Viodi View

Viodi View – 04/20/12

FUD – the old Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt phrase that normally describes the unsavory and morally questionable tactics used by a companies whose offering is inferior to the competition.  Using these tactics sometimes buys time for the inferior competitor to introduce a better product or buy their way out of their weak position.

There is FUD now in the independent telco market as the ramifications of the FCC Connect America Fund Order comes into focus.  This FUD isn’t being spread by competitors, but is being created by the FCC’s process and transition and is having real economic impact and is serving as an anti-stimulus. Some of the impacts include:

  • Potential for bankruptcies – could be very ugly politically, if an RUS borrower defaults on its loan
  • Putting stimulus projects on hold, potentially cancelling some rural broadband projects
  • Reduction in CLEC activities by independent telcos in areas that are under-served
  • Cost reductions, which include layoffs and staff reduction through attrition of good paying rural jobs
  • More rehabilitation of existing copper and reduced fiber to the home deployment (even though fiber brings real long-term operational savings costs, including significant opportunities for energy reduction.

Documonials to Inform, Inspire and Promote

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Shirley Bloomfield of NTCA
NTCA's Shirley Bloomfield

A New Game Plan Is Needed

NTCA’s CEO, Shirley Bloomfield talks about changes to USF, Intercarrier Compensation and how rural operators need to try a different game plan to have their and their customers’ voices heard in Washington D.C.  She suggests that the uncertainty needs to be resolved, as it is delaying operators’ plans for rolling out broadband.  Click here to view the video and read more about why in the long-term Bloomfield is bullish on her member’s prospects.

Reporting on Reporting

Geoff Burke of Calix
Geoff Burke of Calix

What are the characteristics of rural broadband customers?  That is a question that Geoff Burke of Calix addresses in this exclusive interview filmed at the 2012 IP Possibilities Conference and Expo in Indianapolis. As Burke points out, this difference in data usage between copper and fiber has potentially huge policy implications in Washington.  It could be evidence of some of the early concerns regarding the National Broadband Plan and the disparity in that plan between the minimum goals of 4 Mb/s for rural versus 100 Mb/s for urban areas.  Click here to view the video and read more.

Computer History Museum Event Summary: “The Idea Factory” by Alan Weissberger

Dave Iverson and Jon Gertner at the Computer History Museum
CHM Event

Alan Weissberger has an important article on the significance of Bell Labs and the resulting innovation it spawned.  There is definitely food for thought on the conditions surrounding that special time and whether they could be or whether it would be good for them to be replicated today.  It also triggered a somewhat tangential thought about the importance of standards with regards to reliable telecom service.  With the demise of Bell Labs’ cousin Bellcore, it seems like there is no gold standard of testing and reliability for telephony reliability.  Click here to read more….

Knology has a Wow! Moment

Colleen Abdoulah of WOW!
WOW!'s Colleen Abdoulah

It is great to see Wow! as the successful suitor for Knology.  These companies have always held a special place for me, as I was involved with a VOD Application Service Provider (in today’s parlance it would probably be called a Distributed Cloud VOD Provider), that was working with both of these companies at the turn of the century.  It was thrilling to meet Colleen Abdoulah, president and CEO of WOW!, at last month’s ACA Summit.  Click here to view the video interview with Abdoulah.

Partnering for Scale & New Opportunities

Rich Fickle of NTCA
Rich Fickle of NTCA

“On the video side, we have some challenges,” said Rich Fickle, president of NCTC.  Speaking at the ACA 2012 Summit, Fickle spoke of the need to work together with the American Cable Association and its members to control programming costs.  He suggested closer ties between NCTC and ACA to overcome these challenges.  Click here to view.

Some Tweets and Short Thoughts

  • Multiscreen Beyond Franchise. In a sports bar tonight, I saw a TV ad for a Cox multiscreen offering -nearest Cox system is 400 miles away.  I realize that the ad  placement couldn’t be targeted to only the markets Cox serves.  Still,  I wonder if this hints at a future of MSO service beyond their franchise areas – content rights being the challenge.
  • One of the best views ever from a telecom conference. A full view of the Triple A Pirates field in Indianapolis –!/viodi/status/190319094308929536/photo/1
  • Voice devolving into “best effort service” esp. in rural areas. Without intervention and focus, it will get worse said David Lewis of ANPI.

The Korner – Power and Passion to the People

The best part of traveling this great country is hearing the stories from the people.  Sometimes, I end up half way across the country to literally hear the story, or in this case, song, from someone who is in my backyard.  At the Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit we had a delightful interview with serial entrepreneur Gene Wang.

Power and Passion to the People
Power and Passion to the People

In our interview, he demonstrates how his software improves energy efficiency through engaging applications, including applications that incorporate social media and gaming.  He explains that “vampire” devices can account for as much as 30% of a home’s power consumption.  Part of People Power’s strategy is to work with service providers to get the word out about their offering.

His quest to improve energy efficiency venture is a passion for this successful business person.  As we talked off-camera, he provided tips on how he built his company culture.  One of the common denominators for his companies is that each one had an employee band. Click to view the video and read more about the People Power Band and their upcoming gig this Sunday at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco.

Author Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

By Ken Pyle, Managing Editor

Ken Pyle is Marketing Director for the Broadband Forum. The mission of this 25+-year-old non-profit “is to unlock the potential for new markets and profitable revenue growth by leveraging new technologies and standards in the home, intelligent small business, and multi-user infrastructure of the broadband network.”

He is also co-founder of Viodi, LLC and Managing Editor of the Viodi View, a publication focused on the rural broadband ecosystem, autonomous vehicles, and electric aviation. He has edited and produced numerous multimedia projects for NTCA, US Telecom and Viodi. Pyle is the producer of Viodi’s Local Content Workshop, the Video Production Crash Course at NAB, as well as ViodiTV. He has been intimately involved in Viodi’s consulting projects and has created processes for clients to use for their PPV and VOD operations, as well authored reports on the independent telco market.

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