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Broadband Briefs for 5/15/08

Thu, 05/15/2008 - 8:00am

• Embarq may opt to drop Sprint after next year
By Mike Robuck

According to published reports, Embarq may decide to transition its wireless customers to another carrier next year. Embarq CFO Gene Betts said at an analyst conference yesterday that the company will continue to service is wireless customers at least until 2009, according to the Associated Press. After that, Embarq could send its wireless customers to another carrier, Betts said.

Embarq was selling a wireless service throughout its 18-state footprint through a partnership with Sprint, which was its former parent company, but Embarq stopped selling the service to additional subscribes after it determined sales were below expectations.

The service, which was sold as a package deal to compete with cable companies’ offerings, was expected to generate more than one million or more customers, but it only had 112,000 by the end of last year.

• Verizon wins in Wesley Hills, N.Y.
By Traci Patterson

Residents of Wesley Hills, N.Y., will soon have access to Verizon’s FiOS TV service, thanks to a newly approved agreement authorizing the telco to offer its video service in the area.

The vote makes 110 the total number of New York communities that have approved video franchises for Verizon. As with all local franchise approvals in New York, the agreement between Verizon and the Village of Wesley Hills is subject to review by the New York State Public Service Commission.

Verizon's FiOS TV offers all-digital programming, including 30 high-definition (HD) channels in the New York market and access to more than 10,000 on-demand titles, 70 percent of which are free.

• DirecTV Group’s subsidiaries complete debt financing
By Traci Patterson

The DirecTV Group has announced that its subsidiaries, DirecTV Holdings and DirecTV Financing Co., have completed their previously announced $2.5 billion debt financing.

The financing consists of $1.5 billion in 7-5/8 percent senior notes due 2016 and $1 billion of incremental floating rate term loans under their existing senior secured credit facility. The net proceeds of these financings are available for general corporate purposes, including payment of a dividend to DirecTV Group, to be used by it to fund purchases of its stock under its recently announced $3 billion share repurchase program, DirecTV said.

The senior notes were sold pursuant to Rule 144A and Regulation S under the Securities Act and have not been registered in the U.S. under the Securities Act or in any other jurisdiction, and may not be offered or sold in the U.S. absent registration on an applicable exemption from the registration requirements.

• Thomson chooses Vidiom’s OCAP software for STBs
By Traci Patterson

Vidiom Systems has announced that Thomson Inc. has chosen its OCAP software for Thomson’s set-top boxes (STBs).

The Vidiom OCAP middleware was created with a flexible architecture, built for the complexity of today’s digital STBs and TVs, the company said.

The software platform was originally created for the OCAP Development LLC (ODL), which comprises Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The middleware uses Vidiom’s MPE porting layer, making the software easily portable to a variety of hardware, platforms and chip sets.

“We have been working with Vidiom in the framework of our tru2way STB for over a year now,” said Pascal Portelli, VP of North American Cable for Thomson. “This agreement formalizes our relationship and enables us to progress toward the final stages of our development.”

• Volicon intros Observer RPM 100 for cable MSOs
By Traci Patterson

Volicon has introduced a new entry-level version of its Observer Remote Program Monitor (RPM) system for automated, multichannel signal quality analysis.

The new RPM 100 is targeted to cable MSOs that need a cost-effective solution for monitoring and analyzing signal quality and consumer quality of experience (QoE) at geographically dispersed secondary headends and remote unmanned cable hubs, the company said.

The single-channel system offers a subset of the core RPM functionality for monitoring the signal quality at remote locations, and it can be set to monitor a single channel around the clock, or to continuously scan multiple channels. When the system detects a video or audio fault, such as black screen or low audio, it sends an automatic alert to the operator on duty for resolution.

More Broadband Direct:

• CableLabs founder Leghorn to be honored with special Vanguard Award 

• CMC launches platform to support ETV, tru2way services 

• Comcast to buy Plaxo 

• Report sucks Cox into net neutrality swamp 

• Tru2way in limelight at upcoming Cable Show 

• Moto debuts Universal edgeQAM 

• Coalition submits Mobile DTV technical trial results to ATSC 

• CMTS shipments up, DSL down in Q1 

• Icahn vows proxy fight to revive Microsoft-Yahoo deal 

• Broadband Briefs for 5/15/08 

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