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post #91 of 4224 Old 03-15-2006, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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San Ramon, AT&T poised to sign IPTV agreement
By Scott Marshall, CONTRA COSTA TIMES
Posted on Wed, Mar. 15, 2006

SAN RAMON - San Ramon is expected to sign an agreement this afternoon with AT&T for the company to introduce Internet Protocol Television service here.

This would be the first AT&T deal with an East Bay city. Walnut Creek and Livermore have stopped similar proposals, contending a franchise agreement, something required of cable TV providers, is necessary.

In Walnut Creek, SBC -- now AT&T -- began modernizing above-ground copper wires as part of a service upgrade. But the city concluded the lines would complement Project Lightspeed, and that a franchise agreement was needed.

SBC sued Walnut Creek over the disagreement last year. The cable industry has filed a motion to intervene in the suit. The next hearing is scheduled for April 7.

Terms of the San Ramon agreement were not immediately available.

A spokesman for the California Cable and Telecommunications Association, an outspoken opponent of this deal, said the industry trade group had no immediate response. The association has staunchly opposed AT&T's Project Lightspeed, contending AT&T cannot proceed without a franchise agreement.

San Ramon has a franchise agreement with Comcast, but the city says no such agreement is necessary for AT&T's Project Lightspeed. AT&T says it does not need a cable franchise to do IPTV because AT&T is a regulated telephone company.

Project Lightspeed would bring television to residential customers through DSL phone connections and super-high-speed broadband. Up to 25 megabytes of data per second could travel over those connections, although Internet access would top out at 6 megabytes per second, and the rest of the capacity will be devoted to Voice Over Internet Protocol, or VoIP, according to AT&T.

Instead of offering one-way video through a cable box, AT&T's service will enable customers to choose programs they want through two-way communication. The company says this would increase competition for television service, thereby benefiting consumers.

Cable industry officials, meanwhile, say AT&T's plan would create an unfair advantage for phone companies. Cable officials add that such IPTV-type service should be regulated under existing law to ensure it wouldn't hurt consumers in poor communities.
Scott Marshall covers the San Ramon area. Reach him at 925-743-2216 or smarshall2@cctimes.com.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercu...printstory.jsp
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post #92 of 4224 Old 03-15-2006, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Buck94 View Post

And what is exactly wrong with this? Should a business not be able to select their target markets and customers?

Nothing - if one happens to be fortunate enough to receive service within such specific target areas; if not, your view may be different.

I have experienced this form of what I describe as discrimination based upon greed for many years. Originally Viacom was granted the exclusive cable franchise for my county. There was no provision within the agreement that required them to offer service to unincorporated and otherwise rural areas. Thus, Viacom enjoyed the luxury of providing service (and profits) to the heavily populated areas without sufferent the detriment of spending larger sums to provide the same service to the boonies. Thus, those of us in the latter category were not provided an opportunity to become cable subscribers and were forced to rely on rooftop OTA antennas in order to receive any reception at all, namely analog.

The same continues today. Although our rural area is now served by cable, it is a mom & pop organization that offers less than 1/2 of what the rest of my county receives from Comcast, who eventually replaced Viacom as the majority provider. It will be months (at least) before my provider has the capability to provide any HD while most people who read this forum are aware of Comcast's multiple offerings. Even though I appreciate the fact that we have upgraded to some form of cable service, I have always resented this economic discrepancy & continue to support those franchise agreements that truly have ALL consumers in mind & not just a geographical located few. Thus, when Verizon, AT&T, and other non-cable providers seek relief from franchise agreements I do not trust them to offer truly competitive service to every potential subscriber.
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post #93 of 4224 Old 03-15-2006, 02:32 PM
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It would be cool if Verizon tried to poach out here in SBC, er AT&T land.

Seems unlikely, since Verizon has no network to build on; they'd have to start from scratch, which would be insanely expensive.

My theory (and this is just a theory) is that since U-Verse initially doesn't offer HD they're building FTTN -- but fiber-to-the-prem on new housing developments. As they start to roll out HD, perhaps they'll extend from the node to the prem at that point.

Unless they offer some type of network-based DVR service, I have to imagine they'll do this sooner or later.

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post #94 of 4224 Old 03-15-2006, 02:42 PM
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Nothing - if one happens to be fortunate enough to receive service within such specific target areas; if not, your view may be different.

I have experienced this form of what I describe as discrimination based upon greed for many years. Originally Viacom was granted the exclusive cable franchise for my county. There was no provision within the agreement that required them to offer service to unincorporated and otherwise rural areas. Thus, Viacom enjoyed the luxury of providing service (and profits) to the heavily populated areas without sufferent the detriment of spending larger sums to provide the same service to the boonies. Thus, those of us in the latter category were not provided an opportunity to become cable subscribers and were forced to rely on rooftop OTA antennas in order to receive any reception at all, namely analog.

Well, OK. Except all of this assumes that there's some sort of fundamental right to services, regardless of where one lives.

A buddy of mine lives in a rural area. He has no nearby Pizza Hut that will deliver to his house, no Best Buy within 30 miles, no Circuit City within 60. Cellular coverage is spotty. He has only one choice for high-speed Internet (cable modem).

I live in a suburb of a major city. There are three Pizza Huts within 5 miles. I can throw a rock and hit either a Circuit City or a Best Buy. Cellular coverage is excellent from multiple providers. I have three choices of high speed Internet (cable modem, DSL, or fixed wireless).

That's just the way things are. On the other hand, my buddy paid a lot less for his house than I did for mine, and he doesn't live within earshot of a major expressway. His neighborhood is quiet, everyone is friendly, there's virtually no serious crime, and he has 2 acres of land. My neighborhood is reasonably quiet for a suburb, friendliness is mixed, there's not a lot of crime but there is some, and nobody out here has 2 acres of land unless they've hit the lottery.

Call it all an effect of greed if you like, but a business' duty is to make profits. Sparsely-populated areas are not going to be profitable unless the network buildout is very inexpensive. Franchise agreements that force universal builtouts just raise the costs for everyone and slow down competition, which just helps prop rates up further.

Obviously you disagree with all of this, but I just don't understand why something like IPTV service should be treated like a basic necessity. I mean, phone service, that I can understand, but...

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post #95 of 4224 Old 03-15-2006, 03:05 PM
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I'm not sure how well the bandwidth will work, but as far as channel changing, another member posted earlier that apparently their system is so fast, they've patented the process.

They've applied for one; I don't think it's been issued yet. But yeah, it's fast.

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post #96 of 4224 Old 03-16-2006, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Cox Communications and other groups no longer oppose a Kansas bill that lets AT&T compete with cable companies.

Posted on Thu, Mar. 16, 2006

Truce called in cable TV fight

BY JIM SULLINGER, Eagle Topeka bureau

TOPEKA - A cease-fire has been declared, at least in Kansas, in the national video wars between AT&T and cable television companies.

Cox Communications, one of the state's largest cable television providers, no longer opposes Senate Bill 449, a measure providing AT&T a state franchise to compete with Kansas cable operators. Currently, these franchises are granted on a city-by-city basis.

Even the Kansas Cable Telecommunications Association is no longer against the bill. Both the association and Time-Warner are taking a neutral position.

"You can't be an obstructionist when it comes to competition," said John Frederico, the association's lobbyist.

Colleen Jennison, lobbyist for Cox, told the House Utilities Committee during a hearing Wednesday that when it was first introduced, the bill gave AT&T a big competitive edge over current cable providers.

However, she said changes made by the Senate, which passed the measure several weeks ago, have largely eliminated that competitive disadvantage. Cox is now supporting the bill, she added.

The amended bill "is not perfect, but it is better than it was," Jennison said.

The Senate version allows traditional cable companies to renegotiate their contracts with cities and obtain a state franchise when AT&T moves into their areas. Without that provision, she said cable companies would still be opposed.

During the hearing, David Kerr, president of AT&T Kansas, said his company was planning to spend $4 billion nationally to bring cable television over fiber-optic strands and then over regular phone lines to homes and business in 1,500 communities nationwide over the next three years. The company has dubbed its program Project Lightspeed.

However, Kerr said it would take 30 years to deploy if his company had to negotiate a franchise agreement with each of the 1,500 cities. A statewide franchise would shorten that time considerably, he told the committee.

He said Texas passed a similar bill last year and Indiana's legislature approved the measure last week. Missouri lawmakers also are considering a video competition bill sought by AT&T.

Kerr said cable customers in Keller, Texas, saw their bills drop 25 percent when Verizon introduced a new video service there.

He added that his company's project already is providing an economic benefit to Kansas. An AT&T video operations center, which captures video programming and delivers it to homes, is being built in Mission. Company officials said 50 new jobs have been created and 50 more are coming.

Mission Mayor Laura McConwell said every city won't receive that kind of investment.

"However, Mission does illustrate the point that the promise of new providers does not just mean lower consumer bills and new options," she told the committee.

Opponents of the bill, which include Overland Park and the League of Kansas Municipalities, are expected to testify today.

Reach Jim Sullinger at (785) 354-1388 or jsullinger@kcstar.com.

http://www.kansas.com/mld/kansas/new...e/14108596.htm
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post #97 of 4224 Old 03-19-2006, 10:07 AM
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From InsideBayArea.com

AT&T brings competition into county

Cities to consider company's offer to bring in new technology
By Christine Morente, STAFF WRITER

Programming your DVR from your cell phone or watching four channels at once on your television set could be in your future.

AT&T wants to muscle its way into San Mateo County and compete with Comcast and RCN to provide Internet-based television and faster Internet services.

It's competition that city officials from Belmont, Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Millbrae, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo and San Mateo County welcome, because it lowers rates. But AT&T is unwilling to pay franchise fees to roll out Project Lightspeed.

For the past two months, the cities have formed a coalition and have negotiated with AT&T. The phone company needs the cities to approve encroachment permits to allow physical upgrades to its new system.

"We're ensuring that our interests are met and (the project) won't create problems for us," said Susan Loftus, deputy San Mateo city manager.

For at least 30 years, Comcast has paid cities 5 percent of its gross revenues a value of $250 million to the county, said Anthony Thomas, telecommunications lobbyist for the League of California Cities.

A franchise agreement gives a company access to a community and also prevents discrimination. Without a franchise agreement, a company could bypass poorer areas of a city or focus on areas they think would be more profitable.

"This is a promising area for AT&T," said Dwight Stenbakken, deputy executive director for the League of California Cities. "Technology is running ahead of everything, so you have to increase competition for providing theseservices."

Anthony Thomas, telecommunications lobbyist for the League of California Cities, worries that cable providers will question the validity of their local franchise agreements with cities if AT&T is spared from paying the fees.

Meanwhile, there is a spot bill in the Senate that could do away with the city-by-city franchise negotiation process.

AT&T is willing to pay a percentage of its profit to the city, but doesn't want to be locked into a franchise fee, which would force AT&T to offer services universally. It also doesn't like that every city has a different fee structure.

"We want competition," Thomas said. "We're more than willing to take a new look at a state issued franchise that assures us that cities are not losing revenue."

Furthermore, despite what city and county officials believe, AT&T spokesman Gordon Diamond said the company is still in the telecom business. Only cable and
garbage companies pay franchise fees.

"We are not putting in a cable system," he said.

Under Project Lightspeed, existing fiber-optic wires would be pushed closer to homes for a larger bandwidth between 20 to 25 megabits per second to provide Internet Protocol Television service.

That means higher-speed Internet access, the ability to make phone calls through the Internet, and Internet-based television.

Some special features include enhanced digital recording, multiple camera angles of sporting events via picture-in-picture views, and an enhanced program guide. The system will later be marketed as AT&T's U-verse.

Comcast offers video services, On Demand, DVR, HDTV, High-Speed Internet, and Digital Voice. RCN provides fiber optic local and long-distance phone, cable television, and Internet services.

"Project Lightspeed is really the next evolution of our network," Diamond said. "IPTV is a much different way consumers receive TV service today. Everything within the telecom industry is converging to IP."

On Wednesday, San Ramon signed with the phone company's IPTV service. Under its agreement with the city, AT&T will pay up to 5 percent of gross revenues from subscribers, provide educational and public access programming options required by cable providers.

Anaheim has also agreed to go with Project Lightspeed and AT&T is testing the service in Texas, Diamond said.

"We understand when we talk to cities, they receive revenue streams from cable companies," Diamond said. "We make it very clear that we understand how critical revenue streams are, and we'll work to make sure revenue streams are intact."

Diamond wants to come to an agreement by the end of the month, take it to the city councils for approval in April and begin network upgrades in the county.

Staff writer Christine Morente covers Burlingame, Millbrae, San Bruno and Hillsborough. She can be reached at (650) 348-4333 or at cmorente@sanmateocountytimes.com.

http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_3618525?source=rss
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post #98 of 4224 Old 03-26-2006, 09:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Editorial, 03/26/2006

Middle ground needed before going 'Lightspeed

While there are compelling reasons to wish "Project Lightspeed" godspeed in hopes of creating a competitive marketplace for cable television in our communities, there is at least one potential predicament to address.

AT&T has approached Vacaville, proposing to pipe cable TV signals into local homes via new and improved phone lines. An interested concept, but Project Lightspeed has Vacaville city officials understandably distressed.

If approved, it would allow local consumers to receive video services via their Internet connections.

AT&T and Verizon are vying in communities across the nation to break up the monopoly companies such as Comcast have enjoyed for years.

Consumers have long complained of feeling like hostages, handcuffed to a provider that has consistently raises local cable rates without regulation.

Sure, there are satellite alternatives, but none with the full complement that the local franchised cable provider offers.

Consumers could be the ultimate winners if new competitors drive down rates - or at least control them.

But the city's coffers stand to lose. According to Vacaville Assistant City Manager Pat Moreno, the city makes about $600,000 a year from its exclusive cable franchise agreement with Comcast.

The city, in turn, uses that money to fund public safety, public works and parks.

Allowing competition in would not only be the end of the contract, it would probably lead to a lawsuit.

The franchise agreement between Vacaville and Comcast also provides for universal access for all residents of the city, as well as public access, education and government channels.

Because it is not a cable provider, AT&T believes it is not subject to franchising laws. And it has not shied away from fights in other communities.

In Walnut Creek, city officials issued encroachment permits, but specified that Project Lightspeed could not be offered to the community. Perhaps it is no surprise that AT&T is now suing Walnut Creek.

Still, at least one Northern California city has found a way to make some money on the deal.

San Ramon has an agreement with AT&T, allowing the company to bring Lightspeed to its community in return for a 5 percent return of gross revenues, as well as a provision for public access and education channels.

There is pending legislation in the California to change franchising rules to allow AT&T and Verizon into markets without gaining franchise agreements.

Federal legislation is also in circulation, and a bill setting the table for national franchising has reportedly gained bipartisan support recently.

Approval of those changes would certainly open up the marketplace to competition, but could drastically hurt cities. So there needs to be some middle ground found that gives cities some protection, while offering incentives for the new competitors to engage in franchise agreements and provide public access television programs.

Why can't the new entries into the cable TV competition play by the same rules as the monopoly companies that have been here for decades?

Technology demands new regulatory approaches. We have seen that in the deregulation of utilities and phone service.

Why not in this instance? If we succeed, the consumer gets choices in how TV signals are delivered, no doubt leading to lower prices and fewer unilateral rate hikes. The city gets to retain its revenue stream. And local TV producers can keep their access and deliver their programs.

http://www.thereporter.com/editorials/ci_3642024
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post #99 of 4224 Old 03-26-2006, 01:45 PM
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What all this probably means is, if the telcos get into cities without paying the franchise fees, maybe Comcast fights to get out of those fees or renegotiate them. Then there might be some price competition for awhile.

But then the city, faced with loss of revenue, would just raise them other ways, like higher property taxes, more speed traps, etc.
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post #100 of 4224 Old 03-26-2006, 02:33 PM
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What all this probably means is, if the telcos get into cities without paying the franchise fees, maybe Comcast fights to get out of those fees or renegotiate them.

The City of Santa Rosa, CA believes that is one of the reasons reasons Comcast has been dragging it's feet in finalizing a franchise agreement here. In the meantime, we're left with a dated 550Mhz system with a pathetic channel offering, and paying the same rates as full-blown Comcast systems.
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post #101 of 4224 Old 03-28-2006, 03:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Phone, Cable Trade Fire Over Ads
AT& T Wants Spots on Legislation That Would Let It Enter TV Business

By Arshad Mohammed
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 28, 2006; D05

AT&T Inc. yesterday accused cable television companies of suppressing public debate by refusing to air ads that urge lawmakers to make it easier for phone companies to get into the TV business.

Time Warner Cable shot back that it was under no obligation to carry its competitors' ads while Comcast Corp. said it rejected the spots because they were riddled with false and misleading claims.

The charges are the latest in a long series of broadsides between phone companies, which want to offer TV without having to get thousands of franchise agreements at localities all over the country, and cable companies, which believe their rivals should have to secure local agreements just as they did.

Both sides have launched media campaigns to sway lawmakers debating whether to grant phone companies state or national franchises. The Federal Communications Commission is also studying whether local authorities are "unreasonably" denying franchises.

In a victory for the telephone companies, the House Commerce Committee yesterday released a draft bill that would grant new entrants a national video franchise within 30 days of filing certain information with the FCC. If enacted into law, this would let phone companies into the TV business much faster than if they had to negotiate franchises in every locality.

AT&T, the largest U.S. phone company, filed a complaint yesterday with the FCC claiming that cable companies are trying to thwart competition.

"Incumbent cable operators nationwide are refusing to carry paid issue advertising aimed at informing consumers, legislators and regulators of the enormous benefits of wireline video choice and the urgent need for franchising reforms that will make widespread video competition possible," the complaint said.

Verizon Communications Inc. issued a news release on March 15 criticizing Comcast and Time Warner for refusing to run telephone industry ads, accusing them of doing so "because they don't want consumers to know there could be a choice for cable TV."

Mark Harrad, a spokesman for Time Warner Cable, said his company was not required to run ads and said it was common practice for companies not to help out their competitors in this way.

"Coke doesn't promote Pepsi. McDonald's doesn't promote Burger King. NBC doesn't promote ABC. This is not news that you do not take an ad from a direct competitor," Harrad said.

Comcast questioned the accuracy of the ads, some of which include claims about how much cable prices have risen over the past decade that are disputed by the cable industry.

"Comcast will not run advertisements which contain unsubstantiated, false and misleading claims. This policy is very consistent with long-standing and generally accepted industry practices," Comcast spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said. He called the phone ads "part of a larger lobbying effort intended to secure preferential legislative treatment at the expense of consumers."

AT&T's filing, which was signed by the USTelecom trade group, which represents major phone companies, suggested the cable industry was suppressing political speech.

"The incumbent cable operators' heavy-handed attempts to skew the political debate merely underscore the urgent need for opening up local video programming markets to real competition," AT&T wrote.

Regulatory analysts said that as a legal matter cable companies are under no obligation to run such ads and that in any case it was hard to regard the AT&T spots as anything but commercial in intent.

"These ads are solely aimed at telephone companies taking market share from cable," said Paul Gallant, who analyzes telecom and media regulation for the Stanford Washington Research Group

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...701492_pf.html
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post #102 of 4224 Old 03-28-2006, 06:46 AM
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Any word on Lightspeed in San Francisco? Seems that there is stuff happening outside The City but nothing that I've seen within our SF borders.
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post #103 of 4224 Old 03-28-2006, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Phone Victory in US Capital

Telephone companies get most of what they asked for despite emotional lobbying from cable industry.
March 28, 2006

The U.S. House of Representatives conferred a crucial victory on the telecommunications industry with the introduction of a draft bill that, if passed, will dramatically change the competitive timetable and the overall landscape in the pay-TV distribution market.

Debate on the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006, which is sponsored by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois), is scheduled for Thursday.

The bill, which is couched in strong pro-consumer language, is a home run for the phone companies, for the most part.

It also touches on a laundry list of telecommunications issues, such as Net neutrality and municipal broadband, that have been hotly debated everywhere from academia to the blogosphere.

If passed, the bill will significantly shrink the telephone companies' time-to-market by granting them national entrée into a market that has been the predominant preserve of about a dozen cable TV service providers since the market's inception about two decades ago.

Lobbyists Face Off

AT&T and Verizon Communications, the two largest carriers in the United States, have spent millions getting their message to legislators, but their efforts have been matched, almost, by cable operators that have assembled an alliance of minority lobbyists to press the issue of digital rights in an election year.

Shares of Verizon fell $0.14 to $34.79 in recent trading, while AT&T shares rose $0.04 to $27.35.

Interestingly the pronouncements surrounding the bipartisan bill do not mention the digital divide issue that has been raised by K Street advocates who have lobbied on the side of the cable industry.

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois), for instance, sticks to the pro-consumer label that is being attached to the bill.

Competition drives down prices and encourages innovation, said Mr. Hastert. I want to thank the members for putting consumers first as we prevent outdated regulations from stunting the growth of new pay-TV services, and drive down costs by giving people more choice.

Franchising Problem

The bone of contention is the issue of franchising, a system that requires companies entering crucial industries such as the TV distribution market to negotiate individual agreements with each municipality in which they hope to do business (see FCC Pre-empts Franchising).

It is a time-consuming and expensive requirement for which the Bells have lobbied the federal government to remove and replace with a blanket, nationwide franchise.

A nationwide franchise will remove perhaps the second-highest barrier to entry for the telephone companies. The higher barrier is the billions the companies are investing in upgrading their networks.

Wall Street analysts and investors have not bought into the phone companies' reasoning behind the extreme outlay of investment capital they have needed for the right to compete in an increasingly competitive market.

Five Elements

The bill includes five critical elements. First, it creates a nationwide franchise or approval process for the pay-TV services market. Phone companies will be allowed to operate on a national franchise only in markets where they face competition.

With satellite coverage, there are few markets the phone companies would enter initially that would not have an existing competitor.

The bill will also give the phone companies some elbow room in the VoIP market by requiring VoIP application providers to ensure E911 access to their users. The bill also requires phone companies to give VoIP providers access to their E911 communications networks (see VoIP's 911 Woes).

The bill spells out the U.S. Federal Communications Commission's role in the Net neutrality debate. The FCC will be responsible for making sure service providers do not throttle, block, or degrade bandwidth for any legal applications being transacted on the Internet (see Senator Would Ban Web Tolls).

There is also something for the local municipalities. They will be able to collect a 5 percent fee from pay-TV providers.

The bill also acknowledges the rights of cities and other municipalities to build their own broadband networks and compete with both the phone companies and the cable service providers.

http://www.redherring.com/Article.as...Communications
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post #104 of 4224 Old 03-28-2006, 12:11 PM
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I just moved into a new home in San Diego that has FTTH from SBC/AT&T.

I can't do anything with it (yet) and they gave me no timeline for when services would be available.

All I know is that they are making my electric bill higher because they installed a UPS battery backup in the garage to ensure telephone service in case there was an outage.

It also makes my home entertainment planning difficult because I don't know what services to plan for.

What are other people with FTTH doing with it, if anything?
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post #105 of 4224 Old 03-28-2006, 03:35 PM
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are you sure it is FTTH? It's most likely FTTN or FTTC...don't SBC's plans involve bringing copper from the node and giving you VDSL type service? That is supposed to be capped at 6 mbps, which is less than what you can get today with communist cable.
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post #106 of 4224 Old 03-28-2006, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Rakesh.S View Post

are you sure it is FTTH? It's most likely FTTN or FTTC...don't SBC's plans involve bringing copper from the node and giving you VDSL type service? That is supposed to be capped at 6 mbps, which is less than what you can get today with communist cable.

I can tell you with certainty that, in California anyway, AT&T is installing FTTP in certain new housing subdivisions. It's the existing subdivisions that will get FTTN.

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post #107 of 4224 Old 03-29-2006, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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AT&T Ready to Bring Choice and Competition to Cable Subscribers in California; Speaker's Legislation to Pave the Way For Company's $1 Billion Investment
Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Powered By BusinessWire SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 29, 2006--AT&T California today announced its financial commitment to bring next-generation interactive television and video services to the state, a move to deliver competitive choice to consumers. The company said it is prepared to invest up to $1 billion over the next three years upgrading its fiber-optic network in California. This investment represents a portion of the $4.4 billion AT&T plans to spend on its Project Lightspeed initiative between now and the end of 2008.

Project Lightspeed will bring fiber closer to AT&T customers' homes, continuing the company's aggressive network build in California. More fiber in the ground, closer to customers, will make it possible for AT&T to provide new, next-generation Internet Protocol (IP)-based services over its existing network. These services will include AT&T Yahoo! High-Speed Internet, IP telephony (VoIP) and a new IP-based TV service called AT&T U-verse TV, allowing customers to enjoy features such as hundreds of television channels, movies on demand, electronic program guide, music and more.

At issue is an outdated city-by-city franchising system that significantly impedes California customers' ability to take advantage of a real competitive choice to cable companies. "The technology is available and consumer demand is here, but the current process to bring choice to customers is broken," said Ken McNeely, president, AT&T California.
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Under existing regulations developed in the early 1960s, if AT&T were able to secure one municipal franchise agreement a week, it would still take more than seven years for the company to offer customers in California a choice in how they want to receive their TV service. "We simply don't think Californians should have to wait that long," said McNeely. In contrast, in just over seven years AT&T has been able to offer high-speed Internet access to approximately 85 percent or more of its California customer base.

The California Legislature can be the catalyst for delivering these competitive new technologies faster to Californians. McNeely said new legislation authored by Speaker of the Assembly, Fabian Nunez, (D - Los Angeles) and co-authored by Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee Chair, Lloyd Levine, (D - Van Nuys) will be a major step in the right direction.

"When companies compete, consumers win," said McNeely. "We stand ready to continue our investment in California and our tradition of bringing exciting technologies and new competitive choices to our customers."

About the New AT&T

AT&T Inc. is one of the world's largest telecommunications holding companies and is the largest in the United States. Operating globally under the AT&T brand, AT&T companies are recognized as the leading worldwide providers of IP-based communications services to business and as leading U.S. providers of high-speed DSL Internet, local and long distance voice, and directory publishing and advertising services. AT&T Inc. holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which is the No. 1 U.S. wireless services provider with more than 54 million wireless customers. Additional information about AT&T Inc. and AT&T products and services is available at www.TheNewATT.com.

http://www.voip-magazine.com/content...0060329005300/
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post #108 of 4224 Old 03-29-2006, 08:03 AM
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bgooch,

You really should note the difference between a press realease and a news item.
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post #109 of 4224 Old 03-29-2006, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
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bfoster - is this better?

AT&T plans $1B California fiber-optic upgrade
Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal - 9:03 AM PST Wednesday

AT&T said on Wednesday it will spend up to $1 billion upgrading its California fiber-optic network over the next three years.

The money is part of a $4.4 billion pool AT&T (NYSE:T) plans to spend on its Project Lightspeed Initiative.

The project will bring fiber closer to customers' homes, AT&T said, providing for greater high-speed Internet, VoIP and IP-based television service.

Legislation authored by Fabian Nunez, (D-Los Angeles) could ease the transition by speeding up the state's city-by-city franchising system, AT&T saids.

http://sanjose.bizjournals.com/sanjo...ml?t=printable
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post #110 of 4224 Old 03-29-2006, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
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Dingell Quizzes AT&T on Franchise Law
By Ted Hearn 3/29/2006 1:58:00 PM

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) is questioning whether AT&T Inc. needs a federal video-franchising law when the company is insisting that its Project Lightspeed video service relies on a technology exempt from all traditional cable rules, including local franchising.

Dingell, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, expressed his concerns in a letter Wednesday to AT&T chairman and CEO Edward Whitacre. Dingell is expected to attend a House subcommittee hearing Thursday on the franchising bill.

Serious questions remain in my mind as to whether AT&T will be able to receive the benefits of such sought-after legislation, said Dingell, who asked to receive detailed responses by Monday.

Legislation backed by Energy and Commerce chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas) would award national video franchises to phone companies that agree to provide cable service.

Before state and federal agencies, AT&T has staked out a position that because its Internet-protocol-TV service isn't a cable service within the meaning of federal law, it did not have to sign contracts with local government to compete with cable incumbents.

In his letter, Dingell indicated that he would be troubled if AT&T felt that the terms of the Barton bill would not apply to the company.

It is unclear why it makes sense for the committee on Energy and Commerce to consider legislation to streamline the cable-franchise process when companies can define themselves out of the process, Dingell said.

He indicated that all the ambiguities could be resolved if the Barton bill were amended to say that IPTV is a cable service under federal law.

The committee clearly needs to receive information sufficient to evaluate whether the Communications Act definitions should be updated so that companies that offer IP-video services can benefit from the national cable franchising, Dingell said.

When Barton unveiled his bill Monday, AT&T issued a statement that made no reference to a possible dispute over the classification of IPTV.

The bill strikes the right note of accelerating video choice for consumers, while upholding the legitimate and important roles of local governments, such as maintaining their rights of way, preserving community-access programming and ensuring that localities will not lose needed revenue, said Tim McKone, AT&T executive vice president of federal relations.

The cable-service issue is broader than franchising: AT&T could also claim that IPTV is exempt from an assortment of cable regulations, including must-carry, retransmission consent, program access and ownership limits.

We will review Congressman Dingell's letter and respond to him by the date requested, AT&T said in a prepared statement.

The fundamental issue is whether or not consumers can get meaningful video choice sooner rather than later, the company added. And AT&T has been absolutely clear in support of a legal framework that promotes speedy introduction of new services for consumers. The Barton-Rush bill strikes the right balance to bring consumers video choice and new services, while ensuring continuation of important and legitimate local interests, such as maintaining rights of way management.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/...=Breaking+News
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post #111 of 4224 Old 03-29-2006, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Rakesh.S View Post

are you sure it is FTTH? It's most likely FTTN or FTTC...don't SBC's plans involve bringing copper from the node and giving you VDSL type service? That is supposed to be capped at 6 mbps, which is less than what you can get today with communist cable.

It is new construction, so I'm inclined to believe it is FTTH.

Besides, if it were only FTTN then I wouldn't need the UPS Battery Backup in case of a power outage, right?
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post #112 of 4224 Old 03-29-2006, 03:41 PM
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Besides, if it were only FTTN then I wouldn't need the UPS Battery Backup in case of a power outage, right?

Not necessarily. An IP based telephone system needs a modem, which requires power.
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post #113 of 4224 Old 03-30-2006, 08:08 AM
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Well enough with the press releases. It looks like this may becoming a reality in my neighborhood. SBC/ATT installed a new box in my neighboorhood a couple weeks ago, and sightings of these new boxes have been reported in other Ohio towns. Read about it here:

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,15784021
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post #114 of 4224 Old 04-01-2006, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Roselle puts moratorium on AT&T network upgrade
Loss of control seen over video services

By Jon Van, Tribune staff reporter
Published April 1, 2006

Opposition to a network upgrade launched by AT&T Inc. is cropping up in Chicago suburbs that are concerned about losing control over video services offered in their jurisdictions.

The Village of Roselle passed an ordinance establishing a 180-day moratorium on the phone network upgrade, which AT&T dubs Project Lightspeed, and several municipal groups will meet to discuss how to cope with AT&T's upgrade plans, which include video services that will compete with cable television.

The issue has been raised because technological advancements allow telephone companies to compete with cable companies for video service. In the old days cable companies sought permission to install lines for service. But telephone companies already have access to homes and believe they do not necessarily have to go through the same process before upgrading to a level that allows for the delivery of video.

"Roselle passed an ordinance and our lawyers are looking at it," said Mike Tye, AT&T Midwest vice president for legislative affairs. "We're dismayed that Roselle halted a network upgrade to bring enhanced services to its citizens.

"But we have finite capital and will allocate it to communities that want us there," Tye said.

Roselle's village administrator, Robin Weaver, said she was concerned to hear that AT&T was filing for right of way permits to upgrade its network without mentioning that it will use the upgrades to offer video service.

"They're just calling it upgrades," Weaver said. "I called a meeting with other municipal officials to find out what's going on."

Weaver said that AT&T has declined to seek a municipal video franchise as is required for cable TV operators.

AT&T contends that upgrades will enable its networks to deliver content at much higher speeds than is possible over its current digital subscriber line service. Video will be among the new services enabled by the network upgrade, but that is not the only reason for the upgrade, said Tye.

"This isn't the same as cable service," he said.

While AT&T declines to seek cable franchises from municipalities, it will sign a memorandum of understanding and pay 5 percent of its video revenues to municipalities, he said. The company has also sought statewide franchising such as has been approved in Texas and Indiana and is under consideration in other states.

Also, AT&T and other phone companies support federal legislation that would grant them national video franchises.

Weaver said that she and other municipal officials believe that AT&T isn't playing fair by refusing to apply for franchises just as cable operators have done. She said there are also aesthetic and safety issues associated with large boxes of electronics the phone company wants to place in neighborhoods as part of its upgrade.

"We just want to take a step back and pause to discuss this situation," Weaver said of the moratorium her village enacted. "We hope that we can end the moratorium quickly. We favor competition to cable, but we want it to be fair and to follow the law."

jvan@tribune.com
http://www.chicagotribune.com/techno...i-business-hed
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post #115 of 4224 Old 04-01-2006, 11:15 AM - Thread Starter
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April 01, 2006

Report takes issue with AT&T proposal

(Daily Oklahoman, The (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)

13-state project is pledged

Citing what it calls a track record littered with broken promises, a cable industry-backed report released this week calls AT&T's planned deployment of a $4.4 billion fiber optic network a "shell game."

In "Frayed at the Edges: The Bells' Broken Fiber Promises," the authors claim that AT&T -- and fellow Baby Bell Verizon -- demanded new legislation that allows them to skip local franchising negotiations before bringing promised high speed data and television services to consumers throughout their service territories.


"These monopolies, who for years had the temerity to accuse their competitors of cherry-picking the most affluent customers from their monopoly-service footprints, now ask state and federal regulators to exempt them from local video franchising agreements, which would by definition allow them to exclude many, if not most, neighborhoods from their rollout plans," the authors said.

The report was published by a group called Broadband Everywhere, a "coalition" backed by the American Cable Association and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

AT&T Oklahoma spokesman Andy Morgan called the report a desperate attempt by the cable industry to halt its plans to compete directly with cable with its own menu of television programming services.

"We want to give consumers an alternative to the cable monopoly, and the cable industry is doing everything possible -- including patchwork-quilt fake research -- to try and stop us and others from competing in providing video choice," Morgan said.

AT&T's "Project Lightspeed" would allow it to bundle television, Internet and telephone services in the same way its cable competition does.

The "Frayed at the Edges" authors claim that AT&T and Verizon are targeting the most lucrative high income neighborhoods for fiber network deployment and bypassing low income areas.

"It took cable 35 years to reach 50 percent of the population," Morgan said. "Yet they have the audacity to demand that any new entrants into their monopoly market serve 100 percent of the population on day one.

"We will deploy our new technologies and will reach 80 percent of our traditional 13-state footprint within three years. Where we don't deploy Lightspeed, we will offer Homezone, a satellite version of the same services."

Sean Voskuhl, associate state director of the AARP, which represents 400,000 older Oklahomans, said the consumer group opposes relaxed franchising rules that take local communities out of the process.

"We think the local governments should have that right," Voskuhl said.

The cable-backed report also outlined what it called the history of broken promises by AT&T and Verizon. It cited SBC's decision in 2002 not to open a promised call center in Enid that would have brought 500 jobs to the community.

"The decision to not open the Enid call center was unfortunate, but 2002 was a depressing period for the telecom industry," Morgan said. "We were losing thousands of customers to competition, so adding several hundred jobs just didn't make good economic sense."

Officials with Cox Communications in Oklahoma City had no comment on the report.

http://www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2006/04/01/1528307.htm
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post #116 of 4224 Old 04-02-2006, 11:56 AM
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http://www.nyquistcapital.com/2006/0...di-mind-trick/


AT&T Project Lightspeed and the Jedi Mind Trick
Published March 30th, 2006

The Death Star is looking vulnerable these days.

AT&T (T ) COO Randall Stephenson, speaking yesterday at Bank of America's 2006 Media, Entertainment and Telecommunications conference attempted to exercise his marketing skills with a poor attempt at a Jedi Mind Trick.

From IP Democracy:

In terms of Lightspeed's ability to push through hundreds of video channels, including high-def video, we're not constrained by bandwidth. You're not constrained by the size of the pipe anymore, Stephenson said, referring to the switched-video capacity of the network which delivers only one service to a single customer at a time.

In the foreseeable future, having a 15 Mbps Internet capability is irrelevant because the backbone doesn't transport at those speeds, he told the conference attendees. Stephenson said that AT&T's field tests have shown no discernable difference between AT&T's 1.5 Mbps service and Comcast's 6 Mbps because the problem is not in the last mile but in the backbone.

This is total nonsense. Verizon delivers 15mbs consistently to my home. This is the latest of many odd and obtuse statements from AT&T which, to me, are begining to sound more and more like excuses rather than logical explanations. All of these statements clearly indicate to me that Project Lightspeed is not going very well.

Why this man is being forced to make a fool of himself?

AT&T (SBC originated the program) made a big gamble with Project Lightspeed when it decided not to build fiber directly to the home. Instead, AT&T brings fiber almost' to your home, then spans the last 1000 meters or less using conventional DSL technology to deliver next generation video and data services. The only major benefit to this approach, as opposed to using FTTH, is it eliminates the need to install new cabling to each and every home, saving install costs. AT&T's approach is 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of putting fiber directly into the home.

The downsides could fill an entire page:

Inconsistent performance of DSL makes it hard to predict actual bandwidth after installation
DSL technology limited to 20-30Mbs
Requires a set top box for each TV in the home. Cable ready TV's can't tune IPTV
More expensive and complex IPTV head end hardware and software. Verizon FiOS and NTT's approach copy Cable's logical architecture exactly.
Requires more electronics in the field, more operational expenses
Requires use of MPEG-4 video compression, which doesn't look as good as MPEG-2
Limited number of video channels can be viewed in the home at one time. Only one HD signal can be viewed in household at any given point
The theory is SBC has more underground wiring, where Verizon (VZ) is more aerial. Installing new fiber aerially is much cheaper than trenching- so some say Verizon had the luxury of using FTTH given the nature their infrastructure. AT&T is using FTTH for greenfield installs as it is now common knowledge that installing FTTH in new home developments is cheaper than copper when you take into consideration future operational expenses.

In short, AT&T is deploying a very complex architecture with major limitations in the interest of saving money. The major problem with this approach is it offers nothing better than what the incumbent cablecos can provide. Cable's broadband is faster. Cable customers don't need to worry about how many channels a household is watching simultaneously. Verizon's approach delivers a user experience equivalent to cable with the ability to radically surpass it by deploying new bandwidth hungry applications as they emerge.

The only defense offered by AT&T is IPTV is better, and yes they are right - it is. IPTV gives you wide flexibility in content distrubution. But AT&T is using IPTV because they have to, not because they want to. The drinking straw bandwidth provided by DSL forces them to broadcast a few specific channels at a time. IPTV isn't a technological strength, it is a technology deployed in order to make up for the inherent weakness of their DSL based approach. Nothing precludes building an IPTV infrastructure over fiber, or even DOCSIS 3.0 based cable modems.

AT&T is now preparing to trial the service. Assuming they can successfully navigate all of the above pitfalls, they will emerge with a product that is marginally better than the one offered by cable, and have done little to address the long term requirement of putting high bandwidth infrastructure into the home.

Verizon is making a major investment in FTTH, but I would bet the fiber they are installing will be in use for 100 years - they can just upgrade the equipment at each end. The complex hardware and electronics AT&T are deploying near' your home will junked within 10 years when they too are forced to put fiber through the last mile. Sure, they are saving money now - but the investment will have a much shorter timeline.

Hopefully, AT&T will stop the charade that their short-sighted investment is superior to FTTH and stop wasting capital on what is clearly a stopgap measure. When the Jedi Mind Tricks eventually wear off in the investment community the markets will extract their pound of flesh.

.

There he goes again... Good Ol' R. Reagan's favorite Troll line !
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post #117 of 4224 Old 04-02-2006, 12:45 PM
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There are some good points in this article, and some silly nonsense too. But the worst:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmon4u View Post

http://www.nyquistcapital.com/2006/0...di-mind-trick/

Requires use of MPEG-4 video compression, which doesn't look as good as MPEG-2

Utterly wrong, and ignorant, and beside the point. And it won't be long before the cablecos go MPEG4...just as the satellite companies are.

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post #118 of 4224 Old 04-02-2006, 04:21 PM
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There are some good points in this article, and some silly nonsense too. But the worst:


Utterly wrong, and ignorant, and beside the point. And it won't be long before the cablecos go MPEG4...just as the satellite companies are.

Except ATT may use real low bitrate MPEG4. Actually, since they're using Microsoft's IPTV platform, it's probably low bitrate VC-1 right?

The rumor is less than 5 Mbps VC-1 stream for 720p?

While cable channels are giving you 15 Mbps or more MPEG2 streams for 1080i and 720p?

And one HDTV channel per home is not going to cut it.
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post #119 of 4224 Old 04-02-2006, 06:36 PM
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Well enough with the press releases. It looks like this may becoming a reality in my neighborhood. SBC/ATT installed a new box in my neighboorhood a couple weeks ago, and sightings of these new boxes have been reported in other Ohio towns. Read about it here:

http://www.dslreports.com/forum/remark,15784021


That is indeed a fiber to the node box. As of right now, you will only be able to get vDSL. ATT is in the process of trying to create a new job title for installers to work on the video. As of right now we are up in arms, and its not going smoothly. Once that gets figured out, thye have told us about 6 months till video starts to show up.
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post #120 of 4224 Old 04-02-2006, 07:26 PM
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this technology is D.O.A.

They will be spending money AGAIN in a year or two trying to match verizon.
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