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Did Comcast Hire People to Attend the FCC Forum?

February 28, 2008

There have been a  number of reports that Comcast filled the recent FCC Forum with its employees and people off the street who were paid. By doing so, many claim the company denied access to people who had legitimate concerns.

The company acknowledges it hired people to wait in line to hold spots for Comcast employees. It seems that some of these placeholders may have made it in the building as there are photos of some people sleeping through the debate.



Then again, these could just be very bored Comcast employees. Let's face it, an FCC meeting discussing the minutiae of net neutrality is not riveting content.





What Nortel Should do Now

February 27, 2008

Nortel will be cutting 2,100 jobs and shifting about one thousand more to areas which have lower costs. These actions are in response to a wider loss in the fourth quarter.

The company remains optimistic about its long term future and they are in a good position from the standpoint of having an enterprise and carrier business. As I have said in the past, generally, one is strong while the other is weak.

The challenge for Nortel may just be the sheer size of the company which makes it difficult to manage. Having so many divisions and product lines makes it tougher to turn the ship on a dime.

I have a number of strong relationships across the carrier and enterprise sides of the business and as an outsider I feel the company can do better if it brings its various units together even more closely than they currently work.

This is not an easy task of course but the company has solid technology, a great relationship with Microsoft and plays in multiple spaces which should offset one another.

These job cuts along with some restructuring could help the telecom giant become more nimble which should assist them as they head into a tougher economic environment.

And one last point...











Some Webinars to Witness

February 25, 2008

If you aren't aware, it seems like my responsibility to at least mention some webinars worth attending. They happen to all be webinars that are hosted by TMC.

I am going to try to attend them all. Some of the more interesting ones to me have to do with cutting edge tech. So multicore, IMS applications, unified communications, hosting and analyzing success factors are ones I am drawn most to.

Of course, you can feel free to take a look at this list and make your own decisions on which one(s) suit your needs most.



Thank You Kevin Martin

February 25, 2008

It seems as if FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is the champion of the US citizen today at the FCC Forum as he seems genuinely concerned that there is discrimination taking place on the internet. Moreover he seems concerned about the problem of traffic slowing without disclosure.

This is exactly the issue I brought up last night and I agree 100% that Chairman Martin needs to ensure service providers are more forthcoming with what they do behind the scenes.

These providers are in a position of great power and I am all for them making money... I just want to ensure that there is full disclosure when they do things that alter our broadband access behind the scenes.

Here is what I said last night:

For example, I do not have an answer to the issue of service providers slowing down certain applications. If indeed this is done for the good of all users on the network, then is it so bad?

But then again, perhaps the biggest issue is that of transparency.









FCC Forum Starts This Week

February 24, 2008

This week there will be an FCC Forum in Boston where the FCC will be discussing many issues regarding the future of the internet. While the lobbying system of the US is wonderful in that it allows many to have their voices heard in Washington, the problem has been in many industries, the people with the most money scream loudest.

As is so common in many situations, the squeaky wheels get the grease. And let's just say that large phone and cable companies are professional squeakers. Again, not that there is anything wrong with this from a shareholder perspective and even in terms of the law… Lobbying is within a companies' rights.

So it will be with great interest that I watch what happens at the FCC Forum next week.



Jamie Siminoff on The Big Idea

February 21, 2008

Skype Serves up 100 Billion Minutes

February 20, 2008

What can you say about a company that has generated 100 billion minutes of telephone traffic. Skype has been around for 4.5 years by the way making this milestone an even greater accomplishment.

While these minutes were all free, it shows just how Skype has changed the way the world communicates.

I remember when long-distance calls in the US were about 25 cents. If you assume that Skype could charge this amount per minute of calling this would amount to a cool $25 billion in cash.

Of course this exercise is kind of ridiculous -- especially when you consider all these minutes of use are due to the service being free.

Then again, I use Skype video because it is convenient. I would pay may $10/month if I had to for such a service.

Many will look at Skype as the ultimate company that has brought the telecom companies to their knees but it is amazing to me that they are also the company with the most video users.

Why did it take a start-up from Europe to give us the most popular videoconferencing software in the world?

It goes to show you how disruptive companies are generally the greatest innovators as well.













More Cable Details Emerge

February 20, 2008

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.






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