Thursday, October 27, 2005

WiMAX Not Cheap Or Easy, Carriers Say
October 26, 2005
WiMAX Not Cheap Or Easy, Carriers Say
By Paul Kapustka
Courtesy of Networking Pipeline

Costs of implementing new wireless technology still too steep for widespread deployment, say carriers who have WiMAX trials underway.

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Sometimes hailed as telecom's next conquering hero, the technology known as WiMAX was deemed too expensive and too complex for immediate widespread deployment, according to carriers who have WiMAX trials underway.

At a panel discussion Tuesday at the USTA Telecom '05 show here, a panel of WiMAX equipment suppliers and telephone service providers debated whether or not carriers would "take the leap" and implement WiMAX, a broadband wireless technology that offers the promise of being a "third pipe" to compete with cable modems and DSL.

Their verdict? Someday, maybe, but not right now, since equipment costs, spectrum issues and implementation procedures make it tough to offer WiMAX services at a competitive price point. "It's going to take some time before WiMAX is a real competitor," said Aamir Hussain, director of engineering at Qwest, which has extensive WiMAX trials underway.

To really become attractive to carriers, WiMAX needs to have customer-premise equipment in the sub-$100 range, Hussain said. While such equipment is currently priced in the $500-600 range, Hussain said emerging standards and economies of scale should push the prices down rapidly, reaching the below-$100 mark by the end of 2007. Equipment for carriers is equally costly, in the $2,500-$5,000 range per terminal, Hussain said. But those prices should to drop below $1,000 per terminal in a few years, he predicted.

Almost all the panelists agreed that WiMAX would survive as part of a mix of access technologies. Mick Reeve, group technology officer for British Telecom, claimed that CTOs of most major carriers already have WiMAX trials underway, and that the first iterations of WiMAX -- which only support "fixed" or stationary end-user points -- will likely be marketed as DSL replacement services, offering "realistic" service of between 1 Mbps and 2 Mbps of bandwidth.

"The real question is whether or not carriers will take the leap to mobile WiMAX," Reeve said, speaking of a future version that will support mobile users, much as Wi-Fi hotspots support wireless laptop use. Right now, "the business case for mobile WiMAX is tough," Reeve said.

Another hindrance for WiMAX is the lack of a worldwide standard slice of spectrum for the services to operate in. In Europe, the 3.5 GHz band is popular for WiMAX, but that spectrum is unavailable in the U.S.; instead, U.S. carriers are experimenting mainly in the bands at 2.5 GHz and the unlicensed 5.8 GHz range.

The lack of a standard spectrum will keep equipment prices high, noted RBOC CTOs in their panel at the USTA show. And while the possibility of more-attractive spectrum in the 700 MHz range may exist (especially if the current analog TV spectrum in the U.S. is auctioned off to wireless users), it's not a solid enough prospect to bet a business on yet, the carrier reps said. The lower-range spectrum is more attractive because it allows greater penetration through building walls.

"The spectrum at 700 MHz could be good, but a lot of stuff still has to happen, and the moons and stars need to align properly," said Hussain, describing the state of the spectrum-availability issues. "For carriers who want to move in this [WiMAX] direction, I have one word," Hussain said. "Caution."

Source here

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Open Content Alliance

Microsoft joins Yahoo on digital library alliance
Wed Oct 26, 2005 4:10 AM ET
By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - An alliance including Microsoft and Yahoo says it is fast gaining backers to challenge Google in digitizing many of the world's great books.

The grouping -- the Open Content Alliance (OCA) -- is making its pitch even as Google Inc. and the publishing industry lock horns over Google's ambitious plan to create a digital library.

The OCA, unveiled earlier this month by a group of digital archivists and backed by Yahoo, H-P and Adobe, says it has also signed up Microsoft Corp. and more than a dozen major libraries in North America, Britain and Europe.

Danielle Tiedt, general manager of Microsoft's MSN Search, said the world's largest software maker would fund the digital duplication of 150,000 old books over the next year.

"This is just the start," Brewster Kahle, founder of the Internet Archive and the organizing force behind the OCA. "One hundred and fifty thousand books is just an initial test for Microsoft," he said.

Backers say the dream of creating a digital library of the world's greatest books is an homage to the Library of Alexandria, the great repository of books in ancient times.

"It's interesting to see everyone jumping on the digital library bandwagon," said Doron Weber, a program director at the Sloan Foundation in New York, which provides funding for the Internet Archive, the original organizers of the OCA.

Many university libraries have had separate projects to digitize out-of-print works, but progress has been slow.

That changed when Web powerhouse Google unveiled plans last year to work with publishers and five major libraries on dual projects to make many of the world's great books searchable on the Web.

"Google's push has galvanized everyone else," Doron said.

At the OCA's first public meeting, Kahle spelled out his vision for joining libraries, publishers, printers and hi-tech suppliers to create a universally available digital library.

"If we go and bring universal access to all human knowledge it will be remembered as one of the great things humankind has ever done," Kahle said, comparing the potential of the project to the Gutenberg printing press or putting a man on the moon.


Leaders of the OCA said a host of academic libraries had declared their support for the three-week-old project to create a common framework for digitizing and storing books, photos and video. The new libraries join founding member libraries from the University of California and the University of Toronto.

Canadian libraries pledging support for the OCA include McMaster, Memorial University of Newfoundland, the University of Ottawa, University of British Columbia and York University.

U.S. libraries joining the OCA include Columbia University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Virginia, Rice University and the University of Pittsburgh.

"This is really hard. There are reasons why people have never done it. It will take all of the energies of the companies assembled here and many more who have yet to join," said project supporter Gart Davis, president of Lulu Inc., a publisher of out-of-print books that is working with OCA.

Kahle said the project was looking to ensure that the decades-old project to digitize the collections of the world's great libraries does not fall victim to the legal debate between publishers and Google.

Last week five major book publishers filed a U.S. lawsuit that aims to block Google's plan to scan books from five of the world's greatest libraries -- Oxford, Harvard, Stanford and Michigan and the New York Public Library.

Opponents argue that Google's plan to scan books is a massive infringement of copyright, something the Web search company denies, saying its plans are similar to a huge electronic card catalog that can be searched on the Web.

"Google welcomes efforts to make information accessible to the world," Google spokesman Nate Tyler said in a statement. "We're proud that our own Google Print offers people access to a growing diversity of full text public domain books and portions of copyright works at"

Backers of the Google Print project have expressed their disappointment that the two groups are not working together. But leaders on both sides say it is only a matter of time before the two library projects find common ground.

"I think it's only a matter of time before we reach agreement," said Rick Prellinger, board president of the Internet Archive and the director of the newly formed OCA.

Source here

Yahoo Travel lets users help each other plan trips
Wed Oct 26, 2005 3:21 AM ET13
By Eric Auchard

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Yahoo Inc., the world's most popular Internet media network, is looking to up-end the online travel industry by helping its users share planning tips, photos and travel lore with fellow travelers.

On Wednesday, Yahoo said it plans to offer tools that turn Yahoo Travel ( from a reliance on professionally created content into an online travel guide that encourages users to publish and share their itineraries.

"We are creating much more of a platform around which people can participate," James Slavet, general manager of the Yahoo Marketplace business unit, which include the company's travel operation, said in a phone interview.

The site's Trip Planner tool enables users to research, publish and share personalized itineraries, both with friends and family, or, optionally, as public guides for travelers headed to the same destination to use for their own planning.

"Anywhere you travel, there are people who have traveled there before you," Slavet said.

At its core, the Yahoo Travel site acts as a tool to pull together all the loose strands of a travel plan, from potential destinations, to flights, hotels, activities, calendars and maps, all designed to be shared with others if so desired.

The system allows the user to create personalized maps of all the key locations on one's itinerary, for example.

Wrapped around this are options to make it easier for users to share digital travel photos, participate in travel-related message boards, or contribute user reviews and ratings, among other features.

The travel site incorporates user-contributed travel photos, organized by location or other categories, via Flickr the phenomenally popular photo sharing site that Yahoo acquired earlier this year. The site also includes a database of vacation home rentals supplied by their owners.

Yahoo Travel boasts nearly 500,000 hotel or vacation activity options in 40,000 destinations worldwide.

For now, user contributions are focused on the pre-planning of trips.

Eventually, Yahoo hopes to incorporate more features that will help users chronicle their journeys using the Internet, mobile phones and digital cameras to contribute travelogues, on the fly, as it were, Slavet said.

Yahoo Travel could also act as a repository for post-trip photo collections and other remembrances, serving to create a rich vein of user experiences for new travelers to incorporate in their own planning, a sort of next-generation travel guide.

Source here

The Coming Mobile-Video Deluge
OCTOBER 11, 2005
The Coming Mobile-Video Deluge
By Olga Kharif

As carriers gird for an expected surge in demand for TV mobile phones, many are looking to Qualcomm to deliver the goods

When Qualcomm announced plans for a network that would deliver video over mobile phones last November, analysts met the idea with more raised eyebrows than approving nods. Qualcomm (QCOM ) had built its reputation on licensing wireless technology and making cell-phone chips. The concept, dubbed MediaFLO and championed by Paul Jacobs, who later became Qualcomm's chief executive, came across as costly and too far outside the company's core areas of expertise.

Even though demand for TV over cell phones had taken off in Asia, it was still unproven in the U.S. What's more, the number of technologies for beaming video to wireless handsets was already on the rise. Investors wondered what would set MediaFLO apart -- and whether Qualcomm would ever break even on the estimated $500 million it would take to build the network.

Almost a year later, Jacobs's announcement is looking distinctly less odd. Early video services from providers Cingular Wireless and Sprint Nextel (S ) have attracted more than 500,000 subscribers, according to MobiTV, which provides TV services for both carriers.

BALLOONING BASE. Cingular has seen its video-user numbers surge with virtually no advertising. "It has been very popular, and that tells us that there's something there," says Rob Hyatt, executive director for mobile content at Atlanta-based Cingular, the largest U.S. wireless operator. Other providers, including Verizon Wireless, have joined the race to add customers intent on watching news, sports, and entertainment clips over their cell phones.

Mobile video is set to take the wireless industry by storm (see BW Online, 12/1/04 "TV Phones Prep for Prime Time"). The U.S. mobile video user base may balloon to more than 20 million by the end of 2007, up from less than 1 million today, says Albert Lin, an analyst at American Technology Research (ATR). Assuming each subscriber pays $5 a month for such services, that would translate to a $1.2 billion market. Worldwide, more than 250 million people are expected to be watching mobile video by 2010, generating some $27 billion in sales, vs. with $200 million today, according to market consultant ABI Research.

Why the meteoric rise? For starters, the technology has improved, and prices on video-capable handsets have dropped. In fact, now that some devices are available for less than $100, "adoption rates are going up like a hockey stick," says Key Sar, associate director of content programming at Verizon Wireless, the second-biggest U.S. mobile-phone carrier.

CAPACITY HOG. And, researchers say, mobile-phone subscribers are increasingly eager to watch video programming on the go. Surveys by market consultant In-Stat show that 1 in 8 consumers is interested in buying mobile-TV service. That compares with 1 in 9.4 who indicate a desire for wireless games. "Watching video on cell phones could eventually easily surpass [demand for games, ringtones, and wallpapers], to reach 100% of the population," says Cingular's Hyatt.

The demand surge will be a mixed blessing for mobile-phone operators. Providers currently transmit video -- ranging from snippets of news and movie trailers to program previews from popular channels such as CNN, MTV, Comedy Central, and ESPN -- over the same networks that transmit calls.

But in a few years, robust demand for video could hog capacity and overwhelm networks. If 40% of mobile subscribers watch just eight minutes of video a day, that would stretch network limits, according to a September report by researcher Analysys. Networks could become overloaded by as early as 2007.

What's an overburdened carrier to do? Many analysts believe service providers will be forced to use a separate, mobile-TV broadcasting network. Unlike a cellular network, a mobile-TV network would beam content one way to phones in much the same way TV programming is transmitted into homes.

"WONDERFUL DISCUSSIONS." Now, Qualcomm's MediaFLO is emerging as a leading broadcast candidate for some of the biggest operators. Sprint Nextel could become the first to commit to MediaFLO in the coming months, say analysts at investment bank Deutsche Bank. Dale Knoop, general manager of Sprint Nextel's multimedia services, admits his company is considering MediaFLO, though he wouldn't comment on which technology the company will ultimately employ.

"The interest is phenomenal, we're having wonderful discussions" with carriers, says Rob Chandhok, vice-president of engineering & market development for MediaFLO at Qualcomm, which should announce customer trials within 6 to 12 months. He wouldn't comment on specific providers. Executives at Cingular and Verizon Wireless say they're considering all technology options.

There's plenty of reason to take a long look at MediaFLO. Analysts say it may prove to be the most economical and to offer the most TV-like experience of all the technologies on offer. But there's no lack of competition.

CHANNEL SHORTAGE? Here's a look at what MediaFLO is up against: One option is to simply beef up high-speed networks. Carriers could implement a technology called multimedia broadcast & multicast service (MBMS), which effectively compresses network traffic and turns cellular towers into TV-broadcasting stations.

The beauty of MBMS is that it mostly requires only software upgrades, which could be relatively cheap compared to full-scale equipment overhauls. It's also an industrywide standard, which means that MBMS equipment will be available for many manufacturers, who would compete on price.

Still, MBMS is inferior to MediaFLO, analysts say. MBMS initially will allow carriers to broadcast only one to three TV channels, says Alastair Brydon, a co-author of the Analysys report. That might not sit well with U.S. consumers used to having 300 cable channels at their fingertips at home. By contrast, MediaFLO will offer 20 video channels. Carriers could offer more channels via MBMS, but to do so, they would need to acquire additional airwaves to transmit information over networks -- and radio spectrum doesn't come cheap.

Also, MBMS equipment may not become available until 2007, a year after MediaFLO's debut, says Brydon. By that time, mobile video might already be overwhelming networks, causing outages and fueling customer dissatisfaction.

TIME LAG. Another alternative is Digital Video Broadcasting-Handhelds (DVB-H), which is being pushed by cell-phone maker Nokia (NOK ) and its U.S. partner, Crown Castle (CCI )(see BW Online, 8/1/05, "Wireless-Tower Outfits: Rising High"). DVB-H is similar to MediaFLO in several ways. Just like Qualcomm's system, the DVB-H network operated by Crown Castle would specialize in video broadcasting. Wireless service providers will sign up to use the network and its programming for a fee. That means they will lose some control over the service. But they won't have to spend billions on costly network overhauls.

Compared with DVB-H, MediaFlo allows for a much better video experience, at a much lower cost. With DVB-H, changing a channel might take up to 10 seconds, says ATR's Lin. "That's almost by itself a show-stopper," he adds. "People are going to shun the services."

With MediaFLO, channel-surfing is near-instant. Plus, DVB-H will only allow users to view up to 10 channels. And because DVB-H will require transmitters to be densely seeded throughout a metro area, "it will cost twice as much in operating and capital costs" as MediaFLO, says Lin. MediaFLO will require only two to three transmitters to cover a whole city, Qualcomm claims.

THE RIGHT COMBO. A third option is beaming video to cell phones from satellites. But the example of South Korea, one of the first countries to widely adopt mobile TV, shows that good satellite reception requires setting up hundreds of so-called repeaters throughout cities, which can be costly. What's more, today's satellite-radio antennas are too bulky and power-hungry to fit into a slim mobile phone.

All in all, this is good news for Qualcomm. In fact, by the end of 2007, MediaFLO may command more than half of all mobile-video users, estimates Lin. The other half might be getting their video via cellular, MBMS, or DVB-H technologies, he figures.

But customers may prefer to mix and match, taking advantage of the unique possibilities offered by each technology. For example, users might call on their cellular networks to deliver video clips on demand -- a service that won't be possible on one-way broadcasting networks such as MediaFLO or MBMS. "I think there's an opportunity for different services to coexist, it's not an [either/or] decision," says Sprint Nextel's Knoop.

SPREADING THE WORD. Even with just a chunk of the market, MediaFLO, due to launch in October, 2006, could be lucrative for Qualcomm in the coming years. Qualcomm is mum on its pricing plans. But even if it charges only $1 a month per subscriber, that could add up to more than $120 million in revenue in 2007 alone. Qualcomm has announced plans to spin off the MediaFLO business into a separate company once it's established.

Qualcomm will certainly face hurdles. New technologies, such as a wireless broadband alternative called Wi-Max, could yet emerge as a threat to MediaFLO's dominance. Successful marketing and execution can have a huge impact on which technology succeeds as well. "It's not always that the obviously best technology prevails," says Bob Shallow, who heads Nokia's music and rich-media business.

And with a huge market like mobile TV at stake, carriers won't be making any hasty decisions. "I think we've got time to figure this out," says Cingular's Hyatt. "Nothing tells us we'll be so overwhelmed with demand that we've got to react within a very short period of time."

Best not to wait too long, though. The wireless video market is taking off, and carriers that don't figure out how to roll out the best services soon risk getting left behind.

Source here

Monday, October 24, 2005

Should you have a right to broadband?

By Charles Cooper
Published: October 21, 2005, 4:00 AM PDT

Silicon Valley's favorite parlor game is to try to predict the next big thing. I don't want to spoil the fun, but tomorrow's transforming technology event is not going to be a new piece of software code or a smaller, faster mobile-computing device.

Think the video iPod will revolutionize the world? Think again. If you don't have a good broadband connection to download content, you're just looking at an overpriced paperweight. Google Earth may be fascinating, but you still need access to the Internet to view its pretty pictures.

You get the point. But it's more than just the Internet. The big change on the horizon is the move to enshrine access to a broadband connection as a basic right of citizenship. The slogan is being picked up here and abroad by a collection of interest groups and policymakers who view broadband as just too important to leave anymore to the vagaries of the private sector.

"We won't stop until every San Franciscan has broadband access," says Chris Vein, the senior technology advisor to San Francisco's Mayor Gavin Newsom. It's not only rhetoric. His boss is one of the nation's most visible proponents of so-called muni Wi-Fi. Because he runs San Francisco, Newsom probably gets more than his fair share of ink. Some think that he also harbors ambitions to one day run for U.S. president--and nothing would look better on his resume than a line about how the city extended affordable broadband access to all its residents.

But Newsom is only picking up on a theme increasingly sounded by politicians elsewhere. The city of Philadelphia has also announced a high-profile plan to provide Internet access to its citizens. From its point of view, broadband is a necessity, not a luxury. With the United States' ranking for broadband penetration plummeting from third place to 16th in just four years, this is more than an academic concern. The fear is this will translate into massive job losses to other nations.

So far, the telephone companies are watching how all this plays out, quietly rooting for the municipalities to screw things up. After Philadelphia chose EarthLink to build that city's Wi-Fi network, a Comcast spokesman sniffed that City Hall was in over its head. Government's role should be that of disinterested arbiter and not that of Wi-Fi midwife, he said.
Government's role should be that of disinterested arbiter and not that of Wi-Fi midwife.

But they may be too late to stem this tide. Google has proposed to blanket San Francisco with free wireless high-speed Internet access, perhaps a harbinger of the company's plans to build a nationwide network. Even before Google threw its hat into the ring, change was already in the air, after Hurricane Katrina happened.

As if we needed reminding, the resulting chaos underscored the glaring inadequacies that hampered communications. That added pressure to do something about the nation's Internet infrastructure--now. At a recent industry conference I attended, bringing together representatives from private industry and cities around the nation, that message came through loud and clear. There was no missing the fact that this was a matter of when, not if.

Ultimately, the question boils down to whether you believe that broadband is so important that it should get treated like a public utility, in the much the same way as water or power. There's no consensus about that, and it's doubtful that the issue will be put on the national agenda before the next presidential election.

Can the localities take the lead? In this country, there's nothing to rival the Associazione Nazionale Piccoli Comuni d'Italia, an Italian association of small towns that has adopted a plan to promote the adoption of Wi-Fi and wireless technology. That's helped even isolated burgs--like the village of Chamois, deep in the Italian Alps--offer wireless access to its residents.

"One thing I've learned is that no one model works everywhere," Paul Butcher of Intel says. "One community might treat it as a basic right. Another might say market dynamics should determine what they will deploy. There's no one piece of legislation that can anticipate the numerous needs out there."

Translation: Prepare yourself for a lot of sturm und drang before this issue gets sorted out. But sorted out it will be. The political momentum is only going to gain strength in the months ahead.

Source here

Definition of broadband? / Misc

How broad before you can call it broadband?
By Tim Richardson
Published Wednesday 9th April 2003 15:05 GMT

Make no mistake, today's ruling by the advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), concerning the definition of 'broadband' could have big repercussions for the UK's Internet industry.

The ruling highlights the confusion caused by a sector which has failed to come up with a consistent industry-wide definition of broadband that can be marketed to consumers.

This has been made worse still by shifting definitions and extreme marketing hype - a conflict between the technically possible and the somewhat far-fetched view of what broadband could deliver.

For its part, the made a judgement based on consumers' perception of broadband, rather than on a factual definition. For while it acknowledged that the cableco's 128Kbps service met industry definitions for broadband laid down by regulator Oftel (well, one of Oftel's definitions), it also ruled that because it considered most consumers would understand broadband to mean a service of upwards of 500Kbps, it concluded that the claim "broadband", without qualification, was "likely to mislead".

In one sense, NTL is right to be angered by the ASA's ruling. However, it's not just about NTL since the decision highlight the failings of the industry - and Government - to agree a definition of broadband.

Take the Government, for example. It recently changed its definition of broadband to "a generic term describing a range of technologies operating at various data transfer speeds" adding that if it's marketed as broadband, then it is broadband. Frankly, this is so broad it is meaningless and should be ditched immediately.

Oftel, on the other hand, has two different views on broadband. It regards broadband as a "higher bandwidth, always-on services, offering data rates of 128Kbps and above" - a view cited by NTL in its ASA case.

However, Oftel also rates NTL's 128k service as not being broadband.

According to one of its recent reports: "Oftel also includes NTL's 128k offering in the narrowband market. Although this is marketed as 'broadband', it has only some, not all, of the key characteristics of broadband. It is always on and allows use of the telephone at the same time but is not as fast as other services marketed as broadband."

It goes on: "Oftel's latest residential survey found that the main reason for getting broadband was faster access, mentioned by 57 per cent of respondents compared to only eight per cent who mentioned simultaneous voice calls and six per cent who mentioned permanent connection. Oftel believes that for this reason these services should be regarded as narrowband rather than broadband for the purposes of this review."

Funnily enough, The Register pointed out this contradiction more than a week ago and Oftel has still to reply to requests to clarify what it believes is, and is not, broadband.

If the regulator and Government can't agree, what hope is there for the rest of the industry? More to the point, what hope is there for ordinary punters who are being bombarded with confusing messages about broadband?

And there's more. We asked BT Wholesale for its definition of broadband.

"We don't have one," said a spokesman.

However, he did explain that BT regards its 512Kbps, always-on ADSL service as broadband - not, though, slower always-on ADSL services it plans to launch in the future.

AOL UK, on the other hand, regards broadband as being more than 400Kbps, always on and enabling punters to use the phone line at the same time.

"That's the consumers' view of broadband and, therefore, it's ours as well," said a spokesman.

"We need an acceptable definition - otherwise, how do people know what broadband is," he added.

Freeserve, which made the complaint against NTL, also agrees that speed is important when defining broadband.

A spokeswoman for the ISP told us: "There is a great deal of confusion all round. It's about time Oftel and the Government cleared up this uncertainty."

Telewest echoed these views: "Anything below 512Kbps simply doesn't live up to consumers' expectation and the hype surrounding broadband."

If nothing else, today's ruling by the ASA shows just how confusing this matter can be. However, it is up to the Government and/or the industry to come up with a workable definition for broadband. The confusion has to be cleared up for the sake of the mass-market, for nothing will damage their confidence more than signing up to a slow speed "broadband" service and being disappointed when it doesn't live up to their expectations.

One last thing,just to stir things up still further. While the debate over what is - and isn't - broadband rages on, there are, you know, some people who think broadband only starts from speeds starting at 1Mb

Source here

Friday 26 March 2004 (Session 2)

Scottish Parliament
Evidence Received for Broadband Inquiry
Friday 26 March 2004 (Session 2)

ScotlandIS is the trade association for the software, information and communications technology industries in Scotland.


Definition of "broadband"

The formal definition of broadband is : "A transmission facility having a bandwidth sufficient to carry multiple voice, video or data channels simultaneously."

Broadband has become an increasingly generic term covering a range of tele-communications services for always-on high speed connections. Services marketed as broadband can vary from connection speeds(or"bandwidth") of 128kbps (kilo-bits per second) to in excess of 2Mbps. The connection speeds impact on download and upload times and can be further affected by "contention rates" ie the number of users sharing the same service - the more users the slower the connection speed.

In March 2003 DTI clarified its definition of broadband as being "a generic term describing a range of technologies operating at various data transfer speeds."

It is generally defined as a connection which is greater than 128kbps. BT's current definition of broadband is a connection of 500kbps or more. In California the "Gigabit or bust . Campaign" aims to have 1gbps connections in every home by the end of 2009

As broadband usage increases then the "bandwidth" consumption will increase significantly, and this will impact on the capacity requirements of broadband networks.

Source here

Broadband Stakeholder Group
Report and Strategic Recommendations, November 2001


The BSG has developed a dynamic definition of Broadband that is technology neutral and focused towards the delivery of services to the end user, rather than particular bit rates. The BSG defines Broadband as follows:

'Always on access, at work, at home or on the move provided by a range of fixed line, wireless and satellite technologies to progressively higher bandwidths capable of supporting genuinely new and innovative interactive content, applications and services and the delivery of enhanced public services.'

Source here

Teletruth submission to FCC: Data Quality Act Complaint, 26 July 2005

Speed Matters: Did you know that the definition of "broadband" went from 45mps in both directions in 1992, to 200K in one direction in 2005? —225 times slower.

Teletruth today filed a Data Quality Act Complaint against the FCC's statistics, claiming that the FCC is politically driven to inflate the number of broadband connections in the United States, as well as presenting a distorted picture of broadband in the US.

Source here

Media Fact Sheet
International Telecommunication Union
September 2003

The Birth of Broadband
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is broadband?

A. Many people associate broadband with a particular speed of transmission or a certain set of services, such as digital subscriber loop (DSL) or wireless local area networks (wLANs). However, since broadband technologies are always changing, the definition of broadband also continues to evolve. Today, the term broadband typically describes recent Internet connections that range from 5 times to 2000 times faster than earlier Internet dial-up technologies. However, the term broadband does not refer to either a certain speed or a specific service. Broadband combines connection capacity (bandwidth) and speed. Recommendation I.113 of the ITU Standardization Sector defines broadband as a “transmission capacity that is faster than primary rate Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) at 1.5 or 2.0 Megabits per second (Mbits)”.

Source here

Definition of Broadband? / Consumers Association
Define broadband please – CA
By Tim Richardson
Published Wednesday 12th November 2003 12:58 GMT

UK consumers need a clear definition of broadband to prevent them from being misled.

That's according to the Consumers' Association (CA), which is concerned that there is "widespread confusion about the term 'broadband'".

Giving evidence yesterday to the Trade and Industry Select Committee inquiry into broadband, the CA said the term "broadband" is used to define a range of services with speeds of 128k upwards. But the watchdog argued that this only served to confuse consumers who found it difficult to compare different products and providers.

And it criticised Oftel, for the telecom regulator's indecision over a definition, saying that this "does not contribute to either regulatory clarity or public understanding of the term".

Instead, it called for a "meaningful" definition of broadband to be adopted by the industry that would help consumers make informed choices. One approach it favours is based on a clear understanding of what each product can do.

For example: tell consumers that it takes 30 minutes to download a four minute music track on a standard dial-up connection, 10 minutes on a 150k service, and 2-3 minutes on a 512k service.

"CA takes the view that a better definition of 'broadband' is only of limited use if it is not widely understood by consumers. Better consumer awareness of 'what broadband is' and 'what can I expect of it' will help consumers to make more informed choices, drive demand for services and products and so contribute to the development of UK broadband," said the CA.

Freeserve also called for a clearer definition echoing the CA's assertion that slower services marketed as "broadband" "may mislead consumers".

And it warned that if the market was to focus on those "cheap and cheerful" slower speed products then there is a risk that the UK "may fall behind its competitors" as a broadband-enabled nation.

Source here

Definition of broadband? / UK Government 1994

So, what stakes in the ground do we find regarding a definition of broadband in the UK? The following item from "the archive" provides an interesting Janus glance back, to the 1994 UK Government's "a capacity of at least x/a typical bandwidth of y" definition of broadband/narrowband:

DEPARTMENT OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY | Creating the Superhighways of the Future:Developing Broadband Communications in the UK | Presented to Parliament by the President of the Board of Trade by Command of Her Majesty | November 1994 | LONDON: HMSO œ6.75 Cm 2734

Document available here


Broadband--a service or connection allowing
considerable information to be conveyed--such as for television
pictures. Broadband networks have a capacity of at least
2Mbit/second. Narrowband--a service or connection only allowing
limited information. Narrowband networks have a typical bandwidth
of 64 kbit/second.


This document is also worth noting as an "archive piece":

a) The document's Annex states that it is the first Command Paper to be made available on the internet:

For the first time, the Government has made arrangements for
this Command Paper to be available electronically via the
Internet. The Internet is the world's largest network of
computers. It was established by the US Department of Defense in
1969, and it developed as a flexible network for academic users.
It now has millions of users. It provides an electronic mail and
information service, as well as a means of very wide ranging
access to databases and to information files.

This use of Internet is an excellent example of the innovative
approach to the dissemination of information which the Government
is seeking to promote, and also of the lead which the Government
as an information provider is able to take. HMSO, a Government
agency, has made the necessary arrangements. This document can be
accessed via the Internet using the following
URL: -comms.htm. This
document is available via anonymous FTP from:

b) when I (today) entered "broadband" as a search query in on this page I scored one result, the 1994 Creating the Superhighways of the Future document:

Creating the superhighways of the future : developing broadband communications in the UK
Department of Trade and Industry
Publisher: H.M.S.O. ,
Pub Date: 1994
Pages: 35 p. ;
Copy Info: 1 copy available in LIBRARY.
1 copy total in all locations.
Available Items
Call Number
copy: Material Location
384.3 CRE 1 PAMPHLET Library stock on open shelves

The UK government National Archives are collected by the Internet Archive: "National Archives: The UK Central Government Web Archive is a selective collection of UK Government websites, archived from August 2003, which has been collected by the Internet Archive on behalf of the National Archives of the United Kingdom".

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Definition of broadband? / Peter Cochrane

14.55 Monday 17th October 2005
Peter Cochrane's Blog: The UK's a broadband leader. Really?
Peter Cochrane

Written from a location that looks like a little bit of heaven, with really high-speed access just outside Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Copy dispatched by free LAN at 2Mbps.

Recently I have attended one conference or function after another where it has been stated that the UK is leading the world in the broadband revolution. Apparently we have the deepest penetration and more people online per capita than any other nation.
Governments tend to use statistics much as a drunk might use a street lamp - more for support than illumination.

However, my travel experiences would say otherwise, and so I decided to investigate. First of all it seems that anything that is always-on and faster than 128Kbps qualifies as broadband in the UK. Second, asymmetric services also qualify. Third, government statistics seem to focus on service availability rather than actual physical connections. Aha - I think we have it!

Looking at all the information sources I can locate online, it seems the UK fits into the world scene as follows: by households online: around 15th; by population served: around 18th; by growth rate last year: 14th; by lines added in 2004/5: fourth; by total lines per capita: sixth. The only way I can get figures that get the UK in the top three is to look at the potential number of homes and offices that could be connected should they choose to be so - as opposed to those that are actually connected.

The clearest UK government definition I can find for broadband accounting is as follows:

The government's target is for the UK to have the most extensive and competitive broadband market in the G7 by 2005. The DTI measures the UK's progress every six months based on an index developed jointly by government and the Broadband Stakeholders Group (BSG). In 2003 the UK government reported on the UK's progress based on:

1) The extensiveness index, which combines coverage and the addressable market, the UK moved up to third equal with the US.
2) The competitiveness index, which measures choice, price and regulation, the UK was ranked third.
3) The take-up index, the UK was joint sixth in the G7 with Italy.

So still not number one in 2003 then but in 2005 lots of claims to be at the top of the G7 stack! Is this a travesty of political weasel words and fumbling, or a reasonable view of reality? Pre-1990 broadband was defined as 2Mbps and above in the UK. But post-1990 it had been watered down by a factor of 16 to 128Kbps.

At this point I am reminded of an old adage from my student days: 'Governments tend to use statistics much as a drunk might use a street lamp - more for support than illumination.'

But it gets much worse! Apart from the asymmetry that typically sees 512Kbps downstream (from ISP to the customer) and 128 to 256Kbps upstream (from customer to ISP), there is the small matter of sharing. It is not unusual for between five and 15 (or more) UK customers to share a single port. Ergo, the actual rates presented can be one-fifth to one-fifteenth of the 128 to 512Kbps speed - and therefore a fraction of a typical dial-up connection. Indeed, some customers have complained that so-called broadband services have been so slow they have reverted to dial-up as their primary service.

So what are the real leaders of the pack doing? Well, to find out you have to visit southeast Asia and look at Korea and Japan. They started at 10Mbps as standard, then quickly moved up to 50Mbps, and are currently rolling out 100Mbps. And what are they planning? How about a 1,000Mbps rollout by 2010? And best of all, by law, the advertised rate has to be supplied to every customer - there is no sharing so no dilution, just a 'fire hose' of bits. In fact they really do have a broadband service!

What, I hear the G7 telco executives asking themselves, would people do with 10, 50, 100 and 1,000Mbps? This, by the way, has been a question they have been asking continually since the first 9.6Kbps modem was rolled out some 25 or so years ago. The answer of course is that it's none of their business. In the same way the water, gas, oil and power companies supply their atoms for our use without question, so should the network companies supply bits! But the real answer is: everything - radio, TV, games, internet, email, video-on-demand... you name it.

Why don't we do more of this in the UK? Simple, we don't have any broadband to speak of - just a watered-down (or narrowband) trickle of bits that just about lets us stumble around the net and communicate by email. The real online revolution has yet to hit the UK and much of the G7. Until the politicians actually use the technology, their assessment of reality will remain cloudy and disconnected from the economic reality.

Saddest of all - what they really don't seem to understand - is that the future economy of the G7 as a whole is largely governed by the rate of true broadband rollout and the ensuing creation of new businesses around that base. The UK's lead in the computer games and animation market has already been lost to southeast Asia because of the lack of broadband connectivity. The next big losses may well turn out to be those dependent on distributed and/or grid computing. If so, this will impact some of our biggest earners in pharma, medical and aerospace. To say the least, we don't have much time, and we don't have broadband!

Source here

The search for spectrum / Peter Cochrane

[Note: Peter Cochrane participated in the Cybersalon & Open Spectrum UK conference, FUTURE WIRELESS: practical.discourse.creative, at the Science Museum's Dana Centre, London, 4 October 2005. The following article presents ideas aired in Peter's contribution to the evening panel discussion, Wireless Horizons. - JW]

Peter Cochrane's Blog: The search for spectrum

All the free spectrum we need for a wireless world is there to go get!

Published: Monday 10 October 2005

Written at Chatham House, London. Pics compiled on the road between Zurich and Southampton. Copy dispatched via Wi-Fi from a London coffee shop.

Every time I look at the allocation of radio spectrum channels I go to a brightly coloured wall chart (see Fig 1 below) that gives the impression that it is a resource of great scarcity.

[What we do today was unthinkable 20 years ago when interference was still a problem with the analogue technologies that dominated.]

However, every time I look at the spectrum using an analyser and antenna I find a desert, just a few signals and a lot of random noise. The reality is that the radio spectrum has, at a modest estimate, a utilisation of less than 10 per cent. What is happening?

Unfortunately, analogue systems and analogue thinking still rules! Dumb transmitters pump out high power AM, FM and PM signals, in many different guises. Then equally dumb receivers listen, plucking out a fraction of the energy from the ether. This is the world I grew up in as a young engineer, where interference, multi-path, scatter and signal-to-noise ratio dominated all design and operational considerations. This automatically leads you to a world of bands and channels - a carving up of the spectrum for individual applications and uses.

But we have a new raft of digital systems being rolled out that have intelligence built into the transmitter and receiver. They talk to each other to minimise the energy used and problems associated with interference and signal scatter. Also, their signal processing aids consistent performance by adjusting the modulation mode. So in contrast to the analogue world, we can reuse time, frequency and space like never before. This gives us a whole raft of new freedoms.

We have already adapted our work patterns to sit in a room full of people with laptops using Wi-Fi, or mobile phones, all operating interference-free. So none of this should come as a surprise but the old analogue history still seems to dog our progress. What we do today was unthinkable 20 years ago when interference was still a problem with the analogue technologies that dominated.

So what happens next? We have hundreds of radio and TV broadcast transmitter masts surpassed by the thousands installed for mobile networks, which in turn are eclipsed by the millions of mobile terminals (see Fig 2 below).

Soon we will see billions of RFID tags and sensors also configured into wireless networks. Will interference be a big problem? No! Will spectrum be limited? No! So what will be the big deal? Migrating from the old to the new - as ever!

We have to find a way of using those bands and channels that are dormant or hoarded, and totally wasted. It could be hard to work out the details but I don't see why unused broadcast radio and TV channels cannot be used for WLAN applications. Or indeed, how about all the channels held in reserve by the military? All it needs is a change of mindset - the technology will do the rest.

Source here

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Traditional telcos ahead in multimedia race

Colin Barker
October 19, 2005, 11:40 BST

The majority of UK consumers and small businesses want to continue to get their telephony services from fixed line operators, rather than mobile providers or ISPs.

In a future of combined data , voice and video, fixed line telcos will continue to dominate despite increased competition from other types of providers, according to a survey from NOP.

The survey of 676 UK households will make worrying reading for mobile operators and broadband suppliers hoping to capitalise on the huge predicted market for converged voice, video and data services in the home. While the survey shows that a majority of customers would like their multimedia services in one package, the public poll gives an overwhelming vote of confidence to fixed line operators with 52 percent of respondents saying they prefer traditional telecoms. Only 13 percent of users said they would prefer to use broadband suppliers for all their communications needs while just 7 percent cited ISPs.

The survey was commissioned by Martin Dawes Systems, which supplies software and services for billings and subscriber management to vendors such as O2, Vodafone and BT Retail.

Tom Hodgson, sales director of Martin Dawes Systems, said: "This is great news for BT who are rumoured to be releasing their TV over broadband services in 2006. Now that broadband is widely available, the digital TV market is a particularly attractive proposition for the telcos."

Other key findings from the survey included a strong consumer demand for a single supplier of mobile and fixed line phone services, just 37 percent expressed a preference to stick with separate suppliers for fixed and mobile phone calls. The main reason cited by 68 percent of those expressing a preference for a single supplier was the convenience of a single bill.

Source here

Nokia hits out at WiMax

Jo Best
October 14, 2005, 09:55 BST

The high-speed wireless technology is hype, and bad hype at that, says the head of Nokia's wireless business programme

The tech industry is getting overheated about the long-range broadband access technology WiMax, according to one Nokia exec.

Markku Hollström, head of WiMax business programme at Nokia, said the technology had already been oversold: "WiMax is hype at the moment and it's pretty bad hype.

"From our point of view, it's a great technology," he added, "but not like it has been hyped."

Nokia is expecting the technology to take off as backhaul, as well as in mobile networks and devices. It's also hoping WiMax will mark a turning point in the availability and efficiency of mobile data. The Finnish giant expects even low-end handsets to be sporting WiMax connectivity by 2011.

Hollström said: "We see broadband wireless technology doing the same for broadband data as GSM did for voice. Cellular networks haven't taken off [for data] because cellular networks currently suck. Badly. It's our fault — we've done it badly."

Hollström also indicated that WiMax vendors to date have been particularly fond of mislabelling their products. "Companies want to label it WiMax. They are lying a bit. There is no WiMax in the world," he said.

Of course, before mobile WiMax really becomes mobile WiMax, the standard needs to be agreed. It's a problem that's been dogging the technology for some time, with the standard yet to be ratified and the WiMax Forum's projected date for the debut of the relevant 802.16 standard having slipped repeatedly.

The latest estimate for ratification is three to six months from now. However, even when the standard becomes official, Hollström indicated the industry won't take notice of the whole package. "It's 130 pages long," he said. "A lot of it is un-implementable. [Vendors] will select subsets of the standards and agree it with the rest of the industry."

Despite its fluid status, Nokia expects the first WiMax laptop cards to arrive in 2006 and 2007, while analysts have previously predicted that the mobile broadband technology could even pose a threat to 3G.

Vendors including Intel have been quick to deny any looming threat of cannibalisation. Gordon Graylish, director of Intel's communications business organisation, EMEA, said 3G and WiMax will complement one another.

Graylish said: "The way we see this working is WiMax coexisting with other technologies. It's a perfectly good technology... it's just not optimised to be a high-density data solution."

WiMax's potential to make blanket mobile VoIP a reality has also been shrugged off.

Dr Klaus Kohrt, senior VP at Siemens, said: "We don't think voice is mainstream for WiMax. It's not black and white, it's 80-20 — WiMax is 80 per cent data, 20 per cent voice." However, Kohrt added the uptake of mobile voice over WiMax will be largely dependent on service providers.

He said: "It's not so much a technology issue but there are technology constraints."

Source here

Sky may shake up UK broadband market

Graeme Wearden
October 13, 2005, 18:15 BST

The satellite operator is rumoured to be planning a move into local loop unbundling, which analysts believe could be a major strategic move

BSkyB is reported to be planning an aggressive move into the broadband market, which would put the satellite broadcaster into direct competition with BT.

According to The Guardian, BSkyB is planning to spend hundreds of millions of pounds buying a broadband service provider and rolling out a high-speed network across much of the UK.

BSkyB surprised City analysts on Tuesday when it announced plans to issue a corporate bond to raise up to £1bn. The company hasn't yet said how it plans to spend the proceeds of this bond.

As well as buying an existing broadband ISP, Sky is rumoured to be considering spending up to £200m to install its own broadband equipment in BT's local exchanges — a process known as local-loop unbundling (LLU).

LLU allows rival telecoms operators to compete with BT by offering different wholesale services while using BT's own telephone network infrastructure. Services can potentially be faster or cheaper.

Sky's current set-top boxes use a dial-up connection to the Internet, and there has long been speculation that this could be upgraded to a broadband connection. Ian Fogg, senior analyst for broadband and VoIP at Jupiter Research in Europe, believes any plans Sky has in the broadband space could have major implications for the market.

"This will be a big strategic play. It can't just be about IPTV, or video-on-demand, or straight broadband access. It has to be all of them," Fogg told ZDNet UK, adding that it has always been only "a matter of time" until Sky upgraded its dial-up connections.

If Sky does give its satellite TV customers a broadband connection, it would then be able to offer much better interactive services, including gaming and gambling. It could also offer IPTV over the broadband link, rather than broadcasting by satellite.

While Sky could set itself up as an LLU operator from scratch, it may make more sense to buy an existing ISP. It's unlikely that regulators would allow it to buy the newly-merged NTL and Telewest, and BT is much too big for Sky to consider acquiring.

Fogg believes Sky is more likely to buy a smaller ISP, perhaps Easynet, which already has a successful LLU network.

Source here

BSkyB swoops for Easynet
Jo Best
October 21, 2005, 15:05 BST

The local-loop unbundling ISP's board has unanimously recommended shareholders accept Murdoch's £211m offer

BSkyB confirmed on Friday it has made a cash offer of 175p per share for Easynet — an offer that values the ISP at £211m.

According to BSkyB, Easynet directors have unanimously recommended to shareholders that they accept the "fair and reasonable" offer.

The Murdoch-owned satellite TV provider said it had decided to acquire Easynet, which registered EBITDA of £8.9m last year, because of its significant broadband presence in the UK as well as its efforts in local-loop unbundling.

To date, Easynet has unbundled 232 local exchanges and was also the first major company to take on BT in providing wholesale broadband with its LLUStream product.

It also numbers several big names in its corporate roster, including Christian Dior, H&M and Volvo, and local councils including Reading and Slough from the public sector. According to figures from BSkyB, Easynet has also unbundled lines to 18 percent — or 4.5 million — of UK homes, with 23 percent expected to be unbundled by July 2006.

James Murdoch, chief executive of BSkyB, said the acquisition will allow the company to find new outlets for its entertainment offerings.

He said in a statement: "Today's offer reflects the exciting opportunities that now exist to combine quality entertainment with significant high-speed connections. Entertainment is at the core of Sky's success... We see value for families in moving well beyond just another triple play to offer a new level of connected entertainment and communications services."

It's thought BSkyB may look to turn Easynet into more of a consumer, rather than business, ISP, opening up the potential for BSkyB and Easynet to cross-sell broadband and video-on-demand services to each others' customers.

Aside from expanding BSkyB's product range, the acquisition may have broader implications for the UK broadband market as a whole. With homes likely to be BSkyB's focus, Easynet's LLUStream — used by other companies, including Onetel — could fall by the wayside.

Ian Fogg, analyst at JupiterResearch, said: "If the LLUStream offer is slowly wound down or cancelled, it would be increasingly difficult for smaller broadband ISPs to remain competitive," as they would be tied to BT for wholesale access and consequently to lower speeds. "It's a simple numbers game — with LLUStream they have the necessary scale but without the investment."

The acquisition marks the latest signal of a trend towards consolidation in the broadband market, following the news earlier this month of NTL's acquisition of Telewest and Pipex's buyout of Freedom2Surf.

Source here

BT Tate Modern

BT press release
DC 05-632 October 17, 2005
Tate and BT's online initiative opens up Jeff Wall retrospective to worldwide audiences

Visitors to Tate Online, exclusively sponsored by BT, can now log on to, and enjoy an online private view of Jeff Wall: Photographs 1978-2004, a major retrospective opening at Tate Modern on Friday 21 October. The new microsite is developed in conjunction with BT. It has been designed to add depth to the exhibition and includes a ground-breaking new interactive guide that takes full advantage of increasing internet access speeds and monitor sizes.

Canadian photographer, Jeff Wall, one of the most intriguing and influential artists working today, is best known for his large-scale colour transparencies, mounted in wall-hung light boxes. The scenes in Wall’s work look, at first glance, like snapshots, often taken from a distant perspective. They are, however, meticulously composed incorporating figures within a variety of staged settings. All the works in the exhibition are available at the microsite, along with details of individual works and comparison images that influenced the artist. Though not in the actual gallery, users can also get a sense of the large scale of each piece, an aspect of vital importance to Wall’s work. Expert viewpoints and articles are also provided in addition to a biography, and bibliography of the artist, and a glossary of relevant terms.

A video tour of the exhibition as it appears in the gallery will be undertaken by Wall and curator Sheena Wagstaff and posted on to the site shortly after the official opening on 21 October. A live webcast of the artists talk will be webcast live on Tuesday 25th October, and then archived for future visitors, further enhancing the online experience.

The exhibition at Tate Modern provides an overview of Jeff Wall’s entire career, bringing together more than forty key works from the late 1970s to the present day, many of which are icons of contemporary photography, such as The Storyteller (1986), and After “Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue (1999-2000), and will include a group of works made specially for the show.

Paul Leonard, head of commercial sponsorship at BT, comments: “This microsite demonstrates BT's innovative approach to working with Tate Online, not only to broaden access to the arts, but also to provide creative ways to reach new audiences and to really engage users' understanding of the artist's work. It's typical of the way we are applying simple yet intelligent technology to develop innovative and compelling interactive online experiences, all of which have helped make Tate Online the UK's Number One arts website.”

Jemima Rellie, head of digital programmes at Tate, comments: “This microsite demonstrates BT's innovative approach to working with Tate Online, not only to broaden access to the arts, but also to provide creative ways to engage audiences and to really engage users' understanding of the artist's work. It's typical of the way we are applying simple yet intelligent technology to develop innovative and compelling interactive online experiences, all of which have helped make Tate Online the UK's Number One arts website.”

The new project is a natural extension of BT’s partnership with Tate which aims to encourage people to access art via the internet in highly enjoyable ways. Previous online initiatives designed to engage existing and new audiences include the BT Series, a series of online interactive video tours featuring famous living artists such as Tracey Emin, Explore Tate Britain, an interactive map of the galleries launched by Michael Palin, and Let’s Play 66, an online 1960s quiz created to complement Tate Britain’s Art & the 60s show.

BT’s partnership with Tate Online, now in its fifth year, was established in May 2000 with BT supporting the launch of Tate Modern and sponsoring the permanent Collection Displays. In the past two years, Tate Online has won two BAFTA interactive entertainment awards for online content and has consistently been both the most visited art and musuem website in the country. Visitor figures continue to grow and the online gallery is on course to attract over 7 million unique visitors in 2005.

Source here

BT Communicator

BT press release
DC05-625 September 27, 2005
BT Communicator offers international calls for half the price of Skype

BT today has demonstrated its commitment to providing low cost calls over the internet by introducing another offer, slashing many rates for international destinations to half the rates of other operators like Skype.

The offer, which runs until December 31, continues BT’s commitment to take advantage of the lower costs of providing calls over the internet in order to offer much cheaper rates. Currently, the company offers calls to Australia with no call charges for up to one hour with BT Communicator with Yahoo! Messenger.

BT is also offering customers the chance to make BT Communicator calls from their laptops at our 7,800 BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots without paying any access subscription or per-minute charges.

Gavin Patterson, BT group managing director, Consumer, said: “We were the first telecoms company to offer voice over internet two years ago and we intend to keep ahead of the game. There’s been a lot of hype about Skype, but these international calls are half their price. .

“We are not going to sit back while competitors lure our customers with cheap internet calls. We will fight for every customer by offering our own attractive prices for these calls. And with BT Communicator you can make the same call at a BT Openzone hotspot when you are out and about.

“Unlike traditional telephony, where we are heavily regulated, for internet telephony we can compete on an equal basis and offer customers the same advantages of low cost calls over the internet, but from a global, trusted brand.

“But customers need more than just cheap prices and we are confident that we can provide them with top quality calls with excellent customer service.”

From October 3, calls to 30 popular international destinations with BT Communicator, such as the United States, Australia, Spain and France will cost just 0.5p a minute. A 60 minute call to a US landline, which would cost 72p with Skype, would cost only 30p with BT.

With BT Communicator the cost is charged to your usual BT phonebill, whereas you would have to buy pre-paid credit with Skype. And BT use their telephony experience to prioritise internet calls and ensure they are top quality.

Patterson added: “We believe voice calls over the internet are going to become much more prevalent in the future. There’s been a lot written about this being a threat to BT, but actually we see it as a great opportunity to offer customers a range of exciting new services in the future, like video calls and combining voice with text at the same time.

“This latest offer will be going out on email to millions of BT customers to try to encourage them to download the free BT Communicator with Yahoo! Messenger software and start making high quality cheap and easy calls.”


Calls may deplete a customer’s broadband usage allowance. Pence per minute rate applies to fixed line Direct Dialled calls made using ‘Clic2call’ and ‘Clic2connect’ on BT Communicator. All calls will be terminated after 60 minutes and you will nee to redial. You need a BT residential telephone line to which calls are billed, a 16 bit windows compatible audio card, a microphone and speakers or a headset. The quality of the reception of the phone line may not match that of a normal landline and may vary depending on Internet traffic. Some international numbers, 999/112 emergency calls cannot be made. Other service restrictions apply. Terms and conditions apply.

Source here

BT - Yahoo 8Mb

BT press release
DC05-677 October 13, 2005

BT and Yahoo! make broadband as simple as 1, 2, 3, 4 and promise 8Mb from next year

BT today announced a deepening of its relationship with Yahoo! as it simplified its broadband packages into four easy options. Each of these packages will offer new and existing customers a premium Yahoo! broadband experience, enhanced security features and the option of cheap internet telephony. The packages will come into effect from October 24 offering consumers even greater value from BT and Yahoo!.

BT Broadband Option 1, which costs £17.99 a month, will now provide access to a premium Yahoo! broadband experience and a full range of leading tools and services. These include a premium level customisable radio station, access to the Web’s largest catalogue of music video streamed at higher bit rates, a personalised broadband homepage with access to more than 750,000 content sources from across the Web, award-winning premium e-mail with industry-leading spam protection with 2Gb of storage for primary accounts.

A new package, BT Broadband Option 2, is priced at £22.99 a month. This will additionally offer a wireless router from just £25* and ‘best of class’ enhanced security including PC anti-virus and firewall software for further protection. Options 3 and 4 will offer a wireless router for free along with other enhanced features.

Gavin Patterson, BT group managing director, Consumer, said: “The heat of competition in broadband is white hot and we will continue to give our customers fantastic deals.

“We have raised our game again by giving all customers access to the fantastic award winning, premium Yahoo! broadband experience which highlights the kind of unique content and superior security features which give customers peace of mind.

“BT led the way when we gave customers up to four times the connection speed for no added cost and now we are offering more features for free. For instance, we will be offering inclusive Evening and Weekend UK calls over the internet with Broadband Talk for an extra £2 a month**, and you make the calls using your usual handset.

“We know that customers don’t care about the technicalities and just want a connection which will allow them to do what they want to. That’s why for BT Broadband Options 3 and 4 we’ve included a free wireless router if you order online and enhanced security, so customers can securely link up all their families’ computers without drowning under a mountain of wires.

“Following the announcement from BT Wholesale yesterday that they will be trialing speeds of 8 Mb, I can confirm that BT Retail will be joining these trials in November and we will be introducing speeds of up to 8Mb when available in Spring next year, in preparation for the launch of BT’s TV over broadband offering later in the summer.”

Steve Boom, Yahoo! Senior Vice President Broadband, said: “We are excited to extend our successful alliance with BT and now bring the best experience, security and value on the Internet to all of the BT Broadband options. This deal reinforces our standing as the partner of choice for leading broadband providers. BT and Yahoo! are focused on delivering the best possible services to consumers and we are delighted that the extension of our relationship with BT now brings the Yahoo! experience to all of BT’s broadband customers.”

Previously, the acclaimed premium Yahoo! Broadband experience was available only on BT’s most expensive broadband packages. The company decided to forge deeper links with Yahoo! and enhance the features available across the packages in order to offer customers better value. This has resulted in a long-term extension of the strategic partnership between the two companies with BT naming Yahoo! as one of its key global strategic partners.

Patterson added: “We see this strengthening of our relationship with Yahoo! as a great way to give customers even more for no extra cost. It’s not just about speed, it is about giving customers easy and safe ways to enjoy their broadband and offering them hassle-free, cheap ways to make calls over the internet or make their home wireless.”

BT Broadband Options:

BT Broadband Option 1 - £17.99
Up to 2Mb download speed (40x faster than dial-up)
E-mail with 5 accounts, e-mail anti-virus and spam filter
Full range of BT Broadband with Yahoo! Online features - communication, entertainment and online protection
FREE router and connection Wireless available for one fee of £25
2GB monthly usage guideline
Up to £150 off a laptop or desktop PC

BT Broadband Option 2 - £22.99
Up to 2Mb download speed (40x faster than dial-up)
E-mail with 5 accounts, e-mail anti-virus and spam filter
Full range of BT Broadband with Yahoo! Online features - communication, entertainment and online protection
FREE PC firewall and PC anti-virus software
FREE router and connection Wireless available for one fee of £25
6GB monthly usage guideline
Up to £150 off a laptop or desktop PC

BT Broadband Option 3 - £26.99
Up to 2Mb download speed (40x faster than dial-up)
E-mail with 11 accounts, e-mail anti-virus and spam filter
Full range of BT Broadband with Yahoo! Online features - communication, entertainment and online protection
FREE PC firewall and PC anti-virus software
FREE Wireless router
20GB monthly usage guideline
Up to £150 off a laptop or desktop PC

BT Broadband Option 4 - £29.99
Up to 2Mb download speed (40x faster than dial-up)
E-mail with 11 accounts, e-mail anti-virus and spam filter
Full range of BT Broadband with Yahoo! Online features - communication, entertainment and online protection
FREE PC firewall and PC anti-virus software
FREE Wireless router
40GB monthly usage guideline
Up to £200 off a laptop or desktop PC

* wireless router will be free for options 3 and 4 if you order online, and cost £25 for options 1 and 2 if you order online. Terms and conditions apply
** Applies to Local and National calls. Excludes non-geographic calls (eg 0845, 0870), premium rate numbers, mobile and Internet calls. Other exclusions apply. Applies to calls up to one hour, then 1pence per minute. Offer ends 31.3.06, subject to status and minimum 12 month term. £2 per month offer price applies for 6 months from order, then normal price of £4 per month applies. The £2 discount will appear as a one-off credit on you Broadband Talk bill. Terms and conditions apply.

Source here


BT press release
DC05-678 14 October, 2005
BT announces plans for higher speed Broadband nationwide

BT today announced the next trial phase for its ADSL broadband Max service, which will deliver downstream line speeds of up to 8 Mbit/s. Commencing at the end of November, the trial will lay the foundation for the intended commercial launch of higher speed broadband services across the UK by Spring 2006.

Cameron Rejali, managing director, products and strategy, BT Wholesale said: “The market trial represents a significant step forward in the development of our higher speed broadband products. Our highly successful technical trials generated positive feedback and high demand from both service providers and end-customers involved in the trial.

“This trial phase is essential to ensure our higher speed broadband products and systems meet the reliability standards that service providers and end users expect. This testing is essential given BT intends to roll out services of up to 8Mb across the whole of the UK. BT is committed to ensuring that everyone benefits from the broadband revolution whether they live in valleys, villages or city centres.

Higher speed broadband services will allow people to run more bandwidth hungry applications, including video, gaming and music downloads at the same time, as well as email and surfing the web.

Following successful technical trials of the service in London and the Strathclyde region of Scotland, the wider market trial phase will include an initial 25 exchanges, rising to 53 exchanges as the trial progresses. The selected trial exchanges will be located in Greater London, Cornwall, Strathclyde, Northern Ireland and South Glamorgan.

The higher speed broadband trial will initially be available to 50,000 end users. Depending on the successful progress of the trial, BT aims to extend the availability of the trial to up to 150,000 end users, which could see additional trial exchanges enabled for higher speed broadband.

The trial will allow participating service providers to offer end-customers the fastest broadband service their line can reliably support with rate-adaptive downstream line speeds of up to 8 Mbit/s. BT intends to provide these services
nationwide from all broadband enabled exchanges in the UK following the successful conclusion of the trials.

The market trial will apply to BT Wholesale’s BT Datastream service and BT IPstream service, provided the customer is on either capacity or usage based charging. The purpose of the market trial is to allow BT Wholesale and participating service providers to understand the technical stability of ADSL Max lines and become familiarised with the ordering, billing and service aspects of the service prior to commercial launch.

Service providers will shortly be invited by BT Wholesale to formally take part in the trial. Individual customer lines for the trial will be selected by service providers and the standard procedure for ordering ADSL broadband services from BT Wholesale will apply.

Higher speed broadband from BT Wholesale will deliver greater control and flexibility to service providers which will allow them to differentiate their products to reduce customer churn and attract new broadband subscribers.

Notes to editors

1. The 25 initial trial exchanges are:

East Kilbride

Northern Ireland
Bangor Belfast Balmoral
Belfast City

South Glamorgan
Radyr Glam Rhoose

Greater London
Earls Court
Kensington Gardens
South Kensington
West Kensington

St Ives

Trial name*See note 2.

Upstream line speed range
(Rate adaptive)

Downstream line speed range
(Rate adaptive) *See note 3.

BT Datastream Home Max

64Kbit/s - 448Kbit/s

288Kbit/s – 8128Mbit/s

BT Datastream Office Max

64Kbit/s - 832Kbit/s

288Kbit/s – 8128Mbit/s

BT IPstream Home Max

64Kbit/s - 448Kbit/s

288Kbit/s – 8128Mbit/s

BT IPstream Office Max

64Kbit/s - 832Kbit/s

288Kbit/s – 8128Mbit/s

2. These product names may be subject to change for any launched service.

3. The speeds in the table are indicative of the actual ADSL line code rate.

4. BT expects that BT Datastream Office Max and BT IPstream Home Max will be available from the start of the trial, with BT Datastream Home Max and BT IPstream Office Max being introduced later in the trial.

5. While existing ADSL technology will be used to provide rate-adaptive downstream line speeds ranging from 288 Kbit/s to 8 Mbit/s, BT Wholesale is currently conducting internal technical trials using ADSL2 + technology as well as evaluating VDSL technology and aims to deliver downstream speeds of up to 24 Mbit/s +. BT Wholesale aims to announce its plans to conduct wider tests for ADSL2+ and VDSL in 2006.

BT ready to roll with 8Mbps ADSL
Colin Barker
October 13, 2005, 18:25 BST

After halting SDSL rollout, BT is ready to trial a faster flavour of broadband

BT had set a launch date of November for the trials of its 8Mbps ADSL broadband Max service, with a full roll-out expected in spring 2006.

The launch of this faster broadband is key for BT as it recovers from the failure of SDSL to capture a large market.

The announcement comes after what Cameron Rejali, managing director, products and strategy for BT Wholesale, described as "highly successful" technical trials which generated positive feedback and high demand from both service providers and end-customers involved in the trial.

BT has already conducted trials of the service in London and Strathclyde. The wider market trial phase will include an initial 25 exchanges, rising to 53 exchanges as the trial progresses. The selected trial exchanges will be located in Greater London, Cornwall, Strathclyde, Northern Ireland and South Glamorgan.

BT will initially run the trial with 50,000 end users and, "depending on the successful progress of the trial", aims to get 150,000 end users signed up.

Source here

Google reveals its 300-year plan

Elinor Mills
October 10, 2005, 09:15 BST

Chief executive Eric Schmidt estimates that Google won't manage to index all the world's information until around the 24th century

It could take 300 years to index all the world's information and make it searchable, Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt predicted on Saturday at the Association of National Advertisers annual conference in Phoenix.

"We did a math exercise and the answer was 300 years," Schmidt said in response to an audience question asking for a projection of how long the company's mission will take. "The answer is it's going to be a very long time."

Of the approximately 5 million terabytes of information out in the world, only about 170 terabytes have been indexed, he said earlier during his speech.

Schmidt admitted to the audience of advertisers that when he first arrived at Google four years ago, he viewed ads from a sceptical consumer standpoint. Shown ads on Google, he thought "You've got to be kidding! People actually click on this stuff? And they do."

He said he quickly realised, though, that "ads actually do have value if you can figure out the right ones to show."

Technology and the interactivity it enables, such as the ability to measure an Internet ad's success rate by viewing how many people click on it, is shifting power in the advertising industry from executives at corporations to consumers, he said.

"The power is moving from us to the end user; it's occurring by the power of the personal computer, by the power of the cell phone," he said. "Thirty years ago we would make the decision [about ads]. Now, that person, that individual makes that decision."

Advertising is increasing on the Internet and cable television, and showing modest to no growth in newspapers and magazines, Schmidt said. "The cost per revenue dollar of online ad systems is so much lower than [for offline advertising]," he said.

Of the estimated $283bn spent on advertising in the United States, $11.3bn is spent on the Internet, with Google taking in about 1 percent of that, Schmidt said.

Despite the slowdown in print advertising, Google is testing a campaign in which the search giant is using its audience targeting technology to help customers place ads in magazines, he said.

Schmidt predicted there will always be ads on the Internet but that there may be an "ad-free subset" of the Internet that might offer a different way for people to pay for things, such as using micro-payments.

During the question-and-answer session, audience members turned to social, ethical and legal topics. One question dealt with criticism Google and Yahoo have received for cooperating with Chinese government censorship efforts.

"The technology is neutral. It can be applied for good or evil," he said. "Overwhelmingly, the message of technology is a positive one."

Asked to explain why Google has submitted a proposal to provide the city of San Francisco with free wireless Internet service, Schmidt said the plan arose out of work several engineers did on a system that would allow companies to make money offering such a service. "It's an interesting experiment," he said. "If it scales and if it is successful, we think it's going to be very good for the world."

Schmidt also responded to a question about complaints Google has endured, including a lawsuit filed by the Authors Guild over its plan to digitise books and make them searchable online. Google's Print Library Project adheres to US copyright law, he said. A "fair use" provision under the law allows for excerpts of copyrighted material to be used and Google will only display snippets of copyrighted text, he said. "That model seems to be durable," he said. "We're very, very careful if copyright is owned."

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Earthlink to build Philadelphia wireless network
Tue Oct 4, 2005 6:17 PM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Internet service provider EarthLink Inc. plans to build a city-wide wireless network for Philadelphia to provide residents and businesses with Internet access, according to the company.

EarthLink will spend about $10 million to $14 million to build the network that will include equipment from Motorola Inc. and privately held Tropos Networks, according to Philadelphia's Chief Information Officer, Dianah Neff.

The city chose EarthLink over Hewlett-Packard Co., which was also short-listed from a group of 12 companies that offered proposals for the project. Analysts said the deal could open up a new growth opportunity for EarthLink.

"Strategically its very important. From a financial perspective, its not enough to move the needle in the short term," said Jefferies analyst Youssef Squali, who estimated that at least another 20 U.S. cities are looking at similar projects.

If Philadelphia is a success, it could help EarthLink win some of these contracts, independent telecommunications analyst Jeff Kagan said in an e-mail.

"This win is much bigger than Philadelphia for EarthLink because if they do a good job there are countless other metro areas who would hire them to do the same thing," Kagan said.

Philadelphia was one of the first of many U.S. cities to look at building municipal wireless networks, mainly to encourage economic growth and provide affordable Web access to poorer residents.

Some municipal plans, which essentially compete with incumbent services, have created friction with telephone and cable providers. The Mayor of San Francisco has said he was bracing for a battle with telephone and cable companies as his city plans to offer free or low-cost municipal services.

Philadelphia plans to offer free Internet access in public spaces such as parks, covering about 10 percent of the city, but outside of these areas, monthly subscriptions will cost from $10 to $20.

Neff said up to 30 percent of Philadelphia's 560,000 households, or 1.5 million people, may qualify for the cheaper rate of $10, with others being charged $20 a month.

The idea is part of a plan to boost the City's economy by educating residents and transforming rundown neighborhoods where sometimes there are no wires in the ground for Web access.

"We believe that affordable access to the Internet will help us do so. To be a city of the 21st century you need to have your populace able to use Internet," Neff said.

EarthLink said the network, which will cover 135 square miles, will be the biggest municipal wireless project in the country when it is completed about a year from now.

It will also manage the network and is expected to recoup the costs by charging other Web services wholesale rates to offer services using its network, according to Neff who said EarthLink would share some revenue with the city.

The service will be based on a series of interconnected "hotspots" based on Wi-Fi, a short-range radio technology popular among laptop computer users in public venues, such as coffee shops. About 75 percent of the network will be wireless with some wireline backhaul Internet links.

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Sony Ericsson launches 3G Walkman mobile phone
Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:41 AM ET

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Japanese-Swedish mobile phone maker Sony Ericsson on Monday unveiled a new third generation technology mobile phone handset which includes a digital music player and a camera.

The joint venture between Japan's Sony Corp. (6758.T: Quote, Profile, Research) and Sweden's Ericsson (ERICb.ST: Quote, Profile, Research) is the world's fifth-largest handset maker. It focuses on more expensive models and has about a 6.2 percent share of the market.

The new 3G Walkman phone, which has a 2-megapixel camera and allows users to download and browse video games and graphics, will be available at the end of the year.

The latest model is the fourth Sony Ericsson Walkman phone. Sony Ericsson's W800 Walkman phone was the first phone to use Sony's revived Walkman brand, first launched in 1979.

The joint venture has been unable to meet demand in Europe for some of its latest models, such as the Walkman phone, because of popular demand, analysts said last month

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3 UK lets cell users make, sell videos
Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:56 AM ET167
By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) - Video phone pioneer 3 UK is bringing to Britain a service that could allow its customers to make thousands of pounds by shooting their own video clips -- and charging others to watch them.

The smallest of Britain's five mobile phone network operators said on Tuesday that customers could now use their mobile phone to make a 30 second video and upload it onto a "See Me TV" channel for others to view.

Each time a clip is downloaded by one of 3 UK's 3.2 million customers, the performer gets paid one penny.

"We wanted to create the ultimate reality channel, where you're the talent and you decide what you want to do," said 3's Chief Operating Officer Gareth Jones.

"And the more popular your clips, the more money you stand to make. The only limit to what you can earn is your talent -- or the lengths you'll go to make an impression."

Credits from downloads are accumulated in an account and then a transfer made via online payment service Paypal (EBAY.O: Quote, Profile, Research). A spokesman said customers at the company's Italian sister, 3 Italia, had already made thousands of euros from the service.

But in an industry which has spawned phenomena such as "happy slapping" -- when usually teenagers assault people and then capture the action on a mobile video phone -- the company insisted it had an editorial team that would apply "very, very strict rules" on content.


3 UK, which is owned by Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa (0013.HK: Quote, Profile, Research) and which is being groomed for a possible market debut next year, also took a step deeper into the digital music market by announcing that every audio track its customers download onto mobile phones would now also be available online for no extra charge.

Mobile phone companies have been keen to grab a revenue share from portable music player companies such as Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) and its iconic iPod music jukebox. But customers who buy tracks on their mobile phones have so far not been able to access the music on other devices.

3 UK said the market for digital music had now overtaken the value of the global singles market, with researchers such as Forrester predicting that digital music revenues in the UK will top 204 million euros by 2007

The company, which sells tracks at a flat rate of 1.50 pounds, said customers who bought a track over the air would be sent a text message with a code to access the same track as a computer download.

Chief Executive Bob Fuller insisted that 3 UK, which launched Europe's first third-generation (3G) video phones amid much fanfare in 2003 -- only to fall far short of initial customer targets -- had listened, learned and fixed its service.

He told a news conference that it now took as little as 24 hours for a product idea to move from conception to launch, where once it had taken six months. And the search is on for fresh revenue streams.

3 UK said it was in talks with potential advertising partners, who could beam adverts direct onto its mobile phones.

"It's the Holy Grail for advertising," Fuller said. He declined to divulge the names of possible partners.

Source here

Video iPod
Video iPod opens gates on ad model
Tue Oct 18, 2005 3:20 PM ET172
By Michele Gershberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple's latest iPod, a video-enabled music player that serves up some of the season's hottest television shows without commercials, will likely prod advertisers to get serious about finding a foothold in portable media players, media buyers said.

Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL.O: Quote, Profile, Research) last week unveiled the new model in its popular iPod lineup. The company reached a deal to sell downloads of top-rated ABC network shows such as "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" the day after broadcast for $1.99 per episode.

The announcement sent a new chill through an advertising industry struggling to reach consumers amid an explosion of media outlets. ABC and rivals like Viacom's (VIAb.N: Quote, Profile, Research) CBS are seeking new ways to deliver entertainment out of the television box, whether on the Internet or with new devices.

The bigger fear, and some say opportunity, for advertisers is how to keep their brand messages in front of consumers as iPods, other portable media players and increasingly sophisticated cellular phones pick up speed and vie for time once dominated by television and the 30-second commercial.

"The idea of consumer-controlled content has been prevalent, said Andrew Swinand, executive vice president at Starcom Worldwide, part of Publicis (PUBP.PA: Quote, Profile, Research). "This is the tipping point in terms of it coming to fruition."

The market-leading iPod built its brand on digital music downloads that can be arranged and listened to like a radio, but without advertising. Portable video game players like the Sony PSP and entertainment content viewed on cellular phones are also gnawing away at television viewing.

But with television audiences slipping, marketers question why they should pay top dollar for commercials on programs that can be watched ad-free a day later.

"It's a great concern to advertisers," said Jason Maltby, co-president of national broadcast for media buyer Mindshare, part of WPP (WPP.L: Quote, Profile, Research). "Why spend a couple hundred thousand dollars for an ad unit on 'Desperate Housewives'? The value keeps eroding."


Other experts argue that ABC will pick up new viewers for its shows on the video iPod rather than harm existing ratings. Such technology-forward users have already tuned out the regular prime-time television schedule, they say.

Apple has said it won't allow advertising on its iPod platform, but some experts wonder how long it would hold off on a lucrative new revenue stream. A company spokesman was not immediately available

"TiVo and satellite radio were not ad-supported but they are loosening their guidelines to accept ads," said Brad Adgate, research director at Horizon Media. "It really depends on the finances of Apple."

Maltby said advertisers might push television networks like Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) ABC for assurances that their costliest ads will remain embedded in a show for some time.

"One could argue that if I'm a sponsor of 'Desperate Housewives', my commercial should be wherever 'Desperate Housewives' goes, whether it's on the phone or an iPod," he said.

Marketers may also offer to pay for video downloads if a viewer watches an ad first, or invest even more to embed their brands into a program's storyline as they have to combat ad-skipping technologies such as TiVo's digital video recorder.

"You would have to make ads much more contextually appealing to iPod users," said Brent Magid, chief executive of consultancy Frank Magid Associates. "It has to be about the environment and the experience iPod users have come to like."

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Apple faces hard time wooing Hollywood to new iPod
Mon Oct 17, 2005 5:17 PM ET

By Bob Tourtellotte and Kenneth Li

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Apple Computer Inc chief Steve Jobs faces a far tougher task wooing film and television producers to create shows for the new video iPod than he did in the music industry as many questions remain over content and pricing, industry executives say.

In the week since Jobs unveiled the handheld iPod, which plays video clips on a 2.5-inch diagonal screen, media and technology executives have been trying to figure out whether people will watch shows on a small screen, what types of programs will work and whether money can be made at the $1.99 price Apple set.

"There is no doubt people are going to access content in more flexible ways going forward," said Rick Feldman, who heads the National Association of Television Program Executives.

"What we don't know, for independent producers, is what kind of content is going to be wanted and needed, what it will cost and what it can be made for," he added.

At its launch, Walt Disney Co. chief executive Bob Iger committed Disney's ABC TV network to offering hit shows "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" for the video iPod.

Sources familiar with the thinking at rivals NBC and CBS said those networks have talked to Apple about providing content, but that the $1.99 price tag was too low.

Both networks declined to comment specifically about Apple, although an NBC spokeswoman did say in a statement that NBC "is having conversations with many top players."

Media executives, however, said it costs very little for networks to re-package shows for downloading in what amounts to test marketing because the consumer appetite, costs and profits of those programs already have been realized in other arenas.

The networks can afford to experiment, but independent film and TV producers, which the networks rely on to dream up shows, want hard facts before investing dollars in new programing.


Veteran financial analyst Tom Wolzien said "a lot of confusion" remains in the marketplace and further noted that how much actors, directors, writers and other artists might receive also must also be addressed.

Late last week, unions representing various talent groups issued a rare joint statement saying they would work to "ensure our members are properly compensated" for downloads.

When Apple entered the music industry a few years ago with its original iPod, it found a market ripe for change in an industry ravaged by piracy and plunging CD sales.

Record makers were drawn to Apple's formula of combining the iPod with the one-click ease of its iTunes music store, and major issues over digital rights management -- how much to pay artists and how to track downloads -- had been solved.

Film and TV producers are mindful of combating piracy but are not yet as desperate as the music industry was. The reason for the current movie box office slump -- U.S. ticket sales are down about six percent this year -- has yet to be determined and TV viewing is up across broadcast and cable networks.

Downloading video of TV shows and films is nothing new, but film and TV makers have remained reticent about exploiting the market. Two Web sites, CinemaNow and MovieLink, have offered legal downloads for years and although they are growing, they remain small businesses in a niche market.

For that reason, CinemaNow CEO Curt Marvis welcomed Apple, noting that the recognition they will bring should lure consumers to the entire arena, much like it did for music.

"From day one, which for us is six years ago, we have said the validation of this business through the entry of others is key to having the whole industry grow," he said.

There is no doubt Apple, Jobs and the original iPod caused legal music downloading to increase, but whether they can cause a similar reaction for films and TV shows awaits an answer.

Source here

Podcasters prepare to launch video era
Fri Oct 14, 2005 10:30 AM ET162

By Pascal Pinck

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Podcasting is on the verge of setting off a video revolution and users of Apple Computer Inc.'s new video iPod can expect a deluge of outspoken dommentary, religious sermons and pornography.

Podcasting, a term based on the name for Apple's portable media player, allows customers to download audio, and now video, segments for free to their computers and portable devices. Radio shows are among the most popular podcasts, but amateurs have helped turn podcasting into an eclectic global phenomenon.

Apple's video-enabled iPod models, announced on Wednesday, promise to stoke the fervor of home-grown broadcasters.

"I'm thrilled by the possibilities of combining devices," said 'Soccergirl,' whose opinionated and sexually suggestive program was listed among the 40 most popular podcasts on Apple's iTunes service.

The 26-year old librarian, who chooses not to reveal her real name, already produces short video segments that can play on viewers' computers.

The new iPods "will make it easier for many of my listeners

to watch my video as easily as they listen to my show," she said.

Other early adopters of video podcasting are likely to include clergy of all stripes.

San Francisco-area pastor Tim Hohm, whose audio podcast is one of more than 1,400 religious offerings available on iTunes,

says the new iPods represent "a fantastic opportunity" and believes video has the potential "to inspire tens of thousands to embrace a message of inspiration and hope

The current crop of audio podcasters also includes entrepreneurial-minded Web journalists, some of whom are struggling to find a workable business model.

Media analyst Rafat Ali, whose Web site focuses on the economics of digital content, forecasts many such start-up projects will fail due to lack of expertise and funding.

"Producing interesting video content is really hard," he told Reuters.

Success will depend largely on programmers' resources and ability to grasp the complexities of a medium that is much more

complicated than audio, Ali said.

"It's a matter of how good is the quality and how do they get funded," he added.


Historically, pornographers have a strong track record of adapting new imaging devices and formats in a commercially viable way.

Mark Kernes, a senior editor at the Adult Video News trade magazine, said the highly-visible video iPod would certainly be

used for adult content, but that many consumers might not want

to show off their new material in public.

"Anybody that's got a video iPod is probably going to want to have a couple of porn clips on there, just to have," he said. "But you're not going to be looking at it at the mall."

Source here
HellHouse Video: Now For iPod and PSP
By: MJ McMahon
Posted: 2:00 pm PDT 10-17-2005

SEATTLE - It was only a matter of time before porn hit Apple’s newly minted video iPod, and it now appears the initial culprit to deliver it is BDSM content provider HellHouse Video.

The company has released titles for the iPod and Sony’s PlayStation Portable handheld gaming device in tandem.

“You can now watch our films in total privacy wherever you want,” said Goddess Hollie, co-owner of HellHouse Video. “Check them out on the road, in a park, while riding a bus, or take your device under the sheets and watch them where no one knows.”

The initial launch includes five titles each for the iPod and the PSP. Among them are This Little Piggy and Sindi’s Wet and Messy Adventure.

HellHouse Video, the media arm of HellHouse Dungeon, views the iPod and PSP as additional distribution models and hopes they’ll introduce HellHouse titles to new consumers, Hollie said.

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Disney offers next-day iTune downloads
Thu Oct 13, 2005 1:17 AM ET

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ABC's unprecedented plan to offer next-day downloads of its biggest prime-time hits for $1.99 per episode via Apple's online iTunes store opens a new revenue stream for the TV industry and a new era of digital portability for viewers, experts said on Wednesday.

The move, unveiled in conjunction with a new partnership between the Walt Disney Co. and Apple Computer Inc marks the latest bid by a major broadcast network and its parent company to shake up "old media" models and expand their avenues of distribution.

"This is the first giant step in terms of making content available to more people in more places," Disney CEO Robert Iger said in announcing the deal.

Commercial-free episodes of two of U.S. television's highest-rated shows -- ABC's "Lost" and "Desperate Housewives" -- will be available for download from Apple's iTunes a day after their network broadcast. Last season's episodes will be available for download immediately.

Viewers will then be able to watch those shows at their leisure on the new video-playing iPods and newly upgraded iMac computers unveiled by Apple on Wednesday.

Apple's iTunes will also offer downloads of ABC's new drama "Night Stalker" and Disney Channel's two most popular cable TV shows, "That's So Raven" and "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody."

The downloads will be priced at $1.99 per episode, the same as iTunes will charge for music videos.

Iger said he sees the portability of the TV-viewing experience offered by iPod and similar devices "as the future as far as we are concerned."

But the move raised questions about whether instant access to current prime-time shows might diminish their future value in the burgeoning DVD market and in broadcast syndication.

David Miller, a media analyst for brokerage Sanders Morris Harris, said the added distribution outlet "increases the value of the content" and complements Disney's overall strategy.

"Disney has always taken the attitude that they want to be able to distribute their content to anyone, any time ... no matter how they want to consume it," he told Reuters.

Mike McGuire, research director for the Gartner Group, said the downloads present "another way to extract revenue" from Disney properties without cannibalizing commercial potential for DVD sales and reruns.

The availability of cheap downloads of single episodes could help drive demand for DVD boxed sets, giving more consumers a chance to sample a show before deciding whether they want to pay for an entire season. And he said audiences that seek out their entertainment on the Internet differ from the more "passive" viewers who settle for traditional reruns.

"This is about a very active, growing consumer base, active in the sense that they will do a little extra work to ... get content outside of a programing schedule, and oh, by the way, they want that content to be portable."

Offering downloads of shows stripped of ads, however, might give advertisers the jitters, he added.

The Disney-Apple venture comes as numerous networks are exploring new outlets for on-demand viewing of their shows.

Last month, the Viacom Inc.-owned UPN network began offering video streaming of its new hit comedy "Everybody Hates Chris" through Google Inc.

And the WB network, controlled by Time Warner Inc., has debuted two of its shows, "Jack & Bobby" last season and "Supernatural" this fall, through sister online service AOL before they premiered on television.

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Apple unveils video iPod, ABC TV deal
Wed Oct 12, 2005 8:52 PM ET

By Duncan Martell

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Apple Computer Inc. on Wednesday introduced a version of its market-leading iPod that also plays videos and unveiled a deal with Walt Disney Co. to sell television shows like "Desperate Housewives" after their first broadcast.

Apple has long aimed to make its devices the hub for digital entertainment inside and outside the home, and Chief Executive Steve Jobs said the ABC deal was a turning point in bringing television to the Web.

"I think this is really pretty big and I think it's just the beginning," Jobs said in an interview.

The video iPod -- a long-rumored product that could further spark sales of the popular brand -- has a 2.5-inch screen and comes with 30 or 60 gigabytes of memory. The sleeker, thinner version will sell for $299 and $399, respectively, and holds up to 150 hours of video.

As part of its deal with Disney's ABC network, iPod users will be able to download five shows including ABC's "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost." Current-season episodes of the series will be made available at the iTunes music store the day after broadcast.

The entire first season of "Desperate Housewives" and "Lost" will be available immediately. The television shows are only available in the United States and cost $1.99 per episode, without commercials.

Media companies and computer companies have traditionally been at odds over bringing entertainment to the Web, given rampant piracy of music online, and Disney and Apple said their deal was a watershed.

"This is the first giant step in terms of making content available to more people in more places," said Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger. "This is just the beginning of what we believe will be a long and prosperous relationship between Apple and Disney."

Both the deal with Disney and the new products -- which also include an iMac with a remote control that acts as a home entertainment hub -- give Apple a chance to forge a leading position in online media, said Cross Research technology analyst Shannon Cross.

"They are positioning themselves as the company that will connect video content to the end users and control your living room," Cross said.

The company also plans to offer music videos for $1.99 each at its iTunes online music store. It will also offer short films from Pixar Animation Studios Inc., which is also led by Jobs

But Nitin Gupta, an analyst at Yankee Group, questioned how much the video iPod would boost sales of the devices, saying it will be hard to sell shoppers on the idea of watching "on-the-go" video on a little screen.

"The market is likely small for people who want to watch a portable video on a little screen," he said. "That will not be the main reason people buy the iPod. It is just an enhancement."

Apple has already sold more than 28 million iPods since their introduction in October 2001 and now has about 75 percent of the market for digital music players, representing a booming business that has helped the company's stock triple in the past year.

The company has also refreshed the iPod line-up many times since its introduction. Apple on September 7 unveiled the iPod nano, a pencil-thin device that uses memory chips instead of hard disk drives to store songs.

The new iMac computer, which the company said would stand as an entertainment hub for DVDs, music and photos, will also compete directly with Microsoft Corp.'s Media Center.

The new products come after Apple on Tuesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit that quadrupled from a year ago as revenue rose 56 percent and unit sales of iPods more than tripled.

But the company's stock fell as sales of the iPod -- 6.5 million in the quarter -- were less than some analysts' estimates, which were as high as 8 million.

Apple shares fell $2.32, or 4.5 percent, to $49.27 in late afternoon on Wednesday on Nasdaq.

(Additional reporting by Franklin Paul and Michael Kahn)

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Apple unveils new video iPod
Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:20 PM ET163

SAN JOSE (Reuters) - Apple Computer Inc. on Wednesday unveiled a version of its market-leading iPod that also plays videos and increased the iMac computer's ability to act as a home entertainment hub by adding a remote control.

The video iPod -- a long-rumored product that could further spark sales of the popular brand -- has a 2.5-inch screen and comes with 30 or 60 gigabytes of memory. It will sell for $299 and $399, respectively.

The company also plans to offer music videos for $1.99 each at its iTunes online music store, along with short films from Pixar Animation Studios Inc.. It also said some ABC television shows would be available on iTunes a day after broadcast for $1.99.

The company unveiled the new products at a news event in California's Silicon Valley.

Apple has already sold more than 28 million iPods since their introduction in October 2001 and now has about 75 percent of the market for digital music players.

The company has refreshed the iPod line-up many times since their introduction. Apple on September 7 unveiled the iPod nano, a pencil-thin device that uses memory chips instead of hard disk drives to store songs.

The new iMac computer, which the company said would stand as an entertainment hub for DVDs, music and photos, will also directly complete with Microsoft Corp.'s Media Center.

The new products come after Apple on Tuesday reported a fiscal fourth-quarter profit that quadrupled from a year ago as revenue rose 56 percent and unit sales of iPods more than tripled.

But the company's stock fell as sales of the iPod -- 6.5 million in the quarter -- were less than some analysts' estimates, which were as high as 8 million.

Apple shares fell $2.40 percent on Wednesday to $49.19 at mid-afternoon on Nasdaq.

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