• Comcast’s Schanz picked as SCTE Cable-Tec Expo chair
By Mike Robuck
The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) announced that Comcast’s John D. Schanz will serve as chairman of the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2009 program committee. The SCTE also announced that registration is now underway for the Expo, being held Oct. 28-30 in Denver.
Schanz, who is executive vice president of national engineering and technical operations at Comcast, oversees Comcast’s engineering and network operations for the company’s cable video, high-speed Internet and voice services.
He also leads the technology strategy for the deployment of new, complementary communications products and services. Under Schanz’s leadership, Comcast’s products are now delivered over one converged, fiber-rich network that provides service to 24.4 million cable customers, 14.7 million high-speed Internet customers and 6.1 million voice customers.
• Union OKs strike at AT&T; contracts end April 4
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) – Union workers at AT&T are giving their leaders the authority to call a strike as part of negotiations for a new contract covering 112,500 employees.
Several contracts covering workers at the phone company's landline division expire on April 4. AT&T is trying to make the employees pay more for their health care, among other concessions.
The Communications Workers of America (CWA) says 88 percent of members covered by the contracts voted in favor of a possible strike. AT&T spokesman Walt Sharp says the strike authorization is "expected and routine at this stage in the negotiations." AT&T is the nation's largest employer of union labor.
• RGB elects to use Spirent testbed
By Brian Santo
RGB Networks will be using Spirent Communications’ TestCenter to test its IPTV solutions.
That will include the use of the Spirent TestCenter Hypermetrics Application Performance module to conduct Layer 4-7 security and vulnerability assessment tests.
"Spirent's solutions allow us to conduct tests in a realistic network and user environment with a unique mix of traffic while reducing the time associated with successfully completing such efforts," said Charles Corablis, vice president of engineering for RGB. "Unlike other products, Spirent addresses port density, high performance and critical aspect of realism required to ensure the highest quality of experience for IPTV services."
• Ixia adds carrier Ethernet, mobile backhaul
By Brian Santo
Ixia said it has expanded its IxRave IP Service Verification solution to include carrier Ethernet and mobile backhaul. On top of IxRave’s capabilities to test VoIP, IPTV, MSO and enterprise VPN, service providers can monitor, measure and troubleshoot their converged networks and services using a unified, centralized solution.
Ixia said its IxRave solution provides network layer 2-7 visibility across IP service types (data, VoIP, IPTV, L3VPN); across network types (DSL, FTTx, cable/MSO, MPLS, Ethernet backhaul); across the service life cycle (service activation to proactive monitoring to fault isolation); and across demarcation points (customer premises to network edge to the service delivery platform) and all subscriber paths.
“As access network elements are moved further into the field (e.g., FTTx), it becomes even more important for carriers to have a cost-efficient verification solution that provides full end-to-end coverage,” said Walker Colston, vice president of converged monitoring. “Prior solutions in the service verification market either were narrowly focused or required a huge investment in test hardware for the access network elements – often resulting in insufficient network coverage. IxRave addresses these requirements in an integrated, scalable solution.”
• Got an expired TV converter box coupon? Try again
By The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) – People who got digital TV converter box coupons but let them expire can now apply for new ones. The recent stimulus package put more money into the coupon program, letting the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) give households with expired coupons a second chance.
Each household can apply for two $40 coupons that cover most of the cost of converter boxes. While 26 million coupons have been redeemed, 17 million expired at the end of their three-month life span.
The government also has cleared the wait list that built up after funding for the coupons dried up in January. That problem led Congress to delay the shutdown of analog TV broadcasts by four months, to June 12. After then, older TVs that aren't hooked up to cable or satellite feeds will need converter boxes.