News summary for 7/11/07

Wed, 07/11/2007 - 9:13am

Cable companies rack up top J.D. Power awards
By Mike Robuck

When it comes to telephony services, cable operators are moving to the front of the pack, according to a new study by J.D. Powers and Associates. Cable companies snagged the top honors for customer satisfaction in all six of the U.S. regions for the first time in a study that was released on Wednesday.

For the fifth-straight year, Cox Communications’ residential telephone service was ranked the highest in overall customer satisfaction in the Western Region. Cox also garnered first-place in the J.D. Power and Associates’ 2007 Regional Customer Satisfaction Study for the second straight year in overall customer satisfaction in the Northeast and Southwest regions.

“We’re pleased to be recognized once again in the J.D. Power and Associates study. Through the study’s findings, it is clear that Cox is outperforming the big old telephone companies in satisfying customers,” said David Pugliese, Cox’s vice president of product marketing, in a prepared statement.

The study measured customer satisfaction with both local and long distance services in six regions across the United States. The six factors that determined overall satisfaction, in order of importance, were: performance and reliability, customer service, billing, cost of service, and offerings and promotions.

In the Mid-Atlantic Region, Cablevision ranked the highest by performing well in all six categories, while Bright House Networks ranked first for the second-straight year in the Southeast Region.

"Reliability, advanced features and unlimited calling for a flat-rate with no hidden fees have allowed Optimum Voice to attract more than 1.3 million customers, nearly a third of our local phone market, and a growing number of businesses as well," said John Bickham, Cablevision's president of cable and communications, in a statement.

WideOpenWest! was included in the study for the first time and led the North Central Region with the highest ratings from customers in all six factors of overall satisfaction.

The study cited the power of the triple play bundle as one of the factors in the cable operators’ success. It found that 86 percent of the cable-based voice customers also subscribed to data services from the same provider, which topped last year’s mark of 71 percent. The importance of the bundle was also borne out by the increase in importance weight of the offerings and promotions factor, which increased 3 percent over the 2006 study.

iSuppli expects speedy growth for home networking devices
By Traci Patterson

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. consumers want their TVs to connect to the Internet, and because of this, home networking is moving beyond its PC-centric beginnings, according to iSuppli Corp. 

In the next few years, iSuppli expects rapid sales growth for network-enabled consumer electronics devices, including DVD recorders, cable modems, digital TVs, multi-room DVRs, digital media adapters, STBs and video game consoles.

Shipments of these devices, along with PCs and home network bridges and gateways, are expected to rise to 732.9 million units by 2011, more than triple the 225.3 million shipped in 2006, iSuppli said.

By 2011, iSuppli forecasts that Wi-Fi will be the most common network physical interface for such devices, followed by Cat 5, power line and coax.

Optimum Lightpath adds to executive team
By Mike Robuck

Optimum Lightpath, a division of Cablevision, announced Wednesday that Paul Corona and Robert Mazzarella have been added to the company’s executive team.

Corona will serve as VP of Outside Plant Design and Construction, while Mazzarella will take on the role of VP of Network Operations.

Prior to joining Optimum Lightpath, Corona was VP of construction and operations for RCN. Mazzarella joined Cablevision in 1995 and has held a number of management positions for the company during his tenure.

"The recent additions of Paul Corona and Robert Mazzarella to our executive team are a direct result of the significant growth being experienced by Optimum Lightpath and our ongoing commitment to deliver enterprise grade communications solutions to mid, large and enterprise size businesses in the New York tri-state area," said Brian Fabiano, senior vice president, Network Services, Optimum Lightpath, in a prepared statement.

AT&T picks Sun Microsystems’ servers to deliver U-verse
By Mike Robuck

AT&T has tapped Sun Microsystems for servers and storage arrays to help deliver its U-verse video service.

AT&T will use Sun Fire X4600 servers and will also deploy Sun Storage Tek storage arrays - the latter provides continuous access to AT&T’s VOD library.  The new servers and storage arrays are scheduled to be rolled out in new deployments of IP-video super hub offices and IP-video hub offices in AT&T’s fiber-to-the-curb U-verse network.

AT&T’s video service is currently available in parts of 23 markets across eight states. AT&T’s roll out of U-verse has been slower than originally projected, but the company plans to launch in new markets this year and next year while also expanding in its current markets.

Webinar focuses on how to justify spending on more bandwidth
By Brian Santo

Cable operators are caught between a rock and a hard place. Competition is necessitating the types of bandwidth expansions that HFC networks were built for, but Wall Street is set to punish any cable company for daring to invest in the necessary equipment. Several ways to negotiate a path between those conflicting forces will be discussed tomorrow morning in a webinar hosted by CED.

Independent analyst Leslie Ellis will moderate the session, called “Bandwidth Dollars and Sense” (register here). She’ll be accompanied by panelists Alan Bezoza, analyst with Oppenheimer; Dallas Clement, Cox’s senior vice president of strategy and development; and Wayne Davis, CEO of Vyyo.

They will discuss how operators can leverage the tremendous business opportunities that lie ahead at a fraction of the cost of what the competition is spending. Panelists will address whether the pressure to restrict spending on bandwidth is counter productive to operators' future success, and if cable actually should be rewarded for spending on bandwidth that drives ARPU and OIBITDA growth through the delivery of new and innovative services.

The Webcast, sponsored by Vyyo, will be held at 11 a.m. eastern time, 8 a.m. pacific.

VoIP Inc. rolls out Click4Me portal
By Mike Robuck

VoIP Inc. said on Tuesday that it had launched a beta version of its Click4Me calling service on its new Web portal.

Click4Me is a free Web-click calling service that’s now available on VoIP has been working on customized applications for SIP, IP, TDM and other technologies over the course of five years. The Click4Me service lets users connect to others through free calls without using a PC for voice communications.

Click4Me doesn’t require that a person contacting a Click4Me be a registered user with the company, and it offers other features such as email and instant messaging.

Broadband Briefs for 7/11/07

* Tek’s IMS solution successful at Plugfest
Tektronix demonstrated multi-vendor interoperability of its Spectra2 IMS system at the IMS Forum's second IMS Plugfest held in June for application and service interoperability. Plugfest II focused on interoperability for VoIP, IP Centrex, IP PBX, SMS and fixed mobile convergence.

Tek designed Spectra2 as a Single Box IMS Test and Generation product, offering core IMS testing through support of the SIP and Diameter protocols, and supports signaling and media protocols and codecs for associated PSTN and VoIP access. Spectra2’s SIP dynamic parameter management capabilities position the solution as a leading SIP testing platform for IMS and VoIP environments.

* Ceragon deploying wireless solution in New Orleans
Ceragon Networks is deploying its FibeAir IP-MAX wireless radios in New Orleans to support communications between outfall control structures, associated pumping stations, and the emergency operations center.

The solution is designed to provide continuous, full-motion IP video and site supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and it enables primary communications between the outfall canals and backup communications along the canals.

* DirecTV, B2B-TV bringing programming to commercial market
DirecTV and B2B-TV have entered into an agreement, whereby B2B-TV will deploy a nationwide centralized TV distribution system with DirecTV programming to commercial customers.

B2B-TV installs, operates, manages and maintains centralized TV distribution systems for commercial office properties along the West Coast, and the company is expanding east to major markets.



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