Want all the HDTV you can eat? CommsDesign has a primer on the new gigabit PON (passive optical networking) that engineering types are playing with. It's faster than today's fiber optics standards, providing up to 2.5 gbps of download speed.
It's $500 and only works with other phones like it, but Packet8 is selling a Net-based videophone to supplement its ordinary Net telephone service.
The company offers very helpful "videophone etiquette" to avoid misunderstandings. So remember, never call before 10 am or after 10 pm (except on Christmas, of course), never wear stripes or white, and be sure to introduce everyone that's in the room with you.
David Foster Wallace told the best future history of videophones' rise and fall in Infinite Jest. In summary: People loved them, then realized they looked grungy, so started dressing … Read more
Associated Press has a story on Acacia Research, the company that says it has a patent on on-demand streaming media technology, approaching colleges for licenses. The Chronicle of Higher Education has been covering the approach to schools for a while.
A lot of companies, from Disney on down, have been settling with Acacia. The company started with online porn sites, but now is seeking licenses from virtually all Web streaming media companies, cable and satellite TV networks, and businesses that use intranet video. Comcast has said it is fighting Acacia's patent claims, and that might be where the issue … Read more
I've always had an aversion to paying for broadband in hotel rooms. Maybe it's the $5 bag of honey nuts or the $15 hamburgers that scares me away.
But that hasn't tempered hotel chains from tapping a blossoming business. In 2003, there were 5,207 hotel properties with broadband access, according to a study by In-Stat/MDR. That number will jump to 26,828 by 2008 and generate about $1.8 billion in revenue, up from the $428 expected this year.
That's got to be a more lucrative business than mini-bar services.
So I decided to … Read more
A Broadband Reports forum reader has posted a copy of what looks like the end-user's operating manual for Verizon's new Fios fiber optic service. No surprises, but it does contain a few interesting details. The service is run off a home's power source, so if there's a blackout, battery power is necessary. That means that if you're using it for your phone service, the phone dies in 8 hours. If you live in earthquake-prone California, you might want to have a cell phone.
South Korea continues to maintain its leadership in cutting edge broadband services. Hanaro Telecom, Korea's second-biggest broadband player, said Wednesday that it plans to launch a new broadband TV service. Subscribers of ??Broadband TV" will get regular local TV programming in addition to games over a high-speed connection. A pilot program integrating data access, telephony and TV service will be launched through an xDSL network in Seoul by the end of the year. The carrier also hopes to provide Internet video phone service in October.
Video over broadband connections is nothing new for South Koreans, who already can … Read more
Big day at the FCC. The feds also said today that telcos wiring apartment buildings with fiber optic connections won't have to share those with rival ISPs.
This is a bit of a loophole fill. The FCC already said last year that telcos could keep their fiber off limits to rivals, but hadn't been specific about apartment buildings. SBC in particular had used this oversight as part of its reasoning for holding off on fiber investments ?? until it finally gave way this summer and said it was going ahead with fiber projects after all. But today's decision … Read more
Our wireless reporter Ben Charny just spent a few minutes showing me AT&T's new broadband wireless service on a laptop. (Variously called UMTS or W-CDMA. If you don't have 16 acronyms, you're not cool in the wireless world). It wasn't bad. Between 220 kbps and 340 kbps connections, depending on where we were walking in the building.
The service costs $80 a month for unlimited business use. That's a lot compared to my $26 SBC connection, and it's a lot slower. But if I was moving around with a laptop a lot, … Read more
FCC Chairman Michael Powell is trying to revive rules that helped lower broadband prices from small competitors like Covad, according to USA Today. The issue is "line sharing," which forced the big phone companies to let the Covads of the world use customers' existing phone lines to offer DSL (the same way SBC or Verizon would) instead of buying an expensive extra line.
The FCC phased this out as part of its sweeping Triennial Review last year. That massive ruling was deeply contentious even within the regulatory body itself. Congress is looking at reopening telecommunications regulations next year, … Read more