Today's report from Web Editor Karen Kessler-Tanaka
• It's a dirty job...
• Marching to the beat of BigBand
• If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
• PPV time-shift
• CED News Briefs:
Comcast, DirecTV, EchoStar, AT&T, British Telecommunications and Intel.
It's a dirty job...
...make the robot do it. Yet another plus of modern technology:
when it comes time to lay fiber-optic cable in big city sewers, send in
a machine without a nose, nor enhanced by
Canadian-based Stream Intelligent Networks
has developed a specialized robotic technology, called STAR, (Sewage
Telecommunications Access by Robot), to install high-speed fiber-optic
networks in both storm sewers and "other" sewers.
"The robot is versatile and compatible for all kinds of sewers," Ken
Chiu of National Public Relations, representing Stream Intelligent
CED. Not wanting to dwell too much on that imagery, Chiu moved on to tell
CED about the advantages of laying fiber-optic cable in the existing city infrastructure.
"The robot lets you have your cake and eat it too," Chiu said. "The
traditional method of laying fiber-optic cable involves digging up the
streets, and disturbing traffic and store fronts on those streets. This
method allows you to just drop the robot in and control and monitor its
progress from a command center-like truck."
The robot is efficient too. It can lay approximately 800 meters of
cable a day, compared to 100 meters the traditional way.
The robot was designed in Europe and has laid cabling systems in Berlin and Tokyo.
"The increasing demand for broadband by businesses has increased the
need for cable in North America. Businesses are using up more bandwidth
for networking, video and IP telephony," Chiu said. "Given the
projected increase for demand in the future, fiber-optic cable is the
natural choice. It has more bandwidth - it's faster. But the
traditional method of setting up the telecom infrastructure is
"Stream Intelligent Networks is using its STAR technology in
Mississauga, Ontario now, and anticipates moving into other North
American cities, including the U.S. Stream Intelligent has rights to
use this technology everywhere in North America," said Chiu.
Marching to the tune of BigBand
BigBand Networks has rolled out its new router, the Broadband
Multimedia-Service Router (BMR), which allows video, audio and data to
be directed in their native formats.
"The router is capable of routing different types of media services,
like broadcast video, Internet access and VOD, and respecting their
different natures and processes," Marcia Bana, director of
communications for BigBand, told
CED. "Regular routers are data centric, so when they handle
video, which is more complex, it treats it the same as data. That's not
the way to handle it. You can't treat everything the same or everything
as data. You need to treat all different formats accordingly. This
helps to deliver better quality.
"Our first target markets are the cable operators. They are under a lot
of pressure to deliver new services - HDTV, VOD, etc. BigBand can help
cable ops with the BMR. It helps them take better advantage of the
bandwidth available to them by letting them allocate intelligently and
dynamically between the different services. That optimizes the
"This is a revolutionary product, the first of its kind, capable of
routing and delivering data in its native format," said Bana. "We don't
know of anyone else doing that. "
BigBand will be demonstrating the BMR at The Western Show at booth 4409.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em
It's beginning to look like open-access is the way of the future and
ADC is laying the groundwork for making those free rides easier on the
Time Warners and AT&Ts of the world.
The company has enhanced its cable modem termination system products to
make it easier for cable operators to support open access for
ADC's Cuda 12000 IP Access Switch and Cuda Provisioning Manager are
designed to allow cable operators to give subs a choice of who delivers
their Internet data. The switch lets operators build on their existing
network infrastructures without placing a limit on the number of ISPs
Concurrent Computer's personal video technology (PVC) has delivered the first pay-per-view events as VOD.
Time Warner's Hawaii-based Oceanic Cable subs tuned in two championship
boxing fights whenever they wanted, not when the network dictated they
would be shown. A real plus for the time zone the islands are in. The
two fights aired Oct. 20 and Nov. 11.
The programs were stored on Concurrent's MediaHawk video servers and
subs had VCR-like control - pause, rewind and fast-forward. Subscribers
could also play referee and get their own personalized instant replay.
The technology let subs fast-forward through breaks, between rounds and
catch up with the fights in progress in real-time. The PVC technology
delayed the real-time event by only three seconds.
CED News Briefs
- Comcast wins case
The FCC sided with Comcast Monday when it decided the MSO should not be required to sell its Philadelphia regional sports network to
DirecTV and EchoStar.
The FCC said that Comcast SportsNet is not covered by program-access rules because the network is not satellite delivered.
- AT&T looking for a "spin specialist"
AT&T may bring in a COO to manage
the sectioning of the telecom giant. This new position would help in
the company's restructuring plans, which include spinning off its
wireless and broadband divisions and creating a tracking stock for its
consumer long-distance unit.
A long-term job could come out of the situation. The COO could stay on as the head of the Business Services unit.
- BT to create own content
British Telecommunications has taken the unusual step of backing
efforts to develop original content for its Internet service.
BT hopes this move will secure appealing content for its broadband
service. (That would imply that content created outside BT isn't very
appealing.) BT's bright ideas include reality programming, game show
style episodes and comedy.
That's darn original.
- Still not getting it right
Intel said early shipments of its Pentium 4 chips to personal computer makers included the wrong piece of software.
It marks yet another embarrassment for the chipmaker, which has
recalled some products and delayed others this year because of
Intel said none of the chips made it to consumers.