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Cable/Video

Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) today announced that Canadian service provider SaskTel will deploy Lucent's equipment in a new IP video-over-DSL service in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (see Lucent Intros Video Over DSL).

Crazy idea, you say? Possibly. But it just might work. Indeed, sources say service providers worldwide are looking at the idea of creating commercial video services for DSL. There are also a slew of RFPs (requests for proposal) for video-over-DSL in the field right now. And ironically, some say the upshot could be renewed strength in the optical market, if DSL networks can be put to new uses.

So where's the logic? The carriers are being driven by the fear that if they don't find new services for DSL fast, they will be usurped by the cable industry distributing its own broadband services. And that fear seems legitimate.

Here's the scoop: Lucent's offering a new version of its Stinger DSL access concentrator, which will give high-speed video capabilities to the device. Right now, customers use Stinger over asymmetrical DSL (ADSL) lines, making it tough to support high-definition television or nascent video-on-demand. The new Stinger will support offerings like these via very-high-bit-rate DSL (VDSL).

Lucent has integrated this new product, which is slated for general availability at the end of June, with video billing and administrative software from iMagicTV Inc. of New Brunswick; video headend equipment from Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT); and set-top boxes from Pace Micro Technology PLC (LSE: PIC).

Lucent says it's not working on any similar IP video product for use with optical services. And SaskTel says it's not interested in running fiber to homes for video use.

But analysts say the trend toward running digital, IP-based video over VDSL is just a stop along the way to fiber to the home. Rollouts of video over DSL will encourage more fiber installations, particularly among multiple system operators (MSOs), the next evolution of today's cable TV providers, who are generally thought to be best positioned to take a large slice of the upcoming packet video market (see Cable MSOs Set to Win?).

"The only way cable providers will be able to offer video services over DSL is by extending fiber to remote DSLAMs," says Alan Bezoza, broadband access analyst at CIBC World Markets. To extend the fiber as needed and overcome distance limitations, he says, carriers are starting to use PONs (passive optical networks) and new fiber installations.

"Video over DSL doesn't compete with optical access -- it encourages it," Bezoza asserts. And he says fiber will replace copper as IP becomes a medium for TV stations. Today, he notes, video over IP is strictly relegated to surfing the Internet with a TV screen.

So far, SaskTel's the only Stinger video taker willing to go on record. But it's a serious one, even though it's not revealing the value of its deal with Lucent. "We've found in our research there's a significant demand for services like these," says a spokesperson. The carrier has gotten the required licensing for nine cities from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) and plans to roll out an IP-based video service commercially in the cities of Regina and Saskatoon in May or June, with the other locations to follow.

Lucent's already got competition for other regional Canadian telco contracts. Aliant Telecom of Maritime Canada is using equipment from Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Harmonic along with iMagicTV software in an IP video service called VibeVision.

Analysts say there are many other pending contracts in North America from carriers eager to get a slice of the video services pie -- a market that Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. says is worth $40 billion annually.

— Mary Jander, Senior Editor, Light Reading
http://www.lightreading.com
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hisles 12/4/2012 | 10:37:20 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL thanks for the info Skier_Dude

that MPEG-4 would make a huge difference to the viability of the solution.

The key to the example given was they wanted to differentiate with RtVOD-but the unicast traffic sucked up serious bandwidth in the backhaul.

If Lucent did this in IP(if they had a credible GigE story) to the Headend-this could be a serious solution

thanks
bitdropper 12/4/2012 | 10:37:17 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL "I don't want to slam LU or any SPs looking at this strategy, but I'm dying to comment.

1. When is the last time your cable went down? It isn't the 80's anymore and MSOs run a tight and reliable ship for video delivery. But having said that, I won't give them my phone service because I don't want to play with a toy phone system. I can't help but think the reverse will be true with ILEC based video-over-DSL for a very long time."

--------------------------------------------------

"I don't want to slam LU or any SPs looking at this strategy, but I'm dying to comment.

1. When is the last time your cable went down? It isn't the 80's anymore and MSOs run a tight and reliable ship for video delivery. But having said that, I won't give them my phone service because I don't want to play with a toy phone system. I can't help but think the reverse will be true with ILEC based video-over-DSL for a very long time."

--------------------------------------------------

Excellent post, Konaboy!

As KB said, don't want to slam anyone here either.

But since you asked! I have a cable modem. Works great 98% of the time. (Note: for those of us who still remember a smattering of college math, one 9 and one 8, are not the same as five 9s)

My cable operator decided that they had to upgrade their network (some fanciful story about [email protected] going under, as if we'd believe that). Anyway, their idea of doing this transition was to, without any warning, take the server out of action for six weeks...yes, you read it right...six WEEKS! Of course, their friendly, courteous, knowledgeable, first-tier support folks (after a short queue listening to soothing music for several hours) told me a series of obviously contrived lies, without admitting to what they had done. As the sunny days turned into weeks, they stonewalled me from escalation of *any* kind. The only higher-level person I could talk to was the supervisor of the support group on duty at the time. I sent an email addressed to the Customer Service VP, using a separate uunet dial-up, to the "contact us" button on their website. You guessed it...no response. Finally, I was told by one of these "supervisors", that:

"This is *not* an 'outage', this is a 'conversion' in area xxxx from an old acquired dbase to standard Comcast dbase. Therefore 24 - 48 hr recovery is not applicable. Conversions take longer, and you will just have to wait until it gets done. No other ISP would do it any better."

This fiasco occurred back last October through December, and my cable bill is still screwed up. I still have to call them once a month to ask that they please stop sending me "Your account is past due" notifications.

These clowns have no idea what an OSS *is*. They still find outages through customer complaint triangulation on a map, for heaven's sake! And they're one of the better ones!

Now, would I put my voice service on an MSO, or my video service on an ILEC? As Konaboy very accurately assessed...not for a very long time!

I wasn't too blunt was I? Oh good, because I sure wouldn't want to slam anyone.

bd
GreenLight 12/4/2012 | 10:37:16 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL The ADSL and VDSL reaches represent a small portion of each RT's footprint. ADSL would have to deploy interleaved (which noone had settled on yet) to handle compressed video. Don't know about VDSL.

Assumming the marginal nature of the access technology eventually sorts out (doubtful), there are still 600 pound questions about content (who has it?) and expense of video caching.
bitdropper 12/4/2012 | 10:37:16 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL We have a tendency on these boards to let the debate slide off towards technical merit. Nature of the beast I suppose. Right now, LU needs all the publicity it can get for any forward traction on any new product, development and/or technology, whether it compares well with existing ones or not. Same goes for NT. This may have more to do with the article than anything.

Just my $.02 worth of cautious distance.

ivehadit 12/4/2012 | 10:37:16 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL i don't want to slam anyone either, but one problem with todays cable is lack of credible competition. with video over dsl we would have leading edge choices like video on demand.

not many cable systems offer video on demand. what cable needs most is competition. lucent's solution allows the competition to give consumers a credible choice.
Twistall 12/4/2012 | 10:37:14 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL ivehadit sez:
...but one problem with todays cable is lack of credible competition...

This is the fault of the monkeys running (y)our town government, who give away the franchise to whoever promises to put cousin Billy Bob in charge of broadcasting the selectman's meeting, and who believe whatever the cable people tell them.

However, if you live close enough to the network broacaster's antennae, there is a viable alternative: It's called satellite.
opt_dhogan 12/4/2012 | 10:37:13 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL Previously:

*****
1. When is the last time your cable went down? It isn't the 80's anymore and MSOs run a tight and reliable ship for video delivery. But having said that, I won't give them my phone service because I don't want to play with a toy phone system. I can't help but think the reverse will be true with ILEC based video-over-DSL for a very long time."
*****
And:
But since you asked! I have a cable modem. Works great 98% of the time. (Note: for those of us who still remember a smattering of college math, one 9 and one 8, are not the same as five 9s)
...
Now, would I put my voice service on an MSO, or my video service on an ILEC? As Konaboy very accurately assessed...not for a very long time!
*****
Two great posts. (This quarter-Chemist got a kick out of the "five 9s" joke.)

I like the posts about bringing competition to the MSOs, but I don't think video over DSL will be much more than a foot note. Video is a bandwidth intensive thing that the HFC was born to deliver. DSL will have to look for niche areas where it has some sort of minimal advantage, like working in places where HFCs haven't been laid yet. They should also be looking for content that the MSOs and Blockbusters can't deliver (I refer back to the out of region college basketball game example that I have given in the past).

The real place for people to be working is technology that delivers video over internet protocol in general. Most local broadcasters would like to put their signals on the web for anyone around the world to watch. (Not to mention the hardward to take a stream from my PC to the TV where I can really relax and watch.)

I'm thinking that this technology is taking us one step closer to letting me watch a live stream fromt the web to my TV, even if it does come through my cable modem.

I'm not planning on seeing video over DSL really making waves. Especially to those of us who live in HFC country.

-d
fgoldstein 12/4/2012 | 10:37:10 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL I've been using phone-over-cable for almost three years, MediaOne/AT&T. It has been extremely reliable, certainly better than the local Bell (VZ/NET&T). Of course this is NOT IP, NOT PacketCable, NOT any of that silly stuff. It's built on Tellabs Cablespan.

Video over DSL would work okay in a limited number of cases where the loops are all short (everyone on a new RT) and the RTs have plenty of bandwidth. Nothing a Bell could pull off, but usable for some niche plays.
waveform 12/4/2012 | 10:37:08 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL It is Arris HDT's and voiceports in my area. And they do work just fine also.

On the other side of the house, I had an ADSL line from the RBOC before and I have the cable modem service from the MSO now. The cable modem Internet connection product (basic package) is 50% faster than the same dollar amount ADSL Internet connection product (bronze package). In a dollar for dollar apple-to-apple comparison the cable modem wins hands down.

~waveform
waveform 12/4/2012 | 10:37:08 PM
re: Lucent Touts Video-Over-DSL For the record, it was not your cable provider (Comcast?) that decided to pull your Internet plug, it was actually [email protected] The physical network equipment was owned and maintained by [email protected], though they probably had some kind of agreement with your provider for basic card pulling, etc. The Gǣnetwork upgradeGǥ they referred to was a complete duplication of all the physical parts, connectivity and logistics to basically make a new network to roll your account onto. This would include the SONET transport; network engines and pipe(s) back to the RDC as well as account records, billing systems, etc.

We went through the same thing here in my area with a similar incident ([email protected]) although a different provider. We were back online in two to three days (market-wide). Not too shabbyGǪ.

Being an old phone dog, I too was hesitant in putting my home telephony over a cable TV provided connection. However my wife and I both have cell phones (and from two separate providers) so then what the worry if a crisis occurred? (In fact, who doesnGt have a cell phone these days? LOL)

Funny thing, the wife and I actually considered just putting a separate Sprint PCS cell phone on a table at home and call it the Gǣhome phoneGǥ. (We dislike the incumbent copper line providers in this area that much). So anyway, we tried the cable telephony line and have never had a problem with it, although I must say that I am surprised.

But now back to the article, isnGt this more like equipment providers looking for alternate sources of income in these dry times, albeit from the same old group of customers? But like already mentioned, the video over VDSL technology is in infancy stages right now. I doubt that I would try it. I have had enough blue screens with WIN95GǪGǪ
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