A few random notes (with apologies to CableFAX’s Paul Maxwell.)

Assuming it wasn’t a hoax: The lawyers finally stopped billing hours, and Time Warner Cable is set to begin trading as a public company under the TWC symbol, as early as March 1.

Several weeks ago, the company had begun trading on a “when issued basis” as an over-the-counter Pink Sheet stock, so the move seemed imminent enough. (That was a guess: I don’t recall pink sheets from corporate finance—but then it was nearly a decade ago that I found myself in B-school.)

Could TWC’s “quiet period” finally be over? We’ll see. Cable operators have their own ways of dealing with journalists. Our working hypothesis regarding Cablevision, for instance, is that bonuses issued to executives are docked according to the number of times they are quoted in the press.

Here’s hoping TWC flourishes under the new trading regime, and may a thousand loud, loose lips bloom.



Stopping Light

Faithful readers may recall that a year ago I drew attention to one section of the keynoter Jim Carroll’s presentation at the SCTE 2006 Conference on Emerging Technologies. A futurist, trends and innovation expert, Carroll had referred to optical researchers who not only had slowed light, but also stopped it.

Trying to plumb the significance of this development in photonics, I’d asked OpVista CTO Dr. Winston Way to comment (click here).

Carroll emailed this week to alert me to an article at Extreme Tech that summarizes ongoing research at MIT to integrate photonic circuitry onto a silicon chip.

“It’s awful nice to see predictions of the past become mainstream quicker than you might have expected,” writes Carroll in his Feb. 13 blog.



M-CMTS rising (or falling)

Speaking of predictions, I’d suggested back in our December issue, which contained politely dueling features by top DOCSIS engineers at Cisco and Arris, that it would be at least until springtime before the simmering debate between integrated (I) and modular (M) CMTS broke open.

Not to gloat, but this looks like another prediction coming to pass sooner than expected. Motorola Connected Home Solutions Data Network Architect Michael Patrick, whose paper on DOCSIS IPTV Bypass Architecture (DIBA) was part of this year’s ET discussion, took me to the shed for harboring a misconception.

In the emerging WIWWIW (When I Want, Where I Want) world, Patrick said it was not unreasonable to expect an operator to supply 50 percent of his subscribers with 10 Mbps in the busiest of hours, which works out to 3 Gbps— or 73 carriers—to each fiber node.

And that’s why we’ve got 3.0?

“No, that’s the biggest misconception,” he said. “DOCSIS 3.0 has nothing to do with average bandwidth,” Patrick said. “The only value of downstream bonding is to allow a single subscriber to peak greater than 40 Mbps.”

“Bonding doesn’t provide capacity, bonding doesn’t help IPTV, bonding doesn’t solve the downstream bandwidth problem, bonding may or may not fix the problem of competing with PON,” he said.

And the relevance of this distinction between average and peak bandwidth to the need (or lack thereof) for an M-CMTS? For now, I’ll simply refer all interested parties to Patrick’s paper: “Delivering Economical IP Video over DOCSIS by Bypassing the M-CMTS with DIBA.”

Meanwhile, we’re looking to host—and sell lots of beer at—a smackdown between Patrick and Cisco’s John Chapman, assuming the latter’s numerous blackbelts don’t give him an unfair advantage.

Jonathan Tombes

The Daily

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