Is a “Net Zero” Phone Bill Achievable?

GE plans to help consumers achieve what it calls a “Net Zero” home — as in zero utility bills — by bringing together certain innovative technologies. Why are similar innovations not taking place in telecom? Why are there no carriers touting net zero phone bills?

Today in Cloud

In separate Q&As published yesterday afternoon, both Qwest and Global Crossing discussed their plans to roll out cloud-computing offerings in the coming months/years. We’ve long heard — from AT&T, in particular — that telcos are better-positioned to serve as cloud providers than are web companies or most IT vendors, and now it looks like telcos of all stripes are catching on to this promise. However, they’ll need to be diligent in differentiating their offerings from both web-based providers and other telcos. Smaller telcos do have some cloud advantages, but I think they’ll be in for unpleasant surprises if they try to act like Amazon on one hand, or like AT&T or Verizon on the other.

Today in Cloud

The Enterprise Cloud Buyers Council was announced yesterday with, from my perspective, surprisingly little fanfare. One possible reason is that the membership offers precious little about which to get excited. Because the members are the same vendors and telcos with whom enterprises have been dealing for years, the implication is that the relationship between companies and IT might not change too much, notwithstanding new capabilities. Although they might not have the enterprise sway of IBM or HP, it would be great to see Amazon Web Services or OpSource, for example, involved to offer entirely new, disruptive voices to this discussion.

Telcos Facing Energy Concerns: AT&T Appoints Energy Director

About 37 percent of the carbon footprint of the entire information and communication technology sector (ICT) in 2007 was due to the energy consumption of telecom infrastructure and devices, according to the Climate Group (14 percent came from data centers, and 49 percent came from PCs and peripherals). Contrast that with telecom’s carbon footprint figure in 2002 which was 28 percent of ICT’s carbon footprint. Phone companies are starting to notice that trend: this morning AT&T (s T) announced that it has hired its first Director of Energy John Schinter.

Schinter will be in charge of managing and reducing AT&T’s energy consumption across its network and direct its energy-related purchasing. AT&T says they are in the process of “reorganizing the way AT&T optimizes our energy use,” and hiring Schinter is one part of that. Other energy-related initiatives the phone company has taken in recent years include: creating an Energy Council within AT&T to enable different divisions to talk together about the companies energy goals, establishing a goal to cut “electricity usage intensity (relative to data growth on the AT&T network) by 15 percent, compared to 2008 levels,” using 1E’s NightWatchman power management software on 310,000 AT&T employee computers and looking at alternative energy for AT&T facilities.
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Vid-Biz: Pay TV, Streamlogics, OWLE

Study: DTV Switch to Boost Pay TV Subscriptions; analysis from Wells Fargo Securities says cable will get 475,000 new subs, satellite will get 137,000 and telcos will get 41,000. (MediaWeek)

Thomson Reuters Acquires Streamlogics; terms of the deal not disclosed; Streamlogics provides webcasting-based services to enterprise, government and pharmaceutical organizations. (The Business of Online Video)

OWLE Mount Augments iPhone Video; snap-on device provides better grip to reduce camera shake, a bigger lens and an outward-facing microphone. (CrunchGear)

“mememolly” Takes Over Rocketboom News Desk; the “right-handed vegetarian Scorpio” has the tenth most-subscribed YouTube channel in the UK. (Tubefilter)

VH-1 Takes Great Debate to the Masses; show that pits pop culture icons against each other will use out-of-home screens and social media sites to let viewers join in. (MediaWeek)

Roughly 10% of HD TV Owners Don’t Have HD Service; 46.3 percent of homes have HD sets, and 35.9 percent get HD programming. (TV by the Numbers)

Xeround Enables Telco Services By Virtualizing Data Silos

xeroundDatabase virtualization proprietor Xeround said yesterday that it received a Billing & OSS World 2009 Excellence Award for “Best Operational Support System” based on its deployment at T-Mobile. Both companies have been mum on the details of the deployment (trust me, I asked), but given Xeround’s value proposition, it’s not too difficult to imagine ways in which T-Mobile might be utilizing the company’s Intelligent Data Grid product.
Don’t let the parade of buzzwords like “grid” and “virtualization” throw you — Xeround offers real benefits to companies with distributed data problems by giving them a federated view of pretty much all of their data. Xeround’s focus thus far has been on the telecom market, where providers tend to have subscriber data of various types, like SQL, LDAP and XML, housed in silos across the network. Read More about Xeround Enables Telco Services By Virtualizing Data Silos

Why Fixing Internet Capacity Keeps the Telcos Honest

In the debate around Internet regulation and traffic, it’s important to understand the things that drive how much bandwidth we need. Without fixing the bandwidth shortage on the wire or in the protocols, we make it easy for carriers to claim that they need to regulate bandwidth in order to survive. If we can fix the bandwidth and efficiency problems, we take away one of the main reasons telcos claim they need to shape traffic and interfere with the Internet.To oversimplify somewhat, there are three basic ways to improve the Internet’s capacity:

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