A fork in the power socket Comcast is conducting a trial in the Bay Area in which it is encouraging new VoIP subscribers to self-install their service and equipment.
VoIP is old news inasmuch as service providers have been talking about it for years and years and years, but they’ve been actually doing it for only a relatively short while, so it’s pretty significant when a cable operator lets actual customers perform self-installs.
Why? Because customers are idiots.
Those unbelievably stupid warning labels you see from time to time, such as “Don’t try to dry your phone in a microwave oven” (for a Motorola V195)? You could blame lawyers for that, but if it weren’t for insensate customers, would lawyers feel compelled to insist those warnings be there in the first place? I don’t think so.
And I say all this as someone who, over the last few decades, has, on more than one occasion, been a customer.
Re-creation of an actual conversation:
Chuck*: Thank you for calling [name of broadband provider] customer service. My name is Chuck, can I help you? Me: My Internet access seems to be down. I’ve tried rebooting my computer, and also tried rebooting the cable modem. Chuck: Is the wire from your computer to your modem plugged in? Me: Uhhh…
Vtech’s cordless VoIP phone
But I digress…
When a company is ready to offer self-installation of a service, that means the service is so stable it’s apparently foolproof, which is to say, customer-proof. And that’s a good indicator for cable VoIP, because it’s become a tremendous growth engine for cable companies, and every self install saves a cable operator about a couple hundred dollars.
Comcast is offering new VoIP subscribers up to three cordless VoIP handsets, along with a base station, but only if they elect to self-install. Comcast said it is still undecided on pricing.
The phones are from VTech. Other phone vendors might be included after the trial.
During the first phase of the trial, the phones will provide access to weather, sports, news and horoscopes. During the second phase of the trial, Comcast plans to add access to e-mail, an integrated address book, and Yellow Pages. The software that makes all that possible comes from a startup called Casabi.
Comcast said the trial is scheduled to be expanded to four additional markets in the next six months. Elsewhere, three of those cities have been identified as Boston, Denver, and Philadelphia.
* Some names were changed to protect those who are still either laughing or crying.
Brian Santo, IP Capsule Editor & CED Magazine Editor
SeaChange is contributing its open, standards-based TV Navigator client middleware, which allows service providers to assemble on-demand, convergence and next-gen subscriber services in advanced STB environments.
Occam helps Tenn. telco go FTTH Occam Networks was brought on board to help the North Central Telephone Cooperative, based in Macon County, Tenn., deliver advanced services to its customers. NCTC is using Occam’s BLC 6252-02 ADSL2Plus blade. When the upgrade is completed, the telco will manage a hybrid network with video over copper lines out to 5,000 feet and active FTTH to subscriber areas beyond that. The upgrade is configured for multiple streams of HD video as well as significant amounts of data bandwidth for subscribers.
DSL Forum sets IPTV work schedule
At its quarterly meeting held earlier this week, The DSL Forum said it identified several areas for future work, including transport improvements around VDSL2, a policy control framework and network performance improvements, as well as home networking optimization, including IPTV remote management and set top box (STB) initiation advancements.
The DSL Forum compiled a roadmap that included standards and activities already completed, work in progress, and new initiatives (see table below).
DSL Forum’s IPTV Related Work
Work in Progress
at the DSL Forum
New work being initiated
TR-069 CPE WAN Management Protocol TR-098 Internet Gateway Device Data Model TR-140 Data Model for a TR-069 Enabled Storage Device
WT-135 Residential Data Model for a TR-069 enabled Set Top Box
IPTV Installation Best Practices White Paper
IPTV configuration Best Practices White Paper
Quad-play service Management
CWMP Test and Interoperability spec
Next Generation Access
TR-101 Migration to IP Ethernet Access Aggregation TR-126 Triple Play Quality of Experience Requirements
WT-114 VDSL2 performance test plan WT-115 VDSL2 functionality test plan WT-156 Extending TR-101 to GPON
DSL Line Profiles
DSM/DLM for Video Services
Transport & Home Network Quality of Service and Experience Testing for IPTV delivery
Network Operations & Policy Control
TR-130 xDSL EMS to NMS Interface Functional Requirements TR-129 Protocol-Independent Management Model for Next Generation DSL technologies
W-134 Policy Control Management Framework WT-147 Layer 2 Control Mechanism PD- 160 IPTV Performance Monitoring & Diagnostics WT-159 Management Framework for xDSL Bonding
The next meeting is scheduled for December 10-13th in Lisbon, Portugal. For further information contact Laurie Gonzalez at email@example.com.
Digisoft, ATCi pair on IPTV solution Digisoft and Antenna Technology Communications Inc. (ATCi) are teaming up for a scalable, end-to-end IPTV solution targeted at Tier 2 and Tier 3 telcos. The system includes the Simulsat receive multibeam antenna, a satellite subsystem and MPEG-4 compression. Digisoft will provide DigiHost-the company’s headend service delivery platform-an application management server and a dynamic program guide on a Java STB.
Motorola passes 2M IP set-tops shipped Motorola said it has shipped its two millionth Internet Protocol (IP) set-top box, five months after the shipment of its millionth. The mark was surpassed with a shipment of another 50,000 units to TeliaSonera, Sweden’s largest telecommunications company.
Paraxip session/media controller aims to facilitate SIP VoIP Paraxip Technologies launched its NetBorder Software Suite, a VoIP session and media controller that the company said combines the features of media gateways, session controllers and media servers with scripting engines. It consists of a suite of software modules that combine to provide network connectivity, signaling harmonization, media processing, media conversion and call control scripting. The company said the combination should help simplify and accelerate the deployment of SIP-based applications.
Broadview broadens VoIP services with Acme Packet SBCs Broadview Networks is using Acme Packet’s Net-Net session border controllers (SBCs) as it expands its VoIP network and services for the business market, according to the vendor. Broadview Networks is using the SBCs at points of presence (POPs) in both New York City and Philadelphia. Broadview Networks serves approximately 80,000 small and mid-sized businesses throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the U.S.
Dialogic ups density on boards for VoIP apps Dialogic now has available a new interface board and software specifically for developers of conferencing and contact center products. The interface board features octal density, software-selectable T1/E1 interfaces and 128 ms G.168 echo cancellation offload. In tandem with the board, Dialogic has introduced a new, high-density Linux version of its HMP software, which provides support for its existing family of single-, dual- and quad-density T1/E1 HMP Interface Boards
France and Spain
(with Portugal thrown in, gratis)
Paris muni network to ride on Wave7 Wave7 Optics’ Trident Optical Access Platform has been chosen for Sequantic – a municipal network in France slated to begin service next month. The project is managed by the Sipperec public consortium, which represents the electricity and telecom interests of about 1.7 million residential, commercial and industrial customers located in 86 municipalities around Paris.
The network will rely on an implementation of the Trident7 OLT solution configured for the IEEE 802.3ah Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM) EPON standard. A typical Sequantic business service package is expected to include symmetric data services of up to 1 Gbps with the Trident7 platform.
wireless service in Spain GigaBeam has landed in Spain for the first time with a contract to provide its wireless service to an unnamed university. GigaBeam’s “WiFiber” wireless technology uses existing telecom infrastructures to provide broadband. GigaBeam’s products operate in the 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz upper millimeter wave spectrum bands.
Claim To Fame: The company is developing software that provides intelligence in the network that senses what devices a consumer has and what content and services are available and relevant to each device. The company’s initial focus is on VoIP phones.
Recent News Of Note: Casabi is powering the applications running on the VoIP phone Comcast is using in its VoIP self-install trial. The company received $10 million in its second round of financing in May.