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Study: Cable giants to flex VoIP muscle

Just thought you Vonage fans might be interested in this.

Cable giants will edge out VoIP specialists as leaders in selling telephone service over cable broadband this year, according to a new study.

Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and other major multiservice operators (MSOs) have begun to set up their own voice over Internet Protocol services for American consumers, The Yankee Group said in a report released Monday. These will quickly gain a lead over alternative voice service providers in 2004, the report said.

"After many years of testing, the VoIP technology is finally available and ready for prime time. The U.S. market, which represents almost all the cable VoIP market today, also will drive global MSOs to move forward," Lindsay Schroth, senior analyst at Yankee's Broadband Access Technologies arm, said in a statement.


These alternative voice providers will see strong growth rates in the next few years, the study said. However, this boom will eventually decline, as people are given the choice of signing up for VoIP service from a cable company or primary-line operator.
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

I think that the cable companies are getting too full of themselves.

As it stands now, I don't know anyone that "likes" any cable company.  People use cable modems and and cable tv because they have to for those services.  No one says "Oh, I just love Comcast as a company, they treat me so well!"

Quite the opposite is true.  I for one cringe at the idea of sending Comcast any more money than I already do each month, and giving them greater control over my communications.

The best thing Vonage has going for it, is that they aren't Comcast and a behemoth of a cable company that threats their customers poorly.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Cable companies have bee aching to get into phone service for DECADES. I a past life, as a telecom engineer, I worked on quite a few studies of that.

Cable's best bet is VOiP.  But then they are on a level playing field with Vonage, etc.

But Vonage has the benefit of a wider possible customer base: ALL internet subscribers, not just the ones on Cable TV.

And with large fixed costs to spread across subscribers (I mean, customers) the one with the most users will have the lowest prices (or highest profit margins).

Time will tell.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Indeed - the support that I've gotten from Vonage has always been good, with the only exception being longer hold times during the peak support periods, typically right after dinner.

My question is, will the cable folks price their service to compete with companies like Vonage, or are they thumbing their nose at them, and pricing to compete with the local telcos?

The one thing Vonage doesn't have going for them is ease of setup - you need a router, or ICS enabled via XP, or something to share the connection.

The cable companies can build (well, get Toshiba or whoever to build) the VOIP modem/bridge/whatever into the cable modem, so that you just need to plug in your ethernet/usb and phone right into the modem, and off you go.

*That* will be how they win - if they figure that part out.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

I wonder if the cable companies have thought this through - they offer massive download capabilities; at some point compression, latency, and bandwidth will reach a point where you can watch TV via the broadband they provide.

Why settle for just 200 channels of fixed programming when you could watch anything anytime you wanted?

In addition, broadcast networks are working on legislation and technology to prevent rebroadcast of their programming. This is misguided - they should instead focus on ensuring content is delivered intact. Since they're funded by advertising dollars, aren't more eyes better?

I suspect if a saner head prevails in TVland soon, we'll see more letterbox programming with banner ads.


Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Question Philo or anyone else here.  I'm a little confused on being able to download our shows anytime we want.  IE.  Why is it that we have had free fast audio and video since the 50's - 60's in the form of television, yet on the internet we are not at that capability yet.  In that I mean video on the web is horrible compared to TV.  Why is that?  The frequencies they broadcast at?  A problem with TCP/IP in general, what?

It just seems like we hear more and more how everyone is getting broadband and we'll be able to get video better, etc.  Well, we've had it free for years, but on tv, not the computer.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Well Comcast is presently offering on demand pay-per-view, so they are stepping in the right direction.

As far as video on the internet, the problem is bandwidth and quality-of-service.  TCP/IP provides no QOS assurance putting paid for content on a higher level than standard web traffic, etc.  The other problem is that guaranteed delivery of packets isn't essential for video, however timely arrival is.  Packets need to arrive on time, or not at all.  UDP makes strides toward acheiving this goal.  Adding QOS to UDP would go a long way.

Getting back to bandwidth, in the present world, if you have cable company streaming out one channel, and you have 100,000 people wanting to watch this simultaneously, you need to have 100,000 seperate streams duplicating all traffic pouring out through the servers.  This is necessary since Multicast is largely not implemented and properly configured on all links.

The biggest reason for the staying power of traditional broadcast over the air and through cable lines, is the system is essentially a perfect multicast system.  You broadcast from a few preset locations, and an unlimited number of people in the receiving area can participate without any additional cost to the content provider.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Broadcast TV has tons of bandwidth... Need more, just get a new frequency. They're not limited to how many 1's or 0's can fit down a pipe. One of the benefits of being analog, I guess. Instead of a 1 or a 0, you can send an almost infinite gradiation between the two.

In my local market Verizion & whatever the local cable provider is are duking it out in TV ads. I think I saw a news article about it too. It's James Earl Jones vs. "Cable is faster than DSL."

Verizon just added satellite TV to it's product offerings, so why wouldn't cable companies seek to offer phone services as well?

Verizon Risks Profit Betting It Will Win TV, Internet Customers

Verizon's sole CEO since April 2002, when co-CEO Charles Lee ended his tenure, Seidenberg, 57, wants to offer cable television and Internet services along with its telephone package. He plans to extend fiber-optic cables directly to people's homes, a project that Merrill Lynch & Co. analysts say would cost as much as $30 billion over 15 years.

The company has lost subscribers to long-distance phone companies like AT&T Corp., mobile phone carriers such as Cingular Wireless LLC and upstarts such as Vonage Holdings Corp. that are using technology that sends calls more conveniently for customers and at a lower cost to consumers and companies.

BellSouth bundles DirecTV in 9 states
BellSouth Corp. began marketing its telephone and Internet services in a package with DirecTV Group Inc.'s satellite television in the Carolinas and seven other states to keep customers with discounts and additional services.

Funny how we think competition is a good thing, until it's the big guys stepping in to the little guys' territory.
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

> gradiation

This isn't a word, but I think you got my meaning.
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Cable VoIP makes total sense.  The pain of VoIP is installation, and cable seems to have mastered it.

Order a cable modem, while it will take 2 weeks for a truck roll, once they get there it takes 30 minutes and they have you set up and on line.

Compare this with the phone company, people standing around talking in cell phones, smoking cigarettes in your driveway.

I see a bright future for VoIP and cable.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

What's difficult about a VoIP installation?
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Confusion for the "Aunt Tilly" set increases exponentially as the need for network hardware increases.  I can't imagine trying to explain how to get a router up and running over the phone to my mother - I don't think I'd even try.

Greg Hurlman
Wednesday, August 4, 2004


Plug the line coming from the phone or wall into WAN

Plug your computer into 1

Plug your phone into 2

Launch your computer and launch IE and type in or whatever the router calls itself, hit enter, type the password from the manual.

Go to the connection tab and type in the username & password given to you by your ISP. Click "connect."
Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Ha! My mother has trouble moving the mouse and getting the pointer on the screen to go where she wants it to, and you think THOSE instructions are going to work?

"Plug your computer into 1"
Where does the plug go? (probably will end up in the network jack)

"Launch your computer"  ?!?!?

"type in" where?

"from the manual." Your kidding, right?

"Go to the connection tab"  At this point, her computer propably needs to be reinstalled.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

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