Thursday, November 16, 2006


All the futurists who are actually scientists say that cell phone towers will soon be obsolete because we will get our wireless phone signals from satellites. If you've ever used a satphone, you know the service is a lot better and the price is rapidly dropping. Seems inevitable.

Why then, with the same level of satellite service available to our TV sets would we choose to purchase our signals through some under(and over)ground cable network? Moreover, why would we buy something like that from an organization that's rude and unresponsive. Supermoreover, why would we buy something like that from an organization that continues to subtract from our service and tell us it's an improvement? I suppose they will throw in beta vcr's soon.

If I were in a dinosaur cable business that's slowly dying and whose death is inevitable due to market and technology forces, why would I intentionally piss off the Mayor of a city where I have a franchise?

How interesting it is to watch while an entire industry as well as its local representative slits its collective throat with a rusty, dull knife.


At 8:09 AM, November 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cable esp crappy small cap companies pretty much both sucks and blows .

At 9:15 AM, November 16, 2006, Blogger pravoslavniye said...

My roommate wants to get DISH.

I pointed out two things: a) we don't have a TV and b) if we got a TV worth watching DISH on, where would we put it?

Hard to believe that I've lived in my new place since June and my TV is still in the back room at the place where I USED to live.

I don't miss it, but DISH and a big TV are sounding pretty good...

At 10:57 AM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Quincy Fire said...

But I'm watching TV right now and the Insight ads tell me how much good they are doing for us....


At 11:30 AM, November 16, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I called the local cable co to complain about them not having NFL network & tried to encourage them to put it on, they basically lied and said NFL network is not going to carry games that othe networks don't already carry. But NFL has exclusive rights to the Thanskgiving evening game, along with a bunch of others. They went on a said a bunch of things to try to de-value the NFL channel, was clear they had no plans to even consider to add it. Not sayin it's the best channel out there, but compared to what they have on there now, shopping, religous, re-run channels.....

I'm with you, ABC, someone put a link on, I think Obviuosly Quincy, for Dish, will check it out. If the artist formerly known as Lootie likes Dish, it must be OK!LOL.

Just takes a lot sometimes to get people out of their "dis-satisfied but comfortable" zone.

At 7:02 PM, November 16, 2006, Blogger Rocky Cola said...

I have DirectTV, mostly for sports and HD.
I do have basic cable, and I may stop that. In addition, I do occasionally make marketing decisions and WILL NOT be sending any $ towards cable in the near future.
Too bad, most of the local people at the company are good people, just poor management.

At 8:02 AM, November 17, 2006, Blogger UMRBlog said...


A pneumatic miracle!


At 8:03 AM, November 17, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not being a futurist, I can't comment on the veracity of the wireless future. However, I thought it was interesting that one of the stations being dropped also carries CW programming, as does a locally-controlled station. Also, consider that WGN, home of the Cubs, is included in the basic cable package. Now, if you're going to get rid of a station based on number of baseball fans, at least in Quincy, one would think that WGN would be on the chopping block rather than KPLR. That conspiracy theory aside, let's face it, Quincy is a meaningless market to Insight, just as it was for its predecessors. It doesn't generate big revenue numbers nor viewers. That doesn't mean local management mirrors that attitude. We all face some corporate constraints.

At 8:07 AM, November 17, 2006, Blogger UMRBlog said...

Anon 1130,

It's a wonder Dish sells anything. Their salespeople don't know anything but what's on the laundry list. That info I could get off the web page.

Fortunately, I have a family member in the business so I've at least gotten the straight poop.

If you want a real yuck, ask Insight about MSNBC.


At 8:37 AM, November 17, 2006, Blogger UMRBlog said...


Two problems with the WGN reasoning. First, WGN (Cable version) comes in on sattelite so the micrwave issue isn't at play, as it is for KPLR. Second, WGN Superstation is relatively cheap and part of virtually everybody's basic cable package now.

You may recall that we had two WGN cutoffs in the early 80's and they were reversed in short order. Of course, the Cable Rules were different then too. City had a little more control.

The difference between one CW station and two, to me, is zero.

At 4:46 PM, November 18, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with Dish, Cable, WGEM, all of them is that local service is not uniform. If you live in the county, you can't get the local programs such as Quincy council and other things of public interest. We saw this in the elections to an extent as the WGEM cable not shown.

Channel 7 or 10 should compete with the lame local cable. Another over the air station owned by 7 or 10 might help.

I am all for progress, but, they seem to want to put towers wherever. Wind energy is great, but, again, an eye sore on the beautiful country we live in. This is again part of the failed policies of the republican uncontrolled county board.

Waiting to vote anyone in to change this lock on county politics. With the fine Duesterhaus and Obert victories, more will be on the way. I don't think that the republicants will be able to hide the next election cycle.

At 7:31 PM, November 18, 2006, Blogger josephus said...

No, Tony, I didn't read your post before making my comments on City Desk. But we said pretty much the same thing.

At 7:01 AM, November 22, 2006, Anonymous Sean said...

If ultrawideband would ever took off, you would see a real revolution on how information was delivered and sent. bandwidth and throughput limitations would no longer be issues. The only issues left would be politically based.

At 8:41 PM, November 25, 2006, Anonymous Mike said...

Hello All,

I am in the engineering side of the cell phone business and take exception to the comment that towers and the terrestrial network will soon be obsolete by satellite based, Star Trek style communications. It sounds good but not going to happen soon.

Three issues,

1: bandwidth, it will be a while before they can compress enough information to make it fit on the satellite, and with the growth of demand for additional non voice applications that is getting further away not closer.

2: Propagation delay: Radio waves travel at 5.4 microseconds per mile, and can’t be made to travel faster according to Mr. Einstein, with whom I will not argue. That is important because a geo-stationary satellite is 23,000 miles out in space, more or less. Since the signal has to travel both out and back to be useful that is 46,000 miles round trip times 5.4 microseconds equals about 250 milliseconds delay. There is already delay associated with the analog to digital and digital to analog conversion process, adding another 1/4 second would make casual conversation impossible for most people. Anybody who has actually used a satellite phone has already experienced that.

3: Free Space Path Loss: I know now you say use LEO (low earth orbit) satellites which are much closer, and Prop Delay will not be a problem. That would be correct but now you are adding yet another level of complexity to the network and the hand held device that will require more electronics to deal with it and thus more power and shorter battery life. Plus people want their phone to work indoors and when you couple free space path loss with the losses associated with building penetration it is not going to happen.

I know I am off the point of your original post and I am sorry, so, as for insight cable well whatever, I like their ISP service but it is a bit too costly.


At 12:36 PM, November 26, 2006, Blogger UMRBlog said...


I take point two to be merely an explanation of why the handoff time, from one form to another will be about 30 years. FWIW, I have used a satphone with a delay stabilizer and the quality was excellent, it eliminates the "simultaneous washout squawk" which, I agree, has been a serious problem.

Two is a resource allocation problem, legislative in nature and another reason for a longer phased delay. It makes it harder to pick a date the cell phone tower will be a trellis but doesn't change the ultimate outcome. I don't think anybody really wants to be limited to line-of-sight for communications intended to be worldwide;

Three's the real deal. It'll probably get us a whole new echelon of air traffic controllers, but it will be solved.

Excellent points and thank you for coming by.


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