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SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
4/22/2005
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LAS VEGAS -- NAB2005 -- The RBOCs have tried IPTV before and failed, but SBC Communications Inc. (NYSE: SBC) told broadcasters here this week that it's an idea whose time has come.

“So why now?” asked Jeff Weber, SBC's VP of product and planning for Project Lightspeed. “I’ve already been asked this question a thousand times and it’s already come up today: 'The telcos have been down this path before -- what is it that makes you think that SBC can pull it off this time?' ”

Weber’s fellow panelist, Steve Hawley of Seattle-based IPTV consultants Advanced Media Strategies, raised the point just minutes earlier. “The telephone companies were doing this as long as 12 to 15 years ago," Hawley noted. "Some of you may remember the Bell companies' video-on-demand trials back in 1993.”

One example: Pacific Bell (now part of SBC), said in 1993 it would spend $16 billion to hook up 5 million homes to a fiber optic "information superhighway" that would provide multimedia programming, video on demand, and support videophones by the year 2000. California residents are still waiting for those videophones, by the way.

But Weber says that past failures aren't indicative of future projects. "At the highest level, the economics look dramatically different today than they did ten years ago,” he claims.

“The improvements in compression technology, the ability to do switched video instead of broadcast video, the technology development on a scale around the world makes [IPTV] real. As these standards evolve -- and I think SBC can help provide that -- the scale and the economics come down, driving the deployment costs [down].

“Because we don’t have to take fiber all the way to the house to enable video into the house, rather than spending $40 billion dollars, we can spend four, five, or six billion dollars."

And Weber didn’t fail to mention the defensive motivation behind SBC’s IPTV effort: “The competitive environment is meaningfully different than it was 10 years ago -- wireless has taken a meaningful share of our total voice business, which we all know cable is getting in.”

For the most part, broadcasters and other content creators here say they're excited about the entry of telcos into IPTV, because it creates a new, competing distribution channel. They say IPTV will give broadcasters more leverage when negotiating content licensing agreements with cable and satellite players (see MSOs Yawn at Lightspeed).

Weber then progressed to the “slideware” portion of his presentation. He displayed several mock-ups of SBC’s Project Lightspeed interface, which included a rough-looking interactive channel guide, a box for chat, and an IPTV content panel. Another slide displayed user interaction services like photo and music file sharing with chat (see Inside SBC's IPTV Factory).

SBC says it will indeed spend between four and six billion dollars to deliver the fiber optic cable needed for IPTV and other services to 18 million U.S. homes. The fiber will give SBC customers connection speeds of 25 Mbit/s to 30 Mbit/s, Weber says.

Interestingly, he says SBC will not attempt to compete on price. “That is not where we think we can demonstrate our value to the marketplace. We’re going to have a superior product, and we want to be priced accordingly...

“I am scared and greedy,” Weber said, playfully mocking an earlier panelist's description of the big telephone companies (see SBC Puts on a Happy Face).

Whatever the motivation, SBC believes that the revenue opportunities in IPTV are substantial. “There’s upside, there’s real revenue, and we can do it because of the economics in a way that makes sense. The time is right -- that much is clear.”

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:09 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Actually statistical multiplexing is your problem rj. We have plenty of that already and that is my point. The applications that people describe require the ELIMINATION of statistical multiplexing. Until that is done, you have your fraudband.

Seven; the world of engineering is based on probabilities. Eliminating this "reality" doesn't bring the "certainty" you seem to be looking for. In network engineering, the elimination of probabilities from the models makes for poor designs.

So, go on whining...I want it to be better. Then form a carrier and deploy your great network. Until then you are a whiner.

The current sticking point seems to be one of finance. Bankers tell me that the revenue bonds must be backed by something other than pro forma income statements of the fiber utility. Sadly, I don't have a solution to this problem and I'm not wealthy enough to back the projects myself.

Since I don't want to be a victim, I use the little power I do have in hopes to make things better. I use my voice and speak out as honestly as I can. You and others may see that as whining. I see it as someone searching for the power to make a difference.
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:13 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

Actually statistical multiplexing is your problem rj. We have plenty of that already and that is my point. The applications that people describe require the ELIMINATION of statistical multiplexing. Until that is done, you have your fraudband.

So, go on whining...I want it to be better. Then form a carrier and deploy your great network. Until then you are a whiner.

seven
rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:15 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
I think you obfuscated the point and then changed topics.

I was trying to move past legacy telco TDM models and move forward to solving the problems of deploying modern, statistical multiplexing, networks.

My issue is that you are declaring a bit rate on an access line as the determining factor of "real broadband".

I see that as partial factor.

I think the overall definition would be a system that maximized the diffusion of information and knowledge. That means building a system that rewards those who make bandwidth and connectivity to be an abundant resource. It would also adhere to end/end principles.

Start with allocated bandwidth per headend system.

This seems like a failed starting point. Nobody knows where the "headend" system will be (unless we're always looking to history.)

Why not start with providing as much bandwidth and connectivity as modern technology allows?

You might find today's DSL systems in the US are as good as any system around.

I do not find that to be true. And even if it were, I still know it is not good enough.

Marketing by the end bit pipe speed is an interesting phenonmenon but not very relevant to what you advocate.

It's only a piece of the puzzle. I'm ok with it if it works. It's not that much different than marketing water connections by meter size. That does give some indication about the service provided.
rbkoontz
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rbkoontz,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:15 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
First Four Campaign Platforms (please add)

1. Fix our unemployment problem by putting 10M unemployed workers to work digging trenches for muni broadband networks.
2. Raise US tax rate to 75% to create a national committee to fight republican propaganda.
3. Redefine the USF to make hi-def porn available to every man, woman, child, and mammal.
4. Close the NYSE! All stocks are now traded on ebay!

(please add more)
routethus
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routethus,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:15 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Seven,

Perhaps, however there are plenty of ways of measuring what bandwidth you are getting through your head end. My cable operator delivers approximately what they say they do.

-r
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:16 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

I think you obfuscated the point and then changed topics.

My issue is that you are declaring a bit rate on an access line as the determining factor of "real broadband". In fact, that is not even the small picture. Start with allocated bandwidth per headend system. You might find today's DSL systems in the US are as good as any system around.

Marketing by the end bit pipe speed is an interesting phenonmenon but not very relevant to what you advocate.

seven
rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:17 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Its a shared 1 Gb/s connection to the building. 1 Gb/s to the home is a GigE at least to the CO.

Hmmm, by your definition a cable company provides zero bandwidth because they don't connect to a CO at all! That's obviously wrong ;-)

It does beg the question about how to define end/end bandwidth, as well as price access speeds, when using a modern, statistically multiplexed, communications infrastructure. It seems best to me if the municipal bandwidth utilities measure and price things in terms of gigabytes/month. This would give incentive to actually improve the infrastructures as opposed to using the infrastructure to dole out bandwidth scarcity.
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:18 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

Its a shared 1 Gb/s connection to the building. 1 Gb/s to the home is a GigE at least to the CO.

Try again.

seven
rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:18 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
corrected html

Gigabit to homes actually has not been done anywhere.

I've never been to Hong Kong and I haven't verified it for myself, but according the the following article, symmetric 1Gbs is being offerred to 800,000 households in Hong Kong for $215 per month.

Hong Kong Broadband Launches 1 Gbps Home Service for US$215/month

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) officially launched its 1 Gbps symmetric service for the residential market. Approximately 800,000 households, out of a total of 2.2 million households in Hong Kong, are wired to receive the service. The 1 Gbps symmetric service is priced at US$215 per month.

HKBN noted that its 1 Gbps service is up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth of the incumbent's ADSL service.

HKBN Premium bb1000 service is being offered on the same metro Ethernet infrastructure that delivers the company's Mass Market bb100 (symmetric 100 Mbps for US$34/month) and Entry Point bb10 (symmetric 10 Mbps for US$16/month) services.


http://www.convergedigest.com/...
rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:19 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Gigabit to homes actually has not been done anywhere.b

I've never been to Hong Kong and I haven't verified it for myself, but according the the following article, symmetric 1Gbs is being offerred to 800,000 households in Hong Kong for $215 per month.

Hong Kong Broadband Launches 1 Gbps Home Service for US$215/month

Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) officially launched its 1 Gbps symmetric service for the residential market. Approximately 800,000 households, out of a total of 2.2 million households in Hong Kong, are wired to receive the service. The 1 Gbps symmetric service is priced at US$215 per month.

HKBN noted that its 1 Gbps service is up to 166x faster downstream and 1,950x faster upstream than the advertised bandwidth of the incumbent's ADSL service.

HKBN Premium bb1000 service is being offered on the same metro Ethernet infrastructure that delivers the company's Mass Market bb100 (symmetric 100 Mbps for US$34/month) and Entry Point bb10 (symmetric 10 Mbps for US$16/month) services.


http://www.convergedigest.com/...
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:19 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

Gigabit to homes actually has not been done anywhere.

seven
rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:20 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
My definition of real broadband is 1 Terabit to every other human being on the planet. And it needs to be free. In fact, we need to pay for people in Africa to be connected to the network for free. Until that is done, all we have is Fraudband. You gigabit per second pushers need to dream. Where is your vision???!!!!??

Gigabit per second is a realistic and achievable goal. It's been proven in other countries. Meanwhile the US falls further behind.

http://www.onpointradio.org/sh...

Slipping Behind in Broadband
Aired: Tuesday, April 26, 2005 7-8PM ET

The economic promise of the Internet is ultimately about how many people can use it and how fast. The transformational promise of the Net is deeply linked to high-speed, broadband access, and all the services and applications that make it possible.

Once a leader in Internet innovation, the U.S. is now falling behind Japan and other Asian countries. Recent statistics show that the "basic" broadband services in American homes are among the slowest, most expensive, and least reliable in the developed world.

According to a new article in the Foreign Affairs journal by former Foreign Service officer Thomas Bleha, the broadband technology lag will cost America in such areas as economic growth, increased productivity, and a better quality of life.
OldPOTS
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OldPOTS,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:25 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

USTA is also running adds in my area that 'customers don't care how TV is delivered only that the delivery methods; cable, satellite and telcos DSL/FTTU should be treated equally. So tell your represenatives'.

Cableco contend, thru regular TV adds every day, that 'SBC and VZ should serve IPTV to all city neighborhoods, rich and poor, like cableco are required to do'

But interestingly the cabelco have so far denied SBC and VZ the right to run their respose adds over cable!!!

Are they concerned about video competition?
Is this a sign that 'IPTVs Day is Coming?'

OldPOTS
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:31 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

My definition of real broadband is 1 Terabit to every other human being on the planet. And it needs to be free. In fact, we need to pay for people in Africa to be connected to the network for free. Until that is done, all we have is Fraudband. You gigabit per second pushers need to dream. Where is your vision???!!!!???

seven
rjmcmahon
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rjmcmahon,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:31 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Poor people cannot make Rebublican contributions. They therefore do not deserve broadband. Forget them. (Just kidding, but it is sadly true right now).

Everybody deserves real broadband, regardless of economic status or political affilliation. The challenge we face is making it so.
materialgirl
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materialgirl,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:34 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Poor people cannot make Rebublican contributions. They therefore do not deserve broadband. Forget them. (Just kidding, but it is sadly true right now).
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:46 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

optoslob,

Fair enough, although I am looking at the BOM of an ONT in front of me and that gives me some comfort in my position.

In terms of complexity versus IPTV, you are correct (at some level) for an ONT. However 2 other things. First, the ONT is only 1 part of the equation. With a wavelength overlay cheap ($50) and theoretically no ($0) set top boxes can be deployed. Second, real good put through an ONT will be higher for IPTV than for just surfing and this will add cost. Third, there is an experience will 10s of millions of cable systems versus IPTV. Finally, there are only 2 set top box makers that matter. It is straight forward to license a return path for both.

seven
optoslob
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optoslob,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:47 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Seven, Thanks for the feedback on GPON, It looks like we will have to agree to disagree on the Triplexer / biplexer cost differences, I should have said cost to manufacture the ONT doubles because this is the side of the equation that concerns me the most.

ONT Cost increase is not just due to the Triplexer optical assembly but also the Analog Cable driver amplifier and the linear optical to electrical stage (check out the noise distortion figures in the BPON spec). Also the system needs a cable return channel equivalent system. This fuction is difficult to implement because it changes between settop box makers and even between cable systems, so it is typically done as a 100Mhz 8 bit ADC followed by a DSP to decode the QPSK return data and bridge this over to an IP return channel.

All this is much more complex and less flexible than a simple IPTV flow, at least at the ONT level.

opto
pilpel
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pilpel,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:49 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
1.GPON rate is 2.5Gbps at the downstream, which means 78Mbps for each subscriber (assuming max 32 subscribers) - currently only FlexLight networks can provide such rates.

2.For HDTV, assuming 15Mbps for each channel, we get 5 different HDTV channels for each and every home (160 different HDTV channels in total !!!!) which is more than enough.

3.There is still need for video overlay (a third wavelength) it all depends on the service providerGÇÖs headend technology.

pilpel
OldPOTS
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OldPOTS,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:50 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
In Texas legislature, cities and phone/cable companies are negotiating a swap from municipal fees on phones and cable bills. Replacing them with a sales tax. Fees compensating cities (~2% revenue) for public right of way. Proponents say sales tax will end city feuds with telco & cableco.

But critics contend that this would hurt consumers through significant increase in sales tax. Phone companies want to avoid different rates in each city. Cableco contend (regular TV adds every day) that this will weaken the city's ability to make SBC and VZ serve IPTV and the other new BB technologies to all city neighborhoods, rich and poor, like cableco are required to do. See SBC.com marketing plans to serve the neighborhoods where the most ARPU is.

Following the big money for the politicians.

OldPOTS
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:59 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

Nobody deploys GPON in any significant quantity. OSI and Flexlight together have under 5,000 subs on GPON. I don't believe that anybody will use a 3 wavelength system. I was just trying to explain the standard.

3 wavelengths does not double the cost of the ONT by the way. Also, 80% of the video market is cable. It is not clear that Multi-cast IP Video will actually be better. There is not a single thing that can be done on an IPTV system that can not be done on a cable system. There are already middleware/set tops that support both home and network PVR, VOD, web portals, HDTV, PPV, all of it. Even better they are already deployed in small quantity (say 150,000 subs).

seven
optoslob
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optoslob,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:17:59 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Brookseven, Is anyone actually deploying 3 wavelength GPON systems?

Seems like a silly idea to me! doubles the cost of the ONT and delivers "cable look alike" analog/QAM64 digital TV but usually with lower CTB/CSO performance. why try to do this when Mpeg4 over multicast works so much better?

optoslob
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:18:02 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come

Well I was not planning to teach you all about PON systems, but PONs can be either 2 or 3 wavelength in the ITU standards. If they are 3 wavelength systems, the 3rd wavelength is a 1550 downstream transmission equivalent to an 870 Mhz cable TV system.

No, the bandwidth is not evenly divided. The bandwidth is divided via traffic contracts. Think of it as 2 GigEs downstream and 1 GigE upstream statistically shared between 32 homes (this is the GPON standard). Splitters optically divide the light so all ONTs see the downstream traffic and a TDMA like structure (with Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation) in the upstream.

Also, it is quite possible to multicast on both ends of the PON. A reasonable cable channel lineup could be contained in 1 Gb/s downstream with the other 1 Gb/s used for VoD and websurfing etc.

I take it that you actually know very little about PON systems. My suggestion is that you read the G.983 and G.984 standards.

In ATM PONs by the way, ATM traffic management is quite obtainable. This could be done in GPON as well, but Ethernet traffic management is more likely.

seven
photonsu
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photonsu,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:18:03 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
I get it! DWDM to the home, just in case. Now there is a truly economical solution. Maybe Ciena can play a role here!

But seriously, what about high bandwidth applications that can't or don't have MPEG4-AVC encoding capability? IPTV means more than content from traditional providers, does it not?

PONs are outdated, high cost, limiting, and require low margins for the providers of the technology. In short, PONs are not healthy for the industry at large and are totally unnecessary. Why are they there? I'll not go into that sad discussion.

lilgatsby
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lilgatsby,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:18:03 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
seven - thanks for the input, although I'm not quite sure about what your reference to wavelengths has to do with it unless you're trenching to Dr. Huber's home.

Isn't the GPON divided into 32 even parts? How does this splitter environment handle multicast video streams? My suggestion was that 30mb will get filled fast, and yes - it will be oversubscribed and drop services, and with PON's mediocre QoS...this might be your HD broadcast of Survivor...or Monday Night Football, imagine the backlash!

Then the next phase will be to replace the GPON that replaced today's BPON that replaced yesterday's APON...I'm buying stock in duct tape.

lg
paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:18:05 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
lilgatsby,

What you are missing is that with MPEG4-AVC coding or the equivalent, you could fit 2 HDTV steams + 2 SDTV streams + web surfing in 25 Mb/s.

On top of that, you will get more than 25 Mb/s per sub out of a GPON. As an example, one could keep the 3rd wavelength (if one were so disposed) and run the broadcast TV over the 3rd wavelength just like a cable system.

The big issue with satellite and cable that is partially solved in telco architected IPTV is better theoretical support for unicast flows for personalized content. Given the switched nature of the video, the subscriber drop problem is solved for both broadcast and unicast video. The next bottleneck is upstream of the OLT or DSLAM.

seven
pnni-1
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pnni-1,
User Rank: Moderator
12/5/2012 | 3:18:06 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Yeah! Do some homework first before posting.
lilgatsby
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lilgatsby,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:18:07 AM
re: SBC: IPTV's Day Has Come
Question: 25-30mb (assuming GPON) to each subscriber does not deliver enough bandwidth to offer much more than internet, VOIP, standard channels, and very limited HD-channel support. If a home has more than one TV and is watching HD on both/three/etc, or when the request for VOD is initiated, or when HD is being recorded on a dvr while other HD channels are being viewed this should max-out the "pipe" very quickly and start dropping one or more paid for services.

Deploying a service that doesn't seem equal to current offerings today via cable or satellite...where is the value?

The business case must exist, but the xPON strategy doesn't scale today...why keep adding layers of duct tape? Other options must exist, right?

Am I missing something?

lg
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Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.