Networking This Week: Broadband Pixie Dust and Service Provider Product Blitz

Service providers took center stage this week, with alleged Enron broadband fraud, and a Cisco product blitz.

April 22, 2005

3 Min Read
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Service providers took center stage this week, with Cisco targeting a product blitz at them, some reporting on their quarterly profits, and a big buyout taking place. And in a return to the go-go 90s, there was some entertaining broadband "pixie dust," courtesy of Enron.

Early in the week, Cisco targeted service providers with a product blitz. In an attempt to capture a greater share of telecom and cable TV service providers spending, Cisco introduced new routers, upgrades to products and operating systems, and new interface options. And it reported that Sprint and Comcast have selected it to provide IP-based networking gear for the build-outs of their network.

Time Warner and Comcast, meanwhile, the two largest cable TV companies in the country, agreed to buy the assets of the bankrupt cable company Adelphia Communications Corp. in a deal valued at $17.6 billion in cash and stock.

The cable giants are targeting the U.S., but there are indications that for the big money, they'll have to look overseas --- specifically to Eastern Europe. A spate of deals has led analysts to say that there is more room for investors in Eastern Europe than in Western markets when it comes to telecom.

But service providers in the U.S. don't necessarily agree. They see growth, but not in the traditional places. MCI, for example, is moving aggressively into IP media delivery by making a deal to buy Interactive Content Factory (ICF), a leading provider of IP-based media and entertainment services. And Verizon Chief Ivan Seidenberg said his company plans to offer a mix of HDTV, IPTV and PVR services, including distributed networked video services to the home.It's earnings seasons, and both Sprint and AT&T reported results. Sprint said it more than doubled profits in the first quarter as a surge in wireless business offset declines in local and long-distance phone service. AT&T reported a rise in first quarter profits, even though it had a revenue loss of $1 billion. How did it do that? It was aided by a sharply lower depreciation expense after a big writedown in assets.

That may sound like funny accounting, but it's perfectly legal. What Enron did, say prosecutors, is another matter altogether. Former Enron executives are on trial for conspiracy, fraud, insider trading and money laundering, having to do with alleged false promises about its broadband unit. On the stand this week, a former staffer said that Enron engineers used to make fun of the firm's alleged (but non-existent) broadband speedup software, often calling it "pixie dust."

There's more, as well, and much more coming up. To keep up with the latest, check out Networking Pipeline's News section.

Links in This Story

Cisco Product Blitz Targets Service Providers Time Warner, Comcast Seal Deal To Buy Adelphia

Telecom Providers Target Surprising New Market: Eastern Europe

MCI Moves Aggressively Into IP Media Delivery

Verizon Chief Says Carriers Poised For Video Growth

Sprint Profit More Than Doubles In First QuarterAT&T Posts Increase In First-Quarter Profit On Reduced Depreciation Expense

Engineers Joked That Enron Broadband Software Was "Pixie Dust," Witness Says

Networking Pipeline's News section

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