Career Moves Pragash Pillai was promoted to vice president of advanced engineering, digital video, by Charter. He joined the MSO in 1999 and most recently was director of digital engineering. SCTE promoted Heather Tomko, Susan Parno and Derek DiGiacomo. Tomko, who works in the Marketing and Communications Department, is now the director of creative services. She was graphic design and production manager. Parno, a member of the Professional Development Department, has moved up to professional development operations manager. She was training coordinator. DiGiacomo, of the Finance and Administration Department, takes on the role of information technology and network operations manager. He was information technology coordinator. Letters to the editor The following are letters we received at our sister publication, "CT’s Pipeline." "Communications Technology" welcomes letters to the editor at lhamilton@accessintel.com. All letters may be published and edited for style or length. The Reliability Question I’ve been in the cable industry for 24 years, and for the last five, have worked for a manufacturer that makes true "carrier-class" equipment. While we saw the need for that level of reliability in the cable networks of the future, most cable engineers, as you pointed out in your article, were slow to acknowledge it until recently. Just 18 months ago, I met with a senior corporate-level engineer for one of the largest MSOs to discuss aligning our product development roadmap with his product deployment roadmap. He bluntly told me that the cable industry had no need for "five nines" or even "four nines" reliability since cable systems are, and always will be, "three nines." When we discussed VoIP and high-revenue commercial voice and data services that require QoS guarantees, he scoffed at the whole idea of offering that sort of reliability in a typical metro cable system. He suggested we should go sell our products to telcos since they were willing to pay for that reliability. Interestingly, that individual is no longer employed by the MSO. Louis Phillippe, Tellabs Operations Inc. CableCARD Myths The folklore surrounding CableCARD technology is perfectly understandable given the complete lack of information available to consumers. Instead of dealing with these issues one-on-one with a technician and a customer (both of whom may be equally misinformed), why not put some real information out there? I just did yet another search of my cable company’s Web site and the term CableCARD (or Cable CARD) appears nowhere on the site! Last May it took three e-mail exchanges before the cable company’s responder even acknowledged that CableCARDs existed (or would) despite my giving them a URL for the FCC notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). I’m about to give it another try. I do my homework and have spent hundreds of hours researching point-of-deployment device technology and rules (once part of my job). I have read the entire cable/consumer electronics/content provider agreement. I hate urban myths, self-proclaimed misinformed "experts" on message boards and other sources of "digital folklore." But you should not be at all surprised that the information vacuum that cable providers have created gets filled with such tripe. Rick Miller, CableCard customer to be (someday, maybe) Quotables "Although Vonage dominates the market, cable MSOs will take the lead quickly. Cable MSOs will capture 56 percent of the U.S. local VoIP market by year-end 2005, while market share for the alternative voice provider category will decrease from 66 percent in 2003 to 19 percent in 2005. VoIP will drive cable telephony efforts and surpass circuit-switched cable telephony in 2006; by 2008, cable MSOs’ share of the local telephony market will reach nearly 10 percent." From a report by The Yankee Group "This strategic alliance with Sprint will permit our company to offer our customers a powerful bundle of broadband products in one package, on one bill, from one provider and at a lower cost. Consumers switching to the Mediacom telephone service will be able to keep their existing phone numbers and directory listings, utilize the telephone equipment and wiring already in their homes, and receive more advanced features than traditional telephone service. With this agreement in place, we also have the opportunity to explore offering Sprint wireless phone service to our customers." Mediacom Chairman and CEO Rocco B. Commisso 2005 NCTA Call for Technical Papers Fill out the online speaker form at www.thenationalshow.com to submit a proposal for the 2005 National Show. The deadline for NCTA technical papers proposals is Nov. 15, 2004. The National Show is scheduled for April 3-5 at The Moscone Center in San Francisco.

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