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Updated 7/28/2010

Broadband Library: Two Sides to Every Story

We write a regular feature "Two Sides to Every Story" for Broadband Library, a quarterly publication that goes to all members of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE). Our columns appear on facing pages to present contrasting viewpoints on a cable/telecom industry topic.

When the current issue is distributed to SCTE members, we post a summary of our columns here, with links to the columns in the online digital edition.

Our full columns from earlier issues are listed below in reverse chronological order - most recent first.


Summer 2010 (current) - The US Broadband Plan

Our columns in the Summer 2010 issue look at the US Broadband Plan. Dave believes the US has come up with a comprehensive and well-thought out plan which is making up for lost time. Sandy feels the plan is marred by serious flaws.
Dave: Kudos for the National Broadband Plan In Kudos for the National Broadband Plan , Dave notes that over the next 10 years the FCC plan aims to push download speeds for most homes to 100 Mbps. It aims for universal broadband with a minimum download speed of 4 Mbps by 2020 and proposed shifting funding from the Universal Service Fund to accomplish it. The FCC “recognizes that mobile broadband has the potential to inspire innovation as great as that from fixed broadband”. In support of wireless services, the FCC recommended making 500 MHz of additional spectrum quickly available. In The FCC Broadband Plan is Flawed, Sandy observes that there has been criticism from the Commerce Department about poor management of the stimulus. Many awards have not gone to their original targets -- communities which were unserved or under-served. There may be over-reliance on wireless services where rapid growth may be stymied by insufficient spectrum to meet the needs. Sandy: The FCC Broadband Plan is Flawed

Spring 2010 - LTE vs. WiMAX for 4G

Our columns in the Spring 2010 issue looked at the 4G technology choices faced by cable providers. With mobile services playing a growing role in consumers lives and bundled services, cable providers have had to make the difficult choice between LTE and WiMAX.
Sandy: LTE Is Where It’s At In LTE Is Where It’s At, Sandy noted that because LTE is the direction of incumbents, it will benefit most from economies of scale. In WiMAX Provides a First-Mover Advantage, Dave argued that WiMAX has first-mover advantage since it is already being deployed around the world. Dave: WiMAX Provides a First-Mover Advantage


Winter 2009 - "Always-On" Applications

Our columns in the Winter 2009 issue focused on whether the cable industry should spend more time and resources on new “always on” applications.
Dave: It’s Time to Promote Cable for 'Always On’ In It’s Time to Promote Cable for 'Always On', Dave pointed to examples like smart grid and telehealth which will be moving into millions of homes. Sandy said Beware the Opportunity Trap. Despite the attraction of new market opportunities, MSOs need to prioritize their resources for the long list of critical projects now underway. Sandy: Beware the Opportunity Trap

Fall 2009 - Technology in Consumer's Lives

Our columns in the Fall 2009 issue focused on the role of technology in consumer's lives.
Dave: Technology Achieved the ‘Impossible’ In Technology Achieved the ‘Impossible’, Dave noted that technologies once seemingly beyond reach have become mainstream in today’s society. In Attitudes Make the Difference, Sandy pointed out that the key difference in adoption of these new technologies was not the technology itself but changing consumer attitudes—“society’s cultural and behavioral expectations”—that enabled the transformation. Sandy: Attitudes Make the Difference

Summer 2009 - Forecasting Cable's Future

Our columns in the Summer 2009 issue focused on forecasting the future of cable technologies and services. The issue theme was "Transitioning to the Future: Remembering Our Past", so we looked at a planning project we did for a mid-size MSO more than a decade ago. Sandy concluded "we envisioned the future we have arrived at today. Dave admitted that "many of our key assumptions have proven correct" but says "we were right about some of today’s services—-but wildly off on the timing."

Spring 2009 - Multi-room DVR

Our columns in the Spring 2009 isaue focused on multi-room DVR. Sandy thought operators were late to roll it out, while Dave said the industry was right to give technologies time to mature.


Winter 2008: We described some problems cable operators have had in detecting customer problems, and by contrast discuss the new technologies telephone companies are deploying for remote monitoring. Sandy described a recent experience our daughter and son-in-law had with their cable service and asked "When a triple-play house loses all their service, can't automated tools flag it and proactively deploy repair?" Dave described the technologies telcos are deploying to manage triple-play services and said "TR-069 is fast becoming the global standard for remote management of triple-play services."

Fall 2008: We focused on tru2way--a "virtual cable box" that can be embedded in consumer electronics equipment. Sandy said "tru2way is a great step forward in cable's evolution" but said the cable industry isn't moving fast enough "to open up the tru2way platform to encourage the development of innovative applications." Dave said "it is hard for the cable industry to move quickly to open up the tru2way environment" and concluded "innovative applications will have to wait until later."

Summer 2008: This issue celebrates the 25th anniversary of Cable-Tec Expo. In looking back at the past 25 years, we said technology advances have made our lives both better and more difficult. Dave described the early days of Prodigy Services Company and concluded "...the visions we had 25 years ago are here today ... there's no question that life is better as a result." Sandy countered "using new technologies isn't always beneficial."

Spring 2008: We discussed recent moves by the cable industry toward tiered pricing after many years of selling broadband services at a flat monthly rate. Dave said MSOs should never have promised "unlimited flat rate". Sandy thought flat rate pricing was necessary at the birth of the broadband industry.


Winter 2007: Reflecting our early experience with broadband, we articulated different views of the roles the cable and telephone industries would play in the evolution of broadband services.

Fall 2007 Has networked PC video become a major threat to MSOs?

Summer 2007: Should cable operators participate in the metro Wi-Fi market?

Spring 2007: In our first column, we debated the reality of the broadband home.