The auction for the valuable 700 MHz band is turning out to have almost as many twists as “The Deathly Hallows.” The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its rules for the auction, which included a surprise or two, especially regarding open access.
The expectation was that large incumbents – AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable – would be the only bidders on the spectrum. Proposals were made suggesting paths to open access to encourage new competitors.
One was to dictate that some portion of the licensed spectrum be available at wholesale rates to third parties. The approach is reminiscent of the old DSL rules, which made the incumbent telcos apoplectic, so I wasn’t expecting that to happen. Mustn’t make the telcos unhappy, right? But I digress…
The other was to reserve part of the spectrum for some third provider. As of a few weeks ago nobody had stepped up (a previous IPso Facto on that subject), though eventually Google said it would bid.
The FCC chose neither option. Instead, it included a provision that the 22 MHz chunk of spectrum known as the Upper 700 MHz C Block will, in the commission’s words, “be required to provide a platform that is more open to devices and applications. These licensees will be required to allow customers, device manufacturers, third-party application developers, and others to use any device or application of their choice on their networks in this band, subject to certain conditions.”
Hard to say what that is all about. It sounds pretty progressive, in that it ostensibly gives almost anyone access to that network. But when you start thinking about how that’s supposed to be implemented? The devil may very well be in the details.
Source: The FCC
The incumbents would no doubt prefer not to have to deal with yet another competitor with resources and savvy. Google has plenty of both, and may still bid. The FCC set it up so that bidding will be blind; the incumbents will not know who they’re bidding against, so they will not be able to deliberately and systematically outbid Google.
The FCC was always going to reserve some portion of the auctioned spectrum for emergency services. The implementation will be interesting: the commission will auction off that spectrum to a single, private corporation, which must build the network within 10 years and administer it. Police, fire, and other emergency services will be built-in customers. It will all be supervised by a Federal agency.
But the FCC didn’t think that was incentive enough, so it’s giving the winning bidder another chunk of the spectrum to do with as it will. Plus the winner will be able to use any fallow capacity in the emergency band for commercial services.
Conservative dogma is that private industry will always be more efficient than government, but even if true, it is a generality only. In specific instances, any given company can be more miserably run than any given public institution. If there’s one thing the Federal government isn’t likely to do, it’s file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which in my opinion is a highly salient quality for an organization running an emergency resource.
The FCC also set minimum bid prices, including $10 billion for the entire auction. If those prices aren’t met, the FCC can re-auction the airwaves without the mandates to accommodate any device and public safety.
Brian Santo, IP Capsule Editor & CED Magazine Editor
U-Verse is a cable service, court declares
Despite AT&T’s contentions, its U-verse is in fact a cable service, according to a Federal Court ruling, and therefore subject to cable franchising rules. The ruling overturns a lower court in Connecticut that said AT&T U-verse is not subject to cable rules, according to a report from Reuters.
Imake, Sun combo on IPTV; EDS, Tech Mahindra will do integration Imake Software & Services is partnering with systems integrators Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Tech Mahindra to deliver a highly scalable IPTV solution based on Imake’s OpenVision product suite running on Sun Microsystems’ new Sun Streaming server (see story). Imake said IPTV systems are being installed at Tech Mahindra’s lab in Pune, India, and at EDS’s lab in Plano, TX.
Ariz. school gets wireless IPTV from Ceragon
The Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) in Phoenix, Ariz., is deploying a wireless Ethernet system from Ceragon Networks to deliver IPTV, VoIP and networked learning applications. The network is being built by Network Infrastructure Corp. (NIC). Ceragon said the project should translate into about $1 million in revenue.
Cable builds on VoIP superiority
According to The Yankee Group, cable operators experienced a 167 percent growth rate for 2006 – an eye-popping number that’s only likely during a rapid ramp – the situation the cable industry is in.
The study also forecast that the majority of residential subscribers will get their service bundles from cable companies by 2011. AT&T and Verizon, with their respective fiber solutions, are likely to be the stiffest competition.
“The U.S. consumer VoIP market continues to evolve and propagate,” said Patrick Monaghan, Yankee Group Consumer Research senior analyst. “The disruptive impact of global connectivity will continue to change the VoIP market, making it even more difficult to measure. Despite some growing pains we’ve seen in the VoIP market recently, the market continues to grow and has significant potential as ILECS begin to migrate and create increased competition for both cable MSOs and broadband VoIP providers.”
The report also said VoIP is evolving beyond residential phones by being embedded into Web-based ads, Web site assistance and other click-to-call solutions. The Yankee Group predicts that the number of VoIP dual-mode mobile phones will increase from 913,000 last year to 22 million in 2011.
Atlantic Broadband implements SIP-based VoIP New Global Telecom (NGT) has signed a contract to become the managed services provider for Atlantic Broadband’s SIP-based telephone service for both residential and business customers. The NGT service includes a range of residential and commercial feature packages, telephone numbers throughout the U.S., FCC-compliant 911, as well as key back office functionality including provisioning, usage rating or complete end user billing, as well as session border controller (SBC) management and network monitoring services. A key component of the service is integrated voice origination and termination services from Level 3.
Carlo Gavazzi launches 650 Series chassis Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions has unveiled its new 650 Series MicroTCA chassis—for applications in VoIP nodes, modular telco line units, Wi-Fi and WiMAX radio boxes, Ethernet hubs and fiber-to-the-curb (FTTC) optical network units. The 650 Series, offered in a 2U 19-inch rack mount configuration, features a 6HP MicroTCA Carrier Hub and a 12-node backplane, which supports configurations for full- and half-height Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) slots. The chassis starts at $2,500.
VoIP Logic improves middleware VoIP Logic released a new version of its middleware. Cortex 2.0 is a customizable web-based management platform that enables service providers to provision and customize service offerings and their end users to self- administer. Enhancements include customizable enterprise and consumer end user web-portals; flexible module-based login credentials for easy-to-manage access privileges and layers; and full voicemail and auto-attendant management integration with Iperia ActiveEdge 3.6, among others.
Infinera to build national network for Cox Cox plans to create a national transport network that stretches from coast to coast, and it entrusted Infinera with the responsibility to build it. The 12,000-mile network will lead to voice, video, data, and wireless, for both residential and business customers, being converged on a single network. The network will be based on the Infinera Digital Optical Networks architecture.
Dan Estes, Cox’s director of transport and access engineering, said that the Infinera Digital Optical Network will help Cox provide for traffic on the Cox network, which has been doubling every 12 to 18 months.
Sprint WiMax will use FiberTower for Ethernet backhaul
In preparation for deploying a WiMAX network, Sprint Nextel has contracted with FiberTower for wireless, Ethernet-based backhaul services in seven of Sprint’s initial markets. Sprint said it will launch its Mobile WiMax broadband services in initial markets by year-end 2007.
Clearwire launches Internet, phone services in Texas, N.Y. Clearwire Corp. has launched its wireless high-speed Internet and phone services in Syracuse, N.Y., and Corpus Christi, Texas. This marks Clearwire’s first market deployment in New York.
Zoom invests in Unity Business Networks Zoom Technologies has invested $1.06 million in Unity Business Networks with an option to buy all of Unity in 2009. Zoom also received preferred shares for a 15 percent interest in Unity and specific veto rights. Founded in 2003, Unity Business Networks is a privately-owned communications company providing local, long-distance and Internet services to single and multi-site businesses in Colorado, Minnesota, and Oregon.
PacketCable 2.0 components pass ITU study group muster
Most of the DOCSIS 3.0 specification and key elements of the PacketCable 2.0 specification were given consent status by an International Telecommunications Union study group, which moves both specifications closer to being international standards.