CRTC implements capacity-based ISP billing

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) confirms that the new wholesale rates for independent internet service providers (ISPs) will be implemented on 1 February 2012. The large telephone and cable companies will proceed as scheduled with their proposed implementation plans, with the exception of the Bell group companies, whose implementation plan has been modified on an interim basis while the CRTC resolves issues raised by the Canadian Network Operators Consortium. ‘We are moving ahead with the implementation as planned to ensure that independent ISPs will continue to offer competitive and innovative services to Canadians,’ said Leonard Katz, the CRTC’s acting chairman, adding that ‘Some temporary adjustments have been made to ensure a smooth transition to the new billing regime and to ensure consumers are not inconvenienced.’ As an interim measure, independent ISPs who are customers of the Bell companies will have the flexibility to either merge their business and residential internet Traffic or keep them separate. In November 2011 the CRTC established how large telephone and cable companies should charge independent ISPs for the use of their networks. In the case of wholesale residential and business services, the large telcos/cablecos may charge a flat monthly fee regardless of how much bandwidth customers of the independent ISPs use. The flat-rate model took effect on 15 November 2011. These decisions affect only the wholesale services the large telephone and cable companies provide to independent ISPs. The CRTC does not regulate the rates or packages that ISPs offer to consumers (see Telecom Order CRTC 2012-60 http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2012/2012-60.htm).

Thanks to TeleGeography for this information

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Telco Pay-TV Subscribers Approaching 100 Million

Leading Telco Pay TV Operators
New data from TeleGeography show that at the end of Q3 2011 telcos worldwide had a total of 94 million pay-TV subscribers, giving them a 12% share of the global pay-TV market. Given current growth rates the subscriber total will be passing the 100-million milestone as this article is being written. Leading the telco charge is America Movil with ten million pay-TV subscribers, thanks to a dominant market position in Brazil and Colombia and substantial pay-TV operations in several other Latin American countries. It is followed by China Telecom and Rostelecom, both of which focus solely on their home markets, and France Telecom-Orange which has pay-TV operations in Poland, Spain and Slovakia in addition to being one of the leaders in the French market.

While telcos’ pay-TV activities are commonly equated with IPTV, that is only a part of the story. Many telcos have clearly identified IPTV as being important both strategically and tactically, but it accounts for less than 60% of their pay-TV subscribers. Several telcos are investing heavily in cable TV and satellite DTH operations, while pay-DTT and some residual MMDS services are also part of the mix. As examples, America Movil has achieved its leadership position by developing or acquiring cable and DTH businesses, and it has hardly any IPTV interests; and number three ranked telco Rostelecom can thank cable TV for providing 85% of its pay-TV subscriber base.

However, IPTV remains a crucial factor in the telco sector’s pay-TV growth prospects, as TeleGeography’s John Dinsdale points out: ‘Looking to the future there is no doubt that telcos will further increase their share of the pay-TV market. While telcos will continue to invest in cable and DTH operations, over the next five years it will primarily be strong IPTV growth that enables them to gain market share. We forecast that the IPTV subscriber base will have doubled in size by the end of 2016, which will help telcos gain control of some 16% of the pay-TV market.’

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Pay-TV Research Service provides data, analysis and forecasts of the rapidly changing pay-TV and IPTV markets. (http://www.telegeography.com/research-services/globalcomms-pay-tv/index.html)

Breakthrough Work Force Management Results

Ottawa Regional Contact Center Association - Breakthrough Workforce Management

UPCOMING EVENT

Ottawa Regional Contact Centre Association

Bring your workforce management team and join us on January 26, 2012 for an informative series of sessions on leading edge strategies for modern call centres.  Whether you manage a small call centre looking for a cost effective way to get into WFM or a very large call center network seeking to achieve breakthrough WFM ROI, these sessions will be of great interest.

Speakers will address the top concerns over classic obstacles to successful WFM.

Introduction by Steve Wilton, ORCCA Executive Member

How does one move from manual scheduling to Automated WFM in a market where automating the process is not generally considered to be cost effective for smaller centres?  Kevin will discuss the benefits of automated WFM for their customers, agents, and managers as well as for the business in terms of improved revenue, profitability and productivity.

Case Study 1: Smaller Call Centres Can Realize the Benefits of WFM in Less than 2 weeks
Kevin Hartley, Call Centre Manager, Alterna Saving

How does one move from manual scheduling to Automated WFM in a market where automating the process is not generally considered to be cost effective for smaller centres?  Kevin will discuss the benefits of automated WFM for their customers, agents, and managers as well as for the business in terms of improved revenue, profitability and productivity.

Case Study 2: The Advantages of Network Level WFM for Large Call Centre Networks
Ray Howatt, Senior National Telecommunications Advisor, Veterans Affairs

Ray will present the experiences of transforming a large 400 Agent Multi-site national call centre network from localized forecasting and scheduling to centralized enterprise WFM. , Veterans Affairs is the first to implement a system that coordinates start times, breaks and lunches nationally.  The results include meeting service levels and accessibility standards for the first time in 5 years.

The history of forecasting, Marietta Davis, VP L3 Prime Inc.

The audience will learn about the history of call centres and call center forecasting in an entertaining game-show format with points for correct answers and prizes for the winning table.

Leading edge WFM concepts, Paul Kasanda CEO of L3 Prime Inc.

The audience will discover the key differences between classic WFM and the leading edge art of High Definition WFM.

Date: January 26, 2012
Time:
2:30-3:00 pm – Registration & Networking
3:00-4:30 pm – Presentation
Location: Nepean Sailing Club 3259 Carling Ave. Ottawa, ON
Cost:
ORCCA Members – Free
Non-members – $30 (Payable in advance by Visa or MasterCard)
RSVP to info@callcentres.org. Register early, space is limited.

Shaw’s cable revenues up 4%

Canadian triple-play cableco Shaw Communications has announced consolidated financial and operating results for the three months ended 30 November 2011. Total cable and satellite revenue for the company’s first quarter of its fiscal year was CAD1.28 billion (USD1.26 billion), up 19% over the same period of 2010, while total operating income increased by 18% to CAD566 million. Net income from continuing operations of CAD202 million was compared to CAD17 million for the year-ago period. Revenue in the cable division was up 4% for the three months to CAD792 million, driven by customer growth and price changes, while cable operating income rose 7% year-on-year to CAD377 million. Basic cable TV customers fell by nearly 23,000 in the three months to the end of November 2011, to 2.267 million, but cable broadband internet users increased by 10,685 to 1,887,916 in the same three months, and cable digital phone lines in service reached 1,256,010, up by 22,969 in the quarter.

Are Agents Necessary for Accurate Network Monitoring

Network Instruments Agents in Network Monitoring How does an IT team ensure accurate and complete visibility? Obtaining comprehensive visibility into network performance requires not only looking at the network and application, but digging into infrastructure health and performance. Solutions providing this view typically utilize two different approaches: agent or agentless.

Selecting the best method for your team requires understanding the options and selecting the solution that integrates well with your existing resources. In this article, we will:
  • Define agent and agentless approaches
  • Outline pros and cons for each approach
  • Establish a strategy for cost-effective, scalable performance visibility

Defining Agent and Agentless

Agents are typically proprietary software loaded on to relevant application components, devices, and servers. The question to ask application performance management (APM) vendors is whether their platform requires software to be installed on your critical infrastructure.

If the answer is “yes,” the program you’re loading is most likely an agent, which gathers data and sends it to the console or platform for analysis. Agents can also perform tasks that impact or modify the operation of the device.

If the answer is “no,” the APM platform is likely relying upon polling technologies to acquire device performance and related application information. These solutions are typically referred to as agentless.

Agentless solutions often tap into pre-existing or native agents and reporting capabilities placed on the system or device by the infrastructure manufacturer. Utilizing intelligence from these native agents allows agentless solutions to track performance variables including power, CPU, and memory usage without affecting device performance. Additionally, using polling technologies like SNMP or querying Windows systems through WMI provides nearly limitless information about devices and hosted applications.

Assessing the Pros and Cons

The following chart outlines the benefits and costs of each option
PROS CONS
Agent
  • Designed to provide critical management specific metrics
  • Uses SSL or other encrypted methods to provide data
  • Typically will auto-update to avoid maintenance overhead
  • Can impact critical infrastructure, consuming device’s CPU, memory, and storage
  • Cannot monitor beyond system on which its installed
  • Time-consuming deployment requires agents for every critical device monitored
  • Every new server requires additional agents be purchased
  • Only tracks conditions and metrics it has been designed to target
  • Cloud vendor may prohibit agents; coverage of multiple VMs can be cost prohibitive
Agentless
  • Tracks performance without impacting devices
  • Immediate device discovery and monitoring, once IP address and credentials provided
  • Scales as fast as new devices can be added
  • Any devices can be monitored with minimal deployment effort, not just critical devices
  • Taps into cloud vendor APIs and mimics user experience via synthetic transactions
  • Data sources may not provide full or relevant data
  • Typically requires pre-existing services and agents to be turned on; may also require changes to firewall
  • On larger networks, polling needs to be spaced out enough to avoid overlapping executions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Establishing Effective Performance Visibility

Ultimately, each team must assess the merits of leveraging proprietary agents versus going agentless. As our discussion has shown, each has strengths and weaknesses. Many vendors now offer significant insight into the underlying health and status of the devices and network by exploiting the wealth of information infrastructure and application developers now incorporate directly into their solutions with native agents. Cloud providers as well are introducing APIs that can be readily supported by agentless solutions. This is an important point as cloud vendors generally forbid the placement of any agents within their environments.
Alternatively, if you have ready access to source code and/or require unique visibility into devices not available from agentless monitoring, then proprietary agents could be a consideration. For select applications, they can offer deep insight into application health at the expense of broad service support.
Finally, whether utilizing proprietary agents or an agentless approach, it is important to note that many solutions also provide packet-based analysis to monitor the flow of applications traversing the network. This integrated monitoring approach yields highly granular detail on the overall health of applications and infrastructure, enabling optimal operational efficiency and reduced MTTR when problems are detected