SCTE member since 1980 Title: Principal, Kramer. Firm Inc. Broadband Background: Kramer has been involved with the cable TV industry for nearly 30 years, beginning his career in engineering operations, but transitioning to consulting in 1984 and earning a Juris Doctor degree in 2001. He and his team serve as technical advisors and cable system inspectors for governments. Kramer was made an SCTE Senior Member in 1993 and is a member of the SCTE’s Loyal Order of the 704 and a Fellow of the UK’s SCTE. Working Group 7 of the Interface Practices and In-Home Cabling Subcommittee of the SCTE’s Engineering Committee is working on providing guidance on the National Electrical Code (NEC). In your audit and related work, have you found interpretations of the NEC to vary? If so, how widely and around what issues? The NEC recognizes that local code inspectors make interpretations based on matters of local concern such as underlying building code requirements, power system construction practices and the like. While the local interpretations don’t widely vary between jurisdictions and systems, Working Group 7’s goal is to provide the "glue" for local governments and systems to bind safety and transmission in a rational and uniform manner that meets the requirements of the NEC. Is improper grounding still an issue? Yes. At first blush, grounding seems like a simple matter of connecting a wire from the shield of the drop to the electrical grounding point on the structure. Not so! The NEC code requirements, designed to maximize public safety, are very specific. An installer must know the rules, then carefully consider and execute the installation to ensure compliance. I suspect the issue will fade over the next 5 years. Why? Grounding issues today remind me of picture quality issues in the very early ’90s. It was about that time when operators made the biggest push to dramatically improve picture quality in the face of competition from satellite providers and video rentals. Proper, effective grounding is a key to keeping noise out of our systems and making telephony and advanced services work without a hitch. What are the top three safety violations that you see in the field? Far and away, the No. 1 issue is improper drop bonding with power. Drop workmanship is second. Third is incomplete ("… we’ll come back later to make a permanent repair …") construction. You do a popular "How to Goof your Proof" presentation. What does the trend on goofs look like? Are operators improving? The "How to Goof Your Proof" seminar is a tongue-in-cheek review of how to produce failing proofs and why you need not join the ranks of those who do. I’m happy to report that most systems don’t goof their proofs, but like any data collection and reporting project, it’s not done until the paperwork is finished. We find that some systems still use uncalibrated test equipment, don’t test all of the required channels, and do a sloppy job pulling together all of the paperwork. These are federally required records, so this is a big deal. You keep an eye on cell towers too, correct? What compliance issues do they face? Increasingly, carriers say, "Would you like it on the southwest corner or the northwest corner of the intersection?" That makes management of right-of-ways increasingly more difficult for local governments. The public’s chief concern is RF emissions safety. We conduct the siting and RF safety review for governments around the country in an environment of public perception rapidly changing from NIMBY (not in my back yard) to NOPE (not on planet Earth). What’s the most interesting wireless site photo on your Web site? My firm’s CellularPCS.com Web site contains more than 500 photos of cell sites, ranging from uninspired to hilarious. The most interesting? Right now it’s a series of photos of cell sites hidden inside of 30-foot tall Saguaros cacti made of steel and fiberglass. Another favorite is a series of photos I’ve titled, " Multi-Carrier Cell Site Cleverly Disguised as an Upscale Hotel." Do you see operators aiming for the cell backhaul market? Some cable operators are already in the market! Cox Communications has certainly taken a lead in providing fiber backhaul, and other operators with spare capacity will certainly take advantage of their fibers for this purpose. The wireless carriers are recognizing that they have a natural backhaul partner in the cable industry. Where do you think MSOs are going on providing a wireless service? MSOs as well as the MAPs (moms and pops) have the critical infrastructure already in place to provide backbone wireless service backhaul. They’ve already deployed plant in most every part of their served communities. Adding pole-mounted or strand-mounted radios on top of that existing plant seems like a no-brainer. Backhaul for cellular and PCS carriers, and direct sales of very high speed Wi-Fi, which I call HiWi-Fi, are revenue sources that require very little new investment, yet produce recurring revenues from cable subs and nonsubs alike. Did you enjoy law school? I thoroughly enjoyed law school. After working with government, industry, and consulting attorneys for so many years, it was inevitable that I’d go to law school. The study of law is an insight into society’s social development. Case law from hundreds of years ago shapes our perceptions and practices in today’s business setting. The value of a legal education cannot be overstated. If there was a society of cable engineering lawyers, how many (few?) members would it hold? The number of members would not be nearly as important as the fact that those members would be well-grounded (sorry, bad pun!) in both the technology and regulatory worlds. More key decision makers and influencers understanding the sometimes symbiotic, sometimes parasitic, relationships between those worlds would lead to more thoughtful discussions and decisions about our technology-driven world.