Sooner rather than later, cable must deploy a quadruple play by adding wireless to its video, data and voice bundle. This is problematic for most operators because there’s no wireless spectrum available, and the big wireless players- Verizon, Cingular and even T-Mobile-are affiliated with telephone companies. For one operator, Rogers Cable Communications, wireless is a done deal. It’s just a matter of adding voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), which will happen later this summer, to make the bundle complete. Rogers , as a result of acquisition and a combination of having great fortune during spectrum auctions, is Canada ‘s second largest cellular service provider, and it’s ready to expand its expertise from that wider cellular network into the subscriber home as it rolls out VoIP services later this summer. The MSO sees a convergence of three categories of voice products and services, said Mike Lee, vice president of strategy and development, during CableLabs’ media day in New York City in May. – The fixed asset tethered in the home and connected to the cable network with all the high-speed data bells and whistles and voice running over the data IP network. – The portable asset wirelessly linked to the home-not exactly mobile, but not quite the broadband specs available from the wireline service. Rogers has spectrum in the 2.5 and 3.5 GHz bands for using such broadband wireless technologies as the emerging WiMAX specifications for wide area fixed/portable wireless networks and Wi-Fi. – The cellular network, which will use Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard High-Speed Packet Access (UMTS HSPA) to support voice and some data delivery even in high-speed mobile situations. The MSO’s plan is to integrate all the elements with consumer premises equipment (CPE) "so that the wireless handsets will be able to transfer a session or a call and backhaul it against the cable network when it identifies a router in the home," said Lee. Benefits and specs This benefits both the operator and the consumer. Residential service, due to a lack of cell sites, is notoriously weak; using the in-home cable network would boost signals and improve service for consumers and "allows us a different capex in a residential neighborhood because we don’t have to put in networks in high-density residential areas," Lee said. It also flexes Rogers ‘ marketing plans. Wireless-centric customers can get a "little bit of wireline," and wireline customers can get "a little bit of extension in wireless," he said. While VoIP is coming to Rogers this summer, the converged quadruple play, while in trials now, is further down the road as both PacketCable and wireless specs flesh out. "We’re looking at road maps of technology from vendors within the next 12 to 18 months," Lee said. "This is unique to us, a combination of cable and wireless networks, because we own both networks." The offering will continue to evolve, he said, along with PacketCable Multimedia (PCMM) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) specifications for merged wireless-VoIP services. The result, he said, will be a "multiple bearer network" that handles a combination of traffic "whether that be the cable network or fixed environment, WiMAX or some environment where we roll out portable services and then UMTS HSPA for 3G (third generation) and 4G (fourth generation) services on wireless network. We can identify where the customer is and transfer those services intelligently across the bearer networks without the customer really thinking about it." -Jim Barthold

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Windstream Emerges From Bankruptcy

Windstream successfully completed its financial restructuring process and is a privately-held company as of Monday. While in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company successfully reduced its debt by more than $4bln

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