Can't Hardly Wait
AT&T just got a contract from the city of Riverside, Calif., to set up a municipal Wi-Fi network. AT&T has agreed to provide Wi-Fi as an extension of its wired network, in exchange for the promise from the city of $4 million worth of business over the ensuing five years. AT&T has contracted with Metro-Fi to actually install the network.
Municipal Wi-Fi is, of course, bad. No matter how you look at it, muni Wi-Fi is a waste of taxpayer money.
Service providers will eventually blanket their service areas with their own wireless mesh networks, which will tie into their wired networks. These commercial networks are guaranteed to outperform municipal systems from the get-go, making those muni systems almost instantaneously obsolete.
Furthermore, it is bad for governments to compete with free enterprise. Verizon actually instigated a law in Pennsylvania barring cities in that state from offering for-pay Internet service unless a local service provider actually refused to do it. It is a fact that corporations are more efficient than governments.
Just look at Enron and Adelphia and AOL Time Warner and Global Crossing and Halliburton and Qwest and Tyco and Arthur Andersen and United Health Group and Comverse Technology and Nortel and…
…Okay, okay, it's unfair to bring all that up, because there were improprieties and illegalities involved, and that's the exception, not the rule. Every other company is its own separate paragon of efficiency, with nary a paperclip's worth of waste, and never making a bad decision.
I imagine every reader above the level of general manager is now nodding sagely, while every reader below is snorting milk through his or her nose. But I digress…
The philosophical niceties of the free market are not of interest to city councils who want an inexpensive, widely accessible, unified information and communication system for municipal rescue and emergency. Competing with the local service provider isn't even on the list of concerns for mayors competing with each other to attract business, industry, and residents to their cities.
A Wi-Fi network that exists by definition works better than one that doesn't.
Philadelphia (exempted from the Pennsylvania no-compete law), San Francisco, half a dozen cities in Silicon Valley, Tempe Ariz., Anaheim Calif., Portland Ore., Aurora Ill., and dozens of others are either building municipal Wi-Fi systems or plan to do so for one reason, and for one reason only: they are tired of waiting.
They want a Wi-Fi network with blanket coverage and they want it now. Not after their local service provider is done splitting nodes, or installing new DSLAMs to increase the speed of DSL, or completing the transition to digital, or stringing fiber to every home, or rolling out VoIP. Now.
There may be a lot of reasons for a city to not install its own Wi-Fi network, but every one of those reasons is thoroughly moot if any given city's local service providers are not building wireless access networks of their own. Don't talk to me about hotspots either. Hotspots don't cut it. If there's an emergency, responders should not have to drive to the nearest hotel lobby to connect.
Muni Wi-Fi is now a bona fide trend, and the way you can tell is that it has its own trade show. The MuniWireless conference will be held next week (October 22-24, in Minneapolis). Sponsors include a line-up of heavyweight companies: IBM, Intel, Motorola, Cisco, Nortel, along with muni wireless system experts Earthlink, Strix Systems, Tropos Networks, InspiAir and Civitium.
Companies like AT&T and Cox are contracting with various cities to provide muni Wi-Fi.
This really is a put-up-or-shut-up issue. And since most service providers aren't putting up, muni wireless is going to continue to gain momentum. I live in a city about to get muni Wi-Fi. The limited-government bloggers here are apoplectic, but me? I'm looking forward to using it.
* That's a reference to "The Replacements," not the Jennifer Love Hewitt movie. Just wanted to mention that.
Telus and Symmetricom are in synch
Canadian telco Telus is enlisting a network-wide "synchronization upgrade" with equipment from Symmetricom .
Telus will equip more than 250 offices to handle a range of new services, including IPTV and VoIP. Those offices will keep time with Symmetricom's TimeHub 5500 Synchronization Supply Unit, TimeProvider (for network access synchronization); TimeSource 3000 Primary Reference Source, and TimePictra, a synchronization network management system.
Telus will install the upgrade throughout 2008.
SaskTel's HD IPTV safe with Widevine
Sasktel went back to Widevine Technologies for content security for the HDTV service it just began over its IPTV network. Last year, SaskTel contracted with Widevine to provide security for its video-on-demand (VOD) service.
SaskTel's is offering 27 HD channels, including sports, news and movies from Warner Bros. International, Paramount, NBC Universal, Twentieth Century Fox and Sony Pictures. SaskTel said its ability to sign long-term contracts with the studios was predicated on its relationship with Widevine.
"To acquire the highest quality and earliest release windows for our HDTV service, SaskTel had to demonstrate we had the content security to persistently encrypt SD & HD content throughout the entire video distribution chain," SaskTel President and CEO Robert Watson said. "We chose Widevine because they are highly regarded by Hollywood for HD content protection and are the only company that could scale to the numbers of subscribers we need to support. Additionally, Widevine meets our emerging needs to expand the secure delivery of content to the PC and mobile video platforms.
SaskTel's Max service is based on Alcatel's iMagic middleware platform, Motorola's VIP 1200 HD/H.264 set top box and Kasenna's MediaBase media streaming and distribution platform. SaskTel said it will invest more than $310 million over the next 5 years to bring fiber optic cable closer to the home.
AT&T single-stream HD trial has liftoff in Houston
AT&T has launched an IP-based high-definition television trial in the Houston area, reports Dave Burstein of DSL Prime . Initially, AT&T is offering just a single stream, and "shortly thereafter" will deploy a second HD stream.
"When this happens, customers will be able to use two streams of HD and still have two SD streams to either watch or record," AT&T's Wes Warnock explained, in a note to the electronic news outlet.
While there was no doubt that AT&T would offer HD, "The promise of the second HD stream is intriguing," Burstein wrote in his analysis. Intriguing, he said, because AT&T, with its current encoders, won't be able to pipe in two HD and two SD streams, plus a 20-25 Mbps DSL service, plus overhead, without compromising HD video quality.
Burstein added that customers within 3,000 feet won't have capacity issues, but customers outside that threshold "will need more speed than provided in the original Lightspeed design."
Warnock told the publication that one option is VDSL2 copper pair bonding, which he called "relatively cheap." Another, more expensive option, is shortening loop lengths by splitting the distribution area.
Despite rampant rumors that AT&T will upgrade Lightspeed before deployment, "my best guess is that they will not choose to spend the capital dollars" on an upgrade, Burstein wrote.
Yahoo! to start spreading the CBS news…
Yahoo! is now posting news clips each from 16 local CBS affiliates. The pair said the syndication agreement is exclusive. CBS and Yahoo will share revenue from advertising sold adjacent to daily clips on the Yahoo! news site.
Yahoo! will highlight the local video to users who select a city or zip code within a CBS owned station market. The video will be station-branded and can be found on the Yahoo! homepage and throughout Yahoo! News. On Yahoo!'s local news pages, video will also include links to the station's website where users can view additional local video and stories.
CBS Television Stations is offering content from 16 of its affiliated stations. The group has 39 stations, including 21 CBS, 11 The CW, three MyNetworkTV and four independent stations not affiliated with major networks.
Internap to acquire VitalStream
Internap Network Services will acquire VitalStream Holdings , which specializes in audio and video streaming services. Internap said the combination of its intelligent route control solutions with VitalStream's content delivery services will create a platform its customers can use to distribute rich media content and advertising. The approximate value of the stock deal is approximately $217 million.
Got FTTH? If your house has this seal,
there's a good bet that it does.
gets FTTH seal of approval
The Reedsburg Utility Commission has qualified for The Fiber-Connected Home certification from the FTTH Council .
The certification recognizes service providers that install fiber to the home, and is used as a marketing tool for the service provider as well as for home sellers. Reedsburg Utility Commission has deployed fiber to more than 4,000 homes and businesses in Reedsburg, Wis.
Horizon Chillicothe Tel to use Tandberg headend for IPTV
Horizon Chillicothe Telephone in Ohio will use the iPlexT video head-end from Tandberg Television for an expansion of the channel line-up for its TV over VDSL ATM network. Horizon plans to add more than 45 new video channels, in both high definition (HD) and standard definition (SD), including The Outdoor Channel, Food Network, Starz, ESPN and National Geographic. The iPlexT video head-end is a compact solution designed specifically for regional distribution, headend expansion and smaller-scale IPTV deployments.
Siemens policy server gets the PCMM nod from CableLabs
Siemens Networks received CableLabs PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) qualification for its PCS-5000 policy server.
The PCMM specification was devised to enable cable operators to support a wide range of multimedia applications, such as IP telephony, multimedia conferencing, interactive gaming, and streaming video. In the PCMM scheme, policy servers are a key element used to regulate the delivery of such services.
Dynamic policy control is essential for complex real-time applications such as video streaming, interactive games, instant messaging, and Push and Talk.
Siemens PCS-5000 not only supports the PCMM standard for cable networks, but it is also an access-independent policy server that supports standards from different standardization organizations (3GPP, 3GPP2, CableLabs, ETSI/TISPAN). The PCS-5000 provides a single policy control for multiple access technologies, as well as seamless policy control for mobile, fixed, and converged networks.
MetaSwitch signs on two more customers
MetaSwitch has added BroadStar Communications and Norlight Telecommunications to its customer roster, which now numbers more than 20 competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs).
MetaSwitch's Secure IP Migration Platform for the Local Exchange (SIMPLE) solution, integrates IP Next-Generation Networking (IP NGN) technologies from Cisco Systems , to provide carrier-class IP-based communications services, with a clear migration path to IMS.
BroadStar operates in the Southeastern United States, targeting luxury residential properties, including condominiums. BroadStar implemented Cisco integrated access devices (IADs) and Cisco 7600 Series Routers with a flexible softswitch application server platform from MetaSwitch to deliver the triple play over an all-IP access network.
MetaSwitch and Cisco helped Norlight, which serves wholesale and business customers, re-engineer its network and launch a suite of new IP voice services in less than four months.
Teledata calls Radvision for SIP VoIP technology
Teledata Networks will integrate SIP VoIP technology from Radvision into its gateway products.
Teledata's BroadAccess Multiservice Access Gateway (MSAG) currently conforms to H.248, the media gateway protocol that allows gateways to transfer data between circuit-switched and packet-switched networks. Teledata will add SIP capability from Radvision to strengthen its support for VoIP services.
The SIP and H.248 protocols are both elements of the IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) industry standard, which enables the conversion of all voice and multimedia communications to flexible IP based technologies.
Minacom introduces 24-hour VoIP stress testing
Minacom has begun long-duration stress-testing for VoIP services. Service providers can go to Minacom to test speech-quality with test calls up to 24 hours in duration.
VoIP quality has steadily improved over the past year, Minacom attests, yet is still found to suffer several minutes into a call as jitter buffers in telephone adapters, session border controllers and media gateways fill to capacity and begin dropping voice packets.
Also, Minacom said, excessive network traffic can cause short-term VoIP quality problems when frequent routing changes result in delayed, lost, and out-of-order packets.
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Telkonet, EarthLink plan BPL trial in D.C.
Telkonet , a company that specializes in providing broadband access over existing electrical wiring, is said it will hook up nine apartment complexes in or near Washington, D.C., where Telkonet also operates a communications backbone. The company is working with EarthLink , which will provide Internet access.
EarthLink obviously remains sanguine about the prospects of broadband over powerline (BPL) technology, especially in urban areas, despite expectation that BPL would be most suitable in rural markets. EarthLink had a long-running trial with Ambient and Con Ed in New York City.
Telkonet's iWire System will be the platform used to enable high-speed Internet and data access to EarthLink as part of a voice and broadband Internet and home networking package that includes features such as caller ID, voicemail and three-way calling bundled with high-speed Internet access. EarthLink will be responsible for marketing.
Level 3 to buy Broadwing for $1.4 billion
Level 3 Communications , continuing its acquisition spree, will buy Broadwing Corp. in a cash and stock deal. Level 3 said it expects to pay approximately $744 million in cash and issue approximately 122 million shares. The stock is worth over $670 million at yesterday's closing price of $5.55, for a total value of about $1.4 billion.
Broadwing, delivers data, voice and media solutions to enterprises and service providers over its 19,000 mile intercity fiber network. Approximately half of Broadwing's revenue comes from the wholesale market, with business customers comprising the remaining revenue.
Level 3 said it expects to eliminate duplicative network and reduce operating costs, while expanding its Business Markets Group.
In the past year, Level 3 has purchased WilTel, TelCove, Looking Glass, and now Broadwing.
Centillium chips qualified for DSL remote management
Centillium Communications' Atlanta and Palladia chipset families were proven compliant with the DSL Forum's TR-069 WAN Management Protocol standards and its TR-104 provisioning parameters for VoIP customer premises equipment. The standards help providers of services such as IPTV, VoIP and advanced home networking to remotely activate, support and upgrade CPE in consumer homes. entillium's silicon was tested with Motive Inc.'s Home Device Manager (HDM) software.
NTT West to create
Access/One Network OWS
wideranging wireless mesh network
NTT West is going to build what will be among most extensive wireless mesh networks in the world, covering over 100 cities in Japan. NTT West will use the Access/One Network Outdoor Wireless System (OWS) and Indoor Wireles System (IWS) from Strix Systems . NTT West intends to deliver broadband wireless voice, video, and data services primarily to enterprise customers and municipalities in Japan.
Strix claims to be the only wireless mesh vendor that supports the Wi-Fi 802.11j protocol, which operates in the 4.9 to 5.0 GHz frequency. 802.11j addresses the need for a high-performance mesh solution for use throughout Japan, where 802.11a is prohibited outdoors.
Strix says its systems will provide throughput of 35 Mbps over multiple hops.
to Cisco's IP NGN Architecture
Charter Communications , a long-time customer of Cisco Systems , confirmed it will stick with its supplier and upgrade its network to Cisco's Internet Protocol Next-Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture.
"The growth of high-speed data, voice, video-on-demand and Gigabit Ethernet multimedia services make the IP delivery network the most critical technology in Charter's delivery of rich content to our customers," said Marwan Fawaz, Charter Communications executive vice president and chief technology officer.
Charter uses the Cisco uBR10012 cable modem termination system (CMTS) for data and telephony services. It also utilizes the Cisco ONS 15454 multiservice transport platform (MSTP) with reconfigurable optical add/drop multiplexing (ROADM) for the backbone.
ROADM technology enables optical network operators to add, drop or pass through any combination of available wavelengths remotely without the requirement for signal conversion equipment.