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The Problem with Triple-Play Providers

February 20, 2008



I am a cable quadruple customer. VoIP, broadband, TV and the reason I switched from standalone VoIP to cable had to do with dropped packets on my network. After spending days trying to figure out what the problem was with the network I finally threw in the towel and went with cable because I figured they would now own any problems I had. Surprisingly my problems went away as soon as I switched, leading me to believe that either my old cable modem was at fault or the ATA from my VoIP service provider which intercepted every packet on the network.

Yesterday I wrote about Jon Arnold's analysis of Vonage and I said it would be sad if Vonage was to go away.



Jon Arnold on Vonage

February 19, 2008

Jon Arnold has done a great job of analyzing how Vonage is doing and according to the Arnold, the latest quarter had some ups and downs. Jon spells out why Vonage may not make it into 2009 and I for one would be sad to see this happen as Vonage does a great job with its services and web interface.

In addition, if Cable becomes one of the few choices left for residential service, we all lose as Vonage allowed the ATA to move with the customer. In addition, the ability to block calls at certain hours of the day has not been widely matched by the cablecos, etc.

Here are some excerpts of an article which is worth a close read:

Vonage is trying to strengthen its value proposition with new features such as visual voice mail and virtual phone numbers, and planned features such as outbound fax and ContactBook, but it essentially remains a landline replacement service.






Verizon Wireless and AT&T Lowering Rates

February 19, 2008

I have been intentionally staying away from the news regarding Verizon Wireless introducing new unlimited voice plans but now that AT&T has come out and matched Verizon's plans, it seems I have to at least mention it and point to GigaOM as they are covering the news and can give you the details.

I am a bit surprised by this move as Verizon Wireless has been doing well charging more than its rivals. These new rates mean that Verizon Wireless is either seeing a slowing economy and have decided this is a way to increase share or they have decided it is time to do away with their weaker competitors T-Mobile and Sprint.

One wonders if this is an opening salvo in a price war where only the customers will be the winners. It certainly seems like this is a likely scenario and the wireless market could soon end up (from a profit perspective) being a lot like the domestic airline market.



TMCnet Continues to Grow

February 19, 2008

Thanks once again to our loyal TMCnet readers. Because of you, TMCnet has broken more online records. In January of 2008 TMCnet experienced 38,368,961 page views (meaning total number of web pages viewed on TMCnet in January alone.

The total number of unique visitors on our site in January was 2,446,403 which is not an all time record but it is higher than recent months. Average Visit Length per person on TMCnet in January was 28 minutes and 59 seconds this past month.

The ISPS Strike Back

February 18, 2008

In the quest for behavioral targeting, companies who control ad networks have been working as hard as possible to allow advertisers to reach web surfers based on their online behavior and not just what page they happen to be on.

The company best positioned to take advantage of behavioral targeting without a doubt was once Yahoo. The wealth of services the company offers is surely staggering and they are able to ascertain what stocks you are considering, what content is in your e-mails, what sports teams you track and much more.

Google has one-upped Yahoo! with their purchase of DoubleClick and in an article titled Google Achieves Behavioral Targeting Nirvana, written about ten months ago, I spelled out why Google is now in a better place than Yahoo! to take advantage of the most accurate behavioral targeting. As a reminder, between Google and DoubleClick the surfing habits of virtually all web surfers will be known to Google.

But it is really the ISPs who have a better handle on where people go online than even Google.





Sony's VoIP Headsets

February 18, 2008

RIM Sues Motorola over Patents

February 18, 2008

The sheer nastiness of what is about to happen could become something of legend. The first few grenades have been lobbed back and forth between Canada and Illinois. First Motorola jacked up licensing fees for its patents for things like using WiFi on a handheld device and now RIM is suing and saying these moves are unreasonable and moreover Motorola has infringed on one of RIM's patents which covers a device which has a keyboard optimized for use with the thumbs.

RIM's complaint alludes to Motorola's setbacks and argues that Motorola boosted its royalty demands in response to the "declining fortunes of its handset business" along with the fact that RIM has become a "more substantial competitor in the wireless market." As of December, RIM had 12 million BlackBerry subscribers world-wide, up from seven million in December 2006.


SMBs Embrace FMC

February 17, 2008

Huge news comes from Nortel as they recently commissioned a survey which found SMBs are more technically savvy than some might have imagined. SMBs seem to be screaming for FMC solutions and unified communications -- especially as it relates to integrating mobile devices with traditional computer solutions like laptops, etc.

900 SMBs responded to a web survey to generate these results. Unfortunately this skews the survey a bit as the people taking the survey had to be web savvy and also it is unclear what site users went to find the survey.

Still, this is a good sign that at least web-savvy SMBs are looking for the absolute latest in communications products and services. For vendors, it is just a matter of figuring out how to position your solutions in the most appealing fashion possible while ensuring that the leading edge features are in your products.

Only a marriage of excellent R&D coupled with effectively targeted marketing/PR/branding and positioning will guarantee vendors can effectively penetrate this market.

More







Rembrandt IP Management

February 17, 2008

Some analysts are concerned that patents held by "patent troll" Rembrandt IP Management will be used successfully against cable companies and others.

In cases originally spread across federal courts in Delaware, New York and Texas, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cox Communications and Cablevision Systems face claims that their cable-modem services infringe eight patents now held by Rembrandt, and that their video services violate a ninth one related to digital-TV transmission.

Separately, ABC, CBS, NBC Universal and Fox — as well as manufacturer Sharp Electronics — face suits alleging infringement of Rembrandt’s patent on digital TV transmission.

According to an attorney close to the litigation, the firm has sought to collect half of 1% of all revenue generated from services that allegedly infringe on the data and video patents.

“If they’re successful, this could affect everything from the cost of cable service to the price of TVs,” said the attorney close to the litigation, who spoke only on condition of anonymity.

Regulators Reshape the Internet

February 15, 2008

It is pretty amazing to see how many separate issues are surfacing that could affect the future of the internet. The FCC and government have their plates full deciding what to do with telcos and their potentially anti-competitive practices.

The first issue at hand is net neutrality. Congressman Edward Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the  “Internet Freedom Law” this week.

Rather than detailing specific regulations, the new Markey bill calls on the FCC to conduct a “thorough inquiry” to determine “broadband policies that will promote openness, competition, innovation, and affordable, ubiquitous broadband service for all.”   Part of the commission’s task is to conduct an “Internet freedom assessment” to determine whether or not service providers are adhering to “the Commission’s Broadband Policy Statement of August, 2005,” which prohibits actions that might interfere with users’ ability to access or use lawful content and services over the Internet and to attach any legal device that does not harm the network.

Next up is the case of BitTorrent and specifically, the fact that Comcast has been caught throttling traffic from this peer to peer file sharing network often used to send and receive videos. Comcast says they are within their rights to throttle bandwidth as needed to ensure things like voice get the proper quality of service while others are concerned that throttling bandwidth relating to applications violates the concept of net neutrality.

Finally, the issue of short codes has surfaced once again as Verizon has denied the use of these codes to Rebtel, a competitive service provider and others.

This month could be looked back upon as a pivotal one in the world of Internet freedom and the shaping of the world's net policies.









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