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Comment Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (Score 1) 515

The fiber isn't to the pole outside your house (9 times out of 10, the 10th being your house is next to the node).
The Node is the part the fiber connects to. Think of it like a hub that converts from one type of cable to another. From the Node coax cable is run through the neighborhood, from 30 to 200+ houses depending on the configuration. That node and coax cable is what would have to be replaced first, followed by a junction box on the house to allow for all the coax connections in the home to connect.

It's more complicated then that, but that's the basics of why they don't just slowly replace (more) coax with fiber.

Comment Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (Score 1) 515

I meant in the last mile, ala Fiber to the premises. (FiOS, for example). If it wasn't a couple hundred bucks a house to convert we'd have done it years go. Convincing the number pushers is why it hasn't happened, and why everything listed by kbolino above is true. Now I'm going back to Diablo 3. Good night.

Comment Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (Score 1) 515

Early on, cable lines broadcast exactly the same signal to everybody in a city. These days that is no longer true. Cable internet basically requires that the city be broken up into multiple signal domains, perhaps as small as one per neighborhood. This is also used to provide targeted commercials, and on demand content.

Now that we have targeted areas, it is possible in theory to only send the channels in use in that area, and letting the system reuse the space for unviewed channels as DOCSIS channels. Indeed this technology has existed for a while. Yet, correct me if I am wrong, I believe this system is not in active use.

This is true, to an extent.

Targeted area's are really only as accurate as the provider makes them, and its filtered more by the physical line that they're on vs the IP address that they have. For example if CMTS 1 Services Central PHX and CMTS 2 Services East PHX, you can know what area's a node on each is going to affect down to the street addresses if you have an outage.

The problem is Analog broadcasting. The FCC says that if you aren't transmitting for older TV's on your lines, you have to provide an Analog converter. In many smaller systems its cheaper to supply a digital converter and do away with analog entirely since the equipment costs for side by side broadcast are more than just putting out a couple hundred converters (that the government gives a tax credit on).

There's the final part of the problem. The internet switches (nodes) only control the access so long as the equipment exists in three places. The office, the node and the modem at the user. In order to broadcast digitally in the same manner that the internet works, every TV for every customer must be compatible. That means the big, expensive converters the government doesn't subsidize. You know how you pay 5$ a month for them right now? If they threw that switch, there's a good chance the FCC could interpret the rules of the digital cut over to provide those for free, since now they're 'necessary' to have any TV connected. By keeping it simpler its easier to charge more money. *

*Note: I never said I -agree- with any of the practices in place. However, show me a for-profit business that isn't out for money and I'll show you a lie.

Comment Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (Score 2) 515

South Korea is smaller Geographically than 39 United states and has a population of close to 50 million. Kentucky, which is slightly larger geographically has a population less than a 10th of that.

Population dictates cost. Economically South Korea can support that. because for every mile of network they build they potentially support 10x more people than in Kentucky. The cost to bring that speed to all area's of Kentucky then would increase 10 fold. There is a reason that we don't have high speed in our rural areas - it costs too damn much.

Comment Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (Score 5, Informative) 515

*Disclaimer: I've worked in Cable for years*
They have been innovating. You can only fit so many channel frequencies into a line before you have to upgrade the line your using or find a new way of transmitting over the existing infrastructure. Any innovation that would allow for an exponential addition of channels to the existing infrastructure would be a gold mine. They're trying, and they're all in it together. When was the last time you heard of any one cable company inventing anything? They don't. They have a group dedicated to research which helps all of them.. Anything that the group comes up with is made an industry standard, basically IEEE for cable.

But going back to the infrastructure: cable companies are obviously bound to this. And it costs a lot to both maintain and upgrade. The first half of the 2000's many companies used cable internet and later cheap phone service to multiple advantages.
1 was generating more revenue by increasing the amount of services their customers subscribed too. This also lead to increased customer loyalty, since its one thing to cancel just your internet service if a company pisses you off but another all together to consider dropping a company that hosts your TV, Internet, and phone.In upgrading a system of say, 50k subscribers you could double the amount of money it generated, which means
2 the increased revenue offset the costs of upgrading systems to support the new features. Think back 10 years ago, what was the fastest speed you saw in major cities? 3-5 Mbps if that. Some area's have 50+ Mbps now.
3 by increasing the capacity when HD came around many systems where already ready for the initial wave of channels. They did innovate, which is why many area's have 50+ HD channels available now if you have an HD converter. Without the investment into rewiring many area's, cable would never be about to touch satellite as far as competition in many area's.

Upgrading systems costs an insane amount of money. That more than anything is the reason that cable monopolies exist, the cost of entry prohibits competition. To install a new plant in an town of 50k takes something to the tune of 2-3 million dollars, with zero guarantee on how long it will take to recover that cost, if ever. Cable lines have reached their limit unless someone comes up with a new way of multiplexing, and if its that significant a step up you'll see it deployed very rapidly. Some companies are switching to fiber but the cost is insane. And where as if someone cuts a cable line the service could be back up in an hour, if someone cuts a fiber line it could take significantly longer.

Having said all that, the "Usage Allowance Plan" is a crock of shit. It is exactly what it is being labeled as, a stop gap measure to keep people from dumping the TV service. Because cable companies get charged by the broadcasters based on their install base*, which includes internet only customers in some cases, they're trying to stop the current trend of "Internet for everything" since it inverts #1 & 2: less revenue generated, but now node capacity has to be increased. Does it make it fair for the consumer? Of course not. Are the amounts for the usage plans in use by the larger companies fair? Considering that a large % of the subscribers never come close to the cap, it depends. COULD they offer an 'unlimited' package? Yes. Which is why its a crock of shit, their could be a way to pay more if you use more, but thanks to other industries showing that micro-payments for additional service is a viable model for monopolies that isn't likely to happen. Hence this whole hullabaloo, they're trying to have their cake and squeeze money out of it too.

*ask anyone who's worked for a Cable call center about NFL network. Just don't do it when they're holding something stabby.

Florida Man Sues WikiLeaks For Scaring Him 340

Stoobalou writes "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been accused of 'treason' by a Florida man seeking damages for distress caused by the site's revelations about the US government. From the article: 'David Pitchford, a Florida trailer park resident, names Assange and WikiLeaks as defendants in a personal injury suit filed with the Florida Southern District Court in Miami. In the complaint filed on 6th January, Pitchford alleges that Assange's negligence has caused "hypertension," "depression" and "living in fear of being stricken by another heart attack and/or stroke" as a result of living "in fear of being on the brink of another nuclear [sic] WAR."' Just for good measure, it also alleges that Assange and WikiLeaks are guilty of 'terorism [sic], espionage and treason.'"

Ubisoft DRM Causing More Problems 279

Joe Helfrich writes "Ubisoft's Settlers 7 servers have been causing problems for over a week for users worldwide, and Australian gamers are hardly able to connect at all. 'The problem reportedly strikes after the game has already confirmed an active Internet connection, and prevents the user from playing even the single-player campaign, returning the error "server not available." But they are available, because other people are logged into them and merrily playing away.' Wonder how they're going to describe this one as an attack."

Spitzer Telescope Sheds Light On Colony of Baby Stars 34

astroengine writes "NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope had the unprecedented opportunity to observe the heart of the Orion Nebula for 40 days, returning 80 images of the star-forming region. In doing so, the observatory has been keeping track of 1,500 young stars as they undergo rapid variations in brightness, caused by large 'cool spots' on the surface of the stars and obscuring dust. However, the high resolution images Spitzer is returning take center-stage, showing a tight cluster of stellar birth amid the nebulous clouds of dust. This is an incredible achievement considering its primary mission is over (after using up all of its liquid helium coolant in May 2009) and only two instruments are still working."

Planned Nuclear Reactors Will Destroy Atomic Waste 344

separsons writes "A group of French scientists are developing a nuclear reactor that burns up actinides — highly radioactive uranium isotopes. They estimate that 'the volume of high-level nuclear waste produced by all of France’s 58 reactors over the past 40 years could fit in one Olympic-size swimming pool.' And they're not the only ones trying to eliminate atomic waste: Researchers at the University of Texas in Austin are working on a fusion-fission reactor. The reactor destroys waste by firing streams of neutrons at it, reducing atomic waste by up to 99 percent!"

Astronomers Discover the Coolest Known Sub-Stellar Body 60

Hugh Pickens writes "Science Daily reports that using the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope (UKIRT) in Hawaii, astronomers have discovered what may be the coolest sub-stellar body ever found outside our own solar system. Too small to be stars and with insufficient mass to maintain hydrogen-burning nuclear fusion reactions in their cores, 'brown dwarfs' have masses smaller than stars but larger than gas giant planets like Jupiter, with an upper limit in between 75 and 80 Jupiter masses. 'This looks like the fourth time in three years that the UKIRT has made a record breaking discovery of the coolest known brown dwarf, with an estimated temperature not far above 200 degrees Celsius,' says Dr. Philip Lucas at the University of Hertfordshire. Due to their low temperature these objects are very faint in visible light, and are detected by their glow at infrared wavelengths. The object known as SDSS1416+13B is in a wide orbit around a somewhat brighter and warmer brown dwarf, SDSS1416+13A, and the pair is located between 15 and 50 light years from the solar system, which is quite close in astronomical terms."

Man Uses Drake Equation To Explain Girlfriend Woes 538

artemis67 writes "A man studying in London has taken a mathematical equation that predicts the possibility of alien life in the universe to explain why he can't find a girlfriend. Peter Backus, a native of Seattle and PhD candidate and Teaching Fellow in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, near London, in his paper, 'Why I don't have a girlfriend: An application of the Drake Equation to love in the UK,' used math to estimate the number of potential girlfriends in the UK. In describing the paper on the university Web site he wrote 'the results are not encouraging. The probability of finding love in the UK is only about 100 times better than the probability of finding intelligent life in our galaxy.'"

Whatever Happened To Second Life? 209

Barence writes "It's desolate, dirty, and sex is outcast to a separate island. In this article, PC Pro's Barry Collins returns to Second Life to find out what went wrong, and why it's raking in more cash than ever before. It's a follow-up to a feature written three years ago, in which Collins spent a week living inside Second Life to see what the huge fuss at the time was all about. The difference three years can make is eye-opening."

3D Blu-ray Spec Finalized, PS3 Supported 157

Lucas123 writes "The Blu-ray Disc Association announced today that it has finalized the specification for Blu-ray 3-D discs. The market for 3-D, which includes 3-D enabled televisions, is expected to be $15.8 billion by 2015. Blu-ray 3-D will create a full 1080p resolution image for both eyes using MPEG4-MVC format. Even though two hi-def images are produced, the overhead is typically only 50% compared to equivalent 2D content. The spec also allows PS3 game consoles to play Blu-ray 3-D content. 'The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3D graphic menus and displaying 3D subtitles positioned in 3D video.'"

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