Nothing terribly earth shattering came out of the FCC’s 1st ever "Solutions Summit" last week, but it did emphasize just how highly the Commission views VoIP. The focus of the summit was 911/E911 issues related to VoIP-and it often became dry and technical. But all of the commissioners except Kevin Martin were in attendance and taking notes. "We can not afford to make the wrong policy choice in this area," FCC chmn Michael Powell told attendees. Republican commissioner Kathleen Abernathy dubbed VoIP a "great bipartisan" issue. Cable was represented by CableLabs chief strategy officer David Reed, who explained that 911/E911 was not at the top of a list of challenges for cable operators, partly, because cable goes off network. One of the hot topics at the summit, as well as other recent industry VoIP panels, has been portability-as in taking your VoIP service wherever you go (i.e., on vacation, to a hotel, etc). Reed said it is a part of the marketplace that still has to play out. "It’s not clear to me that all VoIP users want mobility," he said. Portability is one of the feature broadband phone provider Vonage has promoted, hyping to customers that all they need is their "Vonage Phone Adapter" and a broadband connection to make and receive calls-even outside of the country. Cox [COX] vp, data and voice product development Scott Hightower recently said the MSO has no plans today to offer such a service. "With the prevalence of cell phones, portability already has been established," he said at a CTAM Digital. "…I’m not convinced there’s a lot of value in having to shove a modem into your suitcase." Research Another customer satisfaction survey has been released that satellite is sure to hype. The Yankee Group’s annual survey finds that as many as 87% of US satellite subs are very satisfied or somewhat satisfied overall with their DBS service. That compares to 68% for cable. Other findings: 30% of homes would choose their telco as a single provider of voice, video and data, while 8% would go with their cable company. The survey, part of the firm’s annual "technologically advanced family" report, surveyed about 2K US HHs via mail. — Another interesting finding from that report: wireless phone users said they now make about 43% of their long-distance calls via wireless phones, and 50% say their wireless usage replaced at least some of their regular phone usage. DTV Transition Where would the country stand if the FCC Media Bureau’s new idea for calculating the 85% DTV threshold in a market actually became law? Today, 6 markets already have cable penetration of 85% or higher (meaning subs could receive digital cable signals converted to analog), FCC Media Bureau official Eloise Gore told a CTPAA Forum panel on Mon. She estimates the number would climb to about 30 markets if satellite customers were added to the equation. Comcast [CMCSA] chief policy adviser Jim Coltharp says the verdict still is out on the Media Bureau’s idea, but "the general direction of the plan is good" because cable has an interest in expediting the transition. Broadband Intl Pan-European cable conglomerate Altice will deploy Net2Phone’s [NTOP] VoIP service in Brussels, Belgium; Strasbourg and Mulhouse, France; and Luxembourg this fall. Broadband Bits Optinel unveiled its updated network management system, "PLEXis Crystal," which aims to simplify the mgmt of advanced transport networks. — KWILL introduced a new line of video monitoring and measurement systems that check signal protocol and format. New on the block are the "VP21S," designed for equipment manufacturers and production studios (priced at $37K), the "VP200A’ for monitoring video/audio quality ($25K) and the "QuMax" system for monitoring and measurement apps ($24K).

The Daily

Subscribe

Representation Matters: Fewer Women, People of Color on TV

Nielsen released its first-ever report of the television media landscape’s progress and gaps in on-screen inclusion.

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up