04/28/14 – Viodi View

Residential and business wireless routers that also serve as public WiFi hotspots was one of the significant developments shown at the 2013 Cable Show and will be part of the discussion at this week’s show. Unlike so many hype announcements associated with trade shows, this has quietly and rapidly turned into reality for large portions of Comcast’s Xfinity footprint with the deployment of a reported 1 million plus public WiFi hot spots. Comcast has been able to roll out such a vast network without signficantly impacting their bottom line because the capital investment is minimal, permitting is not required, real estate costs are zero and the residential and business customers pay for the electricity and the broadband pipe.

A Cloud Solution for Rural 4G

An image from the NTIA showing 3.6 GHZ Exlusion Zones.
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Last week’s vote by the FCC on its NPRM opening up another 100 MHz (and rewriting the rules for another 50 MHz) or spectrum in the 3.55 to 3.7 GHz band would seem to be a boon for the deployment of small cells and the aforementioned hot spots. Stumbling blocks include exclusion zones for incumbents (spectrum use like ship borne RADAR) means, at least initially, this spectrum could be off-limits to some 60% of the population. Additionally, where there are competing interests for the spectrum, mini-auctions could be triggered on a census block level. These new rules also mean changes to existing rules for the 3.65 to 3.7 GHz, lightly licensed band referenced in the video here.

Click here to read more about the FCC’s innovative, multi-tier approach to allocating this spectrum.

FCC Set to Act on Net Neutrality at May 15th Meeting by Alan Weissberger

An image of Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the FCC,.
FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler (image courtesy of FCC.gov)

The proposed FCC rules are expected to ensure that network operators disclose exactly how they manage Internet traffic and do not restrict consumers as they surf the Web.  In particular, the rules would prevent the service providers from blocking or discriminating against specific websites, but would allow broadband providers to give some traffic preferential treatment, so long as such arrangements are available on “commercially reasonable” terms for all interested content companies.

Click here to read Alan Weissberger’s summary of this well reported and controversial ongoing saga.

A Huge Cloud DVR – An Interview with Aereo’s Chet Kanojia

Chet Kanojia of Aereo speaking at the ACA Summit 2014.
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“We are a technology company,” said Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo at the recent ACA Summit in Washington D.C. In the above interview, Kanojia suggests the idea that Aereo’s technology could be used by the very cable operators that, at the surface, would seemingly be competitors. Of course, last week the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments for and against the use of Aereo’s $8 per month serviceand its underlying cloud technology (remote antennas, transcoding, network DVR, client device) as an alternate way to present broadcast signals to consumers.

Click here to read more and to view.

The Consumer as the Constituent

Colleen Abdoulah of WOW! is interviewed at the ACA Summit 2014.
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Putting the customer first was the theme of comments made by Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and echoed in the above interview with Colleen Abdoulah of Chairwoman of WOW! Abdoulah points out that Eshoo’s support, along with a bipartisan sponsor group ((Goodlatte (R-Va.), Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Steve Chabot (R-Ohio)), of H.R. 3086, the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act, is important to keeping the Internet affordable. 

Click here to read more and to view.

Enough Bandwidth for 4K at 60 Frames per Second

HDMI 2 banner at CES is shown in this picture.
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There are sure to be many announcements of 4k content broadcast over cable at this week’s Cable Show in Los Angeles. For those early adopters who are avid sports fans, it might be worth it to wait for an Ultra High Definition TV with the HDMI 2.0 specification. Steve Venuti, president of HDMI Licensing, LLC, explains the benefits of HDMI 2.0 in this brief video filmed at CES Unveiled 2014. Going from HDMI 1.4 to 2.0 isn’t a software upgrade and can only be done with new hardware (e.g. a new TV).

Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • @Viodi “‘SpinCo’, the working name of the new holding company that will manage the systems (Comcast/Time-Warner’s Indiana cable systems proposed to be spun off to a Charter-managed entity); sounds like a PR firm :-).”  @CullenHMcCarty “It was probably Roger Sterling in a Mad Men brainstorming session.”
  • Good article showing that the chasm between the served and unserved can be quite geographically close and stark in terms of missed opportunities for those who reside bandwidth-starved locations.
  • Investment conference looks like it would be useful to anyone interested in opportunities in rural America.
  • Informative update on a ViodiTV story from a couple of years ago how a group of rural Brits are creating their own fiber future.
  • Viodi View readers who are involved in education should check out this new venture, between the Khan Academy, Silicon Schools Fund and the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation, that helps teachers and administrators leverage blended learning.
  • The Scarcity Fallacy – important article in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal. Bottom line, innovation is the difference between a zero-sum or negative-sum and a positive -sum view of the world.

The Korner – Green Cable

This is a screenshot of the Full Channel web site.
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Levi Maaia of Full Channel describes their, award-winningGreenLink program and how they are allowing their customers to choose renewable power sources to power their respective broadband and television connections. As Maaia explains, Full Channel has a partnership with People’s Power and Light to handle the logistics of purchasing the power for its customers. For its administrative and back-office, Full Channel switched to renewable power. Combined with its battery recycling program, Full Channel is a leader among broadband providers in implementing “green” practices in its operations.

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