Cable Tech

The Friday Five

3:00 PM -- Here's our quasi-weekly glance at a handful of other cable-related stuff that happened in the world of cable that bears repeating or sharing:

  • Multichannel News reports that Mediacom Communications Corp. and Bresnan Communications LLC , under an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , will get waivers on some set-tops with integrated security on the basis that the MSOs will convert some rural system to all-digital by the February 2009 digital TV transition.
    Dozens of other video service operators, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), have obtained similar box waivers on the condition that they also agreed to migrate to all-digital. (See Verizon & Others Get Their Waivers and Verizon to Change Its Analog Channels.) The FCC issued the order on April 16. According to the FCC document, more than 25 Mediacom systems are subject to the order. For Bresnan, it applies only to its system in Gillette, Wyo.

  • Some execs are leaving the band…BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND), that is. Symmetricom Inc. (Nasdaq: SYMM), as part of an expanded cable play, poached two execs from BigBand. The company appointed 25-year industry vet David Nicholas to VP of sales for cable, and also added John Quesenbury (also late of BigBand) to Symmetricom's new cable sales team. (See Symmetricom Names Cable Head.) BigBand, we're told, is in the process of interviewing replacement candidates.
    Symmetricom, in case you've forgotten, supplies a key timing mechanism that syncs up the piece parts of the budding modular cable modem termination system (M-CMTS) architecture. (See CableLabs OKs First Modular CMTS Element .) More recently, it has introduced a video quality monitoring platform tailored for cable and apps such as switched digital video (SDV) and video-on-demand. (See Symmetricom Expands Cable Play.)

  • In case you haven't gotten your fill of the recent Network Neutrality debates here in the U.S., there will be more added to the discussion north of the border at a "peaceful protest" slated for May 15 on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (See Net Neutrality Gets Its Hearing.)

  • Broadcasting & Cable says American Cable Association (ACA) is urging the FCC to strike down a request by broadcasters that the agency not grant a waiver that would ensure some smaller cable operators are not saddled with the burden of delivering "must carry" broadcaster signals in analog and digital format after the February 2009 digital TV transition. Earlier this month, FCC chairman Kevin Martin said he is considering a plan that would offer some bandwidth relief for cable systems with 552 MHz or less of capacity. (See Martin: Give Small Ops a Break.)

  • And speaking of the DTV transition, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is seeking a rule that would allow nursing-home residents and people who use P.O. boxes to apply for $40 coupons good toward the purchase of special digital-to-analog converter boxes. Overall, more than 10 million coupon requests have poured in. (See DTV Coupon Clippers .)

Until next week…

― Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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