Fiber-Rich Projects It would be an understatement to describe Optical Entertainment Network’s (OEN) plan to deliver an enhanced triple play of services including voice, data, video and other peripherals like home security, gaming, various forms of VOD and, of course, the ever-popular personal video recorder (PVR) over a multi-gigabit fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network in Houston as ambitious. With a 40 Gigabit core and 10 Gig neighborhoods, the network that will launch in December will leverage Phonoscope’s extensive Houston metro network in the area and extend to 1.6 million households, 250,000 of whom already have fiber easements.
OEN’s using European vendor Nexans for "pre-measured drops direct from the factory," Thomas Wendt, OEN’s president-CEO said, and Amino IP set-top boxes for video. The provider will post-wire residences with cat 5 cable for in-premise video connectivity and use 802.11g connectivity for other data devices. TDM over what? And – hard as this might be to believe – it’s taking a somewhat unique approach to voice.
"We do TDM-over-IP so we actually break out four POTS lines at the ONT (optical network terminal) on the side of the house," Wendt said. "You have to have the TDM capability because a lot of the VoIP solutions don’t do a good job handling any modem situations you might run into, credit card machines, fax machines. We have a TDM over IP solution and that becomes a no-brainer." The thought of a 10 Gib FTTH network is a bit of a brain boggler, but Wendt wouldn’t have it any other way. "As we move more and more quickly to high def TV you’re going to see households with three or four high def TVs and that blows your model for copper," he said. "If you do fiber you support everybody." Getting Connected One of the big problems with VoIP – at least for carriers like Verizon, as detailed in last week’s newsletter – is the ability to move calls from phone to phone throughout the residence using existing wiring. While the cable industry touts a whole-home wiring approach that uses existing telephone jacks for VoIP calls, VoIP providers like Verizon and Vonage suggest that consumers buy wireless phones to build in-home wireless VoIP networks to create multi-phone systems. Intellon has another way: use the in-home electrical network with a HomePlug-enabled network. "The idea behind VoIP is rather than pure analog you’re communicating via IP packets which require a data network," said Bill Casby, vice president of sales at Intellon. Intellon’s technology lets a consumer take a regular POTS phone, plug it into an analog telephone adapter with a converter that takes the incoming analog signal, converts it from analog to IP and then passes it out to the powerline. "The analog telephone adapter would plug into your broadband router and the phone would plug into that," he said. "What we can do through the HomePlug is let that analog telephone adapter be plugged into any room in the house, any location within that room and with the powerline connect back to the broadband router." Sounds like a plan, eh telcos? Avaya Doings While unable to connect any of its busy executives for a phone briefing to explain its significance, Avaya Networks did announce via a news release that it has inked a five-year global contract with the household name ABN AMRO to support its migration to IP telephony across 14 countries. For the four people out there who don’t know, ABN AMRO is as an international bank with 3,400 branches in more than 60 countries. Falcon Flies with Wave7 Colorado Springs, Colo.-based CLEC Falcon Broadband will deploy Wave7 Optics’ Trident7 universal passive optical network (PON) to build a triple play fiber-to-the-premise FTTP network to connect 22,500 homes in its home town. Falcon is targeting mixed-use residential and commercial subdivisions and has negotiated agreements with developers to connect new homes and business with the FTTP systems. Test Points For a technology that’s just getting off the ground in the consumer space, VoIP sure does have a lot of companies eager to test its quality. JDSU has joined that fray by expanding the VoIP testing capability of its digital services activation meter and releasing a new version with VoIPCheck capability. The updated technology lets cable operators test VoIP call statistics without multimedia terminal adapter (MTA) and RF DOCSIS connections and generates statistics that determine the quality of a customer’s services. (Hey, that sounds a lot like the sort of things Acterna used to do…) Euros Like Arris Arris’ Touchstone TM502B embedded multimedia terminal adapter (E-MTA) received Euro-DOCSIS 2.0 certification from the European Certification Board. That’s news, but really big news would have been if it got the certification from the Arctic Certification Board. Skype Looking Ahead Global Internet phone provider Skype has extended its agreement with Global IP Sound (GIPS) to support future versions of Skype for the growing hardware market. GIPS will provide components of its voice-processing technology not only for use in Skype software for desktop computes but also for pre-installed versions of Skype on some hardware devices so manufacturers can offer free Skype calling on Wi-Fi-enabled mobile handsets.

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AMC Networks teamed up with Adopt-a-Pet.com, North America’s largest non–profit pet adoption website, for AMC’s annual horror marathon “FearFest.” All month

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