ZCorum http://www.zcorum.com The Business of Broadband Fri, 20 Jul 2018 19:21:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 ZCorum Awarded Business of Excellence Distinction for Sixth Consecutive Year http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-awarded-business-of-excellence-distinction-for-sixth-consecutive-year/ http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-awarded-business-of-excellence-distinction-for-sixth-consecutive-year/#respond Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:14:10 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=41695 City of Alpharetta, Georgia honors ZCorum with special recognition at 2018 Business of Excellence Event. Alpharetta, GA (April 13, 2018) — ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of managed diagnostics tools and software for broadband providers, announced that the City of Alpharetta, Georgia has named ZCorum as a Business of Excellence for the sixth [...]

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Business of Excellence 2018City of Alpharetta, Georgia honors ZCorum with special recognition at 2018 Business of Excellence Event.

Alpharetta, GA (April 13, 2018) — ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of managed diagnostics tools and software for broadband providers, announced that the City of Alpharetta, Georgia has named ZCorum as a Business of Excellence for the sixth year in a row at the city’s annual Business of Excellence Awards Presentation.

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The event, which is sponsored by the City of Alpharetta and the Mayor’s office, honors an elite group of businesses in the city that have distinguished themselves by winning an award in the previous year from local or national organizations. This year the event included special recognition of the businesses that have achieved the Business of Excellence designation for sixth consecutive years, every year since the award’s inception. The city awarded ZCorum a special six year certificate and a limited edition Six Year Challenge Coin to commemorate the occasion.

The annual ceremony in March recognizes successful Alpharetta companies, which are given “Businesses of Excellence” distinction to show the City of Alpharetta’s appreciation for leaders in their respective industries who are going above and beyond business as usual. The event was held March 29, 2018 at The Hotel at Avalon in Alpharetta and attended by local businesses, the Mayor and other City representatives. During his keynote, Mayor Pro Tem Donald Mitchel congratulated the awarded businesses and encouraged everyone to continue the “excellence” that is leading Alpharetta into the future.

Julie Compann, President and CEO of ZCorum, was on hand to receive the award along with Carlos Bustamante, Vice President of Strategic Technologies. “We are so pleased that ZCorum has again been recognized for our commitment to business excellence,” said Compann. “Being honored multiple times is a great accomplishment and a direct outcome of our ongoing commitment to stay at the forefront of our industry. We are excited to play a part in Alpharetta being the Technology City of the South and to be recognized in the company of other businesses from the Alpharetta Community.”

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ZCorum Presented With Fifth GLOBE Award from Georgia Governor Nathan Deal http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-presented-with-fifth-globe-award-from-georgia-governor-nathan-deal/ http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-presented-with-fifth-globe-award-from-georgia-governor-nathan-deal/#respond Fri, 30 Mar 2018 10:50:22 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40981 ZCorum among select group of businesses recognized for entering new international markets in 2017. Alpharetta, GA (March 30, 2018) – ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of managed diagnostics tools and software for broadband providers, announced that the International Trade Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) has awarded ZCorum a fifth [...]

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ZCorum among select group of businesses recognized for entering new international markets in 2017.

2018 GLOBE Award Winners Alpharetta, GA (March 30, 2018) – ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of managed diagnostics tools and software for broadband providers, announced that the International Trade Division of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) has awarded ZCorum a fifth GLOBE Award for the company’s continued global growth in 2017. The GLOBE Award (Georgia Launching Opportunities By Exporting) is state-led award program that recognizes Georgia companies for achieving entry into one or more new international market in the previous year. This fifth annual event featured Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal presenting the awards to 40 Georgia businesses.

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In thanking those who promote international trade Governor Deal said, “We had a record year for international trade in 2017 and your businesses contributed heavily to Georgia’s success by reaching new markets. These awards highlight your innovative businesses and the enormous impact you have on Georgia’s economy.” The award was presented at the Go Global Reception at the Atlanta History Center on March 20, 2018.

ZCorum Vice President Arthur Skinner upon receiving the award remarked, “There is a lot of interest in our diagnostics solutions from international operators looking for ways to better monitor and manage their broadband networks. We appreciate the support of the State of Georgia and the GDEcD as we continue to expand our business outside the borders of the United States.”

ZCorum President and CEO Julie Compann added, “We are proud to be playing a part in Georgia’s continuing international trade growth and honored to be receiving a GLOBE Award for a fifth year. ZCorum is committed to providing trusted business tools and practical advice to help broadband operators in global markets better manage their operations.”

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Call Center 101: Getting Started with Broadband Technical Support http://www.zcorum.com/call-center-101-getting-started-with-broadband-technical-support/ http://www.zcorum.com/call-center-101-getting-started-with-broadband-technical-support/#respond Tue, 23 Jan 2018 13:00:53 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40608 What does it take to start your own call center to service Internet subscribers and provide broadband technical support? Is it difficult? What do you need to know?  In the competitive world of broadband services, the level of technical support you provide to your Internet subscribers can often set you apart from your competition, in [...]

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call center support headset on deskWhat does it take to start your own call center to service Internet subscribers and provide broadband technical support? Is it difficult? What do you need to know? 

In the competitive world of broadband services, the level of technical support you provide to your Internet subscribers can often set you apart from your competition, in either a good or, unfortunately, a bad way. With this growing need for exceptional customer service, the idea of setting up your own in-house center might seem like a sound investment. But, before you connect phones and start taking calls, consider first what’s involved. Read on to review what it takes to put together and run your own call center.

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The Plan
Before you purchase a single piece of equipment or hire your first customer service rep, you’ll need to decide on the services you plan to support. What kind of connection issues will you support? Will you support the internet connection to the subscriber home only, or will you also help with the customer’s WiFi network? What about helping with applications like streaming video, and all those devices that are part of the internet world; Roku boxes, routers, and gaming systems that connect to the internet and internet phones? Will you also be supporting your own VoIP or video service?

The Place
Once you have a solid idea of the services you’ll offer you’ll next need a location for your calls to be received. The “center” for your call center. There are multiple ways to obtain your call center space. The most economical way is to find a space that was formerly used as a call center and now stands vacant. But you won’t find these on every block like a Starbucks. Most often, you’ll find yourself with empty buildings that may not have a useable layout. If you purchase rather than rent the space, you may have to bring your building up to the current local building code. And, if it’s not a former technical type of building, you may need to have the building wired for internet and possibly extra electrical to handle the number of computers needed to man the center.

The Gear
You’ll need workstations or desks and the equipment to outfit them; computers and phones, etc. If you run 24 hours a day, (and subscribers will always expect help in the middle of the night, holidays and weekends), you need to make sure the center is able to function properly at all times with adequate light, heating and cooling, bathrooms, water and security. You’ll also need one or more backup generators for the inevitable power outages due to weather or other circumstances.

The People
Now, you need to plan for the number of call center agents you’ll hire. Based on your subscriber numbers and your growth plans, you’ll need to hire enough customer service reps for efficient handling times for calls, staffing appropriately for your peak hour in an eight hour shift. Subscribers don’t want to wait long for help when they call. Also, it’s a good rule of thumb to have a supervisor for every 10 agents to keep things running smoothly. And, if you’re a 24-hour service, service never stops. Someone always needs to be present and ready to answer calls. Even your Call Center Manager, who may not answer service calls, will need to always be available on call if an urgent issue arises.

When determining staffing levels, you’ll need to consider the level of service you want to provide and the costs that go into servicing your customer base. Call centers survive or die on the efficiency and effectiveness of their customer service agents. It’s a losing proposition if every call lasts for close to an hour or more. Before long, you‘ll have a long queue of increasingly frustrated subscribers on hold and planning to cancel their service with you as soon as they can. But, while common sense dictates that shorter call times are better, since you’ll have more agents and lines ready for calls, that doesn’t mean rushing subscribers off the phone without resolving their issue is a good policy. That also would present a poor support experience for your customer.

Keeping the calls efficient and effective while also keeping your subscribers happy can be the difference between a center that thrives and one that doesn’t make it. There are Erlang calculators that will help you determine how many agents you need in an hour, or during an eight hour shift, based on your assumptions about call volume, call length, and the service level you are willing to accept, which is the percentage of calls answered in a specific target time (such as 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds).

Of course, it takes competitive salaries and good benefits to attract and retain good employees. You’ll also need to provide training on handling calls from a customer service perspective, how to support the subscriber from a technical perspective, and how to use the call center equipment and software. It’s also important to note the continuous nature of technical training. As new technologies, equipment, and software are introduced, your employees will need to keep their skills up to date. This ongoing training cannot end if you want to maintain a quality support experience and not have your call center become obsolete.

The Technology
So now you have your space, your people and your basic equipment. Next, you’ll have to keep track of your customers and their information. You will need an application or software tool to record and store customer account information as you take calls. This application will also be needed to enter support tickets for tracking problems to see them through to resolution. These types of applications can be purchased out of the box. If you want to create a more customized application that fits your business and procedures, you can develop your own tool if you have developers on staff with that expertise, or you can hire outside developers.

You’ll also need an Automatic Call Distributor (ACD) to route incoming calls to your support agents. You may want to archive recordings of your customer calls to help with training in the future, as well as for reviewing calls when any customer complaints or praises are received. To do this, you’re going to need recording software. If you plan on handling your own billing transactions, you’ll need special equipment and procedures to keep all subscriber billing information secure.

The Ongoing
Lastly, you need to consider ongoing operational costs. Employee recruiting and training and equipment needs are part of this. Generators will need to be serviced on a monthly basis. Janitorial services will be needed to keep the environment clean. IT support will be needed to make sure your equipment is always running properly.

The Last Word
Whew! That’s a lot to consider. It’s not easy to start a call center. It takes money, keen business acumen, some luck, and an incredible amount of dedication. Keeping your center running satisfactorily can take a lot more time and effort than you originally planned for. Before you jump in to put one together, consider the costs and the time involved. You may decide going it on your own is not the best use of your resources. If that’s the case, consider outsourcing your support, but make sure you find a partner you can trust, who will treat your customers as if they are their own.

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ZCorum Continues Global Growth with New Customers in Central America http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-continues-global-growth-with-new-customers-in-central-america/ http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-continues-global-growth-with-new-customers-in-central-america/#respond Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:00:10 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40449 Three broadband providers in Belize sign with ZCorum for diagnostics tools and managed services. Alpharetta, GA (February 22, 2018) – ZCorum, an industry leader in diagnostics tools and managed services for broadband providers, announced today that they added three new Central American service providers in 2017, and have already increased services at one of those [...]

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Three broadband providers in Belize sign with ZCorum for diagnostics tools and managed services.

zcorum press release logo 3Alpharetta, GA (February 22, 2018) – ZCorum, an industry leader in diagnostics tools and managed services for broadband providers, announced today that they added three new Central American service providers in 2017, and have already increased services at one of those operators, as they expand their presence in international markets.

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The three new providers – Channel Broadcasting Cable and Internet, Centaur Cable Network, and Coral Cable Vision – brings the total to four operators in Belize who have now signed on with ZCorum. Each signed multi-year contracts to deploy ZCorum’s broadband diagnostics and analytics tools to give them greater insight into the performance of their network and to better serve their customers. Collectively, the three providers offer cable Internet service to over five thousand residents throughout northern and southern Belize.

Channel Broadcasting Cable and Internet in the port city of Belize City is using TruVizion, ZCorum’s patented flagship diagnostics tool for DOCSIS and Fiber networks. They are also receiving expert Network Operations Center monitoring by ZCorum’s NOC teams.

Centaur Cable Network is based in Orange Walk Town, the fourth largest town in the nation of Belize. They started with the latest in DOCSIS diagnostics with PreEqualization Analyzer and Upstream Analyzer, ZCorum’s Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM) and return path monitoring tools. This month Centaur decided to add TruVizion to their agreement, along with provisioning, network monitoring and engineering services.

Coral Cable Vision, located in San Pedro Town, has also deployed Upstream Analyzer and PreEqualization Analyzer. The addition of the diagnostics tools will speed up and sharpen troubleshooting operations.

“Cable operators in the Latin America and Caribbean regions are realizing the value in having diagnostic tools that can locate impairments quickly and efficiently,” said Carlos Bustamante, Vice President of Strategic Technologies. “ZCorum is now providing these operators with modem and CMTS diagnostics that are having positive impacts on their troubleshooting and customer satisfaction.”

“We are so excited to have such a strong presence in Belize with these new additions to our ZCorum family,” said Julie Compann, President and CEO of ZCorum. “Our success in Belize demonstrates our ability to help cable operators in international markets increase their leadership and competitiveness through advanced diagnostics and a superior customer experience.”

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Electric Co-Op Set for Fiber Network Build-Out http://www.zcorum.com/electric-co-op-set-for-fiber-network-build-out/ http://www.zcorum.com/electric-co-op-set-for-fiber-network-build-out/#respond Sat, 20 Jan 2018 17:52:35 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40626 Making use of its smart grid technology, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative has set out to bring fiber Internet services to its members in approximately 14 Virginia counties. With an estimated cost of around $100 million, the fiber network build-out will usher in a completely new infrastructure to benefit the scope of the project while also [...]

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Central Virginia Electric Cooperative LogoMaking use of its smart grid technology, Central Virginia Electric Cooperative has set out to bring fiber Internet services to its members in approximately 14 Virginia counties. With an estimated cost of around $100 million, the fiber network build-out will usher in a completely new infrastructure to benefit the scope of the project while also making use of existing infrastructure. Nearly 5,000 miles of fiber optic cable is expected to be installed over the next five years according to plan projections.

 

 

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Broadband Definition Remains at 25 Mbps http://www.zcorum.com/broadband-definition-remains-at-25-mbps/ http://www.zcorum.com/broadband-definition-remains-at-25-mbps/#respond Fri, 19 Jan 2018 17:31:44 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40620 With the recent changes to net neutrality, operators and consumers were on edge wondering if the FCC would make changes to the current 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds that now define broadband standards. Some even feared that the broadband definition would be lowered to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, which [...]

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FCC broadband definition With the recent changes to net neutrality, operators and consumers were on edge wondering if the FCC would make changes to the current 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds that now define broadband standards. Some even feared that the broadband definition would be lowered to 10 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload, which in most instances, can accommodate basic Internet tasks, but in the age of explosive bandwidth consumption, the latter speed will likely provide dismal performance.

The FCC, headed by Chairman Ajit Pai, recently released its 2018 Broadband Deployment Report, and in the report, it is noted that the 25/3 speed remains intact. Below is an excerpt regarding the broadband definition available in the report’s fact sheet:

“The 25/3 speed benchmark is maintained. The draft report finds that the current speed benchmark of  5 Mbps/3 Mbps remains an appropriate measure by which to assess whether a fixed service provides advanced telecommunications capability.”

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ZCorum Unveils Industry Trends and Predictions for 2018 http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-unveils-industry-trends-and-predictions-for-2018/ http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-unveils-industry-trends-and-predictions-for-2018/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 20:59:40 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40591 VP of Strategic Technologies offers 2018 Predictions including DOCSIS 3.1, Fiber deployments, and fallout from the repeal of the 2015 Net Neutrality rules. Alpharetta, GA (January 16, 2018) — ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of managed diagnostics tools and software for broadband providers, today released 2018 technology predictions from Carlos Bustamante, VP of [...]

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VP of Strategic Technologies offers 2018 Predictions including DOCSIS 3.1, Fiber deployments, and fallout from the repeal of the 2015 Net Neutrality rules.

Alpharetta, GA (January 16, 2018) — ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of managed diagnostics tools and software for broadband providers, today released 2018 technology predictions from Carlos Bustamante, VP of Strategic Technologies. Bustamante is a cable and broadband industry expert who has held various roles in the industry for 20 years, including in sales, engineering and business development.

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According to Bustamante, his technology predictions are a natural outcome of his role at ZCorum and the business the company is in. “As broadband technology professionals we spend a lot of our time anticipating trends as well as challenges, and providing solutions to keep our industry current, secure and growing,” said Bustamante. “At ZCorum our focus is to find out what service providers need, what will matter the most, and what won’t matter. A big part of that is looking toward the future.”

Bustamante’s technology predictions for 2018 cover several fronts, including Net Neutrality and DOCSIS 3.1 deployments. “The FCC’s decision to pull back Net Neutrality rules put in place in 2015 obviously took place in a very political climate. That climate will be just as politically charged in 2018. While I expect there to be litigation to try to keep the rules in place, and even legislation introduced to adopt new rules, neither will likely succeed.”

Cable operators have been considering how they will upgrade their infrastructure to reach gigabit speeds for their subscribers. Bustamante believes there will be different strategies adopted based on the size of the operator. “Larger operators will continue to move forward in deploying DOCSIS 3.1, and falling CAPEX costs will help accelerate that. But, more and more Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators will look to Fiber as the way to go because of the high costs involved in upgrading their plant to DOCSIS 3.1.”

Other predictions made by Bustamante include what will happen with the Internet of Things (IoT), Over the Top TV (OTT), mobile broadband, and Community WiFI. The full set of 2018 predictions can be seen on ZCorum’s blog, The Business of Broadband.

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Carlos Bustamante’s Top Broadband Technology Predictions for 2018 http://www.zcorum.com/ask-broadband-expert-carlos-bustamante-top-broadband-technology-predictions-2018/ http://www.zcorum.com/ask-broadband-expert-carlos-bustamante-top-broadband-technology-predictions-2018/#respond Tue, 16 Jan 2018 18:34:21 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40578 Carlos Bustamante's Top Broadband Technology Predictions for 2018 With industry trends changing up to the minute, it's always good to know what lies ahead, so we've asked our resident smart guy, Carlos Bustamante, VP of Strategic Technologies, to put together his top broadband industry predictions for this year. Here are his picks for the trends [...]

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Carlos Bustamante’s Top Broadband Technology Predictions for 2018

With industry trends changing up to the minute, it’s always good to know what lies ahead, so we’ve asked our resident smart guy, Carlos Bustamante, VP of Strategic Technologies, to put together his top broadband industry predictions for this year. Here are his picks for the trends that we can expect to see.

THE FCC NET NEUTRALITY VOTE
The 3-2 FCC vote on December 14th 2017 to dismantle Net Neutrality protections brought polarizing reactions from Tech Giants, Content Providers, Internet Service Providers and Consumers. Expect litigation in this politically charged topic. If a court rules against a reversal, you can also expect it to go to the Supreme Court. There will be legislation brought forward by some in Congress, but it’s not likely to get any traction.

DOCSIS 3.1 DEPLOYMENTS IN THE USA
Expect additional Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators to deploy D3.1 as CAPEX costs begin to decrease. But most Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators will want to go with the lower cost of Fiber deployments instead.

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE ANALYTICS
Whether it’s mining set-top box TV viewership data or ingesting social engagement data, expect to see legacy and new technologies layering in additional analytics components into their offerings even amid the outcries of privacy issues.

TO CABLE TV OR NOT TO CABLE TV
Expect some mid-tier operators to leave traditional TV service in 2018 for all OTT/streaming.

OTT
As Broadband Service Providers continue to invest to provide higher speeds (Gig), expect more cable cord cutting with Broadband-Only households to increase as OTT continues to poach traditional cable television delivery mechanisms.

INTERNET OF THINGS 
In residential use-cases, visibility into the customer premises behind the MSO-provided cable modem has been the issue. Expect to see service offerings based on the Open Source Apps for QoE, QoS and whole-home visibility as a precursor to deeper IoT services in 2018.

CABLE COMPANIES GETTING INTO THE MOBILE INDUSTRY
It is unlikely that Comcast or Charter would embark on their own Mobile service to compete with the big four mobile carriers. However, look for Mobile-Only carriers to offer other services to counteract brands like Comcast and Charter stealing subscribers.

MOBILE CARRIERS OFFERING TV SERVICES
T-Mobile recently announced its acquisition of Layer3TV, a Denver, Colorado based start-up. In doing so, the 4th largest mobile carrier is positioning itself to offer traditional TV services via a subscription based model over its mobile network. Look for MSOs imposing more bandwidth caps or other measures on 3rd party OTT offerings from carriers like T-Mobile.

COMMUNITY WIFI
In a means to create end-subscriber stickiness, expect deployments of Community WIFI to continue to increase for access at key public areas: town square, retail areas etc. Also, expect commercial grade Site Survey Organizations to be in big demand to provide this level of RF Assessment.

5G is the faster, better, stronger wireless evolution from 4G-LTE.
5G is a new network and look for mobile carriers to invest heavily even though compatible smartphones are still not available. The more interesting scenario is the potential replacement of the traditional wireline residential broadband service. If this becomes the strategy for the likes of Verizon then expect the newly formed MVNO partnerships to hit a major stumble.

Carlos BustamanteCarlos Bustamante has an extensive background in the cable industry and heads up engineering and development teams to ensure that ZCorum stays on the edge of innovation with new products and services.

Carlos has held various roles in the Cable industry for 20 years, starting his career as an engineer for The Weather Channel where he deployed satellite-based headend receivers in North America and Latin America. Carlos has been building his experience in DOCSIS hardware and software solutions since 2003, working for companies like Integrated Broadband Services (IBBS), ARRIS, and Intraway. During that time he has held roles in Engineering, Sales, Business Development and Customer Program Management. His specialty has been in translating Software Platform Analytics into actionable insights so it is more useful to the operator.

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DMCA Deadline Affects Copyright Infringement Liability for ISPs http://www.zcorum.com/dmca-deadline-affects-copyright-infringement-liability-for-isps/ http://www.zcorum.com/dmca-deadline-affects-copyright-infringement-liability-for-isps/#respond Fri, 29 Dec 2017 19:06:22 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40426 There is an upcoming deadline regarding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that many ISPs are just now becoming aware of.  I have recently been forwarded notices sent to ISPs from associations letting them know about this new requirement, and the ISPs are asking me if it applies to them.  Yes it does.  First, some [...]

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DMCA deadline copyright rubber stampThere is an upcoming deadline regarding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that many ISPs are just now becoming aware of.  I have recently been forwarded notices sent to ISPs from associations letting them know about this new requirement, and the ISPs are asking me if it applies to them.  Yes it does.  First, some background.

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What is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act?

The DMCA was signed into law in 1998 to help protect the rights of copyright holders on the Internet. The usual infringement we see is when an internet subscriber illegally downloads copyrighted material like a movie, TV show or song.  If a rights holder finds out about this, they will send the ISP the IP address, notifying them that the person using that IP illegally downloaded copyrighted material. The ISP is then supposed to immediately remove the content if it happens to be hosted on servers they control; or, as is more often the case, they are to notify the customer the content was illegally downloaded and needs to be removed from any subscriber devices. They also must take steps to address and prevent multiple repeat offenses including terminating the account if necessary.

What’s the Change?

There is “safe harbor” protection granted under the DMCA, covered in Title II of the Act, which limits liability for ISPs as long as they follow a few requirements.  One of those requirements is that the ISP name a “Designated Agent” who is to receive notifications of claimed infringement.  And, that Designated Agent information needs to be posted on the Copyright.gov website. When the DMCA was first implemented, this was done through paper forms sent to the Copyright office.  To make it easier for copyright holders to have access to those forms, they were scanned and placed online on the copyright.gov website.

In December 2016, the Copyright office introduced an online registration system to replace the old paper-based system and directory. They said at that time that any Designated Agent filings previously done via the old paper system would be invalid after December 31, 2017. This means if an ISP had already filed a Designated Agent by sending in a form, they would need to redo that process in the new on-line system by December 31st of this year, which is just a few days away.

You can see see if you have already have a Designated Agent by checking the old paper-based list here and checking the new on-line system here. If you have an up-to-date listing in the old database but are not in the new one, or you don’t have a Designated Agent at all, you can begin the process of setting up a Designated Agent in the new system by registering here and then completing the required information. There is a $6 fee, and must be renewed after 3 years.

Must I Really?

Yes!  This is one of the main requirements if you want to have safe harbor status under the DMCA.  There can be hefty fines for copyright infringement, and an ISP can be held liable if they do not follow the limited liability provisions in the Act. In addition to registering a Designated Agent with copyright.gov, you also need to make the contact information of your Designated Agent publicly available on your wesbite for rights holders who want to report incidents of copyright infringement to you.

You also must also create and publish a DMCA policy (such as on your website or in your subscriber agreement) that includes what what steps are taken in the case of repeat infringers, and you then must follow those procedures by properly responding to legitimate DMCA copyright notifications. This means notifying customers of infringing material, requiring that they remove it from all devices, and terminating the accounts of repeat infringers.

What if I Don’t?

Cox Communications found out what happens when you don’t comply with the requirements for safe harbor status. In 2016 BMG was awarded $25 million dollars in a jury trial when it was determined that Cox was liable for “contributory infringement” by failing to terminate accounts of repeat infringers. Evidence presented in the case showed that they allowed and even encouraged the reinstatement of accounts after they were terminated, and that this was done willfully to circumvent the DMCA. Cox was ordered to pay BMG another 8 million in legal fees earlier this year.

Let me end by saying I am not a lawyer, so ISPs should read up on the act on their own and seek out the advice of an attorney if they have any questions about compliance.

 

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The Future of Net Neutrality http://www.zcorum.com/the-future-of-net-neutrality/ http://www.zcorum.com/the-future-of-net-neutrality/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 22:15:32 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40394 The FCC tomorrow will vote on whether to repeal Obama-era Net Neutrality regulations that were put in place in 2015. Those regulations reclassified broadband as a communications service and made ISPs subject to something called Title II, which were regulations rolled out as part of the Communications Act of 1936 and that were designed regulate [...]

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net neutrality surfing the netThe FCC tomorrow will vote on whether to repeal Obama-era Net Neutrality regulations that were put in place in 2015. Those regulations reclassified broadband as a communications service and made ISPs subject to something called Title II, which were regulations rolled out as part of the Communications Act of 1936 and that were designed regulate plain old telephone service (POTS).  The vote tomorrow is expected to pass along party lines.

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To me and many others, the 2015 Net Neutrality rules were overreaching and ill-fitting regulations in search of a problem. There were no significant issues prior to the Net Neutrality rules, and the very few issues that came up were handled without the need for regulations. If you listen to the rhetoric from those opposed to lifting the rules, though, you would think the Internet as we know it is going to end.  They make it sound as if the vote will end net neutrality itself, when the vote is actually to remove burdensome Net Neutrality regulations.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the concept that traffic on the Internet should be treated neutrally, meaning that an ISP should not restrict your ability to get to any legal content based on the website or the specific type of traffic.  The concept of net neutrality does not mean that ISPs cannot implement fair network management policies, such as neutrally restricting traffic at times to make sure they can provide good service to all. It also doesn’t mean that they cannot charge different customers a different price based on how much data they use or the speed of their package.  These are normal practices based on the need for a business to be able to manage their resources and costs, and to charge customers based on consumption.

Why remove the Net Neutrality Regulations?

Title II was a poor fit that left operators in an uncertain position about their future because it could mean an expansion of the scope of the regulations at any time for any reason. Businesses don’t like uncertainty when they are making long-term hiring and investment decisions. Complying with the regulations is also a real cost for a business. When you pile on unneeded or unfitting regulations it is a burden, especially for small businesses.  Some ISPs have only a few thousand subscribers or less, and they don’t have an attorney or extra staff at the ready to make sure they are in compliance.  It’s not just about ensuring that they treat traffic neutrally. It’s also the actions they need to take to be in compliance with the regulatory mandates, such as providing detailed reports disclosing fees, data caps and network performance. That requirement has been temporarily waived for providers with less than 100,000 subscribers. But, a temporary waiver is another element of uncertainty that can stifle growth.

What happens after regulations are lifted?

The Internet was net neutral before the regulations were put in place, and it should remain that way after they are repealed. In fact, there is very little incentive for ISPs to do something that would be counter to the current regulations even after they are lifted. You can be against net neutrality regulations and not be against the concept of net neutrality, and ISPs are in the business of providing subscribers full access to the Internet. And, if it turns out that an ISP misbehaves after the regulations are gone, there will still be oversight from the FCC and FTC, not to mention the bad PR.

I fully expect that Chairman Pai and the FCC will handle any situation that comes up on a case by case basis as was done before. If it turns out that there is an actual, ongoing issue where the neutrality of the Internet is at stake, that would be the time for new rules or legislation to be drafted. And, any new Net Neutrality rules should simply be focused on defining the actions that would be prohibited and the consequences for an ISP if those rules are not followed, without extra mandates that would mean additional costs and uncertainty for all ISPs. Finally, if rules are put in place for ISPs, they should also be put in place for content providers like Google, Facebook and others, who have significant control over what information is disseminated, and who have the real ability to shape public opinion by blocking some content and favoring other content.

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ZCorum Announces New Set-top Box Diagnostics at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-announces-new-set-top-box-diagnostics-at-scte-cable-tec-expo/ http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-announces-new-set-top-box-diagnostics-at-scte-cable-tec-expo/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 10:00:15 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=40078 The company’s SetTop VU application displays key status and  set-top box diagnostics metrics, allowing cable operators to more efficiently support their video network and subscribers. Denver, CO (October 17th, 2017) – ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of diagnostics tools and managed services for broadband providers, introduced today at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo a [...]

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The company’s SetTop VU application displays key status and  set-top box diagnostics metrics, allowing cable operators to more efficiently support their video network and subscribers.

SetTop Vu Diagnostics ScreenDenver, CO (October 17th, 2017) – ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of diagnostics tools and managed services for broadband providers, introduced today at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo a new diagnostics application that provides cable operators needed insight into the performance of their set-top boxes. The new application, called SetTop VU, displays status information and key metrics that help identify issues that can cause a poor Quality of Experience (QoE) for video subscribers.

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ZCorum is well known for TruVizion, its DOCSIS diagnostics software that collects and displays key performance metrics from the CMTS and cable modems. Carlos Bustamante, VP of Strategic Technologies at ZCorum, said there is a definite need in the market for a similar solution on the video side of the house. “Based on customer and prospect demand, we launched a market analysis to quantify the need for a diagnostics application for cable TV set-top box platforms,” said Bustamante. “We conducted customer surveys earlier this year to benchmark the predominantly deployed video systems, validate use cases and size the addressable market. The results clearly confirmed that operators need and want visibility into their set-top boxes to more effectively support their video service.”

SetTop VU diagnostics collects performance and health metrics and displays historical and real-time views of the MSO’s deployed set-top boxes. “Having access to this information can save quite a bit of time in the Call Center by providing needed insight into the set-top boxes in a subscriber’s home,” said Bustamante. “The individual and aggregated views can also potentially eliminate some truck rolls and shorten others.”

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ZCorum and FourthWall Media Partner to Deliver Essential Set-top Box Diagnostics to Cable Operators http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-and-fourthwall-media-partner-to-deliver-essential-set-top-box-diagnostics-to-cable-operators/ http://www.zcorum.com/zcorum-and-fourthwall-media-partner-to-deliver-essential-set-top-box-diagnostics-to-cable-operators/#respond Tue, 03 Oct 2017 20:25:35 +0000 http://www.zcorum.com/?p=39963 Strategic partnership provides key set-top metrics for a new ZCorum diagnostics application utilizing data from FourthWall Media’s MassiveData DMP. Alpharetta, GA and Dulles, VA (October 3rd, 2017) – ZCorum and FourthWall Media announced today they have formed a new, strategic initiative to deliver needed set-top box diagnostics to cable providers looking for ways to increase efficiency [...]

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Strategic partnership provides key set-top metrics for a new ZCorum diagnostics application utilizing data from FourthWall Media’s MassiveData DMP.

ZCorum FourthWall Media LogoAlpharetta, GA and Dulles, VA (October 3rd, 2017) – ZCorum and FourthWall Media announced today they have formed a new, strategic initiative to deliver needed set-top box diagnostics to cable providers looking for ways to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs in their video operation. ZCorum, an industry leader in the deployment of diagnostics tools and managed services for broadband providers, will integrate set-top box diagnostics data into a diagnostics platform utilizing FourthWall Media’s MassiveData® DMP service. FourthWall Media is the largest independent source of cable set-top box viewing and diagnostic data.

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“Cable MSOs have enjoyed access to real-time and historical analytics for their DOCSIS broadband network
through our diagnostics software, which allows them to troubleshoot and resolve data and voice issues much more
efficiently,” said Carlos Bustamante, VP of Strategic Technologies at ZCorum. “We’ve been asked by customers and
prospects for similar visibility into their deployed footprint of set-top boxes. By working together with FourthWall Media we can display an array of set-top box metrics that will increase operational efficiency for the staff supporting the video offering, while giving MSOs a view of all the cable services from one software vendor.”

“Our MassiveData® DMP and Reveal analytics platform have provided our MSO partners with tools to collect and
report on viewership data for almost a decade. Using those same reliable platforms, we will combine our diagnostic set-top box data with ZCorum’s best-of- breed tools to help MSOs serve their customers and run their businesses even better,” said Mike Israel, COO at FourthWall Media.

“We’re pleased to be working together with FourthWall Media on this initiative,” said Julie Compann, President
and Chief Executive Officer at ZCorum. “There is fantastic synergy between the two companies, which results in a tool that helps MSOs reduce support costs and truck rolls as they troubleshoot in-home video issues.”

“We’re very happy to be working with ZCorum to further support our MSO partners. Our MassiveData® DMP will
supply ZCorum diagnostic data to form a unique product that drives efficiency, service, and profit for MSOs,” said Tim Peters, CEO of FourthWall Media.

About FourthWall Media
FourthWall Media® is the largest independent source of second-by- second cable viewing and diagnostic data. Its
MassiveData® DMP and Reveal™ Analytics Platform combine to collect and deliver census-level second-by- second viewing and diagnostics data that enables actionable messaging, measurement, and analytics for operators, programmers, agencies, advertisers, researchers, and analytics firms. Unlike traditional measurement companies, FourthWall Media works closely with cable operators by providing its MassiveData® DMP technology and services that collect and process ultra-precise TV viewing and diagnostic data. FourthWall Media is headquartered in Dulles, VA and can be found online at www.fourthwallmedia.tv.

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