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February 25, 2008 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

Briefly Noted: Updates, Observations and Trends

Each month, we collect miscellaneous happenings, studies, trends or observations you might have missed. This month's briefs focus on a wide range of subjects, including DTV growth in the US, George Bush's broadband promise, digital set top sales and my favorite quote of the month.

DTV Growth in US

More than 50% of U.S. households now own DTV sets, according to the Consumer Electronics Association. DTV sales in the U.S. are expected to reach 32 million units in 2008. ( www.ce.org )

What Happened to "Universal, Affordable Broadband"?

In March 2004, U.S. President George Bush said "We ought to have a universal, affordable access for broadband technology by the year 2007." At year end 2007, a Benton Foundation report pointed out that half of America still doesn't have broadband at home. However, according to US Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, the NTIA's new report Networked Nation: Broadband in America, 2007 ( www.ntia.doc.gov/reports/2008/NetworkedNationBroadbandinAmerica2007.pdf ) "shows the nation's broadband success story. The President's policies have made a significant impact on the availability and affordability of broadband in the United States". The catch? The NTIA report counts any area (ZIP code) that has one or more households that can get broadband as if the entire zip code has it! ( www.benton.org ) ( www.ntia.doc.gov )

Ubicom Delivers

In our September 16, 2007 newsletter, we wrote about a visit ( www.broadbandhomecentral.com/report/backissues/Report0705_5.html ) with Ubicom and why we thought their technology was an important contribution to multimedia networking. The people at CES evidently agreed, because five of the show's Innovations Honorees products--from Logitech, D-Link, NETGEAR and Silicondust--featured Ubicom technology. ( www.ubicom.com )

2007 Digital Set-top Sales: 100+ million

Worldwide sales of digital TV set-top boxes surpassed 100 million for the first time in 2007, according to research from Strategy Analytics. Their report, "Digital TV Set-Top Boxes: Global Market Forecast," found that sales reached 102.4 million units last year, an annual increase of 12%. Of the four markets served by digital set tops, two (IPTV and cable) gained share and 2 (satellite and terrestrial) lost share. In 2008 the firm expects that the Asia-Pacific region will overtake North America and Europe, accounting for a third of this year's 129 million sales. ( www.strategyanalytics.net )

From Our "Best Quote" Department...

We didn't attend NAPTE, so missed hearing Jeff Zucker, NBCU President and CEO, observe "technology is transforming every part of our business". He said that moving to the broadband space means "Our challenge with all these ventures is to effectively monetize them so that we do not end up trading analog dollars for digital pennies." It is more than the broadcast industry that faces this challenge!

New US Rural Broadband Site

The FCC and USDA have created a new "broadband home" website Broadband Opportunities for Rural America ( wireless.fcc.gov/outreach/ruralbroadband ) as a source of information about broadband for rural areas of the U.S.

WiMAX Update

The WiMAX Forum made several announcements about its growing ecosystem and their plans:

  • It is adding the 700 MHz frequency to its technology roadmap. The specs will be unveiled soon and will support both TDD and FDD certification profiles.
  • There are 260 commercial WiMAX deployments in 110 countries.
  • 28 mobile WiMAX products in the 2.3 GHz and 2.5 GHz frequency bands have been submitted for certification. ( www.wimaxforum.org )

NextWave Wireless announced they are collaborating with Finish firm Elektrobit on a WiMAX handset reference design, based upon NextWave's WiMAX chipset. The device made its debut at the 2008 GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. ( www.nextwave.com )

IEEE 802.11n Deployments Underway

Duke University is planning to deploy an enormous 802.11n WiFi network across its campus using more than 2,500 Cisco access points. The network will cover more than 6 million square feet of its Durham, N.C. campus. Press releases say it will be the largest planned deployment of an 802.11n network by any organization to date. ( www.cisco.com )