There has been plenty of analysis so far of the America’s Broadband Connectivity Plan (the ABC Plan) for modifying Universal Service Fund and intercarrier compensation. I especially like the nice summary table that Joan Engebretson put together at Telecompetitor. Dave Burstein has several interesting posts including one suggesting that there is a “Billion Dollar Incentive to Not Build Broadband“. This is complex topic and our focus in this issue is to relate a few of the stories of the independent operators and how they built and continue to build the rural networks, as, in the end, communications infrastructure is about connecting people and making their lives better.
Don’t Let History Repeat Itself by Roger Bindl
I was reminded today how small, independent, rural telcos have a history of innovation and a reputation for providing services that others won’t or can’t provide. The reminder came in the form of reviewing this documentary and my wife commenting, “isn’t that something that the FCC should hear?” about the same time I wondered the same and thought “will history repeat itself”. Click here to view this timeless video on the origin of first phone lines in Wisconsin, how social networking is nothing new, why small companies formed and how small is evolving faster than their big brothers.
The latest installment of the Save Rural Broadband video series from the WTA/NTCA/OPASTCO alliance tells the story of why broadband is important to folks served by Volcano Communications Group. While professional and instilled with excellent production techniques, it only tells one slice of what could be many stories; probably the most important being that without Volcano, there would be no service at all. Click here to read how their story affected my parents and saved them from the effects of a severe snowstorm.
Putting the cart before the horse is how one panelist at The 2011 Independent Show characterized the FCC’s compliance requirements to EAS CAP (Emergency Alert System, Common Alerting Protocol) rules that have yet to be finalized. As Matt Polka, president of the ACA (American Cable Association) points out in this exclusive video interview filmed at the ACA’s exhibit hall booth, the date for compliance is a little more than two months away. Click here to view.
New Telco Services Enable the Connected Home – Part 1 by Alan Weissberger
For years, analysts have said that telcos must offer compelling new services to prevent being disinter-mediated or marginalized. Otherwise, they are just purveyors of “dumb pipes,” – a mere provider of connectivity which does not benefit from all the value being generated by customers using their networks. In particular, telcos are not capitalizing on all the value added services and web software that other companies have developed (e.g. mobile apps, advertising, e-commerce, shopping/ daily deals, on-line games, etc). Click here to read more.
Emerging Devices and M2M Team Up for Explosive Growth- Part 2 by Alan Weissberger
This is the 2nd of 3 articles that explore new telco markets and opportunities. Much of the information gathered for these articles comes from the 2011 Connections conference in Santa Clara, CA. This article examines emerging devices (that have or will soon have embedded wireless communications capability) and M2M communications capabilities that enable those devices to connect to telco networks. Click here to read more.
A Smart Energy HAN Consortium is how Alan Weissberger titled his blog post about an alliance of alliances that consists of the WiFi Alliance, the Home Grid Forum, Zigbee Alliance and the HomePlug Alliance. As Alan explains, the intent of this super group is to help companies that provide products that communicate over IP to certify to SEP 2 (Smart Energy Profile 2) via a consistent test plan. The big picture is that these groups want to ensure an inner-operable smart grid. Click here to view.
According to a newly released Parks Associates’ report, , IP-Based Home Monitoring: Security, one-third of U.S. households find the idea of remotely turning on and off lights, controlling thermostats and appliances via web-enabled devices to be very appealing. Matthew Swatsky of Lutron demonstrates what this looks like by remotely controlling lights, shades and temperature control at Parks Associates 2011 Connections™ conference. Click here to view.
- Mike Foster of Twin Valley Telephone makes an impassioned plea for help from other telcos in telling the stories of how independent telcos make a difference in this video. I like the way he sets it up with his analogy. Thank goodness he was OK.
- The Farmer/Programmer in Rural Iowa – I recognize at least 3 faces in the crowd in this video.
- “Multiscreen video will be the major step forward in the TV experience. Much more than HD was.” Tim Connolly, ESPN.
- “A big thing for commercial services in the next 12 to 18 months will be HD voice and will be driven by wireless industry.” Jerry Howe, president of Big River Telecom
The best trade show displays are sometimes the least costly. In the case of this display at the 2011 Independent Show, Wendell Woody of Monroe Electronics improvised after his equipment didn’t arrive in time for the exhibit part of the conference. Using a baseball cap to draw attention to the acronym CAP (Common Alerting Protocol), he drew the attention of this reporter and prompted me to learn more; which is the purpose of a good trade show display.
Click here to read more and view the brief video with this cable legend.