News summary for 9/19/07

Wed, 09/19/2007 - 9:48am
CED staff

Bresnan bows Wi-Fi service in Billings
By Mike Robuck

Bresnan Communications has launched a wireless offering in Billings, Mont. by using products from Fujitsu Network Communications and BelAir Networks.

The free high-speed broadband Wi-Fi service allows Bresnan’s customers in Billings, which is also the location of its central headend, to access their triple play services in the Billings service area. The DOCSIS 2.0 interface works with Bresnan’s existing cable architecture.

“We chose Fujitsu because they offer a complete solution that combines cutting edge technology and products with expert around-the-clock support,” said Shawn Fisher, vice president of advanced services technology at Bresnan Communications, in a prepared statement. “This Wi-Fi network will allow our customers in Billings to enjoy industry-leading broadband performance to check their e-mail, surf the Web, or have access to instant messaging or their company’s virtual private network wherever they are.”

Fujitsu is providing an end-to-end solution that combines Wi-Fi products from BelAir Networks with services from Fujitsu to create a wireless solution that integrates easily within Bresnan’s cable infrastructure and operations.

The Bresnan network uses BelAir’s 100S outdoor wireless internetworking nodes. Each node can be strand-mounted, plant-powered, and interconnected to the existing cable infrastructure using a DOCSIS 2.0-compliant interface. Bresnan is utilizing Fujitsu Network’s Life Cycle Services that include site surveys, on-site mentoring, remote technical assistance, training, craft interface software and equipment feature software upgrades.

Midcontinent taps Nortel for Metro Ethernet 
By Mike Robuck

Midcontinent Communications is giving its network a boost with Metro Ethernet optical equipment from Nortel Networks.

As part of the network upgrade, Nortel will deploy Metro Ethernet optical technology to provide a single converged network supporting Midcontinent's new high-bandwidth services, such as video-on-demand (VOD), as well as its current voice, video, and data services for business and residential customers.

"Consumers want more bandwidth, digital voice service, and innovative video programming like VOD and high definition television," said Jon Pederson, vice president of Technology, Midcontinent Communications, in a statement. "Our investment in advanced network technology from Nortel gives us a simple platform to offer an ever-widening array of entertainment options, along with the flexibility to offer new services to large and small business customers."

As part of the network expansion, Midcontinent is building out an end-to-end solution based on innovative Resilient Packet Ring Ethernet (RPR) technology to securely transport voice, video and data over a single network. Offering sub-50ms protection capabilities without the need to reserve bandwidth strictly for this purpose, Nortel said that RPR provides efficient aggregation, switching and transport of Ethernet services securely and efficiently over a shared optical ring infrastructure.

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Midcontinent provides triple play services to its 220,000 customers primarily in South Dakota and North Dakota, with smaller footprints in parts of Minnesota and Nebraska.

Last year it started deploying VOD services in order to better compete against some smaller telcos in its service areas. Midcontinent, which is jointly owned by Midcontinent Media and Comcast, completed its last VOD launch in April.

Alaska Airlines bringing wireless Internet in-flight
By Traci Patterson

Alaska Airlines is set to launch an in-flight wireless Internet service in 2008 with Row 44's satellite-based broadband solution.

The airline will test Row 44's system on a Boeing 737 next spring. The solution is expected to give Wi-Fi-enabled devices - such as PDAs, laptops, smartphones and portable gaming systems - high-speed access to the Internet, VPNs and stored, in-flight entertainment content.

Row 44’s satellite-based system is designed to function over land and water, and across international borders. Passengers will be able to connect to the system via wireless hotspots in the aircraft cabin. An antenna, which will reside in a radome mounted on the top of the plane, will receive and transmit signals through the Ku-band satellite system.    

"We're moving ahead with testing and ultimately plan to bring wireless broadband to our whole fleet,” said Steve Jarvis, Alaska Airlines' VP of sales, marketing and customer experience.

Minerva provides IPTV platform for another two
By Brian Santo

Two more companies are rolling out IPTV using middleware from Minerva Networks.

One is FTTx specialist Connexion Technologies. The other is small telco Paul Bunyan Telephone.

Both are using Minerva’s new iTVManager 3.0 IPTV middleware. iTVManager 3.0 lays the foundation for IPTV with additional services that include t-commerce and integrated communications services.

iTVManager 3.0 introduces new and enhanced subscriber features such as user selectable interfaces, HD/PVR, multi-stream recording and integrated Web and broadcast channels, according to Minerva Networks. It introduces multi-region and multiple channel line-up support, expanded APIs for OSS/BSS integration, high availability configurations, advanced provisioning options and bandwidth management features. 

SCTE seeks nominees for Emerging Technologies Awards
By Brian Santo

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is now accepting nominations for its 2008 Emerging Technologies Awards. Any individual is eligible to submit a nomination. The deadline is Friday, November 2.

The three Emerging Technologies Awards are:

The IP Innovator Award - sponsored by Juniper Networks - honors a member of the SCTE who, as an engineer or manager, has displayed innovative achievement and creativity in the advancement and development of IP networking.

The Polaris Award - sponsored by CommScope - honors a member of the SCTE who has displayed exceptional achievement and commitment to the development and/or deployment of HFC networks. Nominees should be engineering managers at the system, MSO, or vendor level.

The Star of Integrity Award - sponsored by C-Cor - honors a member of the SCTE who, as an engineer or manager, has contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of next-generation networks in delivering on-demand services.

Nominators for the Emerging Technologies Awards are required to detail - at a minimum of 250 words - why they believe their nominees are deserving of one of the awards, considering career achievements, education, leadership skills, published papers, and involvement in SCTE and other industry associations.

Nominations may be submitted conveniently online. In the Member Services section of the Web site, the ET Awards page can be accessed by clicking on Awards and Recognition.

Each of the honorees will be presented with a special award during an awards luncheon set for Tuesday, January 15. The recipients also will be recognized in a multitude of industry venues, including a cover feature in the March 2008 issue of CED magazine.

The SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies 2008 will be held January 14–16 in Los Angeles.

House subcommittee to review 911 effectiveness of VoIP, mobile phones
By Traci Patterson

Today the House subcommittee on Communications and the Internet will look at increasing the effectiveness of 911 emergency services, particularly for mobile phone and VoIP users.

Calls made from landline phones are easily traceable to a specific location, but that is not always the case with cellular and Internet-based calls. And each year, about 100 million 911 calls are made from cellular phones.

Last week, the FCC adopted an order that forces wireless carriers to meet Enhanced 911 (E911) requirements at the Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) service-area level. The carriers must meet annual, interim benchmarks throughout the next five years.

By Sept. 11, 2008, carriers must fulfill the Commission’s location accuracy requirements within each economic area they serve; by Sept. 11, 2010, they must satisfy the same requirements within each metropolitan statistical area and rural service area they serve, and they must demonstrate compliance within at least 75 percent of the PSAPs they serve; and by Sept. 11, 2012, the carriers must achieve full compliance with the PSAP-level location accuracy requirements.

The Commission tentatively concluded that interconnected VoIP service should employ an autolocation technology that meets the same accuracy requirements as CMRS providers “to the extent that service may be used in more than one location.” The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) opposes this conclusion as it applies to VoIP services from cable operators, which are offered at a fixed location on a wireline network.

“The record demonstrates that imposing wireless autolocation requirements on any type of VoIP service is unnecessary and would do more harm than good at this point in time,” the NCTA said in a released statement. “Such an approach is particularly ill-advised with respect to cable VoIP offerings.”

The NCTA and others have argued that the imposition of any sort of technical requirement to provide automatic location capability would be premature, and that setting any sort of arbitrary deadline for providing autolocation capability would risk forcing adoption of an inferior solution.

The House subcommittee, which is chaired by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), will hear the following people testify: Catherine Avgiris, SVP and GM of voice services at Comcast; Christopher Putala, EarthLink’s EVP for public policy; and Robert Mayer, VP of industry and state affairs for USTelecom.

Broadband Briefs for 9/19/07 

* Bharti picks Tandberg products for satellite service 
By Mike Robuck

Bharti Telemedia will be using a range of products from Tandberg, including the latter’s MPEG-4 standard definition encoders, for the launch of its new direct-to-home satellite service in India. Bharti is also utilizing Tandberg’s iSIS 8000 IP headend. According to Tandberg, the system is one of the first satellite DTH platforms in the world to benefit from SD MPEG-4 AVC.

The DTH services will be launched nationally across India, and Bharti is setting up a state-of-the-art infrastructure near Gurgaon (Haryana) for the purpose of uplinking and broadcast.

* CCSA picks v.1 solutions for members
By Traci Patterson

v.1 Labs has been chosen by the Canadian Cable Systems Alliance (CCSA) to provide customer care solutions for CCSA member companies.

The company’s Front Line solution, IP Device Diagnostic Center and Self-Install Wizard, will be used to control operating expenses related to call center and customer care operations. v.1 Labs and the CCSA expect to install with the first customer in the next 30 days.


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