AT&T wireless retail stores.

AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Business Edition is available for purchase at company retail stores in 13 states (Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin). The service starts at $34.99 per month and offers downstream speeds ranging from 1.5 Mbps to 6 Mbps.

FastAccess Business DSL will be offered in retail stores in a nine-state local service area (including Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) by the end of the year.

Oversi receives funding from Cisco
By Traci Patterson, CED

Oversi, a P2P caching and content delivery solutions provider, has received funding from Cisco as part of an extended second round of funding, which totals $8 million.

The round was led by Carmel Ventures, which was joined by StageOne Ventures and TempoPark Fund.

The additional funds will be used to expand Oversi’s sales, distribution channels and global operations, and it will help fund the development of new products in the P2P streaming and delivery space, the company said.

Tekelec intros SIP signaling router 
By Brian Santo, CED

Tekelec said its TekCore Session Manager product now supports SIP signaling router (SSR) functionality.

The Tekelec SSR provides centralized session routing for softswitches and enables core signaling capabilities that cross between time division multiplexing (TDM), NGN and future IMS domains. These capabilities allow subscribers to use existing, next-generation and future IMS-based services regardless of access type - an important requirement for operators that need to ensure consistent service delivery over hybrid networks as they migrate to all-IP environments.

Global tier one and tier two operators are planning initial TekCore SSR deployments in the second half of 2007, with mass deployments expected in 2008, the company said.

Aurora adds line of 1 GHz transmitters
By Brian Santo, CED

Aurora Networks announced it is now shipping a new set of 1 GHz transmitters. The AT3300L series of LcWDM (low-cost wave division multiplexing) transmitters are designed for the segmentation of node service areas because they enable the reuse of existing fiber up to six times at distances up to 25 kilometers, the company said, thus increasing bandwidth capacity per fiber to support HDTV, VoIP, VOD and high-speed DOCSIS services.

Features of the new transmitters include: six O-band wavelengths on a single fiber; reach of up to 25 kilometers; 46 to 1002 MHz RF bandwidth; dual RF input ports with AGC for broadcast and narrowcast services; compatibility with existing segmentable nodes; and “pay as you grow” flexibility.

“LcWDM systems will support six forward segments and 24 reverse segments on a single fiber,” said John Dahlquist, Aurora Network’s vice president of marketing. “This allows not only for segmentation of a node service area, but also for node addition in growth areas without the need for fiber construction on existing fiber routes. In fact, it allows for fiber recovery to support business services and other incremental revenue-generating opportunities.”

Broadband Briefs for 6/12/07

* FTC grants Terayon early termination
Terayon Communication Systems Inc. has been granted, by the FTC, early termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976 (as amended), in connection with the merger agreement between Terayon and Motorola Inc. Completion of the transaction is expected during Q2 or Q3, and it remains subject to customary closing conditions.

* Ambit’s wireless EMTA ready to go
Ambit Microsystems’ wireless EMTA has been approved for deployment in North America.

The wireless EMTA contains all of the features of Ambit’s cable router, wireless gateway and residential EMTA products, allowing cable operators to deliver a variety of services via one device.

* Verizon’s FiOS TV expands in Mass.
Verizon’s FiOS TV service is now available to consumers in the Massachusetts communities of Franklin, Lawrence and Southborough, some 16,500 households.

The addition brings to 44 the number of communities in the state where FiOS TV service is offered, and the company is negotiating with about 20 others. Verizon will be competing with Comcast and Charter Communications in the area.

* Vyyo joins MEF
Vyyo Inc. has joined the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), the industry organization dedicated to accelerating the worldwide adoption of Carrier Ethernet networks and services.

As a participant in the MEF, Vyyo will work with the group’s membership to develop Ethernet-based solutions, particularly for the delivery of telecom-quality T1 over cable system operators’ HFC networks. 

* Ciena launches FlexSelect 40G Shelf
Ciena Corp. has released its FlexSelect 40G Shelf, a universal solution to transition metro, regional, long-haul and ultra long-haul networks to 40 Gbps while providing a migration path for 100G networking.

The shelf enables in-service upgrades of granular 40G wavelengths alongside existing 10G wavelengths.

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