Despite the snow many of my friends in the upper Midwest have been experiencing the past few days, spring is here; at least in California. I will be on a semi-barnstorming tour through the upper Midwest in May Swisher Telephone's committment to the Communityand I am expecting sunny skies and spring-like temperatures as I visit with Viodi View readers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. One place I would like to visit during that time is Hartington, Nebraska. Read the Korner to see why. 

Independent Telcos Understand the Value of Independent Telcos

Two recent acquisitions that did not make the headlines of the New York Times or even any of the traditional telecom industry publications. The Telephone Acquisition Company, LLC’s pending purchase of Iowa’s Swisher Telephone and American Broadband’s purchase of TelAlaska may be small in terms of the number of subscribers involved, but these acquisitions are extremely important in terms of pointing to another way to operate the telecom infrastructure in rural America.  Click here to read more.

NAB Video Highlights

Roger is still culling through the many video interviews we captured at NAB. Here are a few of the video interviews so far. 

Another VSB Solution, A-VSB, That Is

Image of video interview regarding A-VSB.

Mobile video was a major theme of NAB. There are many competing approaches, including MediaFlo, DVB-H and ICO’s Mobile Interactive Media.  This may become a popular way for U.S. broadcasters to extend their reach into mobile devices.


Download from the ITA

Click here to see the video interview with Ben Mendelson of the ITA.

Ben Mendelson, President of the Interactive Television Alliance, provides highlights from their press breakfast at NAB 2008. He speaks of some of the direct video to consumer plays, as well the OCAP efforts of cable television operators.


 An Alternative Way to Pilot

Click here to watch the video interview with AJ Tesler of the ITVfest.

Television networks spend $500 Million to a $1 Billion per year on pilot episodes. The rise of User Generated Content sites, such as Grouper, represent a new, lower cost way for TV networks to bubble up talent and ideas.

Content Production Potpourri

Click here to see an overview of the Content Production Potpourri at NAB 2008

I was proud to be with the Team Lightbulb folks in this extended panel for Telecom 2008 at NAB. We had 3 hours of cutting edge demonstrations of Local Content production tools. 

Local Content Roundtable at SCTV 19 (Melrose Telephone) – May 12th, 2008

May 2007 Local Content Workshop at SCTV 19 Building upon Viodi’s Local Content Workshop series, the Local Content Roundtable will be a refresher of some of the latest ideas, tips and tools for producing low-cost, high-quality content.  Fresh from the exhibits of the NAB show, there will be plenty of ideas as to how independent telcos can become better producers.

Click here to register for the May 12th Local Content Workshop

Partnering to Create Addictive Services

Click here to watch Ed McKell talks of the importance of partnering Services, such as Caller ID on the TV and local content, that are addictive are what independent telcos need to provide if they want to gain and retain broadband subscribers.  Horizon Telecom’s Ed McKell talks of these services in this brief video interview.  McKell, who spoke at the IP Possibilities Conference, discusses how partnerships have helped them provide new and better services to their Southern Ohio customer base. 


Thanks to Jari Aho for pointing out an excellent article/interview with Viodi View friend, Frank Bulk of Premier Communications, an independent telco in Iowa. Bulk provides a thoughtful and insightful analysis of the challenges of IPTV, especially as it relates to independent telcos.  Click here to read more.

Yet Another Mobile Video Play

Monday, April 14, 2008, marked the launch of the largest commercial satellite.  ICO will be using this satellite to serve the growing mobile video market.  ICO will use frequencies in the 2 GHz range to provide video and emergency services to mobile handsets and car-based terminals.  Click here to read more.

Cisco’s New Acquisition and Globalization/Outsourcing Strategies by Alan J. Weissberger

Cisco is now buying companies and giving them much more autonomy.  For example, Cisco bought email security start-up IronPort, but let it operate as a stand-alone unit, with its own managers, brand name, engineers and salespeople.  Click here to read the rest of the article. 

Video and TV Over the Net – Part 2 of a Series – Vudu by Roger Bindl

Roger's review of the Vudu serviceVideo and Television over the Internet are accelerating faster than Kurzweil’s Law – a bit faster than Moore’s Law, I think. This review demonstrates another service for VOD over the Internet and to the television. It keeps getting better when you compared to my earlier reviews on a similar service. Take a look at this video to learn about Vudu’s Television VOD (Video on Demand) over the Internet. Also see Part 1 of Series.

Some Interesting Upcoming Events

Club Viodi Postings

Club Viodi membership is restricted to independent telcos.  Independent telcos, contact us to learn more:

The Korner – A Race that Promises to Be a Gas 

I haven’t seen statistical evidence for this, but in my first-hand experience, people in rural areas are generally more creative and resourceful than those of us in the big cities. Whether it is work or entertainment, things simply aren’t as convenient when you have to drive 50 or 60 miles or further. As a result, one sees some unusual and fun things, such as the World’s Largest Buffalo, as he tours the heartland. 

I bring this up as the month of May seems to be when the various festivals blossom. These festivals are sort of a rebirth from the cold weather of winter and are really excuses for big block parties. These events do bring communities together and are a place where the community’s creativity is exposed. 

The Hartington's Q125 Outhouse RacesOne community that will be celebrating its 125th anniversary with an variety of community activities is Hartington, Nebraska.   The weekend of May 23 will feature parades, barbeques, memorials and a car show. The thing that caught my eye, however, is the Outhouse Race. 

With suggested names like the Toot-n-Nannies and the Potty-Mouths, this promises to be a very entertaining event. In fact, the organizers suggest that the event will be a gas. As is so often the case with a community building activity, one of the organizers of the weekend celebrations is the locally owned telco and its staff.      

Good luck to all participants in this endeavor, as they bring together their rural community in a very creative way. 

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