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News summary for 9/20/07

Thu, 09/20/2007 - 8:41am
CED staff

Cox to air Discovery HD channels; Names marketing chief
By Brian Santo

Cox Communications, which intends to expand its HD lineup to 100 channels, has found another four from Discovery Communications.

Cox will carry the HD versions of the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and The Science Channel, introducing them on a market-by-market basis. Cox’s HD channel line-up will also vary by market.

Cox President Pat Esser said “…we have dozens of new HD channels slated for launch this year.”

Separately, Cox named Tony Matthews executive director of marketing responsible for the company’s bundling strategy. He also will spearhead Cox's efforts in competitive intelligence and customer retention and winback, the company said.

Matthews joined Cox in 1988 as the direct sales representative for a former Cox system in Lubbock, Texas. Most recently, he served as vice president of marketing in Cox's Kansas/Arkansas operation.

Widevine releases CableCard with downloadable approach
By Traci Patterson

Widevine Technologies has unveiled its CableCard - a QAM and IP-based hardware solution that allows cable operators, satellite providers and telcos to provide two-way, downloadable conditional access protection when delivering content to any CableCard-enabled device.

Widevine’s CableCard supports content delivered across multiple networks and multiple streams to TVs, STBs, PCs and portable media players.

The solution also includes session-based forensic watermarking code that can be activated through a download from Widevine Mensor to the CableCard, the company said, enabling operators to identify and track pirates on their networks.

"This [downloadable] approach enables them to quickly deploy an FCC-compliant, Hollywood approved separable security solution on an existing network, yet allows the flexibility to deploy a truly downloadable solution using the same Widevine components in the headend when the time is right," said Matt Cannard, Widevine’s VP of marketing.

Cedar Point supports voice on WiMAX 
By Mike Robuck

Today Cedar Point Communications announced the general availability of its SafariC3 multimedia switching system for voice-over-WiMAX applications.

Cedar Point has made inroads around the globe with its SafariC3 switching platform before migrating the platform over to WiMAX applications. The Derry, N.H.-based company previously announced a WiMAX deployment with Grupo TVCable, the largest cable operator in Ecuador.

The WiMAX application will allow service providers such as Grupo to reach areas that currently can’t be provisioned by HFC.

SafariC3 is a fully integrated voice switching platform that supports TDM, packet and SIP-based telephony services. It integrates all of the elements of the VoIP switching architecture into a single unit to provide carrier-class performance and reliability, while increasing network integrity, security and privacy, according to Cedar Point.

“Voice over WiMAX is a natural evolutionary step for both traditional wireless providers and cable and telco operators seeking to expand their service footprints,” said Mark Tubinis, CTO for Cedar Point Communications, in a prepared statement. “We believe that the same qualities that have made SafariC3 successful in the cable and telco markets – most notably lower costs of ownership and rapid return on investment – will be of value in WiMAX-based voice deployments.”

Cedar Point will demonstrate its WiMAX platform at WiMAX World USA Sept. 26-27 at McCormick Place in Chicago. 

NACT introduces new media gateway
By Mike Robuck

On Wednesday, NACT Telecommunications announced the release of the MTN Gateway. The new unit features a lower-cost, smaller footprint VoIP switching gateway platform. The MTN Gateway was designed to support IP and TDM protocols including H.323, SIP, ISDN, SS7/C7, and R1. It will also support new features such as Class V applications, extended VoIP business features, voice mail, conferencing, and media gateway functions.  

“The MTN Gateway is a cutting-edge solution that will provide customers with a media rich gateway at very competitive prices,” said Eric Gurr, NACT’s CEO, in a statement.

NACT will target inter-exchange carriers, independent phone companies, prepaid service providers, cable companies, and ISPs with its new gateway.

Another builder joins Corning’s FTTH program
By Brian Santo

D.R. Horton has joined Corning Cable Systems’ Connected Community Program, which supports homebuilders who prepare housing developments for communications services delivered via FTTH.

D.R. Horton’s participation is through a partnership with Connexion Technologies, which designs, builds and operates fiber optic networks for developers.

Connexion Technologies has built networks for more than 10 D.R. Horton Homes properties in Florida.

To qualify as a Corning Connected Community, each connected neighborhood must provide symmetrical service to all homes via fiber optic connection directly to the home.

Qwest leads high-speed customer satisfaction
Copyright 2007 Denver Publishing Company
By Jeff Smith, Rocky Mountain News

Qwest Communications edged out competitors for the highest customer satisfaction among high-speed Internet service providers in the Western U.S., in an independent survey by J.D. Power and Associates.

Qwest posted an overall score of 697. Verizon (696) and EarthLink (693) followed, in what was a virtual dead heat among the top three providers. Verizon doesn't target the residential market in Colorado.

Comcast, Qwest's primary competitor in the Denver area, fared poorly in the survey of nine major providers in the West. In a separate survey by J.D. Power recently, Comcast topped Qwest in customer satisfaction for residential telephone service in the West.

The Internet study was based on responses in July from more than 16,000 residential customers nationwide. J.D. Power didn't break out the results by state or market area.

"Qwest's reliable broadband service and our guaranteed price for life are two reasons we believe Qwest ranks highest when it comes to customer satisfaction," Paula Kruger, Qwest executive vice president of mass markets, said in a statement.

The survey ranked providers on seven factors, including performance and reliability, image, cost of service, billing, customer service-technical support, offerings and promotions, and e-mail services. Qwest ranked the highest in performance and reliability, and cost of service.

J.D. Power refuted the notion that slower dial-up Internet service is on its deathbed.

"Although high-speed subscriptions continue to increase annually - to 65 percent of the market in 2007 - more than one-third (35 percent) of Internet service subscribers still use a dial-up service," said Frank Perazzini, J.D. Power's director of telecommunications.

He noted the average cost of high-speed Internet went up nearly $2 per month, to $44.09 in 2007, while dial-up service costs are flat, averaging $17.81.

"As long as high-speed Internet prices continue to rise and dial-up providers offer a viable level of service at a low price point, significant market opportunity will continue to exist for dial-up service," Perazzini said.

Broadband Briefs for 9/20/07

* James Cable upgrades with CableServ
By Brian Santo

CableServ has been tapped by James Cable to expand the latter’s network bandwidth to 750 MHz. CableServ has an approach to perform the upgrade using a network’s existing amplifiers. CableServ said other customers include Persona Communications, Rogers, EastLink, Comcast, Charter Communications, Mediacom, Cox and Time Warner Cable.

* Covad releases wholesale partner list
By Traci Patterson

Covad Communications Group Inc. released a list of wholesale partners that are selling the company’s ADSL2+ business-class broadband service. Speakeasy, a unit of Best Buy, is the latest addition, and others include Lightning Bolt DSL and Bway.net.

ADSL2+ has been available for several years in countries with advanced broadband infrastructures, such as South Korea and Singapore, and Covad was one of the first providers to deploy it widely in the U.S.

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