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June 18, 2001 Provided by System Dynamics Inc. in association with Pulver.com

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IN THIS ISSUE:


Heard on the Net

News about People and Companies influencing The Broadband Home

People News

Lou Borelli has become Sr VP of AOL Broadband. Lou is a cable industry insider, including having been COO of Marcus Cable. ( www.aoltimewarner.com )

Kathy Brown , former FCC Chief of Staff, has joined Wilmer, Cutler and Pickering's Communications and Electronic Commerce Practice. ( www.wilmer.com )

CableLabs has announced the following appointments ( www.cablelabs.com ):

  • Paul Whitehead as VP of strategic assessment. Paul was formerly with Qwest/US West.

  • Bernd Lutz as Director, CableHome

  • Perry O'Neil as director of the Cable Industry B2B Interface Program.

  • Raji Raman as director of project requirements for strategic planning.

  • Anthony D. Sachetti as director of strategy development for the strategic assessment department.

  • John Eng as director of DOCSIS platforms

Michael Collette has been named Senior VP of Marketing and Business Development for OpenTV. Michael had been President of MediaTech Strategies, and previously was Senior VP of Marketing and Business Development for ICTV. ( www.opentv.com )

James L. Faust was named CEO of ClearBand, where he will oversee the company's broadband media delivery. Faust was previously CEO of Evolve Products ( www.clearband.com )

Matt Jones was appointed COO of Excite@Home, a newly created position. Jones was previously president and CEO of Lipstream Networks and before that worked with Patti Hart at Sprint. ( www.home.net )

Mickey Kalifa was appointed UK General Manager for OpenTV. Kalifa was previously Head of Business Development at Pacific Century Cyberworks ( www.opentv.com )

Eric Lathrop has been named Director, Product Management, responsible for end-to-end network management within AT&T's Consumer DSL division. ( www.att.com )

Robert Raczkowski was appointed Executive VP of Corporate Development and Finance at iM Networks. He was an Entrepreneur in Residence at Silicon Alley Venture Partners and was previously CEO of Active.com. ( www.imnetworks.com )

Stephen Ste. Marie was named President and Chief Operating Officer at Intertainer. Ste. Marie was previously CEO for CareerPath.com. ( www.intertainer.tv )

Tony Werner was appointed executive VP of strategic technology at Qwest. He had been president/CEO Aurora Networks and previously CTO at AT&T Broadband. ( www.qwest.com )

Alex Warnock has been appointed to lead the interactive cable division at Pace Micro Technology, where he'll be responsible for their cable products, R&D and customer relationships in the cable industry worldwide. ( www.pacemicro.com )

(Please email people@bb-home.com to report a change in your position.)

Company News

--Acquisitions

America Online agreed to acquire InfoInterActive Inc. for $28.2 million in cash. ( www.aol.com ) ( www.infointeractive.com )

Interactive Network and TWIN Entertainment are to be merged to form Two Way TV (US), Inc. Two Way TV Ltd will own 45 per cent of Two Way TV (US). ( www.interactivenetwork.net ) ( www.twowaytv.com ) ( www.twinentertainment.com )

NetSpeak is being acquired by ADIR Technologies in a deal valued at approximately $48 million. ( www.adirtech.com ) ( www.netspeak.com )

OpenTV agreed to acquire Static , an ITV media and entertainment company, for about $59 million. The deal will provide OpenTV the PlayJam ITV entertainment and games channel. ( www.opentv.com )

Thomson Multimedia agreed to acquire Alcatel 's DSL modem unit in a transaction valued at $387.6 million. ( www.thomson-multimedia.com ) ( www.alcatel.com )

WideOpenWest, LLC , a residential broadband provider, is acquiring the assets of Ameritech New Media from SBC. The cable TV systems serve approximately 310,000 households. Reports indicate that the selling price was about $1000 per subscriber, a bargain price. WideOpenWest has already completed the transfer application forms for 115 Ameritech New Media franchises. ( www.wideopenwest.com ) ( www.sbc.com )

--Funding

Amperion received a $12.5 million first round of funding from American Electric Power, Redleaf Group and Cisco Systems. Chelmsford, Mass.-based Amperion designs networking hardware and software that allows high-speed broadband data to be carried over medium-voltage power lines. ( www.amperion.com )

Aurora Networks received $20 million in second-round funding. ComVentures led the round and was joined by Castile Ventures and Battery Ventures. Aurora develops optical transport equipment for HFC networks. ( www.aurora.com )

DataPlay received a $55 million funding commitment, bringing its total financing to $119 million. DataPlay creates digital storage used for the distribution and recording of digital content such as music, video, digital images, games and software for consumer electronics. ( www.dataplay.com )

LANergy Limited of South Wales UK has secured $2.25 million in an initial round of financing. LANergy is developing software management systems for inhome networking and inhome powerline solutions. (www.lanergy.com)

TollBridge Technologies , a developer of voice-over-broadband services, has raised $25 million in its fourth round of funding. ( www.tollbridgetech.com )

--Other News

3Com announced it will exit the consumer cable and DSL modem business. They will continue offering business DSL routers and modems. ( www.3com.com )

AOL Time Warner and Legend Holdings announced a joint venture company to develop consumer interactive services for the Chinese market. Legend, the largest Chinese PC maker, will have 51% equity and AOL 49%. The JV will be capitalized at US$200 million. ( www.aol.com ) ( www.legend-holdings.com )

Big Sky Network Canada Ltd. , a subsidiary of China Broadband , and Minhang Broadcasting and Television Centre have signed a deal in which Big Sky will provide high-speed, two-way Internet access over the HFC cable-TV infrastructure in the Minhang Economic and Technology Development Zone in Shanghai, China.

Broadband Gateways, Inc. and Cwill Telecommunications spinoff Navini Networks have partnered on a wireless broadband local loop utilizing Navini’s transport and Broadband Gateway’s premises gateway. ( www.broadbandgateways.com ) ( www.navini.com )

CableLabs announced that 20 companies joined a royalty-free pool for intellectual property rights in their CableB2B program. The effort creates specifications to support automating everyday business communication between cable system operators and Internet content providers and is modeled after existing ones for DOCSIS, PacketCable and CableHome. ( www.cablelabs.com )

Charter Communications announced an agreement with Circuit City giving Charter space to demonstrate and sell its broadband services in 63 Circuit City stores in areas served by Charter. ( www.charter.com ) ( www.CircuitCity.com )

Excite@Home is closing its media operations in France, Germany and Spain and will focus its European media business on Excite UK and Excite Italia. @Home Benelux, a joint venture with Essent Kabelcom B.V., and their portal joint ventures in Japan and Australia are not affected. ( www.home.net )

frontpath , a subsidiary of SONICblue, has begun shipping its wireless web device, ProGear. The product is targeted to broadband-enabled vertical market segments. ( www.frontpath.com )

Intel and Comcast Cable agreed to develop and trial a set of home networking products, including a new residential broadband gateway, wireless network adapter and cable modem. The gateway will use multiple networking technologies, including Ethernet and 802.11b. ( www.intel.com ) ( www.comcast.com )

Intel announced the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) Forum's Internet Gateway Specification, which will enable PCs and smart appliances to communicate with others over the Web via a single Internet connection. D-Link and Linksys have announced support for the new UPnP specification, and Microsoft has built UPnP support into Windows XP. ( www.intel.com )

Kinetic Strategies research as of June 1 showed there are 9.3 million residential broadband customers in North America, or 8.2% household penetration. Cable continues to dominate, with an estimated 6.4 million cable modem customers (70% share) in the US and Canada. DSL providers served 2.9 million residential subscribers. Canadian penetration is double that in the US.( www.kineticstrategies.com )

ClearBand completed a round of technical trials with Comcast to multicast a variety of TV channels over its Willow Grove, PA high-speed data network. Comcast is preparing further application trials with ClearBand's technology. ( www.comcast.com ) ( www.clearband.com )

Korea Thrunet 's broadband subscribers exceeded 1 million in May, becoming the largest cable modem ISP in Asia. Korea's 3 major broadband ISPs, namely Korea Telecom, Hanaro Telecom, and Korea Thrunet represent more than 90% of the Korean broadband market share. Thrunet also had 5.1 million users for their portal site Korea.com with its adult channel the biggest revenue contributor. ( www.thrunet.com )

Korea Telecom Japan will begin DSL Internet access services in Japan. They reportedly will market DSL equipment at prices 20% below those now in Japan and plan to sell more than 200,000 units in the first year.

Liberate Technologies opened its PopTV Lab to aid the development and testing of new ITV products by their content and application partners. ( www.liberate.com )

Memora launched a Personal Server to offer home users a dedicated device to manage their growing stores of digital pictures, video, music and more. Their premise is that the ability to store, organize, access and share information is equally as important as the devices that transport and display it. ( www.memora.com )

MusicNet and Napster announced an agreement for Napster to become an affiliate of MusicNet, the music subscription service jointly created by RealNetworks, Warner Music Group, Bertelsmann and EMI. The music companies will permit their content to be delivered to Napster once Napster is operating in a legal, non-infringing manner and has a technology that accurately tracks the identity of files on the service. The deal bars Napster from striking a similar agreement with Duet (the Sony/Vivendi coalition) unless those labels come to terms with MusicNet. ( www.musicnet.com )

Netgear has announced its new Cable/DSL Phoneline Router. The product incorporates a 3-port 10/100 Mbps switch that enables Ethernet and phone-line-based computers and other Internet devices to communicate and share a high speed Internet connection. It incorporates a 10 Mbps HomePNA bridge. ( www.netgear.com )

Nokia introduced a new DSL connectivity gateway with Ethernet, HomePNA and wireless LAN interfaces. It will be available to service providers in the US, followed by other countries where HomePNA is used. ( www.nokia.com )

Nortel Networks will discontinue its access solutions operations, including broadband access solutions, its interest in Arris Interactive and investment in Elastic Networks. They expect to exit or transition over the next 12 months. ( www.nortelnetworks.com )

SBC Communications announced it will offer home networking in Nevada via 2Wire's home gateway. SBC has also discussed Project Pronto plans for extending fiber directly to businesses and potentially to residences as well. Residential deployment is delayed pending resolution of regulatory issues on whether unbundling applies to access equipment outside the central office. ( www.sbc.com ) ( www.2wire.com )

SimpleDevices and Motorola Broadband agreed to develop, market and distribute SimpleFi, a wireless digital audio receiver for the home stereo. The agreement also includes a strategic investment by Motorola. SimpleFi connects a user's PC and the Internet to legacy home stereo systems. ( www.simpledevices.com )

Tele2 UK announced it will be doubling its wireless broadband network over the next 12 weeks. Their goal is to interconnect all 40 major urban centers in the UK by 2003. Tele2 offers a range of services starting at unlimited 150 Kbps Internet access for £19.99 (inc. VAT) per month. ( www.tele2.co.uk )

TDC Tele Danmark promised that by July 2002, 95% of the Danish population will be able to access the Internet by a broadband connection at a speed of 256 Kbps, 90% at 512 Kbps, and more than 70% at 2 Mbps.( www.teledanmark.com )

Two Way TV signed a five year deal with Connect TV, a new interactive platform, to develop a TV games channel in Israel across multiple digital platforms. Two Way TV Israel will provide Israelis interactive TV games this spring. It will launch first on Israel's major digital cable networks, MATAV and Tevel. ( www.twowaytv.com )

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has reviewed the Tauzin-Dingell bill (or so-called Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act of 2001) and is urging the full House to defeat the bill, which is designed to relax operating restrictions on the incumbent local exchange carriers. pulver.com is sponsoring an Internet Freedom Rally opposing the bill at the US Capitol on June 24th. ( www.pulver.com )

Wi-LAN Inc. announced that the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled that Wi-LAN's W-OFDM technology will be authorized for use in the unlicensed 2.4 GHz frequency band. Wi-LAN is the first company to receive approval. ( www.wi-lan.com )

Organization News

"The Bandies" , honoring excellence in broadband achievement, announced plans for the second annual award show to be held November 28, in Anaheim, California. Submissions for this year’s awards can be submitted online beginning July 1, 2001. ( www.thebandies.com )

The first Israeli Home Networking Forum is being held in Ramat-Gan, Israel on July 2nd. The sessions will include presentations by such Israeli home networking companies as SerCoNet, Jungo, Itran and Brightcom.

The Metro Ethernet Forum announced its formation and mission to speed adoption of optical Ethernet technology in metro networks. It was founded by 37 companies including service providers, incumbent local exchange carriers and network equipment vendors. See press releases at ( www.wwp.com/news )

The SCTE and ETSI released IPCablecom specifications defining an end-to-end IP architecture supporting an array of communication services. The specs are founded on CableLabs' PacketCable initiative. The SCTE has approved the IPCablecom documents as a standard, with the ITU-T accepting a majority of the documents for worldwide use and ETSI recognizing the suite but continuing to develop them to add European specific requirements. ( www.scte.org ) ( www.etsi.org ) ( www.cablelabs.com )

The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) is sponsoring an effort to create standards for wireless ISPs and carriers to enable roaming for 802.11b wireless users, according to Network World. The group is promoting wireless internet service provider roaming and is named WISPr. ( www.wirelessethernet.com )


Breaking Broadband Barriers: BBH Europe Summit 2001 Wrap-up

Warm thanks to everyone who joined us in Amsterdam in May for our first European event and for the very positive feedback. With speakers from 13 countries and delegates from more, we achieved our goal of expanding the Broadband Home community. Thanks also to our sponsor, M-TEC, whom we visited after the conference. (We'll share more about visiting M-TEC and Telenet in Belgium in our next issue.) To see comments from attendees and pictures from the conference and our party at Franz Roozen gardens, visit http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbheurope/index.html .

In our opening talk , The Broadband Rorschach Test, we cautioned against assuming that broadband means the same thing to everyone. The device that comes to mind may be a PC, TV or mobile phone with screen, depending on the country/locale where you live. User reactions can vary from total devotion to frustration.

In some places, so-called "broadband" is 500 Kbps or less, not very broad for those of us in North America where broadband is typically 1.5 Mbps or higher. But many European countries still have metered rates for all phone calls, very different from North America where ISP access is covered by the fixed monthly cost of local telephone service. Thus the consumer value of broadband may be less for speed and more for offering flat-rate Internet access -- combined in some places with national flat-rate telephone service. For users who previously had a dial-up Internet connection paid for by the minute, broadband can be very attractive for Internet use and telephony, and if the speed is only modestly more, that's an additional benefit. That clearly differs from the US.

We re-iterated our conviction that broadband is good for people and for countries and that public policy can have a significant influence on its deployment. Our assessment is that the current legislative efforts in the US (especially HR 1542--see news above about Tauzin-Dingell bill) are not consistent with the principles we laid out.

Our opening speech is available for download at http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/presentations.html .

Instructions for downloading other talks from the conference are also at that url. Of course, without the speaker's words you miss a lot, so here are a few of the tidbits that have stayed with us.

Three that fit well together were:

  • Davnet Cassidy (Gartner Group): "Don't underestimate the power of consumer inertia."

  • Marjorie Curtis: "Take what the consumers are doing and build on it." Her company, Two Way TV, is putting those words into practice.

  • Kerstin Schueler (Intel, Germany) talked about how "consumers will fuel the digital content spiral" with their photos, their music and their videos which are increasingly coming from their digital cameras, MP3 players and other consumer devices.

Another quote that caught our attention was from Stewart Jones of Aliunde: "It's an inside out play, not outside in". Our interpretation was that we tend to think about broadband being driven by the fat pipe to the home, whereas we should start thinking about the increasing bandwidth demands of moving music, video, data and voice around the home and how that will drive market needs and evolution.

We tried to summarize two days of presentations and discussion in a wrap-up session . Some of the areas where there seemed to be agreement:

1. Broadband is the wave of the future -- and its not about the technology--it's about the value for consumers.

2. Lots of kinds of broadband (cable modems, DSL, etc) - not "one size fits all"

3. Many kinds of broadband devices - not "one size fits all"

  • PCs, TVs with digital set-tops and game consoles, IP phones - all for sure

  • Flat-screen touch-pads ("Webpads" and "Web tablets") - probably

  • Alarm clocks, lights, refrigerators, washing machines, coffee makers - we'll see

4. "Home Gateway" device will play a major role

5. Increasing consumer interest in virus protection and firewalls

6. Open standards are a key driver

7. All the sexy services don't matter if you can't provision and bill for them.

Given the early stages of the broadband home it's not surprising there are also a number of outstanding issues:

1. How can broadband be priced so it's profitable for providers and attractive and understandable by consumers? Choices include: pure flat rate; usage-sensitive - time, bytes; tiers based on bandwidth limits (maximum bit rates); tiers based on guarantees (for minimum bandwidth and maximum delay and jitter).

2. Relative roles of home client devices (PC, TV, etc)

  • What is the primary interactive platform in the home?

  • Is there one model? Or is it different by market?

  • What applications belong on which platform?

  • How many platforms does a home have?

3. Many gateway uncertainties

  • How does it get into the home?

  • Just what does it do?

  • Who pays for the gateway (capital cost)?

  • How is the gateway packaged? - Free-standing box, built into digital set-top box, built into "cable/DSL router", built into next year's PC

  • Who installs and services the gateway (and the home network)?

4. What role should regulators play to encourage widespread deployment of broadband services at a price that's fair to both consumers and providers?

5. How broad is "broad"? We think about 30 Mbps to/from each home and around 50 Mbps in the home is needed over the next 5-10 years to accommodate a complete suite of services delivered over IP, including IP-based digital TV. But most services providers are rolling out "broadband" that's less than T1 - 1.5 Mbps symmetric. How and when will most users get true broadband of the type being offered in a few places like Stockholm and Milan?

We'll continue our exploration of these issues, including progress toward resolving them, at Fall BBH 2001 in San Jose, October 1-3.

One benefit of building the BBH community is to enable all of us to hear about and learn from successful business models of others -- with the caveat that some business models may be based on unique circumstances. We all know that some of the best sharing comes during lunches, breaks and social events and we experienced this when one of our Israeli delegates told us we really should visit Milan to see FastWeb's ambitious broadband business. We changed our travel plans and did just that. We've summarized our visit below. Read and decide for yourself how well it might fit where you are.


Milan's The Place For True Broadband! - FastWeb Rolls Out

At FastWeb's headquarters in Milan, we met with Ruggero Gramatica, partner and CIO of e.Biscom (FastWeb's parent company), and with Stefano Parisse, FastWeb's Director of Marketing. They described their technical model, demonstrated the service, gave us a tour of the facility, and walked us through their product offerings and plans. We concluded the encouragement from our delegate to visit them was well-founded.

FastWeb is rolling out a pure-IP fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service throughout Milan, Italy's second largest city, and plans to extend its reach to most of Italy. It offers a full range of broadband services to business and residential customers, including IP telephony, fast Internet, and IP television. To the best of our knowledge, Milan is the only metropolitan area in the world where the full range of services is now available (not just promised) with pure IP.

We think FastWeb is a world leader in creating a comprehensive and durable model for the broadband future - encompassing technical, operations, business, and the full suite of services for both business and residential customers. They are deploying all aspects of the model today. It's worth paying close attention to what they are doing.

Nevertheless, it is not clear to what degree FastWeb's full model can be replicated elsewhere. Italy may be a special case, permitting a new entrant to take the lead in deploying broadband services. While their technical and services model is appropriate in many places, a new entrant might have trouble creating a convincing business case in many other countries.

e.Biscom and Its Subsidiaries

e.Biscom, FastWeb's parent company, was formed less than two years ago, with the intent of building a pure-IP fiber-optic system providing a full suite of services to both business and residential users. It operates through a set of subsidiaries, some partly and some fully owned, each playing a distinct role in the services value chain: • Metroweb - a joint venture with AEM, Milan's municipal power utility - is pulling fiber to every building in Milan, both business and residential. It plans to provide "dark fiber" to more than half of the residential users by the end of 2001, and cover the entire city by the end of 2002. It has also started running fiber in Genoa, Turin, Rome, and Naples, and plans to extend its model to "500 Italian cities by the end of 2009". • FastWeb - also a joint venture with AEM - is providing Gigabit Ethernet connectivity (1000 Mbps) to each building over Metroweb's fiber, with Fast Ethernet over fiber (100 Mbps) to each apartment. Business customers purchase "factional-gigabit" service. Residential customers are offered packages of telephone, video, and data services, many based on a flat rate. • e.BisMedia is a multimedia publishing company. It has created an extensive video-on-demand service with content from Rai (Italy's state-owned broadcaster), Universal Studios, Discovery, and others. It also publishes ilNuovo.it - a consumer-oriented multimedia online newspaper with interactive digital content. • HanseNet is rolling out broadband services in Hamburg, Germany's second city. e.Biscom purchased a majority interest in HanseNet from the municipal power utility to serve as its beachhead into Germany.

Most of e.Biscom's senior staff had previously participated as founders and senior staff of Omnitel Pronto Italia, which grew in five years to be the #2 mobile wireless operator in Italy and is now part of the Vodaphone group. They have all had the experience of rapidly building a large successful network business from scratch.

FastWeb's Service Offerings

PC and Internet penetration in Italy are comparatively low. Rather than leading with high-speed Internet (as Bredbandsbolaget did in Stockholm) FastWeb has positioned it as only one of several offerings: • Its lead offering, of interest to every family, is (IP-based) telephone service, priced flat-rate to all of Italy - in a country where even local telephony is metered. • High-speed Internet access operates at 10 Mbps symmetrical, as in Stockholm. • A complete television service with both subscription television - the equivalent of a cable or satellite service - and video-on-demand access to a growing library of programs and movies, all delivered with unicast and multi-cast IP.

FastWeb provides these offerings in a variety of combinations of flat-rate and metered pricing in order to attract and keep the largest number of subscribers. Thus it offers flat-rate internet access for experienced users and "pay as you go" for newcomers. Internet access is included with packages addressed to early adopters and not in packages for the middle market.

To understand that this was more than "slideware and PR" we toured FastWeb's operations center and saw row upon row of routers, aisles of servers, and a full-scale CO switch acting as the gateway to domestic and international telephone operators. Their network operations center was worthy of any mature telephone company and showed the staff's experience in starting and running Omnitel.

We came away from the visit convinced that these folks are doing things right! Their business model is highly capital intensive, and markets lately have not been kind to companies that make large up-front investments to profit from future customers. But this model propelled all existing cable, satellite, and wireless providers, and we believe FastWeb has the skills and experience be the first true full-scale, full-service broadband provider.

What Is Applicable Elsewhere?

After we left, we started wondering what aspects of the FastWeb model could be applied elsewhere. Italy may be a special case, and the complete model might not be transferable.

Italy has some special features which don't exist together in many other places: • Very low penetration of "pay TV" -- cable or satellite - compared to most countries. Milan does not have a cable system, and there are few in Italy. Satellite service is available, but has very low subscription rate (at least of legal paying subscribers). Thus the market is open for a new provider: FastWeb isn't try to take customers away from an existing pay-TV provider, and there's no cable company offering cable modem service. • All phone calls are still metered. While most Internet services are "free", dial-up Internet usage bears a per-minute charge and users are conscious of a ticking clock. For existing users, flat-rate Internet services are very appealing since they will pay less for much faster service. • "Everyone hates the phone company" - The telephone company was recently privatized (it's owned by Olivetti) but carries the legacy of notoriously poor service. Many people would try another service just to get away from the phone company. • "Rich or poor, everybody in Italy lives in an apartment" - Italy has very high MDU occupancy, and very few single-family homes. The cost of running fiber to every home is much lower with this high population density. • Municipal public utility - Milan and many other Italian cities have municipally owned power companies, with existing rights of way throughout the city. Since AEM owns 2/3 of Metroweb, it is bearing much of the financial risk of creating the city-wide dark-fiber infrastructure.

It seems clear that the combination of pure fiber - all the way to the home - and pure IP is the most durable model for the full range of broadband services. Over the next decade, analog television and analog telephony will go the way of the horse and buggy, and future broadband systems will be based on something similar if not identical to the FastWeb model. We believe any "greenfield" provider - and any incumbent rebuilding an existing system - should carefully consider whether the traditional models for telephony and cable will last to the end of their useful lives, or whether the time has arrived to adopt the pure-fiber pure-IP approach.

It's likely that this model works well today in high-density situations, such as cities. The jury is out on whether the economics work today in lower-density situations such as the typical North American suburb.

We also suspect that Italy may be unique in providing a clear path for a new entrant to capture the market. Most other developed countries have well-established pay-TV providers, and pure metered telephone service is increasingly recognized as an obstacle to Internet development and is being phased out in many places. We therefore believe that it will be much harder for a new entrant to succeed by going head-to-head with the established phone company for telephone service, with the cable company for pay-TV, and with both for high-speed Internet. It's challenging to develop a realistic business case with high enough penetration to justify the fixed costs of overbuilding both incumbents -- and the markets have stopped believing unrealistic business cases.

We'll continue to examine these questions in future issues of BBHR. We'll also be exploring these topics at Broadband Home Fall 2001 in San Jose. We're invited Fastweb as a speaker and will include additional companies expert in the economics of residential fiber deployments.

( www.ebiscom.it ) ( www.fastweb.it ) ( www.ilNuovo.it )


Voice Over Broadband: Where the Action Is

Have you been watching all the announcements over the past month or two in the broadband telephony space? Things are really heating up, with both the surviving net-based phone companies and new entrants all staking out turf in telephony over broadband.

As the still-standing Net-based phone companies viewed the market conditions -- investor demands that businesses make money and dropping prices for traditional telephony -- their pursuit of relationships with cable and DSL providers has intensified. The broadband service providers are looking for services beyond fast, always-on Internet access and the Net-telephony vendors want a way to keep and grow their user base and make money in the process.

Meanwhile, we're seeing the emergence of a new generation of compact, low-cost home devices that allow consumers to make broadband phone calls with their regular phones.

Here's a sampling of the recent announcements:

--IDT has formed a joint venture with Liberty Media to provide telephony services to Liberty's international cable affiliates. Both will have equal equity stakes in the venture, and IDT will control day-to-day operations. IDT will also provide the telephony termination and infrastructure for the venture for five years and undertake the funding obligations.

As part of the project, Liberty set up a five-year licensing agreement with IDT's former subsidiary Net2Phone, giving Liberty access to Net2Phone software to voice-enable and operate its IP network and to provide service to VoIP customers.( www.idt.com ) ( www.net2phone.com ) ( www.libertymedia.com )

--Net2Phone launched a new service using their VoiceLine technology to allow people with high-speed Internet access to make Net-based phone calls. Customers will initially be able to access the subscription-based service using one of two devices, one from Linksys and the other from Aplio. ( www.net2phone.com ) ( www.linksys.com ) ( www.aplio.com )

--Deltathree has announced a large-scale market trial of its broadband-phone service in China, through its marketing partner, Innostar. The international trial follows deltathree's launch of broadband-phone service in the United States under its consumer brand name, iConnectHere.com. www.deltathree.com

--Cisco rolled out an analog telephone adapter, the ATA 186, which allows broadband customers to make and receive calls. It is distributed through service providers such as Voicenet (see below) ( www.cisco.com )

--Voicenet Communications announced at SuperComm its private-label telephony services, giving broadband providers and hardware vendors the ability to deliver "second line" voice services to residential and small business customers. ( www.voicenet.com )

--Jetstream and Panasonic have teamed up to create a broadband telephone that carries multiple phone numbers on a single line equipped with Net access and targets homes and small businesses. It will provide simultaneous access to up to four phone lines with eight handsets, support for typical telephone features, self-installation and multiple mail boxes. ( www.jetstream.com ) ( www.pmnasonic.com )

--PhoneFree has changed its name to Gemini Voice Solutions and plans to sell devices and partner with ISPs to offer consumers Net-based phone calls with their regular phones. ( www.phonefree.com )

--Dialpad has announced its dialpadaccess hardware which it promotes to broadband providers to bring voice solutions to the market quickly. They also have joint marketing deals with Level 3 and with 2Wire for integrating support in 2Wire's residential gateways. ( www.dialpad.com ) ( www.2wire.com) ( www.level3.com )

--Meanwhile in the PacketCable arena, DOCSIS 1.1 certified modems are probably still 6 to 12 months away from full scale deployment. The standard promises to deliver primary-line quality and 911 services, but there is still lots to be done including all the operations support systems. However, vendors are looking at putting these capabilities into telephony adapters, set-top boxes and gateways so that their particular device will supply telephony. All the others above are taking action without waiting for PacketCable, so one question will be whether the market waits for and is willing to pay for what PacketCable has been creating. ( www.packetcable.com )

Does all this sound confusing? Unfortunately, this is only a sampling of recent announcements. We'll explore this topic more deeply in a general session at Broadband Home Fall 2001. Moderated by John Pickens, CTO of Com21, author of many PacketCable Specifications and one of the most knowledgeable people in the field, the session will explore several paradigms for broadband-enabled telephony in the home. Topics will include which models having staying power; what's the durable economic model; what are the service provider needs and those of the end-user, and whose needs is each model serving; and differing strategies on management of end-to-end QoS.


Hold the date for Broadband Home Fall 2001: San Jose, October 1-3

Before your fall calendar fills up, mark your calendar now for Broadband Home Fall 2001: Delivering on the Promise. It will be held October 1-3 at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose, CA, and will start with a welcome reception Sunday evening, September 30th.

At BBH Fall 2001 you'll meet and hear from industry leaders including investors who are still looking for good broadband business plans, suppliers whose new technologies are delivering better services, service providers who are focusing on adding new services to and in the home, and more.

These conferences are all about networking across the industry ecosystem, and we have been delighted with feedback from many speakers and delegates about business deals that started with the contacts they met during lunches, breaks and our all-conference party.

Our newest addition will be our first iSuds Entrepreneurs Lunch for start-ups and investors, see http://www.isuds.com/bbhome/ .

We'll activate registration and hotel reservations soon. You can see more about the conference and the preliminary schedule at http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbhfall/

Our industry perspective speakers will include:

  • Ron Willis, VP of Marketing, Commercial & Consumer Lines of Business, Cisco Systems

  • Brad Garlinghouse, CEO, Dialpad

  • Deborah Lathen, former Chief, Cable Services Bureau, FCC

  • Guy Kawasaki, CEO, Garage.com

  • Gary Lauder, Managing Partner, Lauder Partners, LLC

  • Dave Waks and Sandy Teger, Co-founders, System Dynamics Inc.

  • Joe Crupi, VP, Broadband Communications Group, Texas Instruments

Sponsor and exhibitor opportunities are still available. If you are interested, act soon by contacting Stu Milberg at stu@pulver.com or (631) 547-0800 or visit http://www.thebroadbandhome.com/bbhfall/exhibit.html .


Coming in the July Issue of BBHR

So much has happened since the last issue of this report that we've run out of room to cover it all. We'll have to wait until the next issue to tell you about

  • Visits in Belgium: MTEC Group and Telenet

  • Update on HomeRF 2.0

  • The Broadband Airplane

  • ..and lots more

Lost Subscriptions - Do You Know Anyone Who Subscribed Last Month?

We suffered from server problems for several weeks in May, and we suspect some subscriptions to this report were not recorded.

If you recently recommended our report to friends and colleagues, please ask them if they entered a subscription during May. If they subscribed and have not yet received the report, it was lost somewhere in cyberspace. Please ask them to visit www.thebroadbandhome.com/report/subscribe.html and fill out our subscription form again. Thanks, and we apologize for the inconvenience.


Subscription and Copyright

If you are aware of others who would like to receive our report, please ask them to visit ( http://BroadbandHomeCentral.com/report/subscribe.html) to subscribe.

To change your email address, report format, or other subscription information, or to unsubscribe, please visit ( http://BroadbandHomeCentral.com/report/change.html )

Please send your comments and feedback regarding this issue of our report to editor@bb-home.com. Your suggestions for topics to be covered in future issues would be greatly appreciated.

Sandy Teger and Dave Waks
Sandy and Dave's Report on The Broadband Home
Originally published as The Broadband Home Report
June 18, 2001

editor@bb-home.com
http://BroadbandHomeCentral.com/report



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