WATT THE…?! LA Times Gets it Wrong on Cable Box Energy Efficiency June 19, 2014 by NCTA

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WATT THE…?! LA Times Gets it Wrong on Cable Box Energy Efficiency
June 19, 2014
by NCTA

In March we reported that the new voluntary energy conservation agreement (VA) among multichannel video providers, device manufacturers and energy advocacy groups would soon be working to deliver energy savings for 90 million American homes. The VA included commitments to efficiency standards that would improve set-top box efficiency by up to 45 percent and rack up more than $1 billion in consumer energy savings annually.

So imagine our surprise when in spite of this agreement (which was embraced by the US Department of Energy and received strong bipartisan praise), we saw a report in the LA Times on Monday with a headline proclaiming cable TV boxes had become the second biggest energy users in many homes. Even more unfortunate is that we’ve seen this erroneous story picked up by others who are not even trying to check the facts.

The energy efficiency advocates NRDC, ASAP, ACEE and NCTA, CEA and the CCTA have already submitted a joint letter to the LA Times correcting what we see as a deeply unfair portrayal of advances made under the Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement. You can see that letter here. Whether or not the LA Times chooses to address our letter, it’s important to correct what we see as an incredibly misleading report.

As a baseline, an average TV set top box consumes less than 12-kilowatt hours (KwH) of energy per month. Based on the average American household energy consumption of 903 KwH per month, a TV set top box is responsible for just 1.3 percent of a typical household’s energy use. Compare that to 46 percent for heating and cooling.

The LA Times article suggested that cable boxes that were rated for 500 watts were “about the same as a washing machine” and could cost “$8 a month for a typical Southern California customer.” First, a 500-watt rating on the back of a set top box has nothing to do with power consumption and is most likely a UL safety rating. Second, an average set-top box consumes less than $2 per month of power. Even a DVR set top box without the latest energy efficiencies running at 30 watts of power when on, costs about $3 per month in Southern California.

The article says experts report the VA “will provide only a fraction of the potential gains and take years to realize.” Again, wrong. While traditional US Department of Energy approaches would have taken eight years, the voluntary approach immediately offered significant energy savings. After only one year of operation, companies are already ahead of schedule, with 85 percent of new set-top box purchases already meeting Energy Star 3 efficiency standards, and many models offering even greater savings.

Throughout the article, readers are misled, left with a false picture of both the power consumption of these devices and the current efforts to achieve greater efficiencies. As part of the significant transparency and monitoring requirements of the VA, service providers are making the energy usage of new set-top boxes available for consumers to review. We encourage you to see for yourself how the VA is both reducing energy consumption and saving consumers money.

TWC Unleashed 300-Meg Broadband To Some

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Speed Upgrades Start In Los Angeles, NYC

 

Time Warner Cable said it has begun to offer broadband speeds of up to 300 Mbps (downstream) in parts of New York City and Los Angeles as part of its “TWC Maxx” all-digital network and service upgrade initiative.

In the upgraded areas, TWC subs who are on the MSO’s Standard tier (15 Mbps down by 1 Mbps upstream) are being bumped to 50×5, while customers on the Ultimate plan (100 x 5) are being accelerated to 300 x 20 at no extra charge, the MSO said, noting that customers will need a DOCSIS 3.0 modem to get the boost. Its Standard service runs about $57.99 per month, while Ultimate is priced about $107.99.

Areas that are getting the speed boost include Costa Mesa and West Hollywood in California, and in areas of Woodside (in Queens) and Staten Island in New York City.

TWC’s network and Internet speed upgrades are coming “soon” to the LA areas of Covina, Cypress, Hoover, Crenshaw District and Jefferson Park, and to upper Manhattan and additional neighborhoods in Queens and Staten Island in New York City. By the end of June, TWC will be delivering the new, faster speed plans to more than 200,000 customers, the MSO said.

Time Warner Cable Business Services unit has also introduced speed tiers of 100 Mbps down by 10 Mbps upstream, as well as 200×20 and 300×20 as new options, complementing the speeds of up to 10 Gbps it offers via its fiber-based Metro Ethernet platform tailored for larger commercial customers.

“These significant speed increases and network enhancements will allow our Internet customers to get the most out of their TWC experience,” “With this service transformation, our customers can enjoy all the ways they use TWC Internet even better, including streaming video, downloading music and more,” TWC chairman and CEO Robert Marcus said, in a statement.

TWC has completed its all-digital rollout in NYC, and expects to wrap it in L.A. by year-end. With the upgrade, TWC is also expanding its VOD library to 75,000 hours of content, and extending the reach of a new cloud-based interface for its video platform.

The upgrades are part of the MSO’s three-year ops plan announced in late January, weeks before Comcast announced its proposed acquisition of the nation’s second largest MSO.

 

– See more at: http://www.multichannel.com/news/technology/twc-unleashed-300-meg-broadband-some/374029#sthash.3E7MRUhm.dpuf

Comcast’s hotspot network grows to 1M nodes, driven by crowdsourced Wi-Fi

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Comcast revealed on Wednesday it has grown its Wi-Fi hotspot network to 1 million nodes. Considering that on Tuesday its FCC filing on its planned acquisition of Time Warner Cable listed 870,000 hotspots, it appears to be ramping up its wireless network quickly.

Comcast can scale so quickly because its broadband customers are doing much of the heavy lifting. Its latest wireless home gateways all operate in dual modes, providing a private home network for the customer and a public network that can be accessed by any Comcast broadband customer. Comcast also offers public hotspot capabilities to all of its business customers and has built with thousands of high-powered outdoor hotspots in key high-traffic zones in its operating territory.

Comcast isn’t breaking out how many neighborhood hotspots it’s running versus commercial access points, but they make up the vast majority of its network. Comcast is part of the CableWiFi consortium, which pools together the outdoor and business hotspots of Time Warner, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks. CableWiFi has 200,000 hotspots in total, meaning Comcast has more than 800,000 access points transmitting from living room shelves.

Though its hotspot network is a considerable resource for Comcast’s customers, it’s not the easiest to use. Customers still have to log in to each hotspot using their Xfinity credentials, but emerging technologies like Hotspot 2.0 will eventually make those connections automatic. When that happens Comcast can turn its hotspot footprint into a kind of mobile data overlay offloading smartphone and tablet traffic off from cellular networks.

Comcast told regulators it’s weighing using that footprint to create a Wi-Fi First mobile network, using cellular systems to fill in the gaps between its hotspots. It hasn’t revealed whether it would sell such a service to consumers to sell Wi-Fi capacity to other carriers.

 

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