News summary for 10/18/07

Thu, 10/18/2007 - 8:17am
CED staff

Integra5 survey finds converged services boost customer retention
By Mike Robuck

Integra5 conducted a survey with a South Carolina provider that found TV Caller ID plays a large role in retaining customers while also causing subscribers to have a positive perception of their service provider.

While some cable operators, such as Time Warner Cable, have developed TV Caller ID on their own, Integra5 has been a pioneer in getting phone call names and numbers up on TV screens.

Integra5 conducted its survey with South Carolina-based provider Comporium.

The survey, which generated more than 3,500 responses, detailed interest in current and future converged services – real-time applications that “blend the bundle” by combining voice, video, data and wireless features.

To provide a more granular analysis of the impact of converged services, responses from Comporium’s long-term TV Caller ID subscribers – 70 percent of whom have used the converged service for more than one year – were compared with feedback from subscribers who do not receive the service. Comporium offers the TV Caller ID service for free as part of its digital cable and phone bundle.
The results included 25 percent of those who responded saying that TV Caller ID was the main reason they stuck with Comporium for their triple play bundle. The TV Caller ID users also were 30 percent more likely to rate Comporium as “great” overall than the subscribers who didn’t receive the service.

The survey also found that 78 percent of the Comporium customers said they liked TV Caller ID as much as other popular types of services, including HDTV, while 71 percent reported the same for DVR.

"The economic impact of winning and retaining customers is dramatically altered in a multi-service, triple and quad play bundle market," said Boyd Peterson, senior vice president of Yankee Group’s Consumer Research group, in a statement. "The intense competition between service providers to have the best bundled offering will increasingly hinge on innovative services that offer consumers value through greater convenience and freedom rather than simply consolidating multiple services on a single bill."

While service providers are beginning to leverage three screens with TVs, PCs and mobile devices, the survey found that nearly 70 percent of the respondents chose the TV as their preferred device for receiving converged services, while more than 40 percent said they would like to receive the services on both TVs and PCs.

The Comporium Group of companies provides services to residential and commercial customers, including local telephone, long distance, wireless, cable TV, Internet, security, data services and directory publishing.

VoIP touts recent increase in network traffic
By Mike Robuck

While single service VoIP providers, such as Vonage, have struggled when going head-to-head with cable’s triple play, VoIP Inc. said its network traffic and customer base have increased.

VoIP, a provider of turnkey VoIP communications products for service providers, resellers and consumers, said today that it has recently added new customers to its network, and experienced an increase in usage from existing customers resulting in a 40 percent increase in overall network minutes per day being carried over the company’s network during the period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

VoIP said the upturn represented the largest increase in network traffic since the company’s inception.

VoIP expects a significant increase in October revenue compared to the previous month due to substantially higher usage of its network.

In addition to increased utilization of the network, the company announced that variable gross margins on the minutes carried over the network continued to improve, from approximately 33 percent in the 30-day period prior to Sept. 15, to 45 percent in the subsequent 30 days.

The increase is a result of continued network expansion, as VoIP has established direct facilities for the origination and termination of minutes and calls on its own network instead of utilizing third-party carriers to handle those minutes. The company said that 44 percent of all minutes that VoIP bills its customers are carried over its network today, compared to just 17 percent just 30 days ago.

According to VoIP, the increased utilization of the company’s own interconnected facilities provides reductions in cost, increased quality for customers, and improved profitability. VoIP’s goal is to build a facilities-based communications network comparable in geographic size to other carriers, such as XO Communications, and Level 3 Communications.

“The investments we made in expanding our network have made us a more important partner with our customers,” said Shawn Lewis, chief operating officer of VoIP Inc., in a statement. "The increased traffic and improved margins, resulting from a more favorable mix of customers, positions the company for strong growth during the fourth quarter.”

Sandvine launches initiative against malware
By Mike Robuck

Sandvine announced today that it has launched the Sandvine Protection Center to augment its Sandvine Network Integrity product.

The Sandvine Protection Center enables service providers to protect subscribers by detecting malware hiding on PCs, notifying subscribers and providing self-remediation options to clean and protect their PCs.

As part of the Sandvine Network Integrity product, the Sandvine Protection Center uses a walled garden approach to promote communications between the service provider and the subscriber, ensures minimal service disruption and allows subscribers to customize aspects of the solution to meet their individual service needs. The new product is a result of Sandvine's recent acquisition of Simplicita Software in June.

Ben Lomand Telephone Cooperative has deployed the Sandvine solution and alleviated service provider-generated abuse complaints from its 12,000 DSL and FTTH subscriber network.

Ben Lomand deployed Sandvine to automate the detection of malicious attacks such as spam Trojans, DoS, DDoS and worms, as well as automate subscriber protection from these attacks.

"Sandvine's solution automatically stops malicious behavior without manual intervention and immediately returns customers to service once the malicious traffic issues have been resolved," said Joe Hamby Jr., Internet technical administrator at Ben Lomand Telephone Cooperative, in a statement. "Before Sandvine, we typically received at least one abuse complaint per day and we had about 70 IP addresses blocked from sending mail through the mail servers. Since deploying Sandvine, any abuse report is rare and we haven't had any blocked IPs."

Kern creates mobile, multiplatform consulting firm
By Traci Patterson

Jerry Kern, the former vice chairman of Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), has founded Enki Strategic Advisors, a consulting firm that will assist companies seeking to expand into the mobile and multiplatform media technologies.

Joining Kern as partners of the firm are Izzy Abbass, who is currently a consultant in the mobile media sector and has 15 years of experience in the wireless, Internet and TV sectors; and Brad Anderson, who has operated cable TV systems for Viacom, Cable Co-op, TCI, AT&T Broadband and Comcast. 

Broadband Briefs for 10/18/07

* Harmonic’s HFC access solution rides the Wave
By Traci Patterson

Harmonic Inc.’s HFC access products have been deployed by WaveDivision Holdings, an MSO serving parts of Washington State and California, for the operator’s enterprise and residential services.

Harmonic’s FlxLink CWDM commercial services offering allows WaveDivision to provide 100 Mbps fiber links for high-speed video and data services. The MSO has also deployed Harmonic’s PWRBlazer HLN 3142C 1-GHz scalable nodes for increased bandwidth and reliability with residential broadcast services, including VOD, data and telephony.

* FiOS Internet to fuel Trump’s buildings
By Traci Patterson

Verizon’s FiOS Internet service will give The Trump World Tower at United Nations Plaza and Trump Park Avenue speeds of up to 50 Mbps. Trump said he is working with Verizon to bring FiOS to all of his properties. The FiOS service is currently offered in parts of 16 states.

* Best Buy pulls analog TV products from shelves
By Traci Patterson

Best Buy has pulled all remaining analog TV products from its store shelves and will only sell digital video tuners in the future. Stores were instructed to stop selling the products on Oct. 1, and Best Buy is the first retailer to officially announce its analog exit.

The company will also make coupon-eligible digital-to-analog converter boxes available in early 2008 for those consumers wishing to retain their analog TVs.



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