Broadband Briefs for 01/27/10
• Verizon touts self-service tools
By Mike Robuck
Verizon has added tools to its self-service toolbox that let its customers fix problems with their TV or Internet services themselves. The tools also allow subscribers to shop for bundles of services and pay their bills online.
With the self-service expansion and enhancement, Verizon now has five self-service tools: the support section of Verizon.com; online ordering, for existing and new customers, for bundles and a la carte services within Verizon.com; FiOS TV Interactive Media Guide (IMG); In-Home Agent (IHA) software; and a telephone voice response system.
Verizon subscribers can use the telephone voice response system to hear instructions on how to self-install set-top boxes they’ve purchased or check on the balance of their bills.
Verizon has been rolling out its new IMG in stages  this month.
• BigBand tops 700,000 milestone for shipped QAMs
By Mike Robuck
BigBand Networks said today that it has shipped more than 700,000 QAMs to more than 60 service providers throughout the world. BigBand Networks was at 600,000 QAMs shipped in October. BigBand also announced today that its BEQ6200 QAM is commercially available.
“We believe our market-leading BEQ platform gives customers the operational flexibility to implement and manage a larger number of new and legacy QAMs with the best mix of reliability and density and a path to next-generation platforms,” said David W. Heard, chief operating officer at BigBand Networks. “We’re at a tipping point in terms of bandwidth congestion at the network edge. As new applications such as high-definition content, niche programming and time-shifted TV come online, congestion at the edge of the network demands denser and more cost-efficient QAM platforms.”
BigBand’s BEQ6200, which was announced in October, was designed to enable service providers to double capacity for advanced video and data services where rack space is at a premium. It features 96 QAMs in a 1.5-rack unit form factor and has an 8:1 upconversion.
According to Infonetics Research, universal edge QAM channels will grow from 663,000 in 2008 to 1.8 million in 2013.
• IBBS repositions, rebrands
By Brian Santo
After a year of moving and shaking, Integrated Broadband Services (IBBS) is introducing a new logo and corporate identity.
The company is ditching the stylized “I” in its name in favor of an infinity symbol, which the company hopes will convey “the infinite possibilities through which IBBS enhances broadband and cable operators’ ability to deliver value to their customers and capture new markets.”
IBBS has migrated the customers from its Parasun acquisition, expanded its call center, and launched enhanced bandwidth management tools and other products.
CEO Dave Keil said, “IBBS is much more than simply an OSS software and services vendor; we have become a true solutions provider.”
• Ixia intros HDMI test suite
By Brian Santo
Leveraging technology picked up with its acquisition of Agilent, Ixia has introduced what it claims is the first solution for HDMI Ethernet channel network testing.
Ixia said it combined its IxN2X traffic generator and Agilent's HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) and Audio Return Channel (ARC) physical layer test capabilities to create a means of testing devices against the HDMI 1.4 Compliance Test Specification (CTS), Supplement 2.
"As devices exploiting the HDMI Ethernet channel proliferate in the digital home and other multimedia environments, it will be critical to have test solutions to ensure manufacturers are delivering products that conform to the HDMI 1.4 specification,” said Atul Bhatnagar, president and CEO of Ixia. "By providing the best-in-class test solutions from both Ixia and Agilent, we are helping developers of HDMI 1.4-enabled products get to market quickly and within the specification."
• N.C. city taps Zhone for FTTH project
By Mike Robuck
Zhone Technologies today announced that the city of Salisbury, N.C., has picked its MXK and zNID fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) solutions to serve as the platforms for a municipal broadband initiative now underway.
Salisbury city officials cited interactive HDTV, telemedicine, advanced emergency services and greater community cohesion as potential differentiators in attracting knowledge workers and seeding new business growth in the shifting digital economy.
Using fundamental design advancements in non-blocking architecture, Zhone said its MXK platform and zNID Optical Network Terminals (ONTs) were optimized to support unicast media streams that require large amounts of dedicated bandwidth for applications like interactive HD video and telemedicine.
“We don’t want to rely on the technology or timeline of existing carriers to meet our goals for a communications network that gives us a competitive advantage in attracting new businesses to our city,” said Mike Crowell, director of broadband services for Salisbury. “Zhone’s FTTx system proved to be the most powerful solution with twice the capacity over other platforms on the market. That nets out to significantly lowered bandwidth costs, while giving us the freedom to grow network services as we grow our city.”