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TelcoTV: More Than Just Video in Vegas

Television shows that last 10 seasons or more often undergo cast changes. As TelcoTV celebrates its 11th year this week at the LVH in Las Vegas, not only has the cast changed, but so have the major plotlines.

Where once TelcoTV focused on video technology and how telecom service providers could add video services to their bundles, today the show's focus is on broadband services, starting with consumer video but including much more, from in-home networks to cloud services to businesses to new markets in telemedicine.

This shift is a reflection of the reality many small telcos have been facing: The high cost of content is making it hard-to-impossible to find profits in delivering video services, requiring more creativity in developing this part of the service bundle.

Three telco execs will appear as keynoters to share some of the creative thought they are bringing to broadband services in general and video in particular. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s Robert Mudge, president of Consumer and Mass Business, will kick things off on Wednesday by discussing the different ways his company is using its FiOS network to deliver more than video.

When Windstream Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: WIN) President and CEO Jeff Gardner appears as a keynoter on Oct. 25, he will not only be discussing the thinking behind his company's Merge service, which is largely an over-the-top video play, but also its entry into cloud services and its plans for pushing higher-speed broadband further out into the rural areas it serves.

A day later, Dave Wittwer, president and CEO of TDS Telecom , will be sharing his company's growth strategies, focusing on business and cloud services as well as its IPTV strategies.

The 2012 edition of TelcoTV is set against a backdrop of turbulent times for its core audience of smaller telcos. The Federal Communications Commission's Broadband Plan, which transforms traditional Universal Service Fund monies into Connect America funds, is shrinking the budgets of many smaller telcos, which had already built out broadband networks to the customers and thus don't qualify for the major investment for broadband subsidies. Other sources of funding, such as inter-carrier compensation, are also under attack in D.C.

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO of the NTCA - The Rural Broadband Association , which is Light Reading's partner in producing TelcoTV, will bring her staunch advocacy of smaller telcos to the TelcoTV stage for the first time. Bloomfield will put the regulatory picture into perspective and likely will give the audience of telcos some marching orders for what they can be doing to improve that picture.

Current trends in video will not be overlooked: On Thursday, Oct. 25, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s Maria Dillard, vice president of U-verse and video products, will look at the future of TV applications.

One fixture of TelcoTV remains the same: Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Aditya Kishore will present his annual research into consumer preferences as part of Wednesday's keynote session. He will then join a panel discussion that features a distinguished group of analysts, including his Heavy Reading colleague Alan Breznick, Pivot Group 's Managing Partner Bernie Arnason, tvStrategies Principal Analyst Steven Hawley and Jonathan Hurd, director of Altman Vilandrie & Company .

In addition, more than a dozen small telco executives are featured as speakers, sharing their real-world expertise. It's not too late to join us -- information on how to do that can be found here. — Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading

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