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Showing posts from April, 2005

IPTV Keynote: Microsoft's Benchmarks

Hopes for Telco triple-play go back some time, observed Phil Corman, Director of Microsoft TV, and as the US West Choice TV & Online service demonstrated, the results have been disappointing -- So why now? For telcos, it is becoming a matter of simple survival, said Corman, and compared to earlier efforts, this time the technology is ready. An important starting point, said Corman, is to consider what IPTV is not. �IPTV is not video streaming over the Internet, watching TV on your PC or merely a best-efforts video service. It has to be based on a proven business model.� Corman believes a key to the new paradigm will be the Electronic Program Guide that allows users to navigate the service. One of the benchmarks for enabling IPTV is the establishment of a viable ecosystem of technology suppliers and content providers. Microsoft�s recently announced strategic partnership with Alcatel is aimed at achieving this goal, explained Corman. Microsoft�s other IPTV partners include Tandber

IPTV Keynote: Challenges & Opportunities

An open network architecture for IPTV has its integration challenges, but prevents vendor lock-in, said Bill DeMuth, CTO of Surewest Communications, in a keynote address at the IPTV 20005 conference -- Surewest has been delivering Triple Play services since July 2002, and IP video since January 2004. The company�s fiber network passes about 70,000 homes and has over 16,000 FTTP subscribers. The active fiber network delivers 100 Mbps Ethernet to each home. Surewest also operates a copper network and has just started to deploy ADSL2+. The IPTV service provides the choice of 260 channels of content, over 75 premium channels, 25 international channels, Pay-per-View and VoD services. �At this point, the market drivers for deploying IPTV are clear,� said DeMuth. These include the desire to retain current customers and reduce churn, acquire new customers, create new revenue streams, and increase the take-rate for all services. Customer demand really exists. For telcos, there is a window of op

$124 Billion in Mobile Data Revenues by 2010

Globally, operators can expect to see the level of revenues contributed by data traffic to rise from 12 percent in 2005 to 18 percent in 2010, according to Mobile Content and Services , a new report from Informa Telecoms and Media -- "Currently, the global market for mobile data services and content is worth in excess of $71 billion. Operators have seen steadily declining voice revenues year on year caused by an increasingly competitive marketplace, coupled with an increasingly demanding subscriber base. It is expected that over the next five years this decline in voice ARPU will be offset somewhat by data revenues as operators finally start to realise the potential of the huge investments they made in mobile data networks. Person to person messaging currently represents the largest proportion of an operator�s data revenues, and by 2010 will contribute in excess of $87 billion to the their coffers."

Verizon FTTP Deployment in California

Verizon has announced the expansion of its Fiber To The Premise (FTTP) network and FiOS Internet service in California -- "The company is now deploying fiber cable in Ventura county, as well as in the cities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Bermuda Dunes, Camarillo, Chino, Desert Hot Springs, Hermosa Beach, Indio, La Quinta, Chino Hills, Ontario, Palm Springs, Perris, Lake Elsinore, Temecula, Redondo Beach and Victorville. Some customers in these cities can already order FiOS. Additional cities will be added next year, and Verizon will announce FiOS Internet Service in these areas as it becomes available. To date, Verizon has deployed 8 million feet, or 1,500 miles, of fiber-optic cable in Southern California as part of the FTTP project. The company will deploy millions more feet of fiber cable infrastructure during the remainder of 2005."

TIA Forecasts U.S. Broadband Wireless

According to the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), Wi-Fi and WiMAX infrastructure revenues for the U.S. market are forecast to reach $5.2 billion and $115 million by the end of 2005, respectively. The Wi-Fi market will continue to grow as the number of hotspots proliferates, and the emerging WiMAX equipment market would also add to market growth. TIA expects revenues from capital spending on Wi-Fi and WiMAX within the U.S. to reach an estimated $22.3 billion in 2005, rising to $29.3 billion by 2008, at a compound annual gain of 7.1 percent. Spending on Wi-Fi services in the U.S. reached $21 million in 2004 and the TIA expects spending to increase to $45 million in 2005, rising at 99.9 percent CAGR to $335 million by 2008. The number of U.S. Wi-Fi hotspots increased from 3,400 in 2002 to 21,500 in 2004. The TIA expects that the number of Wi-Fi hotspots to rise from 32,800 this year to 64,200 in 2008, rising at 31.5 percent CAGR.

U.S. Video Game Sales Up 23 Percent

First quarter U.S. video game sales rose 23% over the same period a year ago, to $2.2 billion, while total unit sales climbed 18% to 63 million units, according to a report from market research firm NPD Group. The figures include sales of video game consoles and handhelds, in addition to game software for these platforms. Portable game hardware showed the most growth, rising 162% to $293 million -- fueled by the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP -- while console hardware and software saw more modest gains of 8% and 7%, respectively. Total console software sales exceeded $1 billion. "While we expected to see impressive sales in the portable categories, the fact that all categories saw positive sales growth in terms of both dollars and units is a real testament to the broadening appeal of video games as a form of entertainment," said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. The ten top-selling game titles for the first three months of 2005 included Sony's Gran Turismo 4 in the top spot, Take-Two

South Korea's DMB Services Launch

Both terrestrial and satellite-based digital multimedia broadcasting services are finally set to launch commercially over the next few months in South Korea -- "According to research from international intelligence research firm ABI Research, the strife between competing stakeholders will only continue once services launch. More than a year later than expected, Korea's TU Media will launch its satellite-based commercial DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) services in May, while the following month, terrestrial DMB services will also launch, led by the country's major cable news, radio, and television broadcasters. ABI Research does expect the total number of terrestrial DMB subscribers to be significantly higher than satellite DMB subscribers, as terrestrial-based services will be free and feature better programming. However, it will be challenging for terrestrial DMB broadcasters to come up with successful revenue models, so they have been petitioning the government to

What's Next: Hosted VoIP Services

Tier One US Providers' Immature Offers Hope To Morph In 2005 -- According to Forrester Research "The current generation of softswitch-based hosted VoIP services is aptly, but not perfectly, suited to meet the needs of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs). Currently, they are ill-equipped to meet many fundamental enterprise requirements. For example, none is geographically ubiquitous. However, this service is not stillborn. Distinctions between the three major providers are emerging, such as the ability to support soft clients/softphones, integration with wireless services, and the availability of unified messaging. Each tier one hosted VoIP service provider plans major service enhancements this year. When combined with the prospect that more tier one providers plan to enter the market this year, 2006 could be a turning point in business use of managed voice services � but only if providers make services truly enterprise-class."

China Growth Drives APAC Broadband

China's Residential Subscriber Base Will Triple by 2010 -- "Driven by explosive growth in China, the number of homes using broadband Internet services in the Asia-Pacific region will grow from 61 million today to 176 million by 2010, according to a new Strategy Analytics forecast, Residential Broadband Internet Service in the Asia-Pacific Region: Market Outlook & Analysis . The firm predicts that although China trails other Asian markets in broadband adoption today, the immense size of the Chinese consumer market will make it a key driver for broadband growth in the region. By 2010, the Chinese market will account for 64 percent of all residential broadband users in the region, up from less than 40 percent today. The Asia-Pacific region also includes countries that already lead the world in broadband adoption. 77 percent of homes in South Korea use broadband today, while Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore all boast penetration rates of 50 percent or more. In these mature mark

Triple-Play Service & Infrastructure Upgrades

Revealing how IP (Internet Protocol) and GBE (Gigabit Ethernet) upgrades will support new services -- "A study from MRG shows how the eight largest U.S. cable MSOs (Multi System Operators) are sequencing and prioritizing new services to address triple-play threats from Satellite and emerging Telco competition. Although Wall Street recently financed over $65 billion in infrastructure upgrades for cable (spending roughly $1000 per subscriber), MSOs are now having to finance further upgrades to deploy VOIP (voice over IP), enhanced HSD (High Speed Data), VOD (Video on Demand), advanced DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), and related Interactive (iTV) services. In the process of adding new services, MSOs have also discovered the problematic silo effect of running simultaneous -- but independent -- IP and non-IP services, adding significant complexities and costs."

Verizon, Movielink Offer Movie Download Service

Movielink and Verizon announced the launch of a co-branded movie downloading service for Verizon Online's consumer broadband subscribers -- "Verizon Online's consumer DSL and FiOS Internet Service customers can now purchase and download movies to watch at home or on-the-go through this special agreement with Movielink. The new service offers a full library of titles, including a special selection of hit films for 99 cents or less from Movielink, the first broadband video-on-demand (VOD) service to offer hundreds of major motion pictures for legitimate download. A broadband connection is required to download the movie, but once it's on their hard drive, users can view it at any time from home or on the road without being connected."

Consumer Music Downloads Grows to $1B Market

According to In-Stat, while Peer-2-Peer and piracy issues have not entirely disappeared, consumers are showing heightened awareness and interest in legitimate online music services -- "The worldwide online music market is expected to grow 134% this year, reaching $1 billion for the first time. With increased competition between sites this year, differentiation will be a key strategy. Sites are building larger catalogs and working with labels to offer new types of digital content, such as live concerts and remixes. In addition, branding and customer loyalty will be a primary focus. In-Stat's survey found that the average amount spent in the past year for online music was $25. Over half of the survey respondents who have downloaded music from the Internet admitted to not paying for it. And, 35% of the respondents are owners of an MP3 player, with 70% saying it was their first one."

Mobile Market Consolidation Decreases CAPEX

North American Mobile Market Consolidation Decreases Operator CAPEX by $2.5 Billion says Pyramid Research -- "The wave of mobile operator consolidation in North America will reduce infrastructure expenditures by $2.5 billion during the 2005-2009 period according to the latest Pyramid Research forecasts. Through the combination of networks, the New Cingular will reduce CAPEX by $5 billion over a five year period compared to AT&T and Cingular�s combined CAPEX projections compiled last year. Similarly, the merger of Canada�s Rogers and Microcell will result in a $170 million decrease in equipment investment. Dampening the impact on equipment sales from market consolidation is greater than expected increases in minutes of use and subscriber uptake. Pyramid concludes, the recent activity is a hit to equipment vendors that can be countered by landing service contracts for network management and other services."

Wireless Subs Surge, but Margins Decline

A Flood of Low-Spending Users Dilute Profit Margins -- "The latest quarterly Strategy Analytics wireless operator benchmarking study indicates potentially serious global operator profit slides, as global margins fell below 40 percent for the first time in eight quarters. While subscriber volumes rose by 24 percent, year on year EBITDA was up by less than 4 percent, resulting in a 15 percent decline in average margins per user (AMPU). Globally, AMPU among the operators fell by 15 percent over the previous year, to a low of $11.54 in Q4 2004, from 2003's $15-plus figure. The heaviest declines were in Central & Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific, both regions where exceptionally high subscriber growth among lower-value customers has outstripped profitability. Even more mature markets have not been immune to AMPU declines, with 3 percent declines in North America and Western Europe as competitive pressures and, in the case of Europe, regulatory interconnect rate cuts, left their

Verizon Recruits Home Builders for FTTH

Verizon has launched an Enhanced Communities project aimed at signing-up the developers of single-family residential communities to promote its FTTH initiative -- "Verizon offers developers the opportunity to market voice service, FiOS high-speed Internet Service at up to 30 megabits per second, and FiOS TV service over the fiber cables. Verizon's digital TV package is under development now, for introduction to the market later this year. More than a dozen such marketing agreements have already been signed, including Pulte Homes, Pardee Homes and KB Home, as well as partnering with several large developments in Southern California and Northern Virginia. The Enhanced Communities Group has recruited a dedicated sales team from an existing Verizon sales team."

Verizon, SBC Lobby Congress on Video Services

Telecommunications firms Verizon and SBC Communications, which are preparing to launch Internet-based video services, argued for looser regulations for such expanded services at a hearing Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications -- "The FCC and Congress have so far employed a light-touch approach to regulating the Internet and IP-based services," testified SBC senior executive vice president Lee Ann Champion. "We are not building a cable network, nor do we have any interest in being a cable company offering traditional cable service. Instead, we intend to offer customers a new total communications experience." Later this year, Verizon plans to launch an Internet-based TV service called FiOS TV , which it hopes to offer to 3 million homes by the end of the year. It has already signed up NBC Universal and Starz to provide content for the service. SBC has invested $4 billion in its Project Lightspeed , which aims to deploy services including IPTV t

Fast Mobile Broadband via HSDPA

ABI Research suggests HSDPA as a Low-Cost Path to Fast Mobile Broadband -- "Mobile communications infrastructure vendors and carriers, impatiently waiting to offer their customers mobile broadband services, would do well to consider HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) as an economical alternative. The prerequisites, according to ABI Research, are the rollouts of the next-generation UMTS networks that are starting to take place in Europe and Asia, and are planned for other regions. The area covered by these networks should expand and fill out very quickly starting in about 12 months, according to ABI Research. The arrival of this technology should boost data traffic and revenues, as well as demand for data cards. What about WiMAX's promise of ubiquitous broadband? IEEE 802.16e will most likely be offered mainly in dense metropolitan areas, and while it will be faster than HSDPA, and cheaper per bit, the upfront deployment costs are much, much higher."

The Future of Digital Rights Management

According to ABI Research, it's An Open and Shut Case -- "When the US Congressional Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual property invited testimony from four industry experts, they were considering nothing less than the future of digital rights management in the United States. At issue are proprietary versus open digital rights management (DRM) technologies, and whether governments should get involved. Advocates say that open DRM standards would help the portable industry. Most industry leaders are adopting a government hands off attitude, but ABI believes that other attempts at proprietary DRM schemes probably wouldn't succeed. Apple was the first to offer such a service and the content industry didn't care if their DRM was proprietary. But DRM becomes critical once video, and sharing between STBs and portable devices, become a reality."

Global IPTV Market Leader Report

The new IP TV Market Leader Report measures the competitive position of 62 suppliers for 223 service providers -- "Some of the sector highlights include surprises: in the Middleware sector, Microsoft joined forces with Alcatel, winning long-term contracts with SBC in the U.S. In Set-top Boxes, while competition remains balanced among multiple suppliers, such as Motorola, Pace, Amino, Kreatel, i3 and others, Yuxing gained strength in Asia based on its deployment in PCCW/Hong Kong. In VOD Servers, while Kasenna and Bitband maintained leadership in North America and Europe, respectively, Entone won a big contract with PCCW (Hong Kong), which strengthened its position in China. In Access Hardware, while Motorola maintained dominance in small U.S. independent telcos, its global market position slipped due in part to the industry trend towards Gigabit Ethernet/IP and away from its ATM technology. In the Content Protection sector, Widevine has taken a strong position in Asia and North

Future Cell Phones: The Big Trends

In-Stat research reveals that cell phone users have mixed feelings about predicted new handset features -- "According to a proprietary survey of cell phone users by the high tech research firm, Wi-Fi- and Skype-enabled handsets, voice activation for text input, and mapping and traffic routing features resonate well. However, few respondents expressed interest in wireless phones that could be used as a wallet for purchases, or for watching TV programs. 42% of the respondents were very or extremely interested in voice activation for their wireless phones. More than 4 in 10 were very or extremely interested in buying a wireless phone with built-in Wi-Fi for voice and data. Just 12% had an interest in buying a wireless phone capable of receiving TV broadcasts. The report, Future Cell Phones: The Big Trends, 2005-2010 , forecasts when new trends in mobile phone features and services are likely to take off."

Asian Vendors Flourishing in Digital TV Market

According to In-Stat the Asian digital TV market will more than double from 10.4 million shipments in 2004 to 28.8 million in 2008 -- "China, Japan, and South Korea are the biggest Asian markets for digital TVs. In fact, China boasts the largest TV market in the world, and Japan enjoys the fastest development in LCD TV globally. Korean vendors top the global TFT-LCD panel shipment while competing with Japan in PDP TV panel production. The regional market reached US$14.2 billion in 2004. Of which US$3.3 billion went to digital CRT, US$4.2 billion for RP TV, US$1.8 billion for PDP TV, and US$ 5.0 billion for LCD TV. Its huge population makes Asia the largest TV consumption market in the world. In China alone, the overall TV market (analog and digital) in 2004 exceeded 35 million units. Asia is projected to be the digital TV market with most growth potential in the world."

DBS Grows at the Expense of Cable

Impressive DBS Growth Offers Encouragement for Telcos Deploying Video -- According to Yankee Group estimates, "direct broadcast satellite (DBS) operators DIRECTV and EchoStar had a combined total of 24.8 million subscribers at the end of 2004, up from 21.6 million a year earlier. DIRECTV gained 1.7 million subscribers while EchoStar gained 1.4 million. Although population growth drove part of this growth, much of it has come at the expense of cable. In the same time frame, we estimate that cable operators lost between 600,000 and 800,000 subscribers. Although troubled cable companies Adelphia and Charter accounted for about half of those losses, others including Time Warner, Insight and Mediacom also lost a substantial number of subscribers."

Telcos' IPTV Reality Check

According to Forrester Research Telcos' IPTV Subscribers Will Barely Surpass 2 Million By 2009 -- "Telcos have jumped on the TV bandwagon, but it won't be an easy ride. Entering the market means spending billions in network upgrades, rolling out services with unproven IPTV platforms, and navigating the difficult content acquisition process. IPTV promises great content selection, more interactivity, and enhanced TV features, such as faster channel changing. But given telcos' lame track record with selling new services like DSL, we expect their TV efforts to get off to a slow start. With limited consumer interest in triple play and difficulty in creating product differentiation, telcos will remove profit from the TV services market as they launch price wars to grab consumers."

Triple and Quadruple-Play Bundling

Americans Look Forward To Competitive Bundled Communications Services, Ipsos Study Shows -- "In the rapidly evolving and soon to be competitive environment of delivering phone, cable TV and Internet services in the home, cable operators have fast taken the lead as the bundled service provider. And, most operators expect their investment to generate double-digit topline and cash flow growth for their bundling strategies. The phone companies are right on their heels and will soon be evaluating their return on investment for triple and quadruple play bundles. How will all of this net out? According to the Ipsos-Insight study that looked at a number of price and service scenarios, a significant minority of American consumers is ready to switch to a bundled package offered by a single provider."

U.S. Cable TV Sector Generates $26B

Kagan Research releases financial rankings for over 100 cable networks -- according to the findings in a new Kagan databook entitled Benchmarking Cable Network Financial Statistics 2005 "Cable networks generated $26 billion in revenue during 2004. Over the past five years their revenue has grown at a CAGR of 11.2% per year despite the ad market meltdown. The cable network industry's average cash flow margin is 33.7%. But that average masks a large number of cash flow-negative networks. Not counting them, the average margin for healthy, established networks is greater than 40%. Ad revenue for the average network is 44% of the total, with affiliate revenue at 52%. It's no mystery why so many players seek entry into this lucrative sector."

Broadband Services Forum to Champion IPTV

Over thirty companies worldwide represented at BSF meeting -- At its first meeting, the members of the Broadband Services Forum (BSF) set the direction of the group�s future initiatives. Project work on IPTV and dynamic and interactive services such as gaming and video were given top priority by a poll of the meeting�s attendees. Content-to-go was another area on which the BSF membership wanted to focus. These areas will top the BSF�s agenda in 2005. The input from a membership representing diverse industry segments within the broadband market is one of the greatest strengths of the BSF. �As the only industry group that represents the interests of service providers, content providers and technology vendors, the BSF is a unique position to address the profitable new services that are critical to all of these stakeholders,� said BSF Chairman Derek Kuhn. The keynote The Promise of IP Television was delivered by Amy Friedlander, SVP of Programming at SBC. In her presentation, Friedlander

What's Next? - Mobile Broadcast Video

We have the technology, but will consumers subscribe to the services? -- "Tiny TVs have been around for decades without having much impact. That's about to change, according to a new study from ABI Research. New technologies mean that in the next few years, mobile phone users will be able to watch high quality, full-motion video on their small screens. Subscribers will also be able to access linked content, and buy program-related products and services from their wireless service providers. Ken Hyers, the firm's principal analyst of global wireless operator research, says that the new services will be based on a one-to-many model like conventional broadcast TV, rather than using the restricted bandwidth of mobile data networks. Next month these digital video broadcast networks will launch in Japan and South Korea, with similar services to debut in the US, Europe and elsewhere in late 2006 or early 2007. The content will largely mimic that of the short clips now available

Lessons Learned: the iPod's Cool Factor

iSuppli study compares the iPod Shuffle vs. Rio Forge Sport -- "In the trendy market for MP3 players, the cool factor counts for a lot. But what makes one MP3 player cooler than another? A dissection of two hot products shows the design tradeoffs and marketing choices made by MP3 manufacturers as they strive to attain coolness, while attempting to balance off other considerations, such as cost and power consumption. The teardown also illustrates how a small, simple and elegantly designed product can be more appealing to consumers -- and cheaper to manufacture -- than a larger, more complex device with a less sophisticated design. The MP3 player represents one of the fastest-growing electronic products today. Shipments of flash-memory based MP3 players will rise to 75.8 million units in 2009, expanding at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 22.9 percent from 27 million in 2004."

Digital Home Interoperability Standards

According to Forrester Research -- "Unless mainstream consumers can take a device out of the box and immediately begin enjoying its benefits, they'll leave the box on the retail shelf. Standards are critical to bringing that promise to life, and Intel has long been a standards bearer: first in the PC industry and now in the digital home. The reason is simple: Intel knows that its support for communication, interoperability, and content protection standards will help launch new markets, hence demand for its silicon products. But standards aren't enough; consumers also need reassurance that the product will work in their home. To accomplish this interoperability feat, Intel should donate its internal certification process to a works together certification coalition funded by industry leaders like Best Buy, Intel, Microsoft, and Sony."

Media Centers: Consumer Demand and Price Points

In a recent study Forrester Research asked the question, Will Consumers Pay For A Media Center PC? -- "Dell, Gateway, and Hewlett-Packard sell PCs running Microsoft's Windows Media Center software that allows consumers to work with digital media, including music, video, and photos. But are consumers interested in these features? To find out, we surveyed 5,000 households in Forrester's Consumer Technographics North American Study. Our resulting data shows that while as many as 25 percent of consumers are interested in media and entertainment activities on their PCs, only half of these will pay � and most won't pay more than $100 for the features. The study also uncovered that consumers who will pay for media activities want to do so only once."

Worldwide Digital Media Growth Projections

According to an Instat report entitled Worldwide Electronic Entertainment: Packaged Goods Value And Network-Connected Households -- "By 2009, we believe that nearly 55% of all TV households will be connected to Cable TV (analog or digital), Satellite Pay-TV services, Digital Terrestrial networks, or emerging Broadband TV services. Sales of Hollywood movies on Standard DVDs will experience slowing growth, but the emergence of new formats and new content coming to DVD will drive the value of the total market forward. Worldwide value of all DVD discs will grow from about US$33 Billion during 2004, up to US$76.5 Billion during 2009, a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 18.3%"

2004: 50 Million Additional Broadband Lines

According to Point Topic research, broadband has its biggest year to date -- "World broadband lines stood at 150.5m at the end of 2004, with a record 50m increase in lines overall, and 26.5m increase in the second half of the year alone. This represents the biggest half-year worldwide increase to date. The USA remains the world's largest broadband country with 33.9m lines. Although China is in second place, it is continuing to gain ground, and added over 6.6m lines in 2H 2004. Cable modems and other broadband services grew slightly faster than DSL in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole, largely due to the growth in 'FTTx', usually fibre-to-the-building, particularly in China and Japan. Canada is one of the few places outside the Asia-Pacific region where cable modems showed a higher growth rate than DSL during the year, 9.5% against 8.5%. In the USA, on the other hand, the stronghold of cable modem technology, the DSL base grew by 20.1% to add 2.3m lines. Cable added a

U.S. Digital and Home Networking Markets

"According to Parks Associates, approximately 30 million U.S. households have a broadband connection, 50 million have either digital cable or direct broadcast satellite (DBS) television service, 18+ million households have a data networking solution, and 75% of U.S. households have a DVD player. As the number of advanced products and services increases, also boosting the number of companies involved in these digital markets, both the complexity and potential for these markets have escalated."

Wi-Fi in 10+ Million U.S. Homes

"More than 10 million homes in the US already have wireless networks, according to ABI Research. In addition, there are currently more than 3,500 free wireless hotspots in the US (according to, as of March 2005) at restaurants, malls, airports, parks and other commercial businesses in most major, and many smaller, communities."

ICANN Meeting in Argentina

"ICANN welcomes the Internet Community to Mar del Plata, in Argentina. This is ICANN's 22nd international public meeting and the fourth to be held in Latin America. These meetings constitute an essential part of ICANN's global consensus-development and outreach efforts. ICANN's agenda for open participatory meetings address issues concerning all Internet stakeholders." They include: * DNS Security * Domain Name Hijacking * The World Summit on Information Society * Regional At-Large meetings with user groups from across Latin America * Whois Policy Development * Deployment of Internationalised Domain Names (IDNs)

P2P Video or IPTV, the Telco Dilemma

TV and video competition is extending past traditional terrestrial, cable and satellite, to telecoms behemoths (IPTV) -- "When telcos with IPTV aspirations acknowledge the difficulty in competing with broadcasters for TV audience in sophisticated markets like the UK (where digital terrestrial, cable and satellite penetration is strong), and acknowledge VoD transactions need to be high volume/price to make a profit contribution (since networks require upgrades and media firms take around 60% of revenues), they may consider the provision of more niche content as a differentiator."

Podcasts Catching on with iPod Owners

The home-brewed audio programs known as "Podcasts" are catching on with people who own iPods or other digital-music players, according to a survey -- "29 percent of US adults who own a digital music player have downloaded a podcast, Pew Internet and American Life Project finds. That makes for 9 million podcast listeners. Nearly 50 percent of digital-music player owners younger than 29 years old have tried out podcasts, the survey found, compared with 20 percent of those 29 or older."

Project Lightspeed: SBC Outlines Achitecture

"SBC awarded a $195 million, multi-year contract to Scientific-Atlanta to provide IP-based video equipment for Project Lightspeed in its 13-state service area. Scientific-Atlanta will supply IP video equipment for an IP video operations center (VOC), two national IP video super hub offices (SHO) and 41 IP video hub offices (VHO). Scientific-Atlanta will provide encoders, satellite dishes, video routers, and professional services as part of the contract. Scientific-Atlanta will also provide professional services related to the initial design and builds of the VOC, SHOs and VHOs. In November 2004, SBC announced a $400 million, 10-year agreement with Microsoft to provide next-generation television services using the new Microsoft IPTV Edition software platform."

HDTV Now in 10 Million Homes

"As of March 2005, 10 million homes around the world were watching HDTV programming on a high-definition TV set. By the end of 2005, the worldwide total of these HDTV service households is projected to reach 15.5 million, reports In-Stat. The rate of growth of HDTV households will continue to be strong over the next several years, and by 2009, HDTV households worldwide are forecasted to reach 52 million, according to the high-tech market research firm. HDTV services are widely available in only five countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, the United States, and South Korea. There are currently 4 million HDTV households in the US, up from 1.6 million in March 2004."