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Tuesday, November 21, 2000

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 iSmell

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 Networks, told 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 problematic."

"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 bandwidth uses.

"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 subscriber flexibility. 

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 they support. 

PPV time-shift

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 technical problems. 

    Intel said none of the chips made it to consumers. 


Register now for 
SUPERnet 2001!
SUPERnet's exclusive focus is on the challenges and opportunities faced by
>service providers, OEMs, network architects, IT professionals and software
>developers as they build and deploy converged broadband networks.

SUPERnet 2001
January 14 - 17, 2001
January 15 - 16, 2001
Santa Clara Convention Center Santa Clara, CA

IQPC, with CED Magazine, presents CABLE vs. DSL, a two-day national conference in San Diego Jan. 22-23, 2001 at the beautiful Hilton Torrey Pines Resort. The industry leaders will be going head to head! Visit 
or call 1-800-882-8684 for more information or to register. 

Register before 12/1/2000 and use the code C409E for the early bird discount.of $200