December 12, 2007 
IPso Facto...

One of the results of the writers' strike is that the lack of new content on network TV is driving people to find their entertainment on the Web. Anyone providing a pay-TV service should be concerned that the strike is accelerating subscribers' habituation to receiving video via the Internet.

Brian SantoYes, it encourages broadband usage, and the video/broadband double play is the most common service package. But that just puts more strain on broadband infrastructure that already requires close management. And why wouldn't any MSO, DBS or IPTV company be apprehensive about subscribers migrating to MovieLink, Vudu, Netflix, or any other company that provides downloadable content?

Fifty percent of the viewers in a recent survey reported that since the strike, they are either going online more often for entertainment or plan to do so. That includes playing video games and listening to music, in addition to watching movies or short videos, but still. The survey, from the Wi-Fi Alliance and Kelton Research, polled U.S. Wi-Fi users ages 18 to 55.

'Buffy the Vampire Slayer'It's only getting easier to get content via the Internet. Hulu's beta service is a breeze to use. I've always lamented missing the first few episodes of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," and there they were. I'd prefer better video quality, but Hulu streams video perfectly, and I'm in it for the story, not the video quality.

One thing about Hulu though – it mimics that same trick from regular TV of cranking up the volume on ads. Find me a viewer that doesn't hate that. I'm motivated to get through all of the episodes of the Sunnydale slayer, but even though I love having ready access to "The Simpsons," if I have to put up with the ad-volume trick, I can go elsewhere to see it.

Backtracking a bit to a paragraph back, there's a point to be made about video content versus quality – it's nice to get both (HD is clearly becoming a key subscriber value), but if it comes down to it, content tends to trump image quality. Just goes to show the value of intellectual property (IP) in the Internet Protocol (IP) era. Anyone who employs writers might want to consider that as the strike wears on.

Pay-TV has a stake in the writers' strike. (Oooh, that hurt!)

Brian Santo, IP Capsule Editor & CED Magazine Editor
 The Future TV Show

Verizon adds HD VOD in several markets
Verizon is introducing HD VOD in several of its FiOS TV markets: Richmond and Virginia Beach, Va.; Tampa, Fla.; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and Pittsburgh.

The service will launch soon in the Washington, D.C., metro area, and in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Verizon said its remaining FiOS TV markets will receive HD VOD by year's end.

AT&T debuts U-verse in St. Louis, adds U-verse features in Texas
AT&T 'now taking orders'AT&T is now taking orders for its U-verse video service in parts of the St. Louis area. The telco recently said that its U-verse service will be available to 30 million customers by 2010. As of September, AT&T had 126,000 U-verse subscribers.

And U-verse customers in the Austin, Texas, area now have access to new TV features: AT&T U-bar, which brings customizable weather, stock, sports and traffic information to the TV screen; TV, a new way to search for local businesses and other information on the TV; and AT&T Yahoo! Games, which are also available on the TV screen.

AT&T's Tennessee franchising fight heating up
The state franchising battle in the state of Tennessee is starting to gear up between AT&T and the Tennessee Cable Telecommunications Association, according to published reports.

The legislature is not scheduled to be back in session until next month, at which time it will consider whether to grant AT&T statewide video franchises instead of making the company earn each franchise on a city-by-city basis. Cable representatives were able to fend off a statewide franchising proposal that was backed by AT&T earlier this year.

SES Americom unveils new HDTV service: IP-Prime HD-4
SES Americom has unleashed IP-Prime HD-4, an HDTV service for operators already delivering MPEG-2 technology.

HD-4 gives MPEG-2 video systems a route to provide subscribers with HDTV over their existing networks. The single rack solution can deliver 32 HD channels within 60 days and can be scaled to add more HD programming.

SES Americom offers telecom companies a complete MPEG-4 IPTV service, but the IP-Prime HD-4 solution allows operators to deliver HDTV without upgrading their entire infrastructure.


Cox tops cable industry with 200,000 business telecom customers
COX Business ServicesCox Business has passed the 200,000 business customer mark, which it said tops all MSOs in the business services space.

"Cox has completed voice service expansion to all of its markets and is now the seventh-largest telecom provider in the U.S.; this creates a compelling bundle for business customers already familiar with Cox video and high-speed data products," said Mark Bowser, VP of Cox Business.

Last month, Cox launched an IP telephony platform that integrates the desktop phone, PC and wireless devices to provide business customers with better communications control, flexibility and functionality. With the launch of this service, Cox Business became the first cable provider in North America to deploy a fully-owned-and-managed IP telephony service that addresses the needs of the broad business market.

Verizon Business smoothes the path to VoIP
Verizon Business has added new IP Trunking capabilities aimed at easing customers' move from traditional TDM to VoIP.

Verizon Business said it is providing its IP Trunking customers with on-demand sharing of unused trunk capacity, more platforms for IP PBX, a new path to VoIP through its Ethernet to Private IP access option, and automated rerouting of calls to maintain business continuity.

Verizon VoIP Trunking uses SIP to interoperate with either an IP or time division multiplex (TDM) PBX or key system. The interoperability provides customers the pathway to replace traditional TDM trunk lines.

Simultaneously, Verizon Business added to its managed network services with the addition of Managed IP PBX on the Nortel IP telephony platform. The new services include on-demand networking via burstable enterprise shared trunks, additional IP PBX platform choices, Ethernet as a path to VoIP and automatic call rerouting.

VoIP Inc. appoints co-CTOs
VoIP Inc. has appointed Arthur L. McCabe and Kevin Behanna as co-CTOs. McCabe has been the director of engineering and software development at VoIP since 2003. Behanna was previously the director of operations for the company.


AT&T expands IP/MPLS backbone; deploys Cisco routers 
AT&T said its IP/Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) backbone, which it has been building and upgrading for several years, is now operating coast-to-coast. The most recent upgrading activity includes 18,000 miles of enhanced optical ultra-long-haul routes.

Cisco's CRS-1

AT&T said it has deployed 40 Gbps (or OC-768) technology on more than 50,000 wavelength miles of its U.S. IP/MPLS backbone network to date. The company claimed that by year's end, more than 40 percent of the IP traffic carried over its backbone will be on IP/MPLS. AT&T has IP/MPLS hubs in 25 U.S. metro areas and is continuing the process of building IP/MPLS backbone routes to interconnect them all.

In a separate but related announcement, AT&T said it selected Cisco's Carrier Routing System (CRS-1) as the core platform of its IP/MPLS backbone network.

It is designed for continuous system operation while scaling system capacity up to 92 Terabits per second (Tbps).

Charter's high-speed Internet faster, more reliable than telcos'

Charter Communications said that comScore has deemed Charter's high-speed Internet offerings as faster, and with more reliable speeds, than the combined Internet offerings provided by telcos in areas where Charter provides services.

Charter offers high-speed Internet tiers with speeds of up to 5 Mbps and 10 Mbps. In select markets, Charter offers speeds of up to 16 Mbps, and the MSO has plans to expand this offering to more markets next year.

XO bases network expansion on Cisco routers
XO Communications expects to more than double the capacity of its nationwide IP/MPLS network with the deployment of Cisco's CRS-1 Carrier Routing System in its network core.

XO's network is based on Cisco's IP Next Generation Network (IP NGN) architecture, so relying on Cisco equipment for a capacity expansion was to be expected. The move is preparatory to another doubling, for a four-fold increase in capacity. The deployment will also pave the way for an eventual upgrade to a multi-terabit capable router complex.

XO will deploy the CRS-1 – including high-speed Dedicated Internet access, IP Transit, IP-VPN and VoIP services – for XO's customer base of businesses, large enterprises and service providers.

TWC enhances Road Runner Turbo e-mail service
Road Runner e-mail serviceTime Warner Cableis making enhancements to its Road Runner e-mail service for its customers.

Road Runner Turbo – which will include additional mailboxes, increased storage, enhanced security and parental controls, an integrated address book and calendar, and sophisticated spam filters – will allow customers to better organize and protect their e-mail and enjoy access from any computer. TWC began to introduce the enhancements to all of its divisions earlier this year.

Cisco reorganizes; little impact on service provider group
Cisco has adopted a new organizational structure that the company explained is intended to optimize its ability to drive development of the next phase of communications technologies, largely Internet-related.

The changes within the Cisco Development Organization (CDO) reflect a tactical shift in the way Cisco will focus its development efforts. It appears the reorganization will have minimal effect on the Service Provider Technology Group, which includes the Scientific Atlanta and Linksys operations.

The shuffle of executive responsibilities will affect the Service Provider Technology Group, however. Most of the changes are more tightly associated with Cisco's networking operations.

"Cisco is entering what we believe will be the next phase of Internet growth and productivity centered on the demands of tremendous video growth, the revolution in the data center, and collaboration and networked Web 2.0 technologies, where the network becomes a platform for all communications and IT," said Cisco chairman and CEO John Chambers. "The evolution of our development organization reflects our continued commitment to customer success and to successfully executing on new market opportunities."

Vecima adds VistaMAX Starter Kit to WiMAX platform
Vecima Networks has launched its VistaMAX Starter Kit, the latest addition to the company's VistaMAX suite of WiMAX products.

The new launch enables operators to access the performance and capabilities of Vecima's VistaMAX product line. The company said it supports operators through the installation, configuration and evaluation of the kit.

The kit operates in the 1.9 GHz and 3.5 GHz bands and is based on the IEEE 802.16-2004 standard. It's an all-inclusive WiMAX solution and can be deployed by any operator. Included in the basic VistaMAX Starter Kit is a one sector base station, five outdoor subscriber stations and three days of training for four people at Vecima's Saskatoon facilities.

Optimum Lightpath sees 90 percent growth in Ethernet revenue
Optimum Lightpath, a division of Cablevision Systems Corp., announced that its business unit has experienced a 90 percent year-over-year increase in Ethernet revenue in the third quarter. The company transitioned to a pure Metro Ethernet strategy in January 2005.

According to the Insight Research Corp., the U.S. Ethernet services market is expected to grow from $940 million in 2006 to more than $5 billion in 2012.

Clearwire launches Internet, phone services in Charlotte
Clearwire Corp. has launched its wireless high-speed Internet access and phone service in the Charlotte, N.C., area.

Clearwire's next-gen wireless broadband solution allows customers to connect virtually anywhere in the Clearwire service area. The operator's phone service works with a customer's existing high-speed Internet access and provides unlimited local and long-distance calling.

• In-flight Internet too tempting for some, according to the Associated Press.

Company: Connexion Technologies
Headquarters: Cary, N.C.
CEO: Glen Lang

Claim to fame: Connexion is a fiber optic amenity company that invests in properties, using its capital to design, build and manage advanced telecom networks on the market. The company's fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks have virtually unlimited bandwidth and are ready to handle emerging technologies as they come to market.

Recent news of note: Last month, Connexion announced that it will be using BitBand's servers for its IPTV deployments. According to the agreement, BitBand will help Connexion provide multi-dwelling residences and communities with advanced entertainment packages delivered over a single FTTH network.