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News summary for 11/15/07

Thu, 11/15/2007 - 8:40am
CED staff

Cablevision rings up caller ID on TV service
By Mike Robuck

Cablevision has joined the ranks of service providers who are offering a Caller ID on TV service to customers.

Cablevision said today that TV Caller ID will be available to all of its iO digital cable customers tomorrow, after previously launching the service in its Long Island, New Jersey and New York footprint.

The service, which is available at no additional charge to Cablevision’s customers, lets subscribers see incoming calls in a small box in the upper left corner of their TV screens.

The display is present for approximately seven seconds, allowing customers to decide if they want to take the call while continuing to watch TV, without any interruption or without having to hunt around for the phone.

"iO TV customers with Optimum Voice will now immediately know who is calling just by looking at the television set," said John Trierweiler, Cablevision's SVP of product management. "Caller ID on iO TV is a meaningful enhancement that underscores Cablevision's leadership in delivering the most technologically advanced digital services to our customers over our fully deployed fiber optic network."

Several years ago Time Warner Cable rolled out a Caller ID on TV service in its New York division that was developed by the cable company. Since then the TV Caller ID has been implemented in several TWC divisions.

Integra5 has also deployed the service with several smaller service providers and plans to provision Caller ID on a PC, as well. Studies by Integra5 have shown that blended services are well received by customers and can reduce churn in the face of competition.

Cox adding hosted and managed business phone services
By Brian Santo

Cox Business has unveiled a new IP telephony service that integrates the desktop phone, PC and wireless devices. The service, called VoiceManager, can be scaled for small businesses to enterprise customers, Cox said.

The company claims for VoiceManager the narrow distinction of being the first in North America for business customers that is fully owned and managed.

Call control features include Find Me/Follow Me, Auto Attendant and Personal Status Manager. Mobility options include Remote Office, Sequential Ring and Call Notification functions that allow one number to be pointed to desk, home and mobile phones. Employees can adjust their settings using a Web-based portal.

Cox launched the service this month in its New England systems (in Connecticut and Rhode Island). The company plans to roll it out in two more unspecified markets before the end of the year and then expand into more markets next year.

With Pivot wobbling, cable looking to hire wireless experts
By Brian Santo

ComcastTime Warner CableCox Communications and Advance/Newhouse Communications (Bright House Networks) are conducting a search for execs with experience in wireless communications, the AP reported, citing an unnamed source.

The four MSOs already have a joint venture with Sprint, through which they have begun offering a wireless service, called Pivot, in a handful of test cities. Sprint recently said that it wouldn’t bring Pivot to any more of its stores.

The lack of success with Pivot would lead MSOs to look for alternatives to Sprint, and it would instigate a search for experienced teams to sift through the possibilities and make wireless happen.

Report says consumers are winning when cable, telcos compete 
By Mike Robuck

A report commissioned by Comcast finds that consumers are getting lower prices on voice services because of the increased competition cable operators are facing from telcos.

The report, by Microeconomic Consulting & Research Associates, said the total benefit in residential and small business voice service markets during the period from 2008 through 2012 is projected to be $111 billion. The study also said that consumers have already received benefits of $23.5 billion from cable voice competition over the past four years, and from the competitive response of telcos over the past two years.

According to the report, cable telephony customers save almost $12 a month on their phone bills compared with the rates charged by the incumbent telco providers. The report’s authors project that 32 million households will subscribe to cable voice services by the end of 2012.

Cable’s triple play bundle has also caused the telcos to respond by lowering their prices and offering more attractive bundles in order to compete, which also has created benefits for consumers.

Broadstripe buys James Cable Holdings
By Mike Robuck

Broadstripe, a top-25 cable operator based in St. Louis, has reached an agreement to buy James Cable Holdings, according to published reports.

James Cable Holdings primarily serves rural customers with a subscriber base of 50,000. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Broadstripe, formerly Millennium Digital Media, was formed this year by a group of cable and telecommunications veterans, and it has customers in five states. The company provides voice, video and data services to approximately 120,000 customers in Maryland, Michigan, Oregon and Washington State.

Broadstripe also announced on Wednesday that it has hired Tom Martinson as its new VP of  IT/ISP services.

Prior to Broadstripe, Martinson was director of advanced services technology at Bresnan Communications.

Verizon uses Juniper routers to crank up backbone speeds
By Brian Santo

Verizon Business is using Juniper Networks’ high-performance T-series core routers to accelerate backbone traffic.

Verizon Business has set up a network configuration that connects backbone routers in 40 Gbps (OC-768) circuits, quadrupling the typical 10 Gbps backbone rates.

The first router-to-router connections installed are carrying Internet traffic between Washington, D.C., and Chicago, as well as production voice, data and video traffic on Verizon's multi protocol label switching (MPLS) network between Washington, D.C., and New York City.

Verizon Business plans to deploy additional 40 Gbps transmission links throughout its U.S. network, a process that will last into 2008.

Fred Briggs, EVP of network operations and technology for Verizon Business, said, “Aggregating IP traffic onto one 40 Gbps wavelength means not only higher traffic throughput, but lower latency and reduced jitter, which translates into enhanced performance and responsiveness for Verizon Business customers."

Verizon to roll out network in Europe supporting 40 Gbps
By Traci Patterson

Verizon Business will begin rolling out its next-gen optical transport network in Europe next month. Verizon said the network will support speeds up to 40 Gbps.

The first phase of the rollout, scheduled to be completed in Q1 2008, will include ultra long-haul (ULH) equipment deployed on the core backbone network routes between Verizon Business' main European network hubs in London, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Paris and Brussels, providing the first 2,007 miles of ULH transport, the company said.

"Deploying ultra long-haul technology on our core network in Europe will give our Verizon Business customers the opportunity to move to wavelength services, as well as grow their use of Web-based applications and high-speed Ethernet solutions," said Joe Cook, Verizon Business’ VP of global network engineering and planning.

Since it began the ULH project in 2004, Verizon Business has deployed more than 25,000 miles of ULH network in the U.S.

In other company news, Verizon Wireless has expanded its wireless broadband network in Oregon, western Washington State and the Hawaiian Islands. The nationwide CDMA 1x EV-DO network is now available to consumers in parts of the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Oahu; in several towns in southern Oregon and along the Oregon coast; and in multiple western Washington towns, including Aberdeen, Hoquiam, Bonny Lake, Buckley, Duval and Preston.

And Verizon broadband subscribers who also receive the company’s video service will soon have access to NFL Network Game Extra, which will allow viewers to watch live, online broadcasts of Thursday and Saturday professional football games while selecting from multiple camera feeds. The service, free for Verizon customers, is available online through any broadband connection.

Broadband Briefs for 11/15/07

* Comcast partners with Urban League
By Brian Santo

The National Urban League (NUL) is partnering with Comcast to help get its message out. Comcast EVP David L. Cohen will join NUL’s board of directors, and the company will help develop and air public service announcements (PSAs) for the organization. During NUL’s annual Equal Opportunity Awards Dinner, Comcast will also be inducted into the Urban League’s Five Million Dollar Hall of Fame.

“Comcast looks forward to creating opportunities that will foster their growth and leading efforts that will improve the overall quality of life for African Americans across the country,” Cohen said.

* Chalker to work with Concurrent 
By Mike Robuck

Concurrent announced that Robert Chalker will assist in executing the company’s European sales strategy, including cultivating and managing relationships with customers and channel partners. Chalker, who has more than 15 years of experience in international sales, previously served as on-demand business manager for Tandberg Television

* TiVo hires ad execs, opens Chicago sales office
By Traci Patterson

TiVo is opening up a Chicago sales office, and the company has named Jeff Stettin as VP of national ad sales and Dennis Dunphy as director of Midwest ad sales.

Stettin was most recently the VP of integrated solutions at Viacom, and he has also held positions with Turner Broadcasting Systems and Scripps Networks. Dunphy was previously the VP of central regional sales at Telemundo for NBC Universal, and he has also held positions with Discovery Communications and Sony Pictures Television.

* AT&T ups U-verse services in Bay Area
By Traci Patterson

AT&T’s U-verse customers in the Bay Area now have access to new TV features: AT&T U-bar, which brings customizable weather, stock, sports and traffic information to the TV screen; Yellowpages.com TV, a new way to search for local businesses and other information on the TV; and AT&T Yahoo! Games, also available on the TV screen.

* Anritsu launches micro-OTDR for FTTx, optical networks
By Traci Patterson

Anritsu Co. has introduced the Network Master MT9090A Fault Locator Series, a micro-OTDR for the installation and maintenance of FTTx and short-range optical networks.

The MT9090A series combines the size of traditional handheld OTDRs and fault locators with the resolution and performance of mini-OTDRs to create a compact optical test instrument that addresses the specific test requirements of short fiber premise applications, such as FTTx drop cables, intra-building riser cables and cell towers, the company said.

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