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News summary for 10/09/07

Tue, 10/09/2007 - 9:35am
CED staff

Bresnan launches business VoIP with Primal platform
By Traci Patterson

Bresnan Communications has launched its new Business Line telephone service with Primal Solutions’ commercial VoIP platform.

Primal’s commercial VoIP SolutionPAK software includes an expanded list of calling features, n-Level hierarchies for multiple divisions and resellers, account codes for apportioning charges to departments and clients, data segregation between business and residential users, and multiple rate plans.

“Primal Solutions' platform provides our customers [with] easy-to-use, Web-based service tools so our business customers can keep track of their usage online," said Gus Chimos, Bresnan’s VP of advanced services.

Bresnan, the nation's 13th-largest MSO, serves more than 300,000 customers throughout Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.

TiVo expands TiVocast service with VOD channels
By Traci Patterson

TiVo Inc. has launched two Players Network VOD channels as part of its newly-launched service, “TiVocast,” which gives TiVo’s digital subs access to content channels unavailable on traditional TV.

When a subscriber chooses to receive either of the two channels - “Gaming Lifestyle” and “Vegas on-Demand” - the programming automatically downloads to the TiVo box in their home, and they can then view it on-demand at any time.

Players Network continues to expand its original VOD programming in the TV, broadband and mobile markets.

With the addition of TiVo’s distribution, the network is now available in 15 million households nationwide.

Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: Satellite Internet now available 
By Mike Robuck

Hughes Network Systems is partnering up with Wal-Mart to offer a satellite-based broadband service that will be sold in 2,800 Wal-Mart stores across the country.

The broadband service is targeting customers in rural areas who don’t have access to cable or DSL. The service features download speeds ranging from 700 Kbps to 2 Mbps with prices starting at $59 a month.

HughesNet customers in the continental U.S. need a view of the southern skies in order for the service to function.

“Wal-Mart is perhaps the only retail store in the country that reaches as many people as HughesNet," said Mike Cook, senior vice president, North America Division, Hughes, in a statement. "This relationship is a powerful way to make broadband a reality for the millions of Americans and small business owners who cannot get high-speed Internet access from cable or DSL providers.”

Customers can find the HughesNet service in the electronics department of Wal-Mart stores. In a majority of stores, it will also be available through the "Digital Connection Kiosk," or Wal-Mart customers can take home the HughesNet literature and contact the Wal-Mart Call Center to be connected with a Hughes installation specialist.

HughesNet lays claim to more than 350,000 subscribers for its two-way broadband satellite service. Its broadband satellite products are based on the IPoS (IP over Satellite) global standard.

New FTS tool monitors usage, dynamically responds
By Brian Santo

FTS, which specializes in business control, billing and CRM solutions, launched a new product that monitors customer activity and can be set to trigger automatic responses to customer behavior.

The system aims to make metered usage more acceptable – and perhaps lucrative – by giving customers not only information about their own usage patterns, but also the ability to choose their options in response to their usage.

Leap BCE Broadband Edition is integrated with deep packet inspection (DPI) systems from vendors such as Allot and Sandvine. Using DPI, Leap BCE Broadband Edition can offer quota-management services such as usage-quota per application (e.g. quota for P2P traffic or for video), usage-quotas that ignore certain services (e.g. the operator-branded-gaming is not counted) and even peak/off-peak plans.

Service providers can set FTS’ Leap Business Control Engine (Leap BCE) Broadband to alert customers when they come to trigger points. Customers, with the ability to monitor quotas and costs accruing on their accounts, can then be given the option to purchase extra quotas and switch bandwidth on-demand.

The system captures and responds to events in real-time based on business policies, and dynamically adapts network or service behavior in response to customer interaction. Examples include: setting dynamic QoS, sending the subscriber a message or an alert, provisioning an upgraded service, balance management or charging.

FTS said Leap BCE Broadband Edition is deployed alongside existing systems with interfaces into billing, CRM and other BSS & OSS systems.

Operax, Orca integrate technologies for IPTV QoS
By Mike Robuck

Operax and Orca Interactive said they have combined forces for a product that allows operators to manage their service expansion while ensuring quality of service (QoS) for advanced video and IPTV services.

Operax provides pre-IMS and IMS-compliant, carrier-grade dynamic resource and admission control solutions to operators, which allows the operators to guarantee end-to-end QoS for any IP session. Operax combined its technologies with Orca Interactive's IPTV middleware for a new product the companies said will enable operators to quickly deploy new applications and services without reconfiguring their network infrastructure.

The new product, operable in both pre-IMS and IMS environments, will help operators manage QoS in single-service IPTV deployments as well as across multiple blended services such as IPTV, VoIP, games and broadband.

In order to win customers over from cable and satellite providers, IPTV video providers need a robust QoS to insure that video packets aren’t dropped, and that the video packets meet jitter and latency requirements.

IPTV subscribers also need QoS because most of them are sharing a single broadband connection for their IPTV service and broadband service.

“We see that with subscriber numbers going up and an increasing shift to on-demand content, most IPTV operators need a solution for QoS control,” said Operax Solutions Alliances director, Roberto Kauffmann-Dev, in a statement. “Pioneering the IPTV middleware landscape, Orca Interactive has longstanding and diverse experience in IPTV deployments and makes an excellent partner for Operax. Following the technology integration Operax has joined Orca's Interactive partners program (Interactive Alliances)."

ECI adds bandwidth management features
By Brian Santo

ECI Telecom has added new traffic management capabilities features to its Hi-FOCuS-5 Multi-Service Access Node (MSAN) family of products. The features are designed to help service providers manage bandwidth and improve efficient delivery of IPTV and other video services.

Bandwidth can be managed at different levels, depending on the service requested and the customers' needs.

This capability allows providers to try different business models, ECI said.

ECI said its equipment is also able to distinguish multicast traffic from unicast traffic within the same stream and prioritize them to avoid traffic congestion towards the network.

ECI is also introducing improved service blades. Its xDSL service blades make use of the same base card.

Further enhancements toward multi-service capabilities are offered with a higher density VDSL2 card, now supporting 48 subscribers; a new, four-port GPON blade supporting up to a 128 split; and the industry's highest support for non-blocking 64 concurrent voice lines.  For voice applications, ECI now has full interoperability with many softswitch vendors.  

ECI recently announced Telecom Italia as a new customer, and reported there are more than 1 million IPTV subscribers supported by ECI's Broadband platform.

Broadband Briefs for 10/09/07

* Rhapsody music now available via TiVo
By Brian Santo

TiVo subscribers will now be able to access Real Networks’ Rhapsody music service directly through any broadband-connected TiVo box. TiVo subscribers can search for music directly from their TVs. The move is another element of TiVo’s strategy of repositioning its DVRs as home entertainment centers.

* 360networks adds new route between Chicago, Denver
By Mike Robuck

360networks, a backbone provider of wholesale communications services, announced today that it has added a new 1,200 mile route from Chicago to Denver.

The expansion adds new points of presence (POPs) in Iowa and Nebraska to 360networks’ wholly-owned and managed SONET Ring protected fiber network. The five new markets that 360 now serves are Omaha, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; Iowa City, Iowa; Cedar Rapids, Iowa and Davenport, Iowa.

In addition, 360 has expanded its presence in Albuquerque, N.M. and added Klamath Falls, Ore. to its footprint.  These locations will now receive a range of broadband services such as dedicated Internet access, private line, gigabit Ethernet and VoIP origination and termination services. With the addition of the Chicago to Denver route, 360networks now owns and operates a 17,200 mile network with a presence in 48 unique markets served by 73 POPs.

* Comcast adds new diversity director
By Traci Patterson

Comcast Corp. has promoted Andrea Agnew to the newly- created position of director of diversity and inclusion. Agnew joined Comcast in April of last year as the manager of recruiting and career development for Comcast Corporate. Prior to joining Comcast, Agnew served as the corporate diversity recruiting manager with Booz Allen Hamilton.

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