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   Non-TechAuric Goldfinger's Short List

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To: Puck who wrote (11819)7/3/2003 8:56:28 AM
From: RockyBalboa
   of 19419
Bloomberg? I thought it was MSNBC.

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To: Sir Auric Goldfinger who started this subject7/3/2003 6:04:49 PM
From: TeamTi
   of 19419
Cringely article - I've not heard of DTMD before. The website at is not active/ Here is a reference.

What does this mean for last mile scams like NVEI?

And Now for Something Completely Different
How DTMD Could Save Your Local Phone Company

By Robert X. Cringely

I promised to explain how we could expand our current copper phone network to offer unprecedented bandwidth -- the kind of bandwidth that makes some industries and destroys others -- and I mean to deliver, but first we need some context. Sadly, the context isn't so much technical as economic and political. There is a grand struggle taking place just now in the U.S. telecom market. Elephants are dancing and the grass -- which is to say we the customers -- risks getting trampled. Once again the issue is between the traditional phone company -- the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier (ILEC) -- and an interloper generally labeled as a Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC). Only the CLECs this time around have different names than before and are fighting a very different battle. Today's CLEC combatants are AT&T and MCI, and the battle they are taking to the ILECs isn't over Internet service but over a package of local voice, long-distance and Internet services. These CLECs are offering flat-rate plans with totally unmetered local and long-distance calls, and it is driving the ILECs crazy. The ILECs in turn are offering the same kind of flat rates to compete, and the result is that nearly all the profit is being driven out of the phone business. Something has to give.

What is giving are the phone lines, themselves. Though nobody but me seems to be saying it, at the heart of the problem lies a rapid decline in the number of dedicated fax lines, each of which produces a lot of profit for the ILECs, and the decline of fax is being driven by the success of the Internet. People send e-mails with attached files rather than faxes. This loss of revenue, while it appears small, is crucial.

The ILECs are in trouble because their average revenue per phone line is slowly decreasing. They had hoped to make up this revenue loss through gaining the right to sell long distance service, but the profit is falling there, too. That's why ILECs and CLECs alike need to steal business from each other. And that's why they both like DSL, which is one of the few sources of real additional revenue in years for the phone companies. But DSL has only 25 percent of the U.S. broadband market -- compared to more than 65 percent for cable modems. And DSL has a revenue limit since most data is free and DSL lines aren't fast enough to compete with cable TV, another big revenue source that has started competing for local phone service. This year in America, five million families get their telephone service from their cable TV company and the number is growing. For phone companies, these signs are not good.

The last time the CLECs and ILECs were fighting what gave were the CLECs because they were financially weaker than the ILECs, and the ILECs were playing paperwork games to keep it that way. But AT&T invented all those games and can't be so easily fooled. And since the company sold its cable TV operation to Comcast, it has both the resources and the concentration to make life hard for even the biggest ILEC. This has the ILECs looking for a loophole, and they think they have found one.

A couple months ago, the three strongest U.S. local phone companies -- Verizon, Bell South, and SBC -- decided to coordinate their long-delayed build-out of fiber-to-the-home, which is the very stuff that I claimed last week isn't really happening. The three ILECs agreed to cooperate on technical standards and purchasing with the idea of streamlining the fiber roll-out and really making it work. This kind of cooperation is legal, by the way, because the three companies do not have overlapping service.

This cooperation agreement has yielded a Request for Quotation (RFQ) in which suppliers will bid on doing the actual work of taking fiber into the walls of tens of millions of American homes. The whole project is worth approximately $100 billion, which is also conveniently the number usually assigned as the value of the copper network that is being replaced. This balancing of numbers is no accident.

So the RFQ is out there and companies are preparing their bids. But as a guy who has in the past bid on such projects, won them, then found that the project never materialized, this version of future reality is not necessarily the final version of future reality.

These three ILECs have a plan and that plan is to build out the fiber, then sell their old copper network, maybe for the service it can provide, maybe for the copper in your walls, they don't care. What they do care about is being out of the copper network business because doing so is their way of responding to the threat posed by AT&T and MCI. You see new rules from the Federal Communication Commission issued in February say that ILECs have to share with CLECs only their existing network. If they build a new network, then they won't have to share that. So the ILECs have decided to take their ball and go home. By building a new fiber network, they hope that they can abandon MCI and AT&T, taking their local phone customers along with them. At the same time, the new fiber will allow the ILECs to compete with cable TV to bring video into our homes. At least, that's the plan.

But $100 billion is a large price to pay for such freedom if there is a better way to accomplish the same thing for a lot less money.

Now we're at the part where I explain how to send HDTV over normal phone lines.

Some readers were quick to point out this week that several Japanese ISPs have started installing DSL circuits running up to 26 megabits-per-second, which makes my argument last week for 20 megabits look pretty lame. But not all megabits are created equal. What's being installed in Japan is VDSL, which is very fast indeed, but not as well suited to the U.S. phone market where most of my readers are. Quest does have some VDSL lines deployed in the Midwest. VDSL requires a pristine phone line and even then supports that 26 megabit speed over a maximum of only 4,000 feet, and practically, over less than 1,000 feet. ADSL2+, which is another follow-on to current DSL, is slower still. Both it and VDSL are best suited to networks with fiber to the curb, or at least, fiber to the neighborhood. And many such places exist, just not where I live.

What I want is very simple. I want 20 megabits-per-second (HDTV speed) over a single twisted-pair phone line, and that line should be afflicted with taps, loading coils, and crosstalk, which is to say it should be an average copper phone line circa 1964. I want that 20 megabits to run for at least two miles from the Central Office and preferably three. Out where I live, at 36,000 feet from the CO, I'd like to still see at least seven megabits-per-second on an all-copper network that simply requires swapping out the DSLAMs.

VDSL under these conditions runs at precisely ZERO megabits-per-second.

But there is a new technology in town called Dynamic Time Metered Delivery that offers the performance I am seeking. DTMD applies to copper phone lines many of the spread spectrum techniques developed for radio communication. Combining techniques like Direct Sequence, frequency hopping, and Code Division Multiple Access, DTMD allows the entire frequency range of copper to be used, resulting in a single twisted pair being capable of carrying more than 22 megabits-per-second out to distances of more than 12,000 feet from the Central Office. That is eight times the coverage area of VDSL and the difference between a technology that can be used by a small percentage of customers to one that can be used by nearly all customers. And even out where I am in the boonies, DTMD can do something DSL can't -- it can use multiple wire pairs in parallel to increase aggregate bandwidth. Need 132 megabits-per-second in town? DTMD can do that by using all six wire pairs installed in most homes. Even my house can have 42 megabits-per-second using the same technique. And this service is highly resistant to the very line conditions that kill DSL.

DTMD was invented by a startup called TelePulse Technologies. As always, I have no personal interest in this company. I just like to see new technologies succeed.

DTMD can be deployed on existing copper phone lines and will run on lines that are not currently suitable for DSL. All that DTMD requires is replacing line cards in DSLAMs at the phone company and a new modem at your house. It could give the ILECs the same performance as that $100 billion fiber deployment in vastly less time and for vastly less money. But from the ILEC perspective, DTMD offers something else of even greater value: Like fiber-to-the-home, DTMD qualifies as a new network technology, and under the February rules by the FCC, the ILECs do not have to share it with their CLEC enemies.

DTMD could be deployed everywhere in a couple years. ILECs could use it to offer ultra-high speed Internet connections or use it to compete with cable television. DTMD could support HDTV in nearly all urban and suburban areas, and whatever kind if video is being carried, it can be done as video-on-demand, which means you can stop the show while you go to the bathroom, something that cable TV can't do on a comparable scale.

The phone companies always thought their value lay in owning the copper in our walls. And just at a time when they are finally abandoning that idea in favor of fiber, a technology like DTMD is making that copper more valuable than ever.

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To: RockyBalboa who wrote (11820)7/3/2003 10:25:05 PM
From: Puck
   of 19419
He had a regular column at Bloomberg back in 2000 and before. I lost track of him when he left them.

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To: afrayem onigwecher who wrote (11803)7/3/2003 11:17:55 PM
From: StockDung
   of 19419

July 3, 2003 -- In our second installment of Alec Klein's new book on the merger of AOL and Time Warner, AOL executives furiously strike barter deals to make their numbers look better while the merger with Time Warner is pending.

ON a June afternoon in 2000, an anxious AOL executive rushed up to the cubicle of a manager in business affairs, instructing him to draw up documents for a new advertising deal with Sun Microsystems, the giant computer and networking company. It seemed like a perfectly forgettable moment, just another workaday deal. Except for this: The Sun deal heralded the onset of a rash of BA specials through the rest of the year.

The timing of the deal couldn't have been better. With the Time Warner merger pending, the whiteboard in the manager's cubicle was beginning to show fewer new ad deals in the works and more old deals falling apart because financially strapped dot-coms couldn't afford to pay AOL anymore. "It was already clear the deal pipeline had fallen off a cliff," the manager said.

That AOL turned to Sun wasn't surprising. The two companies had a tight relationship. AOL had just spent $300 million buying Sun hardware, which AOL used to expand its vast online network to connect computer users to the Web. Under the new agreement, AOL promised to buy an additional $250 million in Sun hardware over two years. But there was a twist. AOL, short of its revenue targets, needed to sell some ads. Thus, AOL offered Sun a deal: If you buy our AOL ads, we will buy your Sun hardware.

"As an incentive for us to make the above [$250 million] purchase commitment, Sun agreed to purchase $37.5M [million] of ads over the next 3 quarters," a deal maker wrote in an internal memo.

In AOL's parlance, it was called a barter deal. AOL was exchanging goods, computer equipment for ads. But the barter deal was partly cosmetic: The company wanted to make its financial books look more attractive in the eyes of Wall Street when AOL announced its quarterly revenue results.

There was another feature that made the deal even more notable: Sun didn't actually have to pay a dime for those $37.5 million in ads. Instead, Sun would give AOL a credit for $37.5 million worth of computer equipment, and the two companies would call it even.

"They will pay by providing AOL with an equivalent credit for future hardware purchase," the memo stated.

AOL had just found a way to book $37.5 million in ad revenue by essentially agreeing to front the money for the Sun ads. Said an AOL official familiar with the arrangement, "It was fake money." AOL put it a different way in its deal memo. Under the heading "Metrics of Success," the company stated, "Recognize ad revenue in exchange for the additional purchase commitment (achieved)."

The deal was signed off by the company's accounting policy unit. But some within the company were convinced that the transaction hid part of its true intent.

"The bottom line is, it wasn't about the advertising," said a former AOL executive involved in the deal. "AOL didn't care about the value of the equipment. What AOL did was leverage a current relationship and turn it into ad revenue."

Other barter deals followed as the Time Warner merger inched closer to fruition. The company, however, was careful to keep such transactions quiet. "They wanted to keep it under the radar," said an AOL official. As long as barter deals in a single fiscal period didn't exceed 10 percent of AOL's overall revenue, internal accountants reckoned they didn't have to report them in public filings.

In what became known as the 10 percent rule, deal makers, aware of the threshold, were constantly calling over to AOL's internal accountants to see if they had gone too far. Not that there were any irreparable mistakes. If the revenue from barter deals did happen to spill over the line, deal makers were simply instructed to shift the deal to the next quarter. As it was, they made certain they came as close as possible to reaching that 10 percent ceiling.

No opportunity was overlooked. Deal makers even bartered keywords, terms that AOL users could use to search any number of subjects.

When, for example, a movie studio agreed to use an AOL keyword for consumers to find out more about an upcoming film release, the mere mention of AOL was worth a certain amount of money to the on-line company. Officials tracked so-called in-kind barter deals. The company also hired an independent media firm to estimate the worth of such keyword mentions. And then AOL's deal makers went out and traded them for on-line ads. The list of companies with which AOL bartered keywords was staggering. According to a company e-mail from one AOL official to another in September 2000, the list included CBS, CNN, E!, Food TV, HBO, MTV, VH1, the NBA, NPR, Oprah, PBS, Rosie O'Donnell, TVKO, and the Weather Channel. The result: AOL generated tens of millions of dollars in ad revenue from arcane deals about which investors and Wall Street had no knowledge.

"Every quarter, we were trying to max the barter revenue we could recognize," said a former deal maker. "BA was hyperaggressive about it."

* From "Stealing Time," by Alec Klein. Copyright 2003 by Alec Klein. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster Inc.

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To: Puck who wrote (11822)7/4/2003 12:00:52 AM
From: Kevin Podsiadlik
   of 19419
Byron writes for the NY Post now.

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To: Kevin Podsiadlik who wrote (11824)7/4/2003 4:26:35 PM
From: StockDung
   of 19419
Do Not Call' Registry Is Pushing Telemarketers to Plan New Pitch


NEW YORK (July 2) -- With millions of people signing up to stop receiving pesky sales calls, the nation's biggest marketers are preparing a new round of potentially annoying advertising pitches via e-mail and direct mail.

Companies such as AT&T Corp. and Allstate Insurance Co. have long viewed telemarketing as vital to building their businesses. Some of those efforts could be severely hampered by the federal government's launch June 27 of a national "do not call" registry designed to curb residential sales calls. The program takes effect Oct. 1, when telemarketers who ring those on the list could be fined as much as $11,000 per call.

Faced with the prospect of losing a direct line to the living room, marketers plan to flood mailboxes and computers with an avalanche of solicitations. In addition, consumers who call these companies on other business may well find they have to navigate an earful of annoying sales pitches.

Marketers spent $80.3 billion on telemarketing in 2002, according to the Direct Marketing Association. Before the prospect of "do not call" loomed, the group had expected that amount to grow to $104.8 billion by 2006. Now that money is likely to find its way into other selling arenas.

For the beleaguered advertising industry, the move could be a boost, since national marketers will now have to invest more heavily in direct mail, traditional media advertising and Internet-based marketing, which will likely include spam e-mail. However, those working at vast telemarketing operations, or the hundreds of mom-and-pop call centers that dot the country, may well face painful layoffs.

While this looks like a win for consumers, many may soon find that they are bombarded with pitches via the Web or direct-response ads that carry 1-800 numbers. "Selling isn't going to stop," warns Lee Harward, president of ComTec Teleservices Inc., a telemarketing firm in Denver, Colo.

Still, James F. Lyons, president of Optima Direct, a direct-marketing consultancy owned by Omnicom Group Inc.'s Rapp Collins Worldwide, says telemarketing won't disappear. Consumers who don't sign the national registry, he reasons, may be more responsive to phone pitches. "We'll be giving the dog what the dog wants to eat," he adds.

As of Tuesday morning, 12.5 million telephone numbers had been logged into the registry, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Another 14 million numbers are being automatically transferred to the federal list from various state "do not call" lists. Commission officials expect at least 60 million telephone numbers eventually will be on the registry, which can be found at Consumers living in the western half of the country can also register by phone at (888) 382-1222, and the rest of the country can do so at the same number beginning July 7.

Once the law -- which was signed by President Bush in March after being authorized by Congress -- goes into effect, consumers on the list who receive telephone solicitations will be able to file a complaint with the FTC by phone or online.

The effort to rein in telemarketers has been building for a long time, enabling some to prepare. Telephone company Qwest Communications International Inc. slashed its telemarketing efforts by 40% last September after hearing from unhappy customers.

Insurance companies, telecommunications concerns and financial-services outlets are seen as the industries most likely to be affected by the new rules. Allstate Insurance, an insurance and financial-services company owned by Allstate Corp., is already looking to redirect its marketing efforts. "We plan to shift into other communication mediums, and rely more heavily on traditional TV advertising and e-mail marketing," says Todd DeYoung, acting chief marketing officer. "We also plan to stimulate inbound call volume by doing more directed advertising and more direct mail."

Some of the country's biggest marketers say they'll thrive by calling people who enjoy hearing the pitches. AT&T, which places hundreds of millions of telemarketing calls each year, intends to keep calling its 40 million customers and others "who want to hear from us," says Bob Nersesian, a spokesman. The company will also use other marketing methods, such as direct mail and bill inserts, he says.

Still, the telemarketing industry, which employs about 6.5 million people nationwide, predicts it will lose as many as two million jobs, and that many of those left unemployed, often in rural communities, may not get back into the job market right away. "These guys are hard to absorb," says Tim Searcy, executive director of the American Teleservices Association, a trade group.

Individual call centers are bracing for the worst. Stuart Discount, president of Philadelphia-based Tele-Response Center Inc., says he's likely to cut as many as 30 of his 400 employees when the federal program takes effect. Mr. Discount's firm does contract work for nonprofit companies, which are exempt from the "do not call" list, and banks and mortgage companies, which are not. He says that he had to fire 100 employees in January after state "do not call" lists reduced the number of people he could call for his commercial clients.

The list is also causing consternation at many companies who use in-house telemarketers to peddle their own services. Personal Legal Plans Inc., a Charlotte, N.C., legal concern that uses a staff of 150 telemarketers to cold-call potential buyers of its estate-planning services, has already had a staff meeting to discuss the likely impact of the new federal list. "The people in my call center are all at risk of losing their jobs, and it's a question if my firm will even survive," says Dennis McGarry, the company's president and owner.

Not everyone will stop putting out calls. In addition to the nonprofits, politicians and survey-taking organizations will still be able to call those on the list. And companies that have an existing business relationship with a consumer can continue to call them for 18 months after the program takes effect.

National and global marketers who switch to e-mail may only be buying themselves a bit more time. A tide of mounting consumer anger raises the odds that Washington will soon come after spam as well. Last year, the average consumer received 2,278 spam e-mails, according to Jupiter Research, a unit of Jupitermedia Corp.

In mid-June, the Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill barring the use of fake or deceptive return e-mail addresses, subject lines, or e-mail headers. Under the bill, each e-mail message would also have to offer a way for consumers to opt out of receiving further messages. If passed, spammers who violate the law would face up to a year in prison.

Some feel the phone still represents a viable way to tap new customers. Marketers may circumvent the ban, for example, by using in-bound call centers, which will push other services to consumers who call in. So if a credit-card customer uses the phone to check a current balance, a savvy marketer might seize upon the opportunity to sell other goods and services. Executives suggest that companies will also begin to use more toll free numbers advertised on TV and in print media to get people to call in, then use the contact to pitch other products.

Meanwhile, at least one telemarketer says demand has already begun to pick up for in-bound call center work. "Now you just don't want an order taker," says Mr. Harward of ComTec Teleservices. "You want to hire someone that can sell when customers call."

Write to Brian Steinberg at, Suzanne Vranica at and Yochi J. Dreazen at

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To: RockyBalboa who wrote (11820)7/4/2003 6:43:06 PM
From: TeamTi
   of 19419
dickheads. I thought they might ramp before their loss report

Redback Sneaks Out Gloomy Forecast


It's an old trick that fools no-one anymore. Firms that put out a press release about financial or legal affairs at the last minute before a public holiday might just as well broadcast an email to the world saying: "Here's some news we hope you don't see."

So it was that Redback Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: RBAK - message board) issued a press release about its projected second quarter revenues at 18:40 Eastern time (15:40 Pacific) on Thursday, (see Redback Forecasts Q2 ).

The vendor is projecting revenues of just $22 million for its latest three-month period (ended 30 June), down from $29.5 million in the first quarter (see Redback Reports $24.9M Loss ). According to figures from Thomson First Call, analysts had, on average, been expecting second quarter revenues of $30.7 million.

Redback, of course, was not available for comment today. How (in)convenient.

Redback's share price fell by 3 cents on Thursday, to close at 91 cents. Of course, the market had closed before the press release hit the wires, so it could be a stock to watch when the market opens again Monday.

Redback's is capitalized at $166.4 million, and has a 52-week high of $2.00, and a low of 24 cents. Its revenues for the whole of 2002 were $125.6 million (see Redback Trims Losses, CFO ).

— Ray Le Maistre, International Editor, Boardwatch

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To: StockDung who wrote (11825)7/6/2003 2:41:27 PM
From: scion
   of 19419
SEC launches Cablevision probe
By Staff in New York
Published: July 4 2003 0:28 | Last Updated: July 4 2003 0:28

Cablevision, the New York-based media group, on Thursday said it received formal notice of an investigation and a subpoena from the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The news comes after Cablevision revealed on June 18 accounting irregularities at its cable television subsidiary stretching back more than three years.

The company disclosed the news in an SEC filing and said it intended to cooperate fully with investigators.

After a five-month internal investigation, the company said employees at its Rainbow Media division had overstated expenses by improperly booking future costs in prior years.

After consulting with its auditors, the company concluded the amounts were "insignificant with respect to its previously issued financial statements".

Cablevision was the latest company to report what appeared to have been a deliberate understatement of its earnings. Last month, Freddie Mac, the mortgage lender, said it would restate its results to reflect improper accounting of derivatives, which had the effect of depressing its earnings.

Cablevision said its investigation had found $6.2m of marketing expenses that should have been booked in 2003 but had been accelerated to 2002. All but $1.7m of that amount was identified and corrected before the company reported its 2002 results in February.

Improper accruals in 2000 and 2001 were "similar in size", the company said. As a result of the investigation, 14 employees at Cablevision's AMC movie channel have been sacked.

It was unclear why employees would deliberately overstate their expenses, although observers suggested they might have been trying to make their profit targets easier to hit in future years.

In 2002, Cablevision reported a loss from continuing operations of $561m on revenues of $4bn. Rainbow reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $99.4m on revenues of $668.7m.

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To: TeamTi who wrote (11826)7/6/2003 8:35:04 PM
From: RockyBalboa
   of 19419
is it different, this time? Towards the end of a liquidity-driven binge?


Today I focus you on the gap between Bulls minus Bears. As of the latest reading late last week, we just registered the largest gap in optimism ever recorded in this survey going back to early 1987. With a 71.4% reading of Bulls on stocks versus just an 8.6% of Bears, this gap of 62.8 percentage points beats out the prior record 62.0 gap in early January 2000. Perhaps more notable still is the next largest gap of 60.0 registered right at the market top in late-August 1987. In addition, a second signal of relative optimism at 49.0 in mid-September 1987 came just in front of the October 1987 crash.


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To: RockyBalboa who wrote (11783)7/7/2003 11:00:31 AM
From: RockyBalboa
   of 19419
DFCT might have "bottomed out here", lol. (70 cents, thats fair enough if one considers that it hit $2).

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