Verizon: Simplify the Home, Protect Fiber's Value
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Verizon: Simplify the Home, Protect Fiber's Value
DALLAS -- FTTH Council Expo -- The fiber-to-the-home industry needs to collaboratively tackle the issue of growing complexity in the digital home, including in-home wireless, says Robert Mudge, president of consumer and mass business markets for Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ).The proliferation of wireless devices and of potential applications such as in-home healthcare will require a new approach to managing bandwidth inside the home that doesn't depend on frequent upgrades to networking devices and highly sophisticated network integration, Mudge said in his keynote address here today.Expecting consumers to figure it out on their own or to be willing to purchase new consumer premises equipment (CPE) every 12 to 18 months is a formula for failure, he said, and could even turn fancy fiber services into commodities on which others innovate."We need to collaborate as a group to help create a simple and seamless experience in the home," Mudge said. In a conversation after the presentation, he added that this could include routers or residential gateways that enable a consistent experience and stability for the home technology user over a period of years, not months.
"We need to keep understanding what kind of bandwidth will have to be distributed within the home and make sure we have routers to keep pace, and devices that can talk to each other," Mudge added. "We also need to decide as an industry what we can do, what's too much, and what are the cost implications."He said simplicity for the customer will be a major focus for Verizon going forward in order to not only continue driving the new applications that create demand for FTTH, but also retain customers and avoid becoming a commodity pipe.A failure to continue to deliver on integration of in-home devices and technologies into the broadband service will cause customers to "lose faith" in their service providers, Mudge said. Successfully solving the home bandwidth distribution and device integration issue will, conversely, open up new paths to greater revenue.And now the shameless plug: Both Robert Mudge and the digital home debate will be front and center next month at TelcoTV -- it's not to late to join us.
Verizon to Pay TiVo $250M to Settle DVR Fight
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) has agreed to pay TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) at least US$250.4 million as part of a settlement that includes a cross-licensing patent agreement and a commercial distribution deal between the two sides. (See TiVo & Verizon Settle DVR Patent Spat .)Verizon's agreed to make an initial cash payment of $100 million, followed by recurring quarterly payments totaling an additional $150.4 million through July 2018. And that number could rise, as Verizon is also on the hook to pay monthly license fees through July 2018 for each Verizon subscriber "in excess of certain pre-determined levels" that were not disclosed in a TiVo 8-K filing made on Friday (Sept. 21).dditionally, up to $29.4 million of the money owed by Verizon can be erased if TiVo and Verizon strike "certain commercial initiatives" before Dec. 21, 2012. TiVo and Verizon have also agreed to explore an Internet video distribution deal linked to Verizon's new joint venture with Redbox Automated Retail LLC . (See Verizon & Redbox Boot Up Web Video Service .)As a final component, the companies have also agreed to dismiss all pending litigation between them with prejudice. TiVo filed its suit against Verizon in August 2009, claiming the telco infringed on three TiVo patents: .S. No. 6,233,389 B1 ("Multimedia Time Warping System"); No. 7,529,465 B2 ("System for Time Shifting Multimedia Content Streams"); and No. 7,493,015 B1 ("Automatic Playback Overshoot Correction System"). TiVo claimed at the time that it tried, but failed, to strike a commercial agreement with Verizon.Why this mattersThe settlement buries the hatchet between TiVo and Verizon, with TiVo once again coming out on the winning end. The FiOS TV commercial component also gives TiVo another potential avenue to pursue with a major pay-TV provider.The Verizon settlement comes more than eight months after TiVo scored a similar out-of-court settlement with AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which agreed to pay TiVo at least $215 million through the middle of 2018. TiVo still has a pending lawsuit against Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Motorola Mobility. Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) , meanwhile, has filed suit against TiVo, asking that four DVR patents be declared invalid. (See TiVo Sues Motorola & Time Warner Cable and Cisco Launches Preemptive Strike on TiVo.)
Verizon & ActiveVideo Call a Cease-Fire
Welcome to your Monday broadband and cable news roundup.Soon after Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) agreed to pay at least US$250.4 million to TiVo Inc. (Nasdaq: TIVO) as part of an out-of-court settlement, Verizon announced a separate settlement Monday that will see it pay $260 million to ActiveVideo Networks Inc. In addition to paying that court-ordered amount, Verizon's also on the hook to pay an additional, but undisclosed sum. The companies also agreed to cross-license patents that were subject to the lawsuits and to refrain from suing each other "for a period of years," according to ActiveVideo. The settlement follows an appeals court decision that put Verizon on the hook to pay the vendor damages, including royalties of $2.74 per month per FiOS TV subscriber, but also erased an injunction that could have put the FiOS TV video-on-demand service on ice. (See Verizon to Pay TiVo $250M to Settle DVR Fight , Verizon Settles With ActiveVideo, Verizon Avoids FiOS TV Injunction and How the Courts Came Up With Verizon's $2.74 FiOS TV Tax .)Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) will apparently follow Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) in allowing customers to expand DVR storage using external drives, says Broadband Reports, noting that Comcast is testing the idea now ahead of an expected launch in early 2013. Western Digital Corp. (NYSE: WDC), meanwhile, is already promoting a Comcast-compatible DVR expander with 1 Terabyte of storage that sells for $129.99.The Nielsen Co. 's first-quarter report on cross-platform video shows a decline in total TV viewing of 1.8 percent versus the year-ago quarter, marking the second consecutive quarter of year-on-year declines, says The Diffusion Group (TDG) . TDG cautioned that the new results do not indicate that massive cord-cutting is underway, but added that it still represents a "worrying trend" for TV networks and pay-TV operators.Google Fiber has managed to secure carriage deals with many of the top cable channels, including ESPN, as it gets ready to light up broadband and TV services next month in a section of Kansas City, Kan., but it told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Friday that it's having "difficulty" striking deals to carry some "must have" regional sports networks. (See KC Gets Google Fiber for Real in October.)
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