Career Moves Letters to the Editor
VoIP Interconnect Dear Jay, I would like to commend you for the great information contained in your "VoIP Network Interconnection" column in the July `04 Communications Technology. As usual, you are right on target. Please continue your tradition of timely information and complete facts. Interconnect is often overlooked, and with the advent of VoIP, it is more crucial than ever that carriers understand that in most cases, interconnect will be with a TDM carrier. The number of IP to TDM conversions has not yet become a concern, as they have not shown any major degree of degradation, but in any case, if this can be limited through a pure IP interconnect to the IXCs, it certainly lessens the possibility of this connection being unjustly blamed for maladies observed in end-to-end connections. We have seen more than our share of "I just can’t figure this one out" troubles in our migration to VoIP, and it’s really easy to point a finger at something we have no control over. "Trust me" is indeed a prelude to false security, as proprietary solutions may bring you to the market faster, but you are solely dependent one vendor and its timelines in resolving issues. Personally, I can’t think of any reason I’d ever put full faith in a single vendor for an end-to-end solution. Keep it up. The industry needs to hear what you have to say. —Bill Dame
Cox Communications [Editor’s Note] Communications Technology’s sister publication CT’s Pipeline received the following letter on the role of low-cost digital set-top boxes in today’s cable systems. Low-Cost Set-Top Dilemma Dear Editor, One barrier to "low-cost" set-tops is our own doing. Feature creep is common. A vendor offers a low-cost box that is bare bones (i.e., no LED display on front panel, only RF Ch. 2/3 output, digital-only, uses vendor’s proprietary OOB data channel, has very basic remote control). We then ask for RCA video jacks, possibly an "S" connector, a DOCSIS OOB for migrating to next-gen architecture and, oh by the way, we want to offer VOD from this set-top box, so a full-featured remote. Result = middle priced set-top box. Been there, seen that too often. —Nick Hamilton-Piercy Rogers Quotables "Again, Vonage has set the benchmark, proving its value proposition to a marketplace starved for full-featured, cost-effective alternatives to the incumbent local exchange carriers." —Jeffrey A. Citron, chairman and CEO of Vonage Holdings Corp., said in response to his company activating 200,000 VoIP lines—doubling its sub base in six months. "This year it is time—indeed time is past due—to fully acknowledge the reality that the market for the delivery of video programming is characterized by `vigorous rivalry among multiple MVPDs offering closely substitutable services,’ in the words of the FCC’s 2nd Annual Report in ’95." —NCTA (as stated in comments for 11th FCC competition report.) "[In the international arena] there is probably one critical issue, and this is almost universal outside the U.S., particularly throughout Europe and Asia, and that is competition from DSL. In this country, cable modem subscribers outnumber DSL subscribers almost two to one. Anywhere else outside of North America, it’s the other way around. DSL is serious, serious competition." —Ron Hranac, technical leader for Cisco Systems, and Communications Technology‘s senior technical editor. Correction PerfTech Bulletin Services has not deployed at CableOne, as reported in the August issue ("How to Turn Customer Care into a Revenue Center," page 14).

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