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News summary for 10/22/07

Mon, 10/22/2007 - 9:28am
CED staff

Kentucky’s parks get Nortel’s wireless mesh solution 
By Traci Patterson

Nortel has deployed a municipal wireless mesh solution in Kentucky’s 22 state parks, providing free Wi-Fi, VoIP and E911 emergency service in all park cabins and guest rooms, as well as remote point of sale in cafeterias, gift shops and golf courses.

The state will manage all 22 networks from a central location: Kentucky’s capital city of Frankfort.

Kentucky has also deployed Nortel’s fixed WiMAX broadband wireless solution to increase broadband network capacity for government-owned buildings, beginning with the historic Hoge House in Frankfort.

The Hoge House requires increased broadband capacity for high-resolution mapping of geological surveys, and alternatives such as T1 lines, microwave and fiber extension were either inadequate or too expensive.

"The WiMAX solution gives us at least twice the capacity of the alternatives at a fraction of the cost," said Brad Watkins, director of Kentucky's Commonwealth Office of Technology (COT). "It will pay for itself in only five months. And we can expand this solution to 11 other government-owned buildings in Frankfort at minimal additional cost."

Nortel has also struck agreements with California’s KermanTel to provide wireless mesh and IPTV solutions, and Front Range Internet Inc. (FRII), to deploy wireless mesh for the operator’s municipal wireless applications in northern Colorado.

Entone, SES team on MPEG-4 HD IPTV package for providers
By Brian Santo

Entone has introduced HD Now, a means for IPTV providers to provide MPEG-4 HDTV without building out their own headends with the infrastructure necessary to support MPEG-4 video. HD Now is a combination of Entone’s Hydra IP home gateways with SES Americom’s  HD-4 technology.

Entone’s Hydra IP home gateways make it unnecessary to have a separate set-top box. The system provides full DVR capability throughout subscribers’ homes, Entone said. The company also said a service provider will be able to offer 32 channels or more, for the cost of six HD encoders. Entone said a provider can begin service in 3 to 4 weeks.

Wireless hopeful faults FCC inaction on spectrum request
Copyright 2007 Chicago Tribune Company
By Jon Van, Chicago Tribune

Even though Chicago backed away from building a citywide wireless broadband service, as have several other cities, some people still hope to offer free wireless Internet, not just here but nationwide.

John Muleta, chief of M2Z Networks, visited Chicago recently to attend a WiMax wireless trade show and talk about his dream. He wants to build a national network that would offer free low-speed, G-rated Internet access, supported by advertisements targeted by geography. The system also would offer a faster, ad-free, unrestricted-access Internet service for a fee and would sell wholesale service.

Muleta, a 20-year telecom veteran who has held executive positions with the Federal Communications Commission as well as private companies, has financial backing from Silicon Valley, but he has been unable to launch the service because the FCC has declined to act on his petition to use 20 megahertz of radio spectrum that has been lying fallow for eight years.

"Less than 6 percent of spectrum suitable for commercial services is actually being used to deploy commercial services today," Muleta said. Much available spectrum is being "warehoused" by telecom giants such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc., he said.

This helps big phone companies and cable TV operators keep control of the duopoly that supplies high-speed Internet to most consumers who have it, Muleta said, and it explains why about half of American households do not have broadband connections. He predicts that when the FCC puts prime new spectrum up for auction in January, the big boys will bid up the price and lock up that spectrum to protect their duopoly.

Muleta has offered to pay a percentage of his company's earnings to lease the spectrum that has gone unused and said his network will cover one-third of Americans within three years, two-thirds within five years and 95 percent of the population within 10 years. But he needs FCC approval to proceed.

Nearly 18 months after Muleta laid out his proposal, the FCC decided against making a clear decision and instead opted to extend the consideration process.

Although bureaucratic dithering may be standard for the government, it doesn't serve the public interest or the quick-changing world of the Internet, Muleta said. Truly innovative ideas seldom win FCC approval without intervention by Congress or the courts, he said.

In his bid to get some action from the FCC, Muleta, who is an African-American, has enlisted help from several groups and individuals, including Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

"M2Z offers a rare opportunity to expand minority ownership in American media and add a new voice to the public discourse," Jackson wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin.

Jackson urged the FCC to hold public forums to ask people whether they would like to have another choice in broadband that is free. One suspects the commissioner can guess the answer.

To compete with the incumbents, Muleta said, "you have to have a price-disruptive model." Trouble is, the big guys don't like being disrupted.

Broadband Briefs for 10/22/07

* Concurrent deploys commercial VOD in Lithuania 
By Traci Patterson

Concurrent’s MediaHawk on-demand platform has been selected by Lithuanian telecom UAB Alpha komunikacijos for the provider’s commercial deployment of VOD.

The MediaHawk system delivers independent scalability of content ingest, storage and streaming across both HFC and IP networks. To date, Concurrent has deployed more than 1.1 million video streams in 26 countries.  

* Vecima Networks supplying BWIN in Spain 
By Traci Patterson

Vecima Networks Inc. has been selected by Spain’s Red Helio S.L. and a number of its service provision partners to supply a 5.25-5.80 GHz broadband wireless Internet network (BWIN) in the Spanish county of Murcia.

Vecima will provide 2,200 CPEs and 30 base stations for the initial rollout, but Red Helio expects to eventually cover its entire subscriber base in Spain - approximately 70,000 households and businesses.

Vecima’s BWIN family, which is based on DOCSIS technology for triple-play services, offers system solutions in 700 MHz, 900 MHz, 1.9 GHz, 2.5 GHz, 3.5 GHz and 5.8 GHz.

* Tektronix launches probe for IPTV networks
By Brian Santo

Tektronix launched its GeoProbe Video Monitoring system, designed to monitor broadcast and video-on-demand transport streams simultaneously across networks. The company said it has the capability of examining from 200 to more than 5,000 programs with a single probe. In combination with Tek’s Advanced Performance Monitoring (APM) product, the data collected by the GeoProbe can provide true network-wide video monitoring with historical tracking, reporting and trending analysis. Tek is in the process of being acquired by Danaher.

* Nortel becomes Widevine reseller
By Brian Santo

Nortel has signed a global reseller agreement with Widevine Technologies, and has integrated Widevine’s content security software into its IPTV systems.

The reseller agreement enables Nortel to sell, service and support Widevine's downloadable conditional access and digital rights management products globally. Widevine says more than 125 service operators are using its software.

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