Give Us Visibility

With over 650 telecommunications’ operators behind last week’s letter that was sent to the FCC and their elected representatives, the rural telecom industry is as united as it ever has been. In the words of the letter,

“This letter is…clear and unambiguous notice of our collective concerns with the ‘regression analysis’ based caps on Universal Service Fund (USF) support that were adopted in the FCC’s November 2011 ‘Transformation’ Order and finalized in an order the Wireline Competition Bureau released in April 2012,”

In a nutshell, a central point of their argument reflects what economists call, The Permanent Income Theory of Consumption. That is, people or corporations consume or invest based on what they believe their future income streams will be. When the future is cloudy and income streams less clear, investors will tend to make fewer investments that require a long-term horizon.

In our travels this past year, we have heard anecdotes from the many rural operators that they have indeed cut back on capital expenditures due to the uncertainty and concern about how the rules could change in the future, so this letter isn’t too surprising.

“Moreover, this unpredictability, together with a concern that the ‘rules of the game’ can change so easily midstream, also will hinder our ability to access capital on reasonable terms.”

Whether the words in this letter and the continuing push by the rural associations and its member will affect legislative and regulatory change, particularly in an election year, remains to be seen.

Viodi View – 09/01/10

Connections, the television series from the late 1970s tied together seemingly disparate historical events and inventions and showed how history isn’t the linear progression it would seem; sort of a story of unintended consequences. As I traveled about since the previous issue of the Viodi View, I kept thinking about the unintended consequences that the National Broadband Plan, along with other regulatory action or inaction, regarding things such as the Universal Service Fund, Intercarrier Access, Net Neutrality rules, is having on private sector investment in rural telecommunications.

I heard a speaker, who represents independent telcos before Congress, at a private meeting last week suggest that regulatory uncertainty is having a “chilling effect” on private investment in telecommunications in rural areas. The uncertainty surrounding the long-term implications of the regulatory environment are causing some telcos to decline stimulus funding, as they are not certain whether or not they will be able to meet the terms of the stimulus programs. One telco I talked to had to decline their award, because it was only a fraction of what they had requested, which killed the business case to bring broadband to a very rural area.


Click here to view the video interview8 Points to Consider Regarding Rural Broadband

Douglas Meredith of JSI outlines eight concerns he has with the National Broadband Plan in this video interview filmed at the OPASTCO 2010 Conference. Citing FTTH Council figures, he suggests that the cost figures for getting to the “unserved” may not be as big investment as indicated in the plan. He recommends that the FCC look at the programs that have been successful in building telecom in rural areas and use those as a model for the unserved areas, while not forgetting that the existing high cost areas will continue to need support.  Click here to view. 


Associations Working Together

Click here to see the video interview with Derrick Owens of WTAOne outcome of the FCC's National Broadband Plan has been the uniting of the national associations in Washington that represent independent telcos. In this brief interview with Derrick Owens, Director of Government Affairs for the Western Telecom Alliance, discusses the importance of having a unified front as far as representing the viewpoints of the carriers that server rural America.  Owens was on an insightful panel that discussed the FCC’s National Broadband Plan. Unfortunately, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski did not stay to listen to that panel.  Click here to view.


GAO Report: Four Telcos Control U.S. Wireless Industry by Alan Weissberger

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports that consolidation amongst wireless carriers over the past decade has resulted in just four telcos owning 90 percent of the U.S. wireless market. The big two, are, of course, AT&T and Verizon Wireless (VZW) – the behemoths that produce the popular "dueling commercials" that try to trump one another on their network coverage. The other two wireless carriers- far behind in both subscribers and revenues- are Sprint and T-Mobile. This chokehold on the wireless market, makes it extremely difficult for small and regional wireless carriers to be competitive.  

[Click here to read the rest of the post, Alan's analysis and the commentary which raises some interesting questions].


Advert – ViodiTV with Pivot Media Advertising SponsorshipClick for more information – Advert


Best Buy TVs to Work with IPTV Systems?

Widevine’s announcement that Best Buy is integrating the former’s adaptive streaming, virtual DVD-like controls and digital rights management into their Insignia brand of televisions, Blu-ray and media players is points to the elimination of the traditional set-top for over the top video. Interestingly, according to Widevine, integration of these Widevine components could potentially mean that an existing IPTV operator that uses the various Widevine elements could provide traditional franchised video services directly to the consumers’ televisions without a set-top.


Interactivity over a One-Way Cable Plant

The press release from ActiveVideo grabbed my attention as they have effectively developed a meta-remote that allows for the discovery and selection of content via an iPhone. As they point out in their release, this approach would allow an operator with a one-way network to deliver on-demand services while using the wireless network for the upstream interactivity. I do wonder how big this market might be, as those areas where there are one-way plants, probably tend to be in rural areas where cell phone coverage might also be marginal. Having said that, the more important application may be in those cases where the remote (e.g. the iPhone) augments the power of a low-cost box by providing better navigation.


The Gee-Touch and More

Just before last Christmas, I asked the question, Where's the Gee-Touch? Based on the five handheld portable products that Archos is releasing in the next couple of months, the Gee-Touch appears to becoming a commercial reality.  With a $99.99, android-based media player that does email, web browsing, eBooks, 3D gaming and communicates via WiFi, Archos seems to have met my definition for what I called a Gee-Touch. At the other end of the extreme, Archos will be introducing a 10.1” android device that has features such as a web cam, high definition playback, full Flash 10, the ability to tether a 3G phone (in those cases where WiFi is not available) and a 10-hour battery life. At $299.99 to $349.99, this could give both the iPad, as well as PC Notebook’s a run for their money. 


Freakonomics – Talk About Connections

Freakonomics seems to be this generation’s version of Connections. The tag line says it all, “The Hidden Side of Everything.” The best-selling book series (Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics) captured the imaginations of millions of readers the past few years by using economics theory to explain things; things that normally wouldn’t be associated with the dismal science.

It seems appropriate, then,  that the movie about Freakonomics is on the cutting edge, as it will make its digital distribution this Friday, September 3rd; almost a month ahead of its theatrical release. Interestingly, according to Green Films this will be the first time that Apple has distributed a film prior to theatrical release. Does this provide a glimpse of some of the things (pre-theatrical release, low-cost ala-carte, subscription, a TV from Apple) we may see in today’s announcement from Apple regarding their new approach to delivering services to the television? Time will tell if there is a connection between this early release on iTunes and another Apple revolution.

Viodi View – 08/18/10

Click here to learn more

Next Sponsorship Opportunity with WSTA Fall Conference

With school starting (in some cases having already started), summer feels like it is over. The tradition of Labor Day marking the end of summer has gone by the wayside in most places, with the school year being the mark against which I measure. August has become the new September and school's opening truncates vacation plans for those of us with school-age children. Fortunately, the conference circuit still adheres to a September launch with events that include, Set-Top 2010, the FTTH Council Convention and ExpoNTCA's Annual Convention and Screenplays’ Magazine Media and Innovation Summit


Click here to view the videoTransitioning to an IP Association

One of the few telecommunications’ conferences held in the summer is OPASTCO’s Annual Convention. ViodiTV not only provided coverage at the event, we produced a video, sponsored by OmniTel Communications, highlighting OPASTCO’s transition to an IP Association. This video features leaders of OPASTCO discussing what this transition means for the association, as well as how IP and broadband are affecting their communities.  Click here to view.   


Click here to view the videoFive 9's Reliability for Over the Top Services

“The most valuable asset an independent telco has, other than their people, is their bandwidth,” said Kevin Walsh of Zeugma Systems on a panel at the OPASTCO Summer 2010 Convention. In this video interview, he talks about the importance of managing traffic in order to provide high quality and reliable communications. He suggests that managing bandwidth, which seems to be the crux of the recent Google-Verizon deal, will be important to providing high quality experience, a “broadband HQ” experience, if you will.  Click here to watch the video.


Click here to view the videoFiber to the Islands

The FCC's announcement last week of the Office of Native Affairs and Policy points to the increasing importance of ensuring that broadband networks are available to native homelands. In this video interview from the OPASTCO 2010 Summer Convention, Al Pedersen discusses fiber network that Sandwich Isles Communications created to serve the Hawaiian Home Lands. In this interview, he discusses some of the construction challenges Sandwich Isles Communcations faced, such as boring through lava, as well as unique permitting requirements and costs imposed by their distance from the mainland. Their creation of an undersea/land fiber optic network, which Pedersen describes as open access, stands to benefit all Hawaiians.  Click here to watch the video.


Hold the Obit:  Sprint pay $105M for Spectrum, will focus on WiMAX by Alan Weissberger

Sprint will buy 10 MHz of spectrum from Wirefree Partners III for $105 million to boost its coverage in 16 markets, the carrier noted in a newly filed quarterly report. Wirefree Partners was formed by former executives of Sprint affiliate AirGate PCS, which was acquired by Alamosa Holdings, which Sprint then purchased. In 2005, during the Federal Communications Commission's broadband PCS Auction 58, Wirefree paid around $150 million for 16 licenses covering a little over 18 million points of presence (POPs).  Click here to read the rest of the article.  

[Editor's Note:  The above article, as well as the article Alan published titled Conundrum Continues: Mobile Video Drives Mobile Traffic, but for How Long, have quite a few interesting comments from readers, as well as additional information in the comments section from Alan.]


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • Check out the CEO blog of Shirley Bloomfield at the NTCA.  That will be a great way for her to communicate directly with members and the world at large.
  • FCC provides basis for how they came up with their broadband target speed for the National Broadband Plan.
  • Low-income states have highest broadband competition.
  • Art Brodsky of Public Knowledge on Net Neutrality – old interview, but may be relevant given the Google/Verizon deal.
  • CONNECTIONS(tm) – The Digital Living Conference & Showcase – We cover via ViodiTV – Thanks Parks. Good ONE to attend

FLO TV - Still Going Strong?

The Korner – Possibilities of a Comcast Theme Park

So, when the Comcast-NBC-Universal merger goes through, how will it affect the Universal Studios' theme parks? I don't think we will see a ride based on the movie, The Cable Guy, given its subject matter and that it was a Columbia Pictures release. Maybe there will be new attractions dedicated to broadband. How about a ride that keys off the line, "To Xfinity and beyond"? Again, this phrase references another non-Universal movie, so we probably won't see that attraction.

Click here to read the rest of the post and my speculation on data collection, privacy implications and why I have this photo of a commercial being shot at the Universal Studios lot.  

Viodi View – 08/04/10

Change was in the air at last week’s OPASTCO Summer 2010 Convention. From the changing technology, that is moving things to an all-broadband pipe, to the disintermediation of legacy services to the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, change was an underlying theme of the four-day event. The FCC’s National Broadband Plan was the source of much of the angst among attendees, as there is a great deal of uncertainty associated with the plan. 


Click here to go to the exclusive video interviewImportance of Rural Broadband – An Interview with the FCC's Genachowski

A highlight of the OPASTCO 2010 Summer Convention was the keynote speech of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. ViodiTV caught up with Chairman Genachowski after his speech and he elaborated on the importance of a robust broadband infrastructure to creating a vibrant rural economy, which in turn benefits the urban economy. We also briefly discussed the importance of community-based, telecommunications companies in the development of the rural broadband infrastructure.  Click here to read more and to view the video interview.


Click here to read the rest of the post and view the videoIs 4 Mb/s a Dead End Rural Road?

A 25:1 ratio is what John Rose, president of OPASTCO, points out is the difference between what the National Broadband Plan calls for between urban and rural areas. The objective for 2020 is to have at least 100 million homes at 100 Mb/s. Rose points out that the other 15 to 30 million rural homes would have a different broadband standard of 4 Mb/s. Rose is concerned that this definition of broadband could relegate rural areas to the equivalent of a 60 Kb/s circuit in today’s terms.  Click here to read more and to view the video interview.


Thank you to the following sponsors for their support of ViodiTV's coverage of the 2010 OPASTCO Summer convention.  

Click here to go to Cronin's web site.spacerClick here to go to Extreme Networks' web site.Click here to go to OmniTel Communications.


Day 1 and Day 2 at OPASTCO

It is a huge challenge to produce 30 to 45 minutes of fresh content on a daily basis and have it ready by 5:30 PM to air on the hotel channel. In these two posts, created and posted from my G-Phone, I note some of the things we would have changed had we had more time for quality assurance, as provide some impressions, while they were still fresh, of the OPASTCO 2010 conference.


Conundrum Continues: Mobile video drives mobile traffic but for how long? by Alan Weissberger

With the success of smart phones, tablet PCs and game players, video continues to be the dominant form of mobile data traffic on wireless networks. Cisco Systems predicts that mobile video will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 131% between 2009 and 2014. Yet we constantly hear and read user complaints about poor video quality, stalling/ freezing. Can mobile video traffic continue to climb while users are so dissatisfied with reception?

The conundrum is that mobile video transported on 3G mobile networks cannot deliver the quality users desire, while the stand alone. broadcast mobile video networks are commercial failures with the new, standards based networks pushed off into the future. How long can this continue without mobile video traffic falling off a cliff?  Click here to read the rest of the article.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts


The Korner – Has Facebook Peaked and Other Tidbits…….

A mix of consumers made for a very entertaining and informative panel at the OPASTCO Summer 2010 Convention. Scott Meyer of Innovative Systems did an excellent job of moderating this panel that featured consumers from 16 to someone who didn’t identify his age, but had to be in his fifties or sixties. The panel was attempting to answer the questions of how different generations are using telco services and what telcos must do to attract various generations.  Unfortunately, I lost my notes, but I do remember a couple of interesting tidbits from this panel included:

  • “Hearing about it from their friends or family” was the most common reason cited for adopting technology. This is consistent with other panels I have heard through the years. Social and email networks probably facilitate word-of-mouth between friends and family and make this an even more important reference point than ever.
  • Mobility was important. Interestingly, the oldest panelist dropped his cable television subscription, as he found he could live without cable television. He is now spending a great deal of his time on Facebook. He pointed out the importance of the local telecom company (Whidbey Tel) and their community involvement was a motivation to purchase their services.
  • When asked whether having a presence on Facebook would be a good thing, the older panelist said being on Facebook would make a telecommunications company seem “hip”. The younger people seemed to be somewhat indifferent and had a mixed reaction to corporations’ presence on Facebook.

I do have to wonder if the enthusiasm displayed by this aging baby boomer is an indication, that Facebook has not only hit the mainstream, but also indicates that Facebook may be peaking when an apparent late adopter has embraced something originally targeted for college kids. Then again, I wouldn’t bet against Facebook (check out the new “Like Button” on the Viodi View and ViodiTV articles).

Consumer panel at OPASTCO's Summer Convention

Note:  The text above was superimposed onto the photo of the panel.   

Has Facebook Peaked and Other Tidbits……

A mix of consumers made for a very entertaining and informative panel at the OPASTCO Summer 2010 Convention. Scott Meyer of Innovative Systems did an excellent job of moderating this panel that featured consumers from 16 to someone who didn’t identify his age, but had to be in his fifties or sixties. The panel was attempting to answer the questions of how different generations are using telco services and what telcos must do to attract various generations.  Unfortunately, I lost my notes, but I do remember a couple of interesting tidbits from this panel included:

  • “Hearing about it from their friends or family” was the most common reason cited for adopting technology. This is consistent with other panels I have heard through the years. Social and email networks probably facilitate word-of-mouth between friends and family and make this an even more important reference point than ever.
  • Mobility was important. Interestingly, the oldest panelist dropped his cable television subscription, as he found he could live without cable television. He is now spending a great deal of his time on Facebook. He pointed out the importance of the local telecom company (Whidbey Tel) and their community involvement was a motivation to purchase their services.
  • When asked whether having a presence on Facebook would be a good thing, the older panelist said being on Facebook would make a telecommunications company seem “hip”. The younger people seemed to be somewhat indifferent and had a mixed reaction to corporations’ presence on Facebook.

I do have to wonder if the enthusiasm displayed by this aging baby boomer is an indication, that Facebook has not only hit the mainstream, but also indicates that Facebook may be peaking when an apparent late adopter has embraced something originally targeted for college kids. Then again, I wouldn’t bet against Facebook (check out the new “Like Button” on the Viodi View and ViodiTV articles).

Consumer panel at OPASTCO's Summer Convention

Note:  The slide above was superimposed onto the photo of the panel.   

ViodiTV @ OPASTCO – Day 2 On-Air

image

From throwing fish to throwing out ideas on how the broadband plan should be modified, day two of OPASTCO had a little bit of everything. Workers from the Pike Place Fish Market entertained and provided a fresh look at customer service. There is nothing like passing a fish among a couple of hundred people to get the blood flowing early in the morning.

An important theme of the conference is the importance of participating in the various Notice of Proposed Rulemakings from the FCC. Telcos were encouraged to tell their lawmakers and the FCC as to how the Broadand Plan will impact their communities. Carol Mattey of the FCC compared the plan to a preliminary design that an architect might give a home owner. It is now up to the owner to give feedback to shape the final design.

It’s not only the plan, but some of the key assumptions of the plan that are being questioned; like the price to provide 100 Mb/s to the 15 to 30 M homes that would otherwise have broadband defined as 4 Mb/s downstream and 1 Mb/s upstream, or, could existing funding mechanisms work to get 100 Mb/s to all of America without breaking the bank?

We have numerous interviews that we will be posting to ViodiTV on the impact of the 1st version of the plan.

Speaking of ViodiTV, Roger Bindl’s hard work paid off, as we were able to get day 2 coverage of the OPASTCO Summer 2010 Convention on the hotel channel. We added an agenda, so people can see what is coming up tomorrow. Roger also figured out the aspect ratio to ensure the video filled the widescreen TV.

Roger also took some great B-roll, to serve as filler during transitions between segments. The above picture of Mt. Ranier framed by Safeco Field is an example of one of his shots.

As usual, we look forward to feedback to help us shape tomorrow night’s program. Please leave a comment with this post or contact us directly at the show for ideas to help us improve our coverage.

ViodiTV – Day One @ OPASTCO

image

A large library of content overcomes multiple flight delays. Let me explain what this fragment means. Roger was supposed to arrive in Seattle from Madison around noon today. Unfortunately, airplane mechanical problems delayed his arrival until around 5:30.

The good news is that he had enough material to create a best of ViodiTV reel that provides highlights from last year’s show as well as features from other shows we have attended. He was able to burn a DVD on the fly at the airport.

Of particular interest, is the interview with Wilfred Martis of Intel and his suggestion that the minimum speed for broadband is 10 Mb/s. His statement could have huge policy implications given that the FCC says that 4 Mb/s is enough for rural America.

The other thing that I notice is that video is still a TV experience. Watching it on the big screen makes the content fresh again and truly a lean back experience. It is also easier to see spelling errors, such as “wathing”, instead of “watching.”

It’s also easier to see my many verbal miscues. I also wonder why one of the speakers attibuted redistribution of wealth to Adam Smith. Why I didn’t pick up on that in our interview is beyond me.

The other defect, that some may notice and that you just don’t see anymore in digital systems, is analog noise (I attempted to capture with the above photo of the TV). It is particularly bad on channel 62 on the hotel’s analog cable network. Oh well, hopefully, no one will tune away because of the squigley lines.

So, that is it for Sunday, here at OPASTCO. Please let us know what interviews you would like us to get (either by coming up to us at the convention or responding to this post).

Viodi View – 02/03/10

In a world where telecommunications is a major driver of innovation, is it possible that the applications that make the most difference are the seemingly mundane ones that make us more efficient and help us utilize existing resources? Certainly, a recurring theme of the conferences I have attended over the past couple of weeks is the importance for telcos to deploy a robust fiber plant and find applications and related business opportunities which take advantage of their infrastructure and local presence.


A PRIMO Event – a Good Idea for Independent Telcos

Snapshot of the playing telecom Jeopardy at the PRIMO eventA grassroots marketing organization; something the cable industry has done a great job with through their organization, CTAM, but it is something that has not taken root in the independent telco industry in the same way. Thus, I was excited to learn more about and to be able to participate in the PRIMO (Public Relations Independent Marketing Organization) marketing event. Click here to read why I came away impressed with the camaraderie of this group and what an effective way this forum is for generating and understanding best marketing practices.


The Transition Continues….. 

One of the advantages and disadvantages of conferences that are relatively close in proximity is that they are sometimes more difficult to attend in that family matters take priority. Unfortunately, that was the case with the OPASTCO conference and I did not get a chance to sit in on any of the sessions. I spoke to a number of attendees who were very impressed with Steven Shepard’s overview of over the top video and other social media at the OPASTCO event.

Shepard and this topic was an excellent choice as OPASTCO continues its move to become the IP Association. Along these lines, congratulations to Catherine Moyer, the new Chairman. I have heard positive remarks as to how she is an excellent choice to lead OPASTCO and its members on its journey from the PSTN to Broadband.  


Another Transition Point – Some Recurring Themes at NTCA’s Annual Conference

Attendees of future NTCA Annual Conferences will probably look back at this one, as a time of transition as well. With the impending retirement of Michael Brunner, it was his chance to say goodbye to the general membership. Coincidentally, James Bass, NTCA’s General Counsel and one who sees the entire arc of the organization from its founding in 1957, presented his written history of the organization. In addition, Monday was declared “James Bass” day at the convention.

A recurring theme of NTCA was that the revenue streams that rural telcos could rely on in the past will probably be gone in the future. As such, it is important for rural telcos to deploy fiber as quickly as possible, as it will not get any better than it is today. The challenge will be to support the operating costs of the network and not just the capital costs. The implication is that telcos are going to have to do more with less or, at least the same, resources.

A topic that proved quite popular at NTCA was the session on the Smart Grid. One telco I spoke to went to this session to get insight into why a rural electric coop had submitted applications for tens of millions of dollars of broadband stimulus money; enough money to overbuild his company and several others with broadband. As he pointed out, this would be a very inefficient use of taxpayer dollars, as he and his independent telco colleagues already have the broadband network that can be used beef up the intelligence of the grid and make it more efficient.


Keeping Customers by Selling Less

Smart Energy Saves Consumers $The Smart Grid was the basis of a Parks Associates conference last week in Austin. Unfortunately, ViodiTV was not at that conference, but we did get a preview of some of the challenges and opportunities that suppliers of electricity face. In this interview, filmed at CES 2010, Chris Deutschen of Direct Energy explains the rather counter-intuitive notion of how, by helping their customers save money through efficiency, his company can actually be more profitable (think churn reduction).  


Some Tweets from the Past Two Weeks


The Korner – Waiting for the Bus – A Green App

Waiting for the Bus - note, the destinationActually, I am no longer waiting for the bus, as the Google maps application for android allows me to quickly find the shortest and most efficient public transport route. In days gone by, I would have have rented a car or taken a taxi when traveling.

The Google mapplication takes the guess work out of when the bus is scheduled to arrive, it's route and it's estimated time of arrival. With this at my fingertips, I can judge when I have to be at the bus stop, so I don't have to waste time waiting for the bus.

Granted, I may have a block or two more of walking, it may take a bit longer and I may have to plan a bit more than alternative modes of transport. But, the cost savings are amazing (10% of the cost of a taxi today). Plus, I get the opportunity to write silly posts like this one use my G1 phone while commuting on the bus. And as a nod to my green friends, this has to be a little more efficient than a car. 

Viodi View – 11/09/2009

Minneapolis was the no nonsense setting for last week’s OPASTCO Technical and Marketing Symposium. What I like about this particular conference is its intimate nature and the way it mixes marketing and technical topics making them relevant for both management and staff. The theme of this conference was, “Tools to compete in the global economy.”

Chris Purdy of PTCI explained the configuration tool that his company developed that lets customers create custom bundles and see the savings of various options. Similarly, Anita Fledderman of Enhanced Telecommunications explained how their “You Pick” bundle, which allows the customer to decide how many of their six services they want to bundle, has helped grow revenue and service penetration. The number of services per subscriber increased thanks to this tool and the revenue per sub went from 2 to 3.75 while the total average revenue went from $60 to $95 per month. 


click here to watch the videoMarketing, Monetizing, & Technical Sides of Video

Michael Koons of Cisco discusses how service velocity is an increasingly important factor in a telco’s ability to remain competitive. He also talks of how the video headend is morphing into a video data center. Michael touched on these points and more as a keynote speaker at OPASTCO’s 2009 Tech and Marketing Symposium. 


Cisco is a ____ company? Strong push into data centers by Alan Weissberger

With all the recent announcements, we wonder what kind of a company Cisco has evolved into? They seem to want to provide a solution to every conceivable IT market segment. This morning I heard a KCBS radio commercial about Cisco delivering movies over a private network in a dentist’s office. Later today, I read in the NY Times that Cisco and EMC have formed a joint venture to pursue the data center market for large business.  Click here to read the rest of Alan's analysis.   


click here to watch the videoI will miss the presentations at TelcoTV next week, but, fortunately, we have some sneak previews of a couple of the speakers who will be on the panel, Conquering the Home: Life Beyond the NID: “Connected Home Gateways.

Z-Wave Applications and More

Ken Lowe of Sigma Designs will be speaking at TelcoTV next week on the panel, “Connected Home Gateways”. Unfortunately, we will miss that panel, but fortunately, we did catch up with him at Parks Associates’ Connections Conference last June. In this video interview, he discusses the role of Z-Wave; integration of Z-Wave into residential gateways will make it even easier for telcos to participate in the home control market.  Click here to watch the video.


click to watch the videoHome Networking, Over the Top and Off-Air – New Ways to Add Value

Old friend and frequent Viodi View sponsor, Entone’s Steve McKay will be a panelist at TelcoTV next week on the panel, “Connected Home Gateways”. In this video interview, shot at Parks Associates Connections Conference last June, McKay talks about what Entone is seeing with over the top services, as well as hybrid models that combine over the top and off-air, broadcast signals. He suggests that the cable operators may be at a bit of a disadvantage with their large embedded base of set-top boxes that won’t support some of these new services. He also talks about the power of the home network to simplify and reduce the number of set-tops in the home.  Click to watch.


The Korner: Inspired Inbound Marketing  

click to watch the videoAt OPASTCO’s Tech and Marketing Symposium, Mike Volpe of Hubspot provided an inspiring talk regarding how companies can effectively use social media tools.  Volpe suggest that marketers need to think like publishers, instead of advertisers. The implication is that companies need to be content producers, which is something consistent with what Viodi has been saying about telcos and why they should be involved in local content production. He stressed the importance of opening up your media to multiple social networking platforms.

Pamela White, of ANPI, provided a real-life example of how the techniques that Volpe recommended improved ANPI’s marketing efficiency. In a somewhat ironic twist, White and I met via cross-linking of Twitter accounts and the OPASTCO Tech and Marketing Symposium was the first opportunity we had to meet in person.

Volpe’s remarks inspired us to clean up some of the subtle issues that have plagued the Viodi.com and Viodi.TV web sites. Our enthusiasm for making these changes may have caused a temporary outage on ViodiTV. At least we backed up the database and have the videos spread throughout the web. Click here to watch the video interview with Volpe and White.

Viodi View – 9/25/09

Summer is now a memory and the fall 2009, trade show season is in full swing. From net neutrality to the stimulus, Washington is providing pretty of fodder for the conference agendas. Alan Weissberger provides a very timely article on a topic that is at the center of many of these conversations. Weissberger caught up with Professor Allen Hammond who discussed the nuances of achieving the worthwhile goal of ensuring broadband access for all.  


Making Broadband Access Available and Affordable for all in the U.S., by Alan Weissberger

Professor Allen Hammond, Director of the Broadband Institute of California, offers a perspective on the importance of broadband access and a prescription for making it available and affordable for all U.S. residents. Recommendations for Digital Inclusion, U.S. Broadband Policy, a national wireless network, funding and measurement tools are also included in this interview.  Click here to read the rest of the article.


Weissberger points out how a small number of users are affecting the wireless broadband experience for a large number of users in this next article.


3G Networks at the Breaking Point- and it can only get worse! by Alan Weissberger

Apple’s iPhone is a data guzzler. Owners use them like minicomputers, which they are, and use them a lot. Not only do iPhone owners download applications, stream music and videos and browse the Web at higher rates than the average smartphone user, but the average iPhone owner can also use 10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user.  Click here to read the rest of the article.  


The Green Divide – Knowledge is Power

Click here to see the video interview with the CEO of Cincinnatil BellWeissberger’s article reminds me of my video interview with Jack Cassidy,CEO of Cincinnati Bell, at the OPASTCO Summer 2009 Convention this past July.  Cassidy discusses the power of knowledge and how the Internet has become the central repository for virtually all knowledge. He suggests that the real digital divide is one that is between the haves and have-nots. He explains how his company adopted the worse performing high school in their area and helped it go from 18% to 100% graduation rates, by adapting the curriculum to the students. The Internet and various other complementary technologies played a big part in their success helping their local high school. Click here to view.


Kudos…..

Watch the good work that Gila River Telecom has done in connecting their people.Kudos to our friends and frequent Viodi View sponsor, NeoNova, for bring their business to their customer’s community by holding their affiliate meeting at the Gila River Casino Resort (owned by the Gila River Nation, which also owns Gila River Telecom). Gila River Telecom is a classic case of how local control solved the problem of a telephone divide (something like 2/3 of the homes didn’t have phone access as recently as the 1970s), while yielding broadband dividends for the community. Check out this ViodiTV interview from a few years ago to learn more about the good things.

Kudos and congratulations to our friends and frequent Viodi View sponsor, 8×8, Inc. for their move into a new facility in Sunnyvale. I am sorry I missed their open house for their new headquarters. At that event, 8×8, Inc. announced their partnership with The Stride Center, “A San Francisco-based non-profit organization that empowers individuals and communities to achieve economic self-sufficiency.” With ten percent plus (10+%) unemployment, the Silicon Valley community needs to pull together with community-based partnerships such as what 8×8, Inc. and The Stride Center have done.


The Broadband BBQ- Only in Silicon Valley

Two-thousand and nine (2009) was what I call my summer of winning, as my family won several raffles and contests. The Sandisk 60 Second Summer Mobile Video Contest was especially productive for me. This may have been because I submitted so many videos as compared to the total number of entries. Although I did not win the big prize for FRED, I did win a couple of memory cards. The one video I did not submit, because it was 23 seconds too long, was the one I took during a dinner party, one balmy, perfect California summer evening.

Only in Silicon Valley would one find a BBQ connected to the Internet. In this video, my friend Jon Linthacum provides viewers with a brief tutorial of his electronically controlled BBQ that is connected to the World Wide Web via WiFi. Yes, there is an app for that, as he even figured out how to monitor the BBQ from his iPhone. I wonder if the broadband barbeque could justify a stimulus grant?

Despite my ribbing him about his techno-geekness, I couldn’t say enough good things about the pulled-pork he made that evening. Thanks Jon for showing me another use for broadband (and thanks for the great meal)!  

Note, the above video was shot with a G1 Anroid-powered phone.