…there’s a plane a leavin’… …for N’Awlins. Booth growth? Yep, an addition-for the first time in years-of at least one hall at the Ernest Morial Convention Center. Guess that puts Barbara York higher on the CableFAX 100 list than Robert Sachs (again, as it probably should be). If you haven’t booked yet…to attend, exhibit or whatever, I’d suggest you get with it and log on to www.thenationalshow.com ASAP (note to Steve Burke: Are four-letter acronyms acceptable? Have you dreamed up substitutes for all of our TLAs?). After the past few, rather rough, years, the National Show in New Orleans promises to be a more uplifting venue than Chicago last year. There will lots to see and do (and eat). CableFAX Daily will be there to help each day…and, because we can, CableFAX Magazine will have its "Faxies" awards (thanks to Seth Arenstein’s arcane blessings to bestow). CableWORLD and Communications Technology will also be on hand to help you navigate the show. If you’re a Cable Pioneer-or will become one!-life starts on Sunday evening at the annual dinner. Black tie (optional, but preferred) at the Sheraton New Orleans on Canal Street; cocktails at 6:30. On Monday, the opening panel has a "TBD" attached to it (so far). It promises to be a big one, though, if the rumors I hear are accurate. Monday night is the annual Chairman’s Reception and sort of the must-be-place-to-really-get-schmoozing. This is the night to book your best dinner plans (do it now�Sunday and Tuesday are spoken for!). Tuesday morning’s session promises to be a superb one�with Matt Blank, Gerry Laybourne, Ken Lowe, Anne Sweeney, Tony Vinciquerra and David Zaslav talking about programming innovations…and with that list, you know you’ll hear a few (like how the Olympics will be covered). The afternoon is given over to IP…missing, so far, from the list of panels is one telling us how we’re going to avoid common carrier status. Tuesday night is the fun night…with Bill Bresnan getting roasted by a stellar dais and a few surprise cameo appearances. The gig-get your tables/seats now (www.cablecenter.org) before it sells out-will be at the Ritz-Carlton and will be followed by a special Cable Center "Campaign Celebration" for donors (or $100 at the door) at the Ritz-Carlton’s 15th floor penthouse. You really won’t want to miss this one. The format is modeled on the Friars Club Celebrity Roasts, and emcee Dick Loftus-a very funny man and longtime friend of Bill’s-will keep the evening moving. If you can wake up early enough on Wednesday (just kidding), cable’s roster of operators who actually make decisions and, arguably, run the industry today will explain something as Glenn Britt, Steve Burke, Rocco Commisso, Jim Robbins, Tom Rutledge, Carl Vogel and Michael Willner hold forth at the closing luncheon… But, if you like, you can stick around for another great evening of N’Awlins’ great food. See you there on the floor… when in the convention center, buy something! Addendum:
The Tennis Channel promised me a better shot at a well-placed overhead smash if I just switched from the ESPN T-shirt to one of theirs…with a cap to help shade my eyes from the indoor lights. It didn’t work. But the T-shirt is very nice.

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RDOF Auction Ready to Begin

Thursday marks the start of bidding in the FCC ’s Phase 1 Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction, with 386 applicants qualified to bid for up to $16bln over 10 years to provide broadband to wholly

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