Broadband Briefs for 12/15/08
• Comcast offers holiday gift cards
By Mike Robuck
In an effort to make sure that all of those holiday HDTVs are actually hooked up to an HD service, Comcast is offering gift cards that can be used to buy HD tiers.
The Comcast Gift Card can also be used for other Comcast services, such as digital phone, other video services and high-speed data. The gift card is available in increments from $5 to $500 and can be purchased online at Comcast’s Web site.
According to two independent studies, more than one-third of Americans who own an HDTV aren’t currently watching HD programming, while HD ownership has increased in homes across the nation by almost 50 percent.
• AT&T wraps up Wayport Wi-Fi deal
By Mike Robuck
On Friday, AT&T announced it wrapped up its $275 million acquisition of Wayport, which will enable the build-out of its Wi-Fi network. The telco also said that it was almost finished with its project to convert Starbucks locations to AT&T’s Wi-Fi service.
With the addition of Wayport, AT&T will have roughly 20,000 domestic hotspots. The Starbucks deal, which was first announced in February, hooks up Wi-Fi users in Starbucks’ 7,000 locations to AT&T’s service.
"Looking ahead, we see Wi-Fi as a strategic opportunity for AT&T," said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We plan to build on our leadership as the largest Wi-Fi provider – bringing more connectivity to more consumers – and working closely with our enterprise customers to enhance and personalize their customer communications and improve the efficiency of their operations."
• Convergys keeps a slice of Orange UK’s biz
By Brian Santo
Despite a plan to shift some of its customer support operations back to the United Kingdom, Orange UK has signed a contract to continue using some of Convergys’ call center services based in India.
Orange UK has been expanding its reliance on outsourcing partners in India since 2005. In June 2008, Orange UK made a strategic announcement that it would begin shifting some customer support functions to contact centers in the UK for mobile and broadband customers.
Despite that, Convergys said Orange UK has extended the duration of its customer service support contract for mobile and broadband customers. Orange claims more than 17 million subscribers.
• Sonus names Pai SVP
By Traci Patterson
Sonus Networks has named Guru Pai as senior vice president, effective immediately.
Pai will have direct responsibility for Sonus' sales and services organizations, business development and corporate strategy functions. Pai will be responsible for Sonus' overall go-to-market strategy. Pai will also help drive cost efficiencies and support the strategy for profitable growth.
Pai has previously held senior business development and product management positions at Motorola and senior sales and marketing positions at Lucent Technologies. Prior to joining Sonus, Pai served as vice president of business development and marketing at Veveo focused on mobile Web video search. Before joining Veveo in 2005, Pai developed and grew Motorola's core network business unit as vice president.
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