SBC Communications will use a new set-top built by 2Wire Inc. to deliver a wide range of services and applications, including satellite-delivered television, digital video recording, video-on-demand and Internet-based content from Yahoo!

SBC, which presently offers television programming through a marketing agreement with EchoStar Communications, said the new set-top will also deliver music-on-demand, caller ID, photo sharing and remote access services. For VOD, customers will use the box's high-speed data connection to download movies and other content. Down the road, SBC said it will offer remote access via Cingular wireless phones.

SBC said the joint venture with 2Wire is part of a strategy to deliver services through fiber and DSL connections. The telco expects to rollout the new set-top and bundled service in mid-2005.


Charter gives Internet subs dial-up and wireless options

Charter Communications has given its high-speed data subs the ability to roam, if they want to.

Through a partnership with RemotePipes Inc., Charter's residential and commercial high-speed customers can access the Internet while they're traveling via dial-up and Wi-Fi connections.

"We've wanted to provide our Internet customers with the same high-quality access while traveling that they enjoy with Charter's broadband service to their homes and businesses," said James Henderson, Charter's VP for business development, in a release.

The service's IP Roamer client enables subs to sniff out eligible IP networks from providers such as Level 3 and Sprint, with coverage extending to about 150 countries, Charter said.

Charter will offer customers a free trial of the service. Thereafter, they will be charged hourly or daily, depending on the plan selected.


C-COR closes nCUBE deal

C-COR Inc. has polished off its earlier announced $89.5 million acquisition of video-on-demand and ad-insertion specialist nCUBE Corp.

Under the original terms, C-COR put up $20 million in cash, $35 million of senior unsecured five-year convertible notes, 4.5 million shares of C-COR common stock, and the assumption of certain liabilities.

In turn, the deal makes C-COR one of cable's most prominent providers of video-on-demand servers and backoffice software, placing it in the competitive trenches with the likes of SeaChange International and Concurrent Computer Corp.

The deal did result in layoffs due to some corporate staffing duplication. Although C-COR would not confirm specific figures, it's understood that roughly 20 nCUBE employees were laid off as part of the transition. A C-COR spokesperson said layoffs affected corporate areas such as human resources and marketing, as well as some in engineering.

nCUBE, whose operations will continue to be based in Beaverton, Ore., had north of 200 employees before being acquired by C-COR.

C-COR has integrated nCUBE with its current software business unit. Michael Pohl, nCUBE's former president and CEO, is now president of the C-COR Solutions division.


Starz, Entropic to tee up HD networking demo

Premium programmer Starz Entertainment Group and silicon startup Entropic Communications will use this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to demonstrate a home networking technique that uses existing coax to shuttle around HD-quality video.

The demo will match HD content from Starz stored on a PC's hard drive and Entropic's coax-based home networking system. No stranger to the PC, Starz began offering content via the Internet last year via an agreement with Real Networks. Entropic's platform is designed to pipe content from such hard drives to other displays, including HD-capable TV sets.

Entropic is a member of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance, a group that aims to deliver content over existing coax at speeds up to 270 Mbps.

Cincinnati Bell, Grande add premium broadband content

Cincinnati Bell and Grande Communications have paired with Synacor to offer premium broadband content to their subs.

Cincinnati Bell's "ZoomTown Plus" tier builds in a bundle of premium content from providers such as, CNN,, MusicNow Radio,, and Grande will offer Synacor-provided premium content under a tier called "Web Premiums."

Synacor strikes the content deals separately and offers them to broadband providers as part of the vendor's "Portelus" platform. Users can access all of the premium content offered through the same user name and password, rather than having to set separate accounts for each content service.

Synacor also has deals in place with Adelphia Communications, Knology and Susquehanna Communications.


UnitedGlobalCom unit wins battle against KPN

LONDON (CBS.MW) -- Cable company United Pan-Europe communications (UPC), owned by Denver-based UnitedGlobalCom (ucoma), will not be forced to allow Dutch telecoms operator KPN (nl:00908) access to its cable network in the Netherlands.

The Dutch industry regulator Opta dismissed a lawsuit by KPN, ruling instead that negotiation options between the two companies had not been exhausted, the Wall Street Journal reports.

KPN wants to gain access to UPC's high-speed infrastructure to transmit digital television and radio. KPN shares were up 0.6 percent in Amsterdam morning trade.

Broadband briefs:

McCoskey goes full time at CMC
John McCoskey has joined the Comcast Media Center (CMC) as vice president of product development.

McCoskey, who has provided consulting services to the CMC over the past year, most recently was the co-founder and chief technology officer at Brief Original Broadcasts. He has also held executive slots at Discovery Communications and Your Choice TV.

More members come into FOCUS
The Fiber Optic Communities of the United States (FOCUS) has added three new members: The City of Loma Linda, The Truckee-Donner Public Utility District (Calif.), and Amedia Networks.

Loma Linda, a municipality, is requiring fiber in each new housing development. Truckee-Donner, meanwhile, is building a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network. Amedia is an "active" FTTP vendor based in Holmdel, N.J.

Other FOCUS members include the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) and Brambleton, a 6,000-home FTTP community based in Loudon County, Va.

BitBand scores $4.75 M
VOD vendor BitBand ended 2004 with a $4.75 million cash infusion led by Ascend Technology Ventures.

The company said it will use the funds to develop international IPTV markets.