Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cablevision to shut down Voom HD network in U.S.

While this comes as no surprise, it still is interesting. Why? Voom was originally a separate service specifically for the high-end consumer at the time. A "just HD" standalone, Voom was ahead of it's time. Now that HD is in demand, Cablevision and others can provide HD programing without the need for a seperate service. There is competition, and the niche for this type of product no longer exists.

Cablevision stock rose $0.10 on the news
Cablevision to shut down Voom HD network in U.S.

Preparedness for DTV transition still lacking

This seem incredible to me. From CED Magazine comes a report that although 90% of Americans are aware of the transition to digital in February, 25% believe that they must switch to cable or satellite by that time. While some may be surprised by the latter, I am more impressed with the first statistic. Is it really possible that someone, who actually watches TV, has not seen or read ANYTHING on the transition? I personally have been bombarded with 15 or so messages a day that I'm aware of.

The 2nd statistic saddens me. Cable providers have been using the transition as an opportunity to sell service by frightening consumers. They are not the only ones to blame - I'm talkin' to you, sat providers! The government is spending big on educating the public; perhaps they should be spending some of it preventing these dirty trick ads.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Startup thwarted from providing free broadband

The Washington Post reports that a startup called M2Z Networks has been trying to create a means to blanket the nation with free broadband. Finally nearing the end of a 3-year struggle to implement the plan, they were thwarted by opposition including wireless carriers and the Bush Administration. Apparently, the Democrats are trying to delay a planed vote by the FCC on remaining spectrum until the new administration takes control. The theory being that Obama actually uses technology and presumably understands how it would value our country.
Startup banks on making money from free broadband - washingtonpost.com

Friday, December 12, 2008

3G netbook? At RADIO SHACK?!?

Yep, you heard right. And not some schlocky no-name either - we're talkn' Acer Aspire One for under $100. What's the catch? You need to sign up for two years of wireless service with AT&T, at $60 per month. Still, a great deal (particularly if you need the service anyway). According to RCR Wireless,
"The device is Acer’s Aspire One netbook that includes an 8.9-inch screen, 1 gigabyte of random access memory and a 160 gigabyte hard drive in a package that weighs less than two and a half pounds. The computer also features Wi-Fi connectivity to go along with its built-in, wide-area network capabilities tuned to AT&T Mobility’s 3G network."
AT&T Mobility would not comment on who or how much money was involved in the subsidy.

3G netbook arrives at RadioShack for $100 - RCR Wireless News

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Last trip in 2008?

The year is winding down and as I pack for Indiana (3rd time this year), I realize that this could very well be the last one for 2008, at least for business. Travel is tiring, and I'll be very happy to stay put for awhile. Of course, if it's too long, that old itch will return just like always; a siren song calling me out, saying: "we miss you! BBQ awaits!"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sprint Employees Get Class Action Status

This may be of interest to anyone who has worked at Sprint (myself included). WirelessWeek is reporting that a federal judge has cleared the way for class action status on an employee lawsuit. The current and former employees are alleging that proper commissions were not paid. Sprint apparently had chalked this up to a "computer glitch" but the employees say otherwise. Check out the article here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One in Five HDTV Owners Don't Know the Difference

Is this a surprise? In a recent study by the Leightman Research Group, 18% of HDTV owners couldn't tell the difference between the two. Given the public's confusion over 1080p, 1080i, 720p, et. al., it is not difficult to imagine someone who has spent the money for the better set only to realize they needed to subscribe to HD service.

Another interesting thing about this survey is it was done over the phone. Might we assume that today's higher tech consumers (pro-sumers) would not be reachable using this method? I wonder what the median age of the 1,302 households were.
HD or Standard Def? One in Five HDTV Owners Don't Know the Difference - PC World
One in five can't tell Standard Def from HD-Gizmodo


BREAKING NEWS: Those who know me are aware of my unusual sense of humor; some call it "dry-wit". Others call it "stupid", "childish", etc... Today, I feel a bit vindicated. How? You may recall my post on October 29: "This Piano is for Entertainment!" where I took a photo of (what I thought, anyway) as an amusing sign. Well, the good folks at Passive Aggressive Notes agreed with me and PUBLISHED THE PHOTO ON THEIR SITE!! I'm so happy, I don't know what to say except thank you, thank you. See Mom, I DO have a normal sense of humor!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dining and Dancing in Bloomington

Here I am again in Bloomington, Indiana! Like any good college town, there is usually something interesting off the beaten path. Tonight I found a fascinating spot called The Player's Pub. Their claim to fame is that they have live music every night. This evening featured an eight piece swing band consisting of slightly pre-geriatric but happy band members. These guys obviously play strictly for the fun of it and that shines through their music. Everyone in the place feels comfortable dancing, which adds to the sense of cool. This joint has a friendly, laid-back atmosphere that make it all the more charming. The food's not bad, either. Player's Pub, 24 Walnut street Bloomington Indiana between 2nd and 3rd streets

The Best BBQ in Texas?

Here is an interesting article brought to my attention by my Aunt Claire: Calvin Trillin writes in The New Yorker this week about the best barbecue in Texas. He discusses Texas Monthly's pick of Snows in Lexington, TX. This was an unusual pick, and has been covered by, among others, NPR. Nevertheless, Trillin is an excellent and funny read, and is likely worth your time.
Dept. of Gastronomy: By Meat Alone: Reporting & Essays: The New Yorker

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who watches TV on TV anymore?

A very interesting question, indeed. This was posed by Rich Karpinski, one of the editors of Telephony, recently. He overheard his teenage daughter watching Gossip Girl on her laptop when this question was asked of viewers - and it was apparently a serious one.

Is IPTV, You Tube, Hulu, etc. growing at a rate that could surpass TV very soon? It doesn't seem likely but I've been wrong before.
Who watches TV on TV anymore?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Circuit City files for bankruptcy

How unfortunate. Not that I am a fan of this company, somewhat the opposite. but I do feel bad for the folks who will lose their jobs in a poor economy. Corporate mismanagement has once again taken its toll.

What's that you say? How can he blame management when he also said the economy was poor? Even though credit was more difficult from vendors, fewer buyers, etc., other companies seem to be doing OK in the same space. How else would you account for the success of Best Buy? Here's the article from CNN Money.com:
Circuit City files for bankruptcy - Nov. 10, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The gentle telco/cable war

Today's Telephony Online editorial details why telcos need not fear the growth of cable broadband. Even though Comcast posted big gains in customer growth over Verizon & AT&T, according to Ed Gubbins, (Editor), "although telcos appear to be losing the war against cable providers, one analyst says to cheer up; it's more accurate to say both sides are winning.'The telco impact on cable is being more than fully offset by the deteriorating fortunes of the satellite operators, yielding the startlingly counterintuitive conclusion that things in the pay-TV market are becoming less, not more, competitive as time goes on.'"


TP_Telephony Online Update_: The gentle telco/cable war

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rural Carriers object to USF Plan

Looks like there are even more objections to the FCC's newest plan for The Universal Service Fund (USF). Now the Rural Cellular Assn. has weighed in, saying that the FCC's proposed changes would "...unfairly deprive rural consumers of critical communications tools that are essential to economic growth and the safety and well-being of rural residents". Among other things, telematics (location-based services that provide emergency communications to cars) would be cut off as a result of this plan. Here's how Wireless Week reported the story:
Telematics, Rural Carriers Object to USF Plan

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

This Piano is for Entertainment!

Here's an amusing sign I caught in a Sterling VA supermarket. This particular market offers an area to enjoy the prepared food that's sold there. There is a player piano that had been used in the recent past, but not so much recently.

In order to thwart customers (I assume, children, mostly) from trying to play the instrument, they have posted the following: "Piano is for entertainment only - Please do not play - Thanks".
This makes a wide-sweeping assumption that anyone "playing" the piano couldn't possibly provide entertainment - at least, not as well as the machine can reproduce music. Maybe the entertainment in question is the view of the unused (and unusuable) player piano.
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Monday, October 27, 2008

Cox Cable To Launch its Own Wireless Service

From Wireless Week: Cox is announcing that it will enter the wireless telephone business by building its own infrastructure. This isn't really as crazy as it may seem. Cox already has agreements with Sprint/Nextel to provide service in areas they don't (which should be a large percentage, at least in the beginning).

Interestingly, Cox had it's own wireless network in so. Cal and Las Vegas in the 90s, then sold it to Sprint. Comcast also has a similar story. Cox Cable To Launch its Own Wireless Service

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Quarter of broadband homes to ditch DSL for mobile

From silicon.com comes this story out of the UK that fully a quarter of homes will be dropping DSL in favor of mobile broadband. Could you imagine this in the US? The answer is, not with our current wireless infrastructure. Not to say that it couldn't happen here, just not now. This is interesting because Europe is ahead of the US in wireless - the key is knowing by how much time
Quarter of broadband homes to ditch DSL for mobile - Networks - Breaking Business and Technology News at silicon.com

Monday, October 13, 2008

AT&T to Sell U-verse Circuit City and Wal-Mart Retail Stores

TMCnet.com is reporting that AT&T has a new business plan for selling U-Verse, it's IPTV service: they will be bundling with products such as TVs and home theater systems at consumer electronic outlets. Since U-Verse is not available everywhere (yet) this can only be offered at "selective" national retailers, currently Circuit City and Walmart.

This strategy makes a lot of sense as AT&T would like to compete with Verizon (already in Circuit City) but can go further: They have a popular wireless product in the I-Phone and now a TV content offering in U-Verse. I would not be surprised to see a future bundle that included both of these offerings, along with a new TV (or whatever).

AT&T has a heck of a brand. At one time, it was the 2nd most recognized worldwide behind Coca Cola, or so I've been told. If anyone should do this it is them.

This is a strategy I believe we will see more of; customers have consistently suggested bundling is what they want. First multiple services on one bill, now products and services together. I've mentioned on this blog how phone companies have looked to other consumer services (like PC repair) to augment their offers. Looking to involve companies with retail expertise is a logical step.

AT&T to Sell U-verse Services at Circuit City and Wal-Mart Retail Stores

Friday, October 10, 2008

Verizon Gets Its Own Geek Squad -- Tech Support -- InformationWeek

Information Week (et. al.) is reporting that Verizon, like AT&T, is getting into the electronics repair business. The service is similar to what is being offered at Best Buy with it's Geek Squad. Actually, it should compete head-to-head with Best Buy as it is essentially a resell of Circut City's Firedog service. Services range from one-time repairs from $99.99 - $249.99 to monthly protection plans starting at $4.99
Verizon Gets Its Own Geek Squad -- Tech Support -- InformationWeek

Monday, October 6, 2008

The more things change...

By now, you may have heard that Sprint intends to (again) separate its wireline and wireless businesses. Here is one of the many articles on the subject from Wireless Week: Sprint Breaks Out Wireline Biz Unit . This announcement comes on the heals of a similar decision made by AT&T to split it's businesses.

You may recall that back in the 90s Sprint had split PCS from FON with much success. Business pressures and the merger (?) with Nextel created the need to re-combine these entities. Now it seems that history has repeated itself or as the great Yogi Berra put it, "Deja-vu all over again".

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Finally! First Class BBQ

Regular readers of this blog know of my desire to find the finest barbecue wherever I travel. If I were welthy and had the time, I would travel just for fine cuisine. Sadly, I can only indulge in my habit where and when other business takes there. You can then imagine my excitement on learning that I'd be spending one night in the city that is the Mecca of BBQ, Kansas City. Now, if you knew you'ld be in KC for a single evening and also knew what you wanted to eat (ribs, of course) where would you go? Without a doubt, you'd head to the grand daddy of KC rib joints, Arthur Bryants.

Many might think that some of the other shrines to BBQ are more worthy; I don't dispute the famed excellence of Gates, Jack Stack and the like, but I've been there before. I sheepishly admit here and now that is all my trips to Kansas City before this, I've never had the pleasure of Bryants. How could a man that has a blog about barbecue (among its 3 subject categories) not visit this place?

I ordered a full rack along with a glass of the most local beer, Boulevard Pale Ale. It was more meat than I was expecting, my tasts usually going toward baby backs. Before I realized it, I was presented with a massive portion as well as a plate of fries that could have easily fed four. OK, I thought, I'll just eat 'till I'm full. Well, I'll let you know that is was so good, I consumed it all and I have the photos to prove it. The meat was a bit greasy (great for taste but would be highly scrutenized in competition) and then literally fell of the bone. They were smoky and complex. As I ate, I began to retink my own recepe.

Of the three sauces, Original was the least interesting. The hotter, less sweet version was an improvement but the ribs came alive with the sauce labeled Sweet Heat. The combination of the smokey meat with this sauce was what could truely be described as heavenly. Now that I've been to Mecca, how do I top it?
Arthur Bryants, 702 Village West Parkway, K.C., KS, 913-788-7500 (not the original location)
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All the comforts of home?

I've never before had a post on this, but sometimes when traveling to rural spots, the choices of hotels and restaurants becomes fewer and further between. Frequently, that is what makes these trips interesting; if one is forced into making different choices than one's comfort zone, it could lead to a memorable experience (positive or otherwise).

On this particular trip, I had the good fortune to find a particularly different lodging experience. Luckily it was of the (very) positive variety. The Cottage House in Council Grove Kansas is a hotel that is furnished in the style of the time it was built (1870-80s). This is the first time I've showered in a bear-claw footed tub - an experience to last a lifetime. Enjoy the photo on the left, or check out the attached photos for the room I stayed in.
The Cottage House Hotel and Motel, 25 North Neosho ~ Council Grove, KS 66846

Rural Kansas

I've just returned from an interesting trip to rural Kansas, where I met the residents of Council Grove. The town has a rich history, and claims an historic stop along the Santa Fe Trail. The nice f0lks at the local telephone cooperative are converting from their antiquated cable system to a cutting-edge IPTV system using a headend-in-the-sky (HIS) model. I was priviledged to assist them in this changeover. Click here for the photos of a town that looks restored, but really has never lost it's charm.
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

IP PBX Comparisons

OK, I know this subject can be a little dry, but that's why it's good to cover it as quickly as possible, right? IDG Connect has a white paper comparing different models of IP PBXs looking specifically at features and services. This information comes via VoIP News.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Indiana BBQ?

Once I landed in Indianapolis, I couldn't help thinking of the Jackson 5 ditty, Goin' back to Indiana. Remember it? Although I didn't "start from" there, nor is that "where my baby's from", I have been here enough times to recall certain experiences. However, this is the first time I've had BBQ in this state, so it was with some minor trepidation that I ventured into what is supposidly the best Barbecue in Bloomington - Smokin' Jack's Rib Shack. I had the pulled pork sandwich. A well prepared, properly smoked boston butt. The sauce was nice too - not too sweet and an excellent complement to the Q. I rate it a solid 2 out of 5 smokin' hogs. Smokin Jacks Rib Shack, 505 W. 17th St.Bloomington, IN 47404 (812) 332-RIBS or(812) 961-2243

Friday, September 19, 2008

NCTC Will Allow New Members

It seems the folks at the National Rural Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) have decided to lift their self-imposed moratorium on new membership starting in January. In a sense, they are between a rock and a hard place - trying to serve their cable members by keeping out telcos trying to get into the IPTV business, while at the same time needing to acknolodge that the video business is changing.

This move will likely turn off a number of their current members, but allow for growth (or at least stem declines). I wonder how this will play with telcos who are already members of other competitive cooperative organizations, such as The National Rurual Telecommunications Cooperative (NRTC). Here is the article from Telephony.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Traveling Time!

Yes friends, I'm off again to distant lands to teach stuff. And what stuff you may ask? IPTV, of course. This time I'll be in Bloomington Indiana and Kansas the following week.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Verizon BlackBerry Storm Announcement Video

Sorry for the poor quality of this video, but sometimes you have to take what you can get when it's news. Here we see the new, previously rumored Blackberry Storm which now looks pretty awesome. I plan to grill my sources at RIM as to when this will be available to the Verizon wholesale (MVNO) market.

Back on the Air!

Sorry, sorry, sorry! I've been waaaay lax on keeping up with this blog. Not that it's an excuse, but much has happened in my life recently that has taken most of my time. Needless to say, I shan't disappoint my reader(s) any longer. I will make every effort to keep this up, unless I can sell it first.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cablevision trial a game-changer

One true thing about the networking business: anytime there is a device on the customer side, it can be easily placed on the network side and sold for a fee. For example, network-based answering machines, network-based PBXs, network-based software, etc. That's why I've often wondered about putting a DVR in the network. In a way, we already have this: it's called Video on Demand (VoD). It looks just like a DVR, I can pause, rewind, and do all the video recorder stuff with one difference: I can't choose what to record. So we can technically have network-based DVRs, the holdback is a legal one.

Now it turns out that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York is allowing Cablevision to go forward with a trial of this technology.

In an article by Telephony Magazine, Carol Wilson argues that this is the "worst possible news for telcos trying to offer their video services". She claims that the big differentiator has been big telco's use of multi-room DVRs and the ability to watch the same recording in different rooms. This advantage is now lost. I don't agree.

If there is an advantage, it's only a matter of time before cable (or satellite, for that matter) offers a similar featured set-top box. Also, whats to stop telcos from offering the same network-based features?
Cablevision trial is bad news for telcos

Monday, July 28, 2008

Phones without homes

I love Slate Magazine! In a snarky and clever way, they examine a topic thoroughly without beating it to death. Thake for example Daniel Gross' recent article on the decline of landlines and the reason for their decline and possible demise; you'd think this subject had been covered ad nauseum by the media but no! Mr. Gross makes sense of the massive FCC report and discovers that its not just the proliferation of wireless, it's also the economy. It turns out that folks needing to make hard economic choices will forgo a landline in favor of nixing actual necessities. No kidding, this is a good read.
What's really killing the land-line telephone business. - By Daniel Gross - Slate Magazine

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sprint to Ditch 3,300 Towers

What's a cash-strapped provider to do? Either sell assets or lay-off (even) more staff, of course! Sprint Nextel chose to do the former, and sell of towers. In an arrangement with TowerCo, they will lease back these towers to focus on their core business. Looks like a good deal for both parties.
Sprint Unloads 3,300 Towers

Blind Taste Test Shows XP Users Love Vista

In a recent article from Webmonkey, Microsoft asked a group of Windows XP users to try a new operating sustem, code named "Mojave". What they didn't know was they were trying Vista right off the shelf. The positive results were aparently recorded for future advertisements.

Isn't it interesting how otherwise decent products never become popular because they are marketed badly? The reverse seems to be true as well. It also doesn't matter how big or powerful the company is, either.
Blind Taste Test Shows XP Users Love Vista - Webmonkey

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Differences between "xGs"

Here is one of the best explanations I've seen to explain the differences between the "generations" of wireless technology. Craig Mathias from Farpoint Group has a video that simply whiteboards the whole wireless evolution, from analog cellular to where we may be going in the 4G world.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

At least they meant well...

Like a bad bio-bioengineering experiment, Virgin Mobile USA’s latest charity attempt has gone horribly wrong. As reported by Teresa von Fuchs at Wireless Week, the MVNO has come under fire from some of the groups it was supposed to benefit. The company's campaign for clothing for homeless youth,

"...asked people to post striptease videos of themselves, and promised to donate a new item of clothing for every five times a video was watched. Called Strip2Clothe, the campaign was a partnership between Virgin Mobile USA and the National Network For Youth (NN4Y), a Washington, D.C., lobby group representing more than 150 homeless youth focused organizations."

The campaign has been temporarily shut down. According to von Fuchs, the site is still up but has been stripped of information and videos.

WildBlue Upgrades Its Satellite Internet

It's about time! Wildblue, the satellite Internet provider that caters to rural America, has just increased it's capacity allowing for an additional 150,000 subscribers. This is big news when you consider that prior to this "upgrade", the only way to increase service would have been to launch a new satellite. Given the difference in cost and time, this is far preferable. NOTE: In the interest of full disclosure, I have trained many Wildblue installers personally.
WildBlue Upgrades Its Satellite Internet Network, Increasing Capacity By Over 31 Percent: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Real Texas Q

On the recommendation of a friend, I traveled to the Longhorn Cattle Company and Restaurant, somewhere on the outskirts of Harlengen, TX. This place has all the charm of an open-air barn. They've been in business for what seems like forever judging from the decor (or lack thereof). As expected, the food was excellent and highly representative of the region.

This place is known for two things: Steak and Barbecue, and they do both well. All the Q is Mesquite smoked, while the steaks are grilled over a mesquite fire (not charcoal). Mesquite is the local hardwood and it grows everywhere. While plenty of eastern pitmasters would rather die than put mesquite in their smokers, South Texas thrives on the stuff. I personally love the taste of mesquite as it has a noticeable, smokey flavor. BBQ in Texas rarely includes pork, but being the fan of babybacks that I am, if it's on the menu, I'm ordering it. The ribs were served dry, with a fall-off-the-bone quality that's hard to fake. The only noticeable flavor was mesquite. The sauce served with it was tomato based and served warm - it was heavenly. Sides included charo bean "soup", cole slaw and a potato salad with relish and BBQ sauce in it (odd, but good).

Next trip, I'll go for the steak but as my reader(s) know, I can't resist good BBQ.
Longhorn Cattle Company and Resturaunt, 3055 W Expressway 83, San Benito, TX 78586 (956) 399-4400

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Make it Progresso!"...

Traveling through Southern Texas, I couldn't help but take the opportunity to travel south of the border. Progresso is a rural Texas town that borders a town in Mexico with the same name. Once I crossed over, I was able to view and endless array of dental offices, liquor stores and pharmacies selling perscription drugs over the counter. Either the Mexicans are obsessed with dental hygene and cheap booze or they are very good at drawing business from Americans suffereing from a lack of decent healthcare. This place is awesome! Please enjoy these photos of Soldiers in flack jackets and machine guns guarding their border with the U.S.
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Saturday, June 21, 2008

World's. Largest. Grill. Period.

Well, I guess this ends all question as to which is bigger (The "Period." comment saw to that). The Johnsonville grill is the largest I've personally ever seen, and I accept their claim.

I took this photo at Washington DC's National Barbeque Championship, held this weekend. I did not get to taste a lot of Q, though. It was a very popular event, and the lines were verrry long. Still, we all had a lot of fun, and the Boys' and Girls' clubs hopefully made out well.
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Friday, June 20, 2008

Here we go again...

Off again! This time to rural southern Texas. I haven't flown since the airlines changes some practices like fees for checked bags, so this should be interesting.

This time I'm teaching cooperative employees how to deal with their IPTV customers, among other things. I full report to my readers will follow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Verizon Considers Alternatives to Bring FiOS Further Out

PC Magazine is reporting that Verizon is looking for cheaper alternatives to their standard fiber to get more Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments at a further distance. A possible answer might be less fiber (!?!).

It seems that fewer strands might be the cost differentiator - if Verizon can deliver FTTH, even at slower speeds, they can reach more (rural) households than they had originally planned.

So far, Verizon has spent in excess of $20B to deploy FiOS. This is more than AT&T has spent on their U-Verse service, which delivers fiber to a neighborhood node (FTTN) and copper from then on. In addition to being cheaper, it's also considerably slower once consumers demand higher speeds (which they will).

In a related story, Verizon has announced that they intend to upgrande speeds to FiOS subscribers next week. According to the press release,

"In remarks prepared for delivery today at the NXTcomm conference here, Verizon President and Chief Operating Officer Denny Strigl announced that the company is expanding its industry-leading FiOS Internet connections of 50/20, 20/20, 20/5 and 10/2 Mbps across all of Verizon's FiOS Internet service footprint in 16 states."

Friday, June 13, 2008

All-Digital Cable Move May Spark Viewer Ire

Here's an interesting tidbit - USA today is reporting that Comcast will be pressuring 20% of it's subscribers to switch to digital. HUH!?! Isn't this the same Comcast who's been running ad after ad on TV saying exactly the opposite: "Switch to cable and you don't need to worry about the US conversion to digital in February, 2009...blah, blah, blah..."

It seems there's a lot of value in digital for the cable industry after all. With digital comes more bandwidth, more bandwidth means more stuff like more channels, more HD, etc. According to the article:
"'The whole industry is trying to figure out how to get orders of magnitude increases in HD,' says Shawn Strickland, FiOS' vice president for video solutions. 'By this holiday season, there's going to be a stark contrast between who has an HD leadership position and who's not making progress.'"
My favorite quote from the article is this one:
"There's a reason (analog customers) are still analog,' says Bruce Leichtman, president of industry analysis firm Leichtman Research. 'They just don't want more' channels and services."
Really? I would have come to an entirely different conclusion. Something like: many folks have cable because it's easy and it works, despite that they're not too keen on their cable company (charging too much and providing marginal service). They may be saying, "At least I don't need to concern myself with the hassle and cost of replacing my old TV".

All-digital cable move may spark viewer ire - USATODAY.com

Friday, June 6, 2008

Traffic-Pumping Needs a Stompin' ?

Here's an interesting story from USA Today - Long Distance giants like AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and Qwest are upset that some rural carriers are taking advantage of them. How? By using a practice they call "Traffic-Pumping" - routing urban calls to rural areas for the higher fees they generate.

Here's how it works: If a call is routed through a rural telco, the rural company has the right to (and does) charge a high fee for the call to go through their networks. By creating telephone services like adult chat in rural areas, these big companies have to pay the rural operator more for that call to go through. The problem is that these large, urban telcos want to sell unlimited long distance plans and they find it hard to make money if their customers call rural areas.

It sounds like, by doing business the way they are permitted to, rural carriers are interfering with the way the big telcos want to do business now. So they gave this "practice " a sinister-sounding name and went to the government for relief, rather than negotiate or find a new way to market their products.

Big telecoms decry high costs of 'traffic-pumping' - USATODAY.com

Friday, May 30, 2008

Slower cellphone growth in USA could bring good deals

According to USA Today, now that the growth in "Wireless Adds" (new subscribers) is on the wane, consumers should see deals galore.

Why is it always a surprise to companies that markets get saturated? Eventually, everyone got a VCR, microwave oven, DVD player, etc. Perhaps it occurred earlier than EVERYONE in the wireless industry thought.
Slower cellphone growth in USA could bring good deals

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Laptop Bags Soon Welcome in Airports

Gizmodo is reporting that the FAA has issued guidelines as to the way laptop bags may be designed, if you don't want to remove the machine from the bag. The operative word here is "guidelines", nothing has been approved - yet. I think we are all curious to see exactly what kind of a bag is acceptable and whether or not one would want to carry it.
News: Laptop Bags Soon Welcome in Airports

Wii Fit for Keith Fat

It's been almost a weeks so I'm sorry to all my fan (sic) that I haven't posted. I found an interesting subject (to me, anyway) and that's the Wii Fit. Keith from Network World's Twisted Pair Show has decided to try out the Wii Fit over the course of the next ten weeks and report on his progress. I recently purchased one of these so I'm particularly interested in what others like and don't like. BTW, I can report that my family has shown progress over the last week so they're may be something to this. Here's the Video

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Rural Carriers Petition FCC Against Exclusive Handset Deals

Wireless Week is reporting that the Rural Cellular Association (RCA) is petitioning the FCC to investigate handset exclusivity arrangements with carriers. Cited as an example: the iPhone is exclusive to AT&T, AT&T only offers roaming service in many rural areas, so the iPhone become unavailable to much of rural America, etc. According to the RCA, this only serves to increace the devide between urban and rural communities.
Rural Carriers Petition FCC Against Exclusive Handset Deals

Monday, May 19, 2008

Alltel Announces 4G strategy

First Verizon, then AT&T (& Singular), then T-Mobile, now Alltel is doing it too. What is it? their 4G roadmap. and again, LTE is the choice. Where does this leave the only other carrier (Sprint/Nextel)? with WiMax, of course!

Those of us who play the market will need to decide what to do with their stock in "S" - bail based on what many consider to be a failing strategy, buy once their stock has plummeted to a low enough level and wait for a buyout, or be contrairian (like Sprint itself) and bet that WiMax is somehow superior to LTE.
Alltel: We will deploy LTE - RCR Wireless News