32 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
The Telecom Digest for December 15, 2013
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Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 21:53:54 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: CPB Board hears troubling predictions Message-ID: <email@example.com> By Dru Sefton, Current.org, December 10, 2013 | Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board members got an | ominous preview Monday of the corporation's upcoming white | paper about spectrum issues in public broadcasting. | | At a meeting at CPB's headquarters in Washington, D.C., Harry | Hawkes of Booz & Co.'s media and technology practice told | board members that if the FCC goes ahead with plans to clear | 120 MHz of spectrum for use by mobile devices, 110 to 130 | pubcasting stations will need to shift due to repacking even | if their operators don't participate in the auction. | | "That means that one-third of the system could have to change | channels," noted Vincent Curren, CPB's c.o.o. "This will | likely be more disruptive than the digital transition. This | will be a major undertaking for our industry over the next | several years." Continued: http://tinyurl.com/ncqpkll The FCC should have thought of this before the DTV conversion. Back then, they could have designed the allocations table that consolidated all stations in each city-of-license into half (or fewer) the number of analog channels. Neal McLain ***** Moderator's Note ***** The real question is "What does a new DTV transmitter cost?", because the answer to that question will tell us how much the PBS stations will push back, and thus how long it will be before the added bandwidth is available to mobile users. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:30:03 +0000 (UTC) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Garrett Wollman) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: CPB Board hears troubling predictions Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> In article <email@example.com>, Bill Horne wrote: >The real question is "What does a new DTV transmitter cost?", Lots. But most stations won't have to buy a new transmitter; they'll just have to have their existing transmitter retuned. And for many pubcasters, broadcast transmission is an afterthought, the price they pay for getting mandatory cable and satellite distribution, so they don't invest in their facilities any more than they have to. (Such is certainly the case for WGBH/WGBX here in Boston.) A much bigger expense is likely to be antenna system replacement: even for stations that are currently using a wideband antenna, repacking will almost certainly require changes in directional patterns, and requiring many currently omnidirectional stations to switch to directional antennas (which will lead to increased operational costs if two or more stations that now combine into a single aperture must now rent separate apertures on a tower). The stations that will lose the most will be the ones currently on UHF who are forced to move to a VHF DTV channel, particularly if they end up on low-band where the power limits are so low and QRM is so high that they will be lucky to reach a small fraction of their over-the-air audience (as the current low-V DTV stations have found). -GAWollman -- Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft firstname.lastname@example.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:26:47 -0800 (PST) From: Neal McLain <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Cable guys: Cord-cutters live in the Bermuda Triangle with Bigfoot and E.T. Message-ID: <email@example.com> By Mark Sullivan, TechHive, Dec 4, 2013 | The cable cord-cutter has become a bit like the UFO. Lots of | people, many in the tech community, want to believe this | person is everywhere, while a whole lot of other people -- | many in and around the cable industry -- deny his existence | altogether. | | But one class of cord-cutter -- the kind who cancels cable TV | service but holds on to cable broadband service -- has finally | begun showing up in the financial reports of cable companies, | and in the speeches of their executives. | | Time Warner Cable's CFO Arthur Minson addressed the phenomenon | at an investor conference in Barcelona last week, saying that | his company is seeing an increased number of single-service | broadband customers, as well as an increased number of | customers who buy faster Internet service tiers. In other | words, more and more cable customers are paying for Internet | service, but eschewing Comcast's TV content and phone service. | This development suggests a growing segment of cable customers | want to download a lot of rich media--like video. | | Time Warner Cable, the second largest U.S. cable company, has | roughly 5.5 million "single-play" customers, Minson said. | About 3 million of those buy TV service alone, while about 2.5 | million buy broadband service only. He didn't say how quickly | either group was growing or shrinking. | | But the overall subscriber group numbers suggest that the | broadband-only group is growing while the TV-only group is | shrinking. In its most recent quarterly report, TWC reported | that it lost 6 percent of its video customers over the past | year, but grew its broadband customer base by 1.7 percent. | TWC says that it's counting on home broadband sales -- and | upselling existing broadband customers to higher service | tiers -- for its future growth. Continued: http://tinyurl.com/nbo3qp4 Well, I'm one of those broadband-only customers who "cut the cord" on cable TV. But it's not because I want to "download a lot of rich media-like video" -- it's because I switched to satellite so I can access programming that the local cable company doesn't carry (e.g. MSNBC, C-Span, RFD-TV, Rural TV, SiriusXM). Although I occasionally watch YouTube videos, I have never downloaded any media. As I drive around town and nearby rural areas, I see satellite antennas on a substantial proportion of the houses. I'd guess over 50% homes have dishes. I also note that a lot of these homes are connected to the cable TV network. Maybe these are old abandoned connections formerly used for TV. But I suspect that a lot of them are broadband customers. The article continues: | Still, while the stats in the SEC filings strongly suggest | that the numbers of broadband-only customers are growing | rapidly, they don't prove it. That's because a high number of | cable customers still buy some combination of TV, broadband, | and phone service from the cable company. So a good chunk of | the 86,000 new broadband accounts added by Charter, for | example, may have also bought voice or TV. Maybe they don't prove it. But the fact remains that I see lots of houses with satellite dishes and cable drops. They sure look like broadband-only customers to me. And I'm speaking as a former cable guy who did exactly the same thing myself: switched to satellite for video but kept my connection to the cable company for broadband. Neal McLain ***** Moderator's Note ***** ISTM that the real question is "How many cable subscribers have phone service through cable providers?", because IMHO that's a better indicator of the cable operators' future. If those who "cut the cord" on cable TV offerings are choosing VoIP phone service instead of the cable operators' dial tone, or are retaining existing POTS dial tone, then cable companies will have to look forward to a future where all their money will come from 'ping and pipe' offerings. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 20:41:15 +0000 (UTC) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Garrett Wollman) To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Cable guys: Cord-cutters live in the Bermuda Triangle with Bigfoot and E.T. Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> In article <email@example.com>, Bill Horne writes: >ISTM that the real question is "How many cable subscribers have >/phone/ service through cable providers?", because IMHO that's a >better indicator of the cable operators' future. > >If those who "cut the cord" on cable TV offerings are choosing VoIP >phone service instead of the cable operators' dial tone, or are >retaining existing POTS dial tone, All of the "cord-cutters" I know don't have a landline, and have never had one since they moved out of their parents' houses. They get their television through Netflix and Hulu, and their telephone service from the cellular oligopoly. They think I'm ridiculously old-fashioned for continuing to pay Verizon $30 a month, plus ever-increasing fees and taxes, for a landline that is only ever used by phone-spammers. Why don't you just port it to Google Voice, they ask. In point of fact, even the ones who still have video service from the cableco don't have landlines. It's only the ones over 40 who still have anything like a "home phone". I don't like keeping all my eggs in one basket, so I have video service from Comcast and (business) data service from RCN. Yes, it is more expensive (by quite a bit), but it's worth it to me. Not so much for many other people. -GAWollman --- Garrett A. Wollman | What intellectual phenomenon can be older, or more oft firstname.lastname@example.org| repeated, than the story of a large research program Opinions not shared by| that impaled itself upon a false central assumption my employers. | accepted by all practitioners? - S.J. Gould, 1993 ***** Moderator's Note ***** Guilty. Home phones are doing and/or have gone through the Negroponte switch, as you point out. Bill Horne Moderator
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 14:46:48 +0000 (UTC) From: John Levine <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Re: Challenge-Response Now Available On CallCentric Message-ID: <email@example.com> > [ Callcentric's new press N if you're a human ] >Yeah... my immediate reaction upon reading the announcement was "I hope >that's not all there is to it...". No, Callcentric has fairly elaborate call treatments. Rather than guessing, you can read about them here: http://www.callcentric.com/features/call_treatments -- Regards, John Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies", Please consider the environment before reading this e-mail. http://jl.ly
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2013 12:15:04 -0500 From: Pete Cresswell <PeteCress@invalid.telecom-digest.org> To: email@example.com. Subject: Re: Challenge-Response Now Available On CallCentric Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Per John Levine: > >No, Callcentric has fairly elaborate call treatments. Rather than >guessing, you can read about them here: > > >http://www.callcentric.com/features/call_treatments > Reading that, I come away thinking they have the whitelist part, but not the auto-add-to-whitelist or 3-strikes-and-you're-out. Having said that, they have me seriously considering porting my POTS number to CallCentric and discontinuing my Verizon service altogether. As it is, I have all non-800/non911 outgoing routed to CallCentric - with CallCentric spoofing my Verizon number.... but have all incoming on Verizon and all outgoing 800/911 on Verizon. I'd guess it will take wider deployment of challenge-response features and a year or two before telemarketers adapt and start calling the same number over-and-over - issuing a different digit in response to the challenge with each call until they get a connection. -- Pete Cresswell
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