Broadband Briefs for 04/16/09
• Charter receives court approval to pay trade creditor balances
By Traci Patterson
Charter Communications and its debtor subsidiaries and affiliates have received authorization from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to pay, in the normal course, trade creditor balances that were incurred prior to the company's chapter 11 filing (story here), the company said today.
Charter also received final approval from the court for all of its first-day motions for which it had been granted interim approval, including, among other things, continuing employee wage and benefits programs, paying fees to its local franchise authorities incurred before and after the filing in full and in the normal course, and utilizing its cash on hand and cash flows from operating activities to continue to fund its projected cash needs as it proceeds with its financial restructuring.
“We are pleased that the Court has granted these authorizations so that we can continue moving forward as planned,” said Neil Smit, president and CEO of Charter. “As always, we remain committed to providing our customers with quality cable, Internet and phone service, and we look forward to completing our financial restructuring as soon as practicable and emerging as a stronger company.”
• FiOS TV making its way to Allentown
By Traci Patterson
Consumers in Allentown, Pa., will soon have access to Verizon’s FiOS TV service, thanks to a bill authorizing Verizon Pennsylvania to offer its video service in the area.
As part of the cable franchise agreement, Verizon will make its FiOS TV service available throughout the Lehigh Valley city within eight years.
Following the franchise approval, Verizon will begin the design and upgrade of its network to all fiber optics, and the telco could begin offering FiOS TV and FiOS Internet service later this year in some parts of Allentown. FiOS TV is currently available to almost 300 communities in southeastern, south central and western Pennsylvania.
• Toner Cable Equipment to distribute Blankom’s gear
By Traci Patterson
Toner Cable Equipment, a distributor of cable gear for all types of TV signal distribution systems, is now a worldwide distributor of Blankom’s digital equipment.
Blankom produces telecommunications equipment for the cable and broadcast markets, and it develops, manufactures and sells high-quality cable TV headend systems.
Toner Cable Equipment said that the distribution agreement will allow the company to fulfill and provide an even more complete digital solution for its worldwide customer base.
• Zarlink adds low-power VoIP chipset
By Brian Santo
Zarlink Semiconductor introduced a new low-power chipset designed for VoIP equipment. The company claims the new chipset, an extension of the company’s dual-channel VE880 VoicePort series of VoIP silicon, consumes 50 percent less power than competing devices. The lower-power consumption helps OEMs comply with emerging "green" environmental standards, such as strict energy consumption limits for broadband equipment outlined in the European Code of Conduct, the company said.
Jacques Issa, Zarlink’s director of VoIP marketing and applications, said, "The VE8820 chipset's integrated remote line diagnostic capabilities allow service providers to slash operating costs by centrally identifying and quickly resolving customer issues to minimize costly truck rolls.”
Zarlink also recently introduced Synchronous Ethernet (SyncE) and Timing over Packet (ToP) products, which the company said provide equipment manufacturers with a product set that enables high-quality and secure voice, data and video services over next-generation packet networks.
• Report: ‘Primetime anytime’ key to gaining, keeping subs
By Mike Robuck
According to a report by Parks Associates, broadband subscribers in Europe and the United States rank “primetime anytime” VOD services first out of all of the TV 2.0 offerings.
The research firm said primetime anytime services, which allow viewers to watch a show in on-demand mode regardless of its original air date, will help service providers gain and keep subscribers. Cable operators such as Time Warner Cable and Comcast have plans in the works to offer more of their programming via the Internet. And Parks Associates said the number of households worldwide that subscribe to TV services will exceed 1.4 billion by 2013.
"Online video is not robbing primetime of its audience but supplementing it," said Jayant Dasari, research analyst, Parks Associates. "The majority of U.S. broadband households use online video to catch up on their TV viewing, and 36 percent of those who pay for Internet video content have increased consumption of primetime television. Moving video from the PC to the TV is a natural progression, one that aligns with consumers' current behavior."
• More than $150K raised for CableCares 2009 in D.C.
By Traci Patterson
More than $150,000 in cash, equipment, books and donations was raised as part of CableCares this year to improve Washington, D.C., schools and assist local charities during The Cable Show ‘09.
The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) estimates that more than 225 volunteers from cable companies, organizations and associations contributed their time to volunteer on behalf of the several CableCares activities.
Projects included improving the Truesdell Educational Campus, school donations, a book drive, The Sportsman Channel’s Hunt.Fish.Feed. initiative, Cable Positive projects, Room to Care and Battle of the Bands (for the second year in a row, Cox Communications’ Xpanded Bandwidth grabbed the winning title).