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News summary for 12/13/07

Thu, 12/13/2007 - 9:04am
CED staff

TWC rings up business-class phone service in Texas
By Mike Robuck

Time Warner Cable Business Class (TWCBC), a division of Time Warner Cable, recently launched a business-grade telephony service in North Texas that is tailored to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

The service, called Business Class Phone, will be carried on TWCBC’s nationwide, private network throughout the company’s footprint. TWC entered North Texas last year, and since then, it has spent more than $100 million to improve the fiber optic and cable distribution networks.

“Business Class Phone is a great addition to our suite of enhanced services designed to meet the growing needs of SMBs in North Texas," said Joe Morris, VP of Time Warner Cable Business Services, in a statement. "Our ability to seamlessly bundle Business Class Phone with other business communications services makes us a viable single-source option for all SMBs in the Dallas area."

Customers in phone-ready areas can receive a range of scalable IT offerings, including data, video products and fiber-based services – such as Metro Ethernet products – dedicated Internet access, teleworker and branch office offerings, and managed security and storage.

SCTE seeking proposals for Cable-Tec Expo ’08 technical workshops
By Traci Patterson

The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is seeking proposals for technical workshops that will be conducted at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2008, to be held June 24–27 in Philadelphia.

The deadline for submissions is Feb. 1, and they should be e-mailed to expo_info@scte.org. The SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2008 Program Subcommittee will announce its selections by March 14.

The complete Expo ’08 Call for Papers (found here) lists specifics for each of the preferred topics: the broadcast DTV transition, business services case studies, servicing the evolving home environment, OSS/BSS, competitive platforms, advanced advertising platforms, OpenCable Application Platform, supporting and expanding the HFC Network, and triple-play services over HFC.

Proposals addressing the specific topics and delivery formats described in the Call for Papers will be given priority. The Cable-Tec Program Subcommittee – chaired by Marwan Fawaz, EVP and CTO of Charter Communications – is particularly interested in proposals that address today’s technical and engineering issues and opportunities from a here-and-now perspective.

The subcommittee will only consider papers that present technical solutions to these issues and opportunities.

Copps, Adelstein petition Congress to put brakes on FCC’s Martin
By Brian Santo

Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, the two Democratic commissioners on the FCC board, issued a release yesterday saying that Chairman Kevin Martin’s scheduling of a vote on Dec. 18 to relax media cross-ownership rules is “a huge mistake.” The three Republican commissioners, including Martin, are believed to be ready to vote for the plan.

Copps and Adelstein reiterated the complaint that Martin is ramming his agenda through with inadequate public notice, a charge that has inspired a Congressional investigation of the way Martin has been running the FCC (see story). They appealed to Congress and the public to rein in a Commission chairman painted as out of control.

The Copps/Adelstein statement is uncommonly blunt:

“The FCC should have heeded the calls of Congress and the American people to conduct a credible process on an issue of this importance to our very democracy. That means providing a meaningful opportunity for public input, rather than the callous disregard exhibited thus far – most recently, the Chairman circulated a draft decision on his proposal two weeks before public comment was even due! And it means taking meaningful action on minority and female ownership and broadcast localism, rather than the mish-mash of half-baked ideas currently before us.

“We have been engaged in internal discussions to try to get our processes back on track. We wish those discussions had led to better results. At this point, given the lateness of the hour, we hope that either we can turn this around internally, or that Congress can save the FCC from itself.”

Ciena turns in profitable Q4; gets BT order
By Brian Santo

Ciena continues to prosper with its focus on what it’s calling converged Ethernet-based networking, reporting revenues of $216.2 million in its Q4 2007, ended Oct. 31; that figure is up 35 percent compared with last year, and up 5.5 percent sequentially. That led to a $30.4 million profit.

For the full year of 2007, net income was $82.8 million, up from just $600,000 in fiscal 2006.

Separately, Ciena announced that BT has selected its CN 3000 Ethernet Access Series as one of its preferred Network Termination Equipment (NTE) platforms for the operator’s 21st Century Network.

Ciena already supplies BT with optical Ethernet transport and switching products.

Ciena has also named James E. Moylan Jr., 56, to succeed outgoing CFO Joseph Chinnici. Most recently, Moylan was EVP and CFO at Swett & Crawford – a private, equity-owned wholesale insurance broker.

Gary Smith, Ciena’s president and CEO, said: “As we look into fiscal 2008, we believe Ciena is poised to benefit not only from capacity-related growth, but also from the transition to next-generation, converged Ethernet-based network infrastructures. We believe that Ciena's focus on targeted segments of growth markets will enable us to continue to grow faster than our overall market. We expect to deliver up to 5 percent sequential revenue growth in our fiscal first quarter and 20 percent annual revenue growth in fiscal 2008."

Cable operators band together for voter campaign 
By Mike Robuck

ComcastTime Warner CableCox Communications and Bright House Networks are teaming up on a voter registration campaign that is designed to increase voter diversity in the communities that are served by the cable industry.

The voter campaign is called “Our Time to Vote,” and it includes well-known minority celebrities such as George Lopez, Ana Ortiz and Lou Diamond Phillips appearing in public service announcements (PSAs) that encourage audiences to register to vote.

The estimated $5 million campaign features four multi-cultural PSAs, as well as the creation and launch of two nationally available voter education resources: the Our Time to Vote Web site and a voter information resources hotline (1-866-544-VOTE).

The Comcast Foundation has also awarded grants to the following organizations to support their non-partisan voter outreach efforts: Asian Pacific Islander American Vote, the Hispanic Federation, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the NAACP National Voter Fund, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund.

Broadband Briefs for 12/13/07

* Cox drops claims, DirecTV drops lawsuit
By Brian Santo

DirecTV has dropped its lawsuit against Cox Communications, in which it charged the latter with false advertising claims about the relative quality of HD video each provides.

Cox has stopped claiming that "HD looks better with cable" on its Web site. Spokespersons from both companies were unavailable for comment.

The move is the latest development in an ongoing series of claims and counterclaims played out in satellite and cable TV advertising. Time Warner Cable has complained about DirecTV ads, and DirecTV has a similar suit pending against Comcast.

* RGB picked by Mexican cable op for digital simulcast upgrade
By Mike Robuck

RGB Networks announced today that Grupo Hevi – a cable operator in Mexico with more than 300,000 subscribers – is using RGB’s products to upgrade three of its largest systems to a digital simulcast architecture.

Grupo Hevi is deploying RGB’s Broadcast Network Processor (BNP) and Simulcast Edge Processor (SEP) in its systems serving the cities of Nuevo Laredo and Tampico, in the state of Tamaulipas, and in Zapopan, a major city in the state of Jalisco. 

In its simulcast architecture, Grupo Hevi is using BNPs to optimize the bandwidth of its digital programming, which is then delivered to the edge of the networks, where SEPs decode it to analog to support their analog subscribers. Grupo Hevi is also using RGB’s Modular Media Converter (MCC) to support its transition from ASI to Gigabit Ethernet.

* Verizon extends FiOS TV, high-speed Internet offerings
By Traci Patterson

According to The Oregonian, Verizon began quietly turning on its FiOS TV service in homes around Washington County, Ore., this week.

Also, Verizon’s high-speed Internet offering, based on broadband DSL technology, is now available to more consumers and businesses in the Ashland, Va., area.

Verizon has also upgraded customer phone lines in Vermont – in Bakersfield, Rockingham, Salisbury, Sunderland and West Hartford – for high-speed Internet service. And the company has expanded the service in Bennington, Castleton (Fair Haven Exchange), Jericho, Ferrisburg, Middlebury, Morrisville, Rutland, Shelburne, Wardsboro and Wilmington.

* DirecTV buys DVR company’s assets, rolls out HD in Ariz.
By Traci Patterson

D&M Holdings Inc. has sold most of the assets of its ReplayTV brand to DirecTV. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The ReplayTV Personal HD is an all-in-one DVR solution that allows consumers to watch and record HDTV on a PC or playback the content on an iPod.

Additionally, DirecTV has launched HD programming in its Tucson, Ariz., designated market area.

KGUN/ABC, KOLD/CBS, KMSB/FOX and KVOA/NBC will be available to consumers in HD. The satellite provider now offers HD broadcast channels in 68 cities, and the company plans to offer 100 national HD channels by year’s end.

* BroadLight names Gewirtzman as its new CEO
By Mike Robuck

BroadLight, a supplier of GPON semiconductors and software, announced that Raanan Gewirtzman has been appointed as the company’s new CEO. Gewirtzman succeeds former CEO Andrew Vought, who resigned for personal reasons after four years of service.

Gewirtzman joined the company in 2003 and has been responsible for BroadLight’s product development and operational excellence, the company said. He was promoted to the position of COO last year and will take over the responsibilities of CEO immediately.

* Streaming21, Microsoft, others form Digital Home Alliance
By Traci Patterson

Streaming21 – along with Microsoft Taiwan, WNCSampoGigabyte and Chenbro – have announced the formation of the Digital Home Alliance.

The goal of the alliance is to build and expand a solid digital home ecosystem to drive the worldwide digital home industry, Streaming21 said. The platform enables media display on TVs and provides an easy management system for personal content through the PC.

The Home Server allows users to manage personal content, enjoy Internet community content and display real-time Internet content on TVs. It also offers features such as Personal Video Recording (PVR), streaming music, IPTV, VOD and more.

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