COMUNICACIONES ELECTRONICAS (1) (2) (3)

6/Febrero/2007  

Magíster Ing Luis Valle

 

 

En la edición anterior de "Comunicaciones Electrónicas" mencionamos que en el programa UpGrade del canal METRO (13 de Cablevisión y Multicanal), emitido el domingo 14 de enero pasado a las 21:30 hs, y repetido el lunes 15 a las 17 hs, se incluyó un informe especial sobre TV Digital. (El video se puede ver en el link: http://www.upgradela.com/De%20Mink'a/UpGrade%20Pgm_002.wmv ).

En dicho programa yo decía que, de acuerdo a cuál sea el estándar de aire que se elija,   el set-top box a utilizar para adaptar el televisor analógico al cable puede resultar  distinto al que se utilice para la recepción de aire. Como un ejemplo, mencioné que el estándar de aire podría ser el   DVB, y el de cable el americano. El Ing Juan Carlos Guidobono (ATSC Group) me ha enviado el siguiente comentario al respecto:

 

"Sobre lo relacionado para el cable, siguiendo tu punto de vista con DVB en el aire y SCTE en el cable, no se mantendría el derecho de los televidentes a ver TV libre ya que se pierde el principio de TV Libre y Gratuita, cuestión no menos importante si se pretende mantener los derechos de la gente a acceder a la TV digital abierta en forma privada y sin que los operadores sepan cuales son tus gustos. Con ATSC y SCTE el receptor es uno solo y sin retorno lo que mantiene el derecho de TV libre."

 

En el mismo programa, expresé que con los años es previsible que los 3 estándares sean comparables en sus prestaciones, y aún, que los televisores vengan equipados para funcionar con cualquiera de ellos. Al respecto el Ing Guidobono opina lo siguiente:

 

 "Es posible que todos los sistemas lleguen a hacer lo mismo (Alta Definición  y movilidad) pero a costos muy distintos y usando ancho de banda también muy distintos."

 

También en ese programa, Yolanda Pineda, de NoKia, decía que una de las principales ventajas del estándar DVB es que es un estándar abierto. Al respecto, el Ing Guidobono dice:

 

"que ATSC también es una norma abierta y que cualquiera puede acceder a ella.

La TV digital abierta, libre y gratuita responde a un modelo de servicio, no a un modelo de tecnología sin más. La aparente flexibilidad de una norma no siempre significa eficacia al momento de definir cual es el servicio específico a dar."

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Del 24 al 26 de abril se llevará a cabo el Curso de Desarrollo Profesional   "CONVERGENCIA TOTAL: una visión global sobre el procesamiento, transmisión y disponibilidad de la información" , organizado por AFCEA Argentina, que cubrirá los siguientes temas:

 

  • Nuevos y futuros procesadores y sistemas de almacenamiento
  • Smart Phones (celulares inteligentes)
  • Convergencia Fijo-Móvil en voz, datos y video
  • Televisión Digital Fija y Móvil
  • Datacasting y Contenidos Digitales
  • Computación Cuántica

 

Coordinación General a cargo del Ing. Alberto Favotto y mío. En los próximos números de "Comunicaciones Electrónicas"   iré dando a conocer detalles sobre los contenidos, disertantes y empresas que participarán. Como parte del curso, el miércoles 25, de 12:30 a 13:30 hs, el Ing Jorge Crom, de Atlantic Consulting, presentará el Caso Práctico: "Las Nuevas Televisiones: Análisis de Caso".

 

AFCEA Argentina es la única filial en A. del Sur de AFCEA International, que tiene  presencia en 33 países, más de 18 mil miembros, 12 mil patrocinadores corporativos y 1.400 empresas y grupos asociados. Realiza convenciones y exposiciones, publica la revista SIGNAL , libros sobre "Comando, Control, Comunicaciones, Computación, Inteligencia, Vigilancia y Reconocimiento Electrónico"; dicta cursos para empresas, gobierno, fuerzas armadas y de seguridad; y tiene un programa de becas y premios para promover la especialización y reconocer la excelencia académica.

Para este curso hay descuentos especiales para alumnos de establecimientos universitarios y terciarios; y para las entidades que envíen de 3 a 6 participantes. Ver detalles en: http://www.afcea.org.ar/cursos/curso1_07.htm

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El  Ing Miguel Ermann me ha hecho llegar la recomendación de la UIT titulada "Entorno de Aplicación de la TV Digital",  que puede bajarse de:

www.itu.int/rec/dologin_pub.asp?lang=e&id=T-REC-J.200-200103-I!!PDF-S&type=items .  Es del 2001, y establece el tratamiento que ese organismo le da a las cuestiones relacionadas con la TV Digital. Incluye una serie de definiciones sobre términos que deberemos comenzar a utilizar intensamente.                                                                           
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Anticipando lo que puede ocurrir aquí cuando se discuta la portabilidad numérica, prevista en el Decreto 764/2000, remarcamos lo que está pasando en  Méjico en estos momentos, donde hay una controversia respecto a quién correrá con los gastos para su  implementación. 

 

Por un lado,  el   regulador Cofetel planteó que las inversiones y los costos en los que incurran los operadores para adaptar sus redes e implantar la portabilidad deberán ser absorbidos por ellos mismos, sin que se establezca algún cargo entre los proveedores del servicio y en ningún caso deben aplicar cargos específicos a los usuarios por este concepto.

Sin embargo, Telmex aseguró que es necesario que se establezca un mecanismo que le permita recuperar sus inversiones, como se ha hecho en otros países como Estados Unidos y Europa. Telmex   debe invertir cerca de 61.4 millones de dólares para aplicar el esquema de la portabilidad, informó.

Fabricantes de redes y equipos de telecomunicaciones como Ericsson y Alcatel-Lucent propusieron que se establezca un pago específico a los clientes que hagan uso de la portabilidad numérica o bien que se apliquen cargos recíprocos entre los operadores, pues es necesario que las empresas proveedoras de los servicios de telecomunicaciones recuperen sus inversiones, tal y como se hace en Estados Unidos y Europa.

De acuerdo con Telmex, a nivel mundial los clientes que portan su número sí pagan por este proceso. En algunos países los clientes realizan un pago de una sola vez, que en promedio es de 12 euros.

En EEUU los operadores hacen pequeños cargos mensuales a los usuarios, así como también cobran cierta cantidad en el momento en que portan su número.

La empresa explicó que esta tarifa aplicaría, igual que en otros países, durante los primeros cinco años de implantación de la portabilidad, es decir que en México duraría hasta 2013, pensando en que el esquema entraría en operación en 2008.

En contraparte, Telefónica Movistar sostuvo que cada operador debe absorber las inversiones que realice para la implementación, tal y como lo planteó la Cofetel.

Será  interesante observar las posiciones de las mismas empresas en Argentina donde los roles "incumbente/entrante" están invertidos.

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El jueves pasado, 1 de febrero, los directivos del ente regulador de telecomunicaciones y  medios de EEUU, la FCC, realizaron una presentación ante el Congreso, sobre la situación del mercado de comunicaciones en ese país.

 

Dado que los EEUU son el mercado de "Comunicaciones Electrónicas" más grande del mundo, y es imposible soslayar la influencia que ejerce sobre nuestros mercados latinoaméricanos, es importante conocer lo que allí ocurre, porque suele ser un anticipo de lo que ocurrirá   aquí.

 

Resumo a continuación algunos de los conceptos expresados por el Presidente de la FCC, Kevin J. Martin, que además de describir los avances espectaculares en el rubro, no olvida cuestiones tales como el Servicio Universal y la tele-medicina, bastante olvidados por estos lares.  Su discurso es, básicamente, un resumen global de los cambios experimentados en los últimos años, de la situación actual, y de lo que un organismo de control federal puede hacer para orientar y controlar la actividad.

 

A quién me lo solicite le puedo enviar el discurso completo, que, sincesarmente, tiene poco desperdicio. El resaltado en rojo es mío:

 

"I have had the privilege of serving at the Federal Communications Commission for over five years, including almost two years as the agency's Chairman.   During this period, my colleagues and I, following guidance from this Committee and Congress, have overseen a telecommunications industry undergoing rapid and unprecedented change.

 

These changes have seen the telecommunications industry transition from a period of sharp decline to a time of significant growth.  Companies and consumers alike have finally found the promised land of convergence, ushered in by the broadband revolution.   Telephone calls are now being made using the Internet and cable systems.  Television programs are watched when and where we want them, and they are increasingly available on the Internet.   Cell phones are mini-computers.  They take pictures, play songs and games, send e-mail, and hopefully soon will send and receive emergency messages in times of disaster.   Teens talk to one another over IM, SMS and MySpace, not the telephone.  They ignore the TV and stereo, downloading songs onto MP3 players and watching and posting videos on YouTube instead.   The Internet has become an invaluable tool for educating our children, treating patients, and giving a voice and creative outlet to individuals from all walks of life.   As Time Magazine recognized, 2006 was the year of the individual, thanks in large part to how communications technologies and innovations have empowered us all.

 

Faced with such fast-paced technological change, the Commission has tried to make decisions based on a fundamental belief that a robust, competitive marketplace, not regulation, is ultimately the greatest protector of the public interest.  Competition is the best method of delivering the benefits of choice, innovation, and affordability to American consumers.  Competition drives prices down and spurs providers to improve service and create new products.  

 

Government, however, still has an important role to play.  The Commission has worked to create a regulatory environment that promotes investment and competition, setting the rules of the road so that players can compete on a level playing-field.   For instance, shortly after I became Chairman, we removed legacy regulations, like tariffs and price controls which discouraged providers from investing in broadband networks. Since then, broadband penetration has increased while the prices of DSL and cable modem services have decreased.

 

Government also must act when necessary to achieve broader social goals.  Thus, while I support eliminating economic regulations, I recognize that there are issues that the marketplace alone might not fully address.  For instance, government should ensure that the communications needs of the public safety community are met and that new and improved services are available to all Americans, including people with disabilities, those living in rural areas and on tribal lands, and schools, libraries, and hospitals.  For example, we expanded the ability of the deaf and hard of hearing to communicate with their family, friends and business associates by requiring Video Relay Services (the preferred method of communication) to be offered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and by recognizing IP Captioned phone service as a form of Telecommunications Relay Service.

 

Against this backdrop of unprecedented change, I will give a short overview of the industry and briefly discuss my priorities for the next few years.

State of the Industry

I am pleased to report that the state of the communications industry is strong.   As you no doubt remember, in the year 2000, the communications industry began a precipitous and far-reaching decline.  Capital spending by companies followed this market decline, innovation disappeared and companies went out of business taking jobs with them.

 

What a difference six years make.   In 2006, the communications industry experienced record growth and, by most measures, almost all sectors have rebounded remarkably.  In 2006, the S&P 500 telecommunications sector was the strongest performing sector, up 32% over the previous year.  Consumers and businesses – big and small – are reaping the rewards of these positive developments.  

 

According to the Telecommunications Industry Association's latest report, U.S. telecom revenue rose to $923 billion in 2006, representing a 9.3% increase since 2005 – the most growth since 2000.   TIA attributes the growth to the demand for broadband services, which has spurred providers to invest in fiber, IP technology and wireless infrastructure……….. 

 

Telecommunications

 

Almost all of today's innovation is enabled by broadband deployment. Broadband technology is a key driver of economic growth.   The ability to share increasing amounts of information, at greater and greater speeds, increases productivity, facilitates interstate commerce, and helps drive innovation.  But perhaps most important, broadband has the potential to affect almost every aspect of our lives.  It is changing how we communicate with each other, how and where we work, how we educate our children, and how we entertain ourselves.  Broadband deployment has been our top priority at the Commission, and we have begun to see some success as a result of our efforts.

 

In 2005, the Commission created a deregulatory environment that fueled private sector investment.   Since then, companies have begun racing to lay fiber to our homes.  From March of 2005 to the end of last year, the number of homes passed by fiber increased from 1.6 million to 6.1 million.

 

Just as significant for consumers, the average price of broadband has dropped in the past two years.   The Pew Internet and American Life Project (Pew) found that, from February 2004 to December 2005, the average price for home broadband access fell from $39 per month to $36 per month.   For DSL, monthly bills fell from $38 to $32 (almost 20%), while cable modem users reported no change from $41 during the same period………..

 

Perhaps most importantly, the Pew study found that the significant increase in broadband adoption was widespread and cut across all demographics.   According to their independent research:

 

·        broadband adoption grew by almost 70% among middle-income households (those with incomes between $40,000 and $50,000 per year);

·        broadband adoption grew by more than 120% among African Americans;

·        broadband adoption grew by 70% among those with less than a high school education; and

·        broadband adoption grew by 60% among senior citizens. 

Wireless service is becoming increasingly important as another platform to compete with cable and DSL as a provider of broadband…….   The Commission is making available as much spectrum as possible to put the next generation of advanced wireless devices into the hands and homes of consumers.   In September the FCC closed its largest and most successful spectrum auction, raising almost $14 billion.   The spectrum offered was the largest amount of spectrum suitable for deploying wireless broadband ever made available in a single FCC auction.  And we are currently preparing to auction 60 MHz in the 700 MHz band, spectrum that is also well-suited for the provision of wireless broadband. 

 

Moreover, the number of consumers who receive their broadband connection through satellite or wireless will continue to increase, as new satellite services are launched, rural wireless Internet service providers continue to grow, and Wi-Fi hotspots continue to sprout up across the country.   Indeed, there are nearly 50,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the United States, more than three times the number of any other country.

 

Another potentially innovative means of providing high-speed data communications is Broadband over Powerline (BPL), which uses existing electrical infrastructure to provide broadband services.  BPL is a potentially significant player due to power lines' ubiquitous reach, allowing it to more easily provide broadband to rural areas.  The United Power Council reports that there currently are at least 38 trial deployments and 7 commercial trials.

……..

on our efforts to encourage competition, speed broadband deployment and lower prices for consumers.

Media

As is the case with the telecom sector, consumers and companies are benefiting from technological developments and innovation in media.   DVR's, VOD and HD programming offer them more programming to watch at any given time then ever before.  Thanks largely to new services like these, cable operators' total revenue grew from $65.7 billion to approximately $73 billion last year…..

 

The cost of basic cable services have gone up at a disproportionate rate – 38% between 2000 and 2005 – when compared against other communications sectors.   The average price of the expanded basic cable package, the standard cable package, almost doubled between 1995 and 2005, increasing by 93%.   The increase in cable prices appears even more dramatic when viewed relative to the prices for a number of other communications services: prices for long distance, international, and wireless telephone service have all decreased dramatically during this same timeframe.

 

Ten years ago the satellite industry was nascent.   Today, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) provides consumers an important competitive choice.  And satellite offerings are sometimes the only multi-channel video option for rural Americans. Between 2000 and 2006, DBS subscribership grew 100% and average revenue per user grew 32%.   Like DBS, satellite radio also has experienced significant growth.  Subscriptions have increased from 1.6 million in 2003 to 13.6 million subscribers in 2006.  

 

The transition from analog to digital technology poses both opportunities and challenges for the broadcast sector.  The new and better services that digital technology enables are great for consumers, who will have access to more free news, information and entertainment.  With digital technology, television broadcasters can offer high-definition programming, multiple programming streams, data services, and video over mobile devices.   Radio broadcasters can offer crystal clear sound (even on the AM band), as well as data such as local traffic and weather, stock updates and news, and artist identification.   But many of these business plans are in their infancy, with revenue streams uncertain, while the costs of the transition are large and immediate.  And those costs come at a time of increased competition for advertisers from other media – many of which, unlike broadcasters, have a subscription revenue stream in addition to advertising revenue.

 

Looking Forward

While we have made significant progress in creating an environment that facilitates investment and ensures the American people realize the full benefits of our world-class communications system, there is more to be done.  I see four areas that deserve particular attention.

 

First, we must continue to increase access to communications services.

I will continue to make broadband deployment the Commission's top priority.  As I previously touched upon, the ability to share increasing amounts of information – at greater and greater speeds – increases productivity, facilitates interstate commerce, and encourages innovation……..

 

We will continue to encourage deployment of broadband from all providers using a variety of technologies.   As wireless technologies become an increasingly important platform for broadband access, it is critical to ensure that there is adequate spectrum available for providing broadband service.   Spectrum auctions will continue to be an important part of our strategy for facilitating the build-out of mobile broadband networks.  ………….

 

The United States and the Commission have a long history and tradition of making sure that rural areas of the country are connected and have the same opportunities for communications as urban areas. ………..

 

It is critical that all Americans stay connected to state-of-the art communications services.  The Universal Service Fund is the lifeblood of this goal.   Without this source of funding we cannot continue to meet these commitments.  But this system is in need of reform.   Changes in technology and increases in the number of carriers who are receiving universal service support have placed significant pressure on the stability of the fund.  We should improve the way the Commission administers the fund and reform the collection and disbursement systems.   We need to move to a contribution system that is technologically neutral and a distribution system that is more efficient.

 

The Commission will also do its part to ensure that all Americans, including those who live in the most remote areas of the country, receive first-rate medical care.   We recently took action, through our adoption of a Rural Healthcare Pilot Program, to support the construction of state and regional networks dedicated to health care.   In the first half of 2007, the Commission will be selecting participants for the pilot program, and in 2007 and 2008, the Commission will oversee the program.  The deployment of such a network will create numerous opportunities for delivering telehealth services, including telemedicine applications that have the potential to revolutionize the current healthcare system throughout the nation.   This is particularly true in rural and underserved areas, where distance often separates patients from the medical care they need.  Under the pilot program we adopted, patients anywhere on the network will have greater access to critically needed specialists in a variety of specialties.

 

Second, we must continue to promote real choice for consumers.

………………………….. Competition and choice in the video services market will benefit the consumer by resulting in lower prices, higher quality of services, and generally enhancing the consumers' experience by giving them greater control over the purchased video programming .  We need to continue our efforts to create a regulatory environment that encourages entry into this market and more choice for consumers.   This includes making sure that competitive providers have access to "must-have" programming that is vertically integrated with a cable operator.

Promoting competition and choice must be our priority in the voice arena, as well.  We need to continue to ensure that new entrants are able to compete with incumbents for telecommunications services.   For example, new telephone entrants need access to local telephone numbers and the ability to interconnect with incumbents to deliver local calls to them.

 

We also need to ensure that existing service providers are not standing in the way of the innovations currently occurring in the consumer electronics space.   Consumers want to be able to walk into a store, buy a new television set or TiVo, take it home, and plug it in as easily as they do with a telephone.  

 

Third, we must continue to protect consumers.

 

We must always be on alert for companies intentionally or unintentionally harming consumers.  Among the issues the Commission must turn its attention to is the ability of unauthorized users to gain access to callers' phone records, or pretexting.

 

  The Commission intends to strengthen its privacy rules by requiring providers to adopt additional safeguards to protect customers' phone record information from unauthorized access and disclosure……

 

Fourth and finally, we must enhance public safety.

 

The events of September 11, 2001 and the 2005 hurricane season underscored America's reliance on an effective national telecommunications infrastructure.   Thus, public safety has been and will continue to be one of the Commission's and my top priorities.  We must make sure that the public has the tools necessary to know when an emergency is coming and to contact first responders……..

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The Commission recently asked for comments on creating a nationwide, interoperable broadband network for public safety officials in the 700 MHz band. …

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LIBRO RECOMENDADO

"Radiodifusión. Marco Regulatorio" , Schifer & Porto. Reseña e índice (donde se puede apreciar la enorme cantidad de tópicos que trata) en:

www.elderecho.com.ar/index.php?e11=JA0AHAoASUFdBjkzbElWXV0%3D .

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CURSOS   DE POSTGRADO RECOMENDADOS

 

Maestría en Gestión de las Telecomunicaciones (ITBA), modalidad a distancia , en la cual tengo a cargo el dictado de las materias "Servicios Wireless" y "Contenidos Digitales". Comienza en abril. Para asistir a la reunión informativa del 7 de marzo anotarse en:

http://www.itba.edu.ar/inode.php?inode_id=849

 

Maestría en Ingeniería de Telecomunicaciones (ITBA), modalidad presencial, en la cual tengo a cargo el dictado de la materia "Wireless Multimedia". Comienza en abril. Para asistir a la reunión informativa del 7 de marzo anotarse en:

http://www.itba.edu.ar/inode.php?inode_id=847

 

A quienes lo deseen puedo enviarles los programas 2007-2008 de ambos cursos, que incluye contenidos, profesores y costos.

 

Recomiendo muy especialmente estos postgrados por la calidad de sus profesores, nacionales e internacionales, por la actualidad e importancia de los contenidos que brinda, la larga experiencia del ITBA en esta temática   y  por ser los únicos postgrados que cuentan con el aval de la UIT (Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones, organismo dependiente de Naciones Unidas) y CITEL (Comisión Interamericana de Telecomunicaciones, organismo dependiente de la Organización de Estados Americanos OEA).

 

……….Y como temas para las Tesis de Maestría sugiero elegir  alguna de las cuestiones que hay que resolver en Argentina, listadas en la edición del 1/Diciembre/06 de "Comunicaciones Electrónicas". 

 

 

 

Saludos,

 

 


(1) Desde el punto de vista de la Ingeniería en Telecomunicaciones no tiene sentido distinguir entre redes de telecomunicaciones y radiodifusión. Cada vez más todas las redes cableadas (entre ellas el tendido de distribución eléctrico) e inalámbricas existentes permiten la transmisión de contenidos de todo tipo. Por tanto es propio hablar de "Comunicaciones Electrónicas".

(2) Durante mi desempeño en Telefónica de Argentina parte de mi tarea consistía en analizar la regulación y novedades que se producían y enviar un análisis con los posibles impactos para la red y los servicios. Con el tiempo los clientes internos que solicitaban recibir estos informes fueron aumentando hasta superar el centenar, de todas las áreas. Ahora que estoy encarando una actividad independiente como Consultor y  Capacitador me parece oportuno hacerles llegar a mis clientes, clientes potenciales y amigos, algo parecido. Si alguno de los remitentes no quiere recibirlos, no tiene más que avisarme. Por otra parte espero comentarios, sugerencias, etc.

(3) Los números anteriores de  "Comunicaciones Electrónicas" pueden verse en   "Comunicaciones Electrónicas"

 

 

 

Luis Valle

 

15-5809-8363

magisteringluisvalle@yahoo.com

magisteringluisvalle@gmail.com

www.luis.valle.net.ar