Archive for January, 2008

Stretching copper

When AT&T moved the goalposts back again on its expected deployment of bonded VDSL2, the industry seemed to collectively shake its head in frustration. Yet another delay in the carrier’s fiber-to-the-node initiative. And yet another return to the inconvenient truths about the bandwidth limitations of copper.

“AT&T will need to do something dramatic in order to find the bandwidth to deliver multi-stream high-definition [TV], especially since the cable and satellite competition have expanded their HD channel line-ups and/or VoD libraries substantially,” said Erik Keith, an analyst at Current Analysis. “MPEG-4 will help, but FTTN DSLAMs will not be the best strategy long-term. FTTP is really the best way to go.”

However, a few developments this week are aimed at not giving up on copper so quickly.

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700 MHz Auction: Open access one bid away

The C-block package license was bid up to $4.29 billion in today’s opening round. If someone takes the bait in round 14, the provisional winning amount will break the open-access barrier, paving the way for the first wireless network with a government mandate to support any application or device. Of course, that’s only if someone bids in round 13. If the bidders follow their current pattern, they’ll skip a round in between bids, which will drop will the minimum bid necessary. Right now the minimum bid is $4,865,795,000. The reserve price set by the FCC to activate open access is $4,637,854,000.

For a full analysis of the open-access race see Telephony’s wrap-up story for Day 4. For the full auction results see the FCC’s Auction 73 page.

700 MHz Auction: C-block bidding slows again

The further hiccups in C-block bidding we predicted yesterday turned out to be right on the button. The competitors for the nationwide open-access license didn’t submit bids in today’s opening round, leaving the license at its $2.98 billion provisional amount at the end of round 9. The lack of activity not only slows down the license’s advance to the $4.6 billion reserve price, which would unlock Google’s coveted open-access provision, but it also serves to lower the minimum bid for the next round from $3.42 billion to $3.38 billion.  more

700 MHz Auction: Day 3, the status quo remains

The FCC upped the intensity of the auction today, hosting four rounds of bidding today instead of the two daily rounds of last week. Despite the doubling of activity of Day 3, nothing too startling occurred. Except for a slight hiccup in C-block bidding in round 6, the auction is essentially in the same state as we left it at the end of week one: bidding ramped up leisurely on the C-block open-access license, the D-block public-safety license was untouched and the really nasty fighting occurred over regional and market licenses in New York, Southern California and Chicago. In total, the auction has no generated $6.1 billion in high bids. more

700 MHz Auction: Bidders take a breather on open-access block

For the first time in six rounds, no one bid on the open-access C block in Auction 73. After attracting a single bid in every round bringing the price up to $2.15 billion, the unnamed bidders competing for the large block of commercial spectrum stepped back in round 6, drawing into question the demand for the nationwide block that would support the country’s first government-mandated open-access network.  more

YouTube goes fully mobile — too bad it doesn’t work

Just one month after launching its full complement of content on the Helio network, YouTube took its new mobile platform worldwide. Thursday it brought its whole video catalog to the mobile device, allowing anyone to access any video from the mobile Web site, m.youtube.com or, from some phones, a downloadable Java client. It’s allowing people to log in and access personalized setting, and enabling sharing, ratings and comments. And what’s more, YouTube is supporting the upload of video directly from the mobile phone. I probably don’t need to emphasize the importance of this. No content sharing service or social networking site has yet extended all of its content and functionality to its mobile portal. It’s quite simply a boon to the industry. Or it would have been. Unfortunately the service doesn’t appear to work. more

700 MHz Auction: Round 3

The new bids are in, and the D-block public safety band has yet to attract another bid since the opening round. Its opening bid of $472 million is still far below the $1.3 billion reserve price set by the FCC. The auction is still far from over, but the more rounds go by without the license being bid, the more worried the FCC and the public safety community may become that their long-dreamed of national emergency network won’t have a commercial backer. As Current Analysis’ Bill Ho told us for an earlier post, such a predicament could be awfully embarassing for the public safety community. more

700 MHz Auction: And they’re off!

The 700 MHz auction kicked off today with two rounds of bidding, racking up a total $2.425 billion. Unlike previous auctions, the FCC is keeping secret the leading bidders’ names, revealing them only after the auction concludes. But the bids themselves are public and the biggest bid so far is for the C block, a package of 8 regional licenses covering all 50 states. The open-access spectrum block attracted two bids in two rounds, ending at $2.25 billion for the day.  more

HP updates core OSS platforms

HP this week delivered a major platform update for its NG OSS portfolio, adding a handful of new features but more importantly adding key underlying capabilities and standards deployments that set a new baseline for future OSS feature releases.

The updates include a new 6.0 version of HP’s TeMIP fault management system and new 5.0 version of HP Service Activator Software. Also on tap: a partnership with Cisco to deliver a managed services management solution for carriers running Cisco-based IP networks. more

AT&T: Pair-bonding to come in ‘late 2008′

AT&T said today it expects to begin pair-bonding advanced DSL lines in “late 2008,” pushing back the expected arrival of what the company says is an important part of its fiber-to-the-node (FTTN) initiative.

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