This might be the one time when it really doesn’t matter which line you’re in at the airport, none of them are moving.Costa Rica’s Juan Santamaría International Airport was choked with lines of passengers on their way in and out of the country Friday as the Immigration Administration reportedly implemented stricter passport controls following news that a Syrian woman entered Costa Rica with a fake Greek passport Tuesday.The movement of Syrians has come under additional scrutiny following the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadists.Exasperated tourists waited in lines for hours Friday after authorities required all travelers to have their passports checked twice regardless if they were entering or leaving the country. Both the name and the passport number of travelers was being checked.https://twitter.com/JasonSibajaV/status/667804151246548992/photo/1Immigration Administration Director Kathya Rodríguez told the radio program Nuestra Voz Friday that she had ordered airports and land ports of entry to double down on enforcement “even though it takes more time,” news website AmeliaRueda.com reported. The website reported Friday afternoon that some travelers waited up to four hours passing through the tightened controls at the airport.There are no plans to hire additional staff, Immigration Administration spokeswoman Andrea Quesada told the daily La Nación. But customs officers will receive additional training, Quesada said.In addition to the Syrian woman arrested in Costa Rica on Thursday, five Syrians traveling with falsified Greek passports were arrested in Honduras on Wednesday. Facebook Comments @JasonSibajaV @elchamuko 4 horas en fila!!!!! pic.twitter.com/pKJodyHK0s— anonymous_costarica (@anonymous_costa) November 20, 2015 Related posts:Southwest Airlines announces new routes to Costa Rica, Mexico White House travel exemptions to Cuba do not cover tourism Turrialba Volcano briefly closes Costa Rica’s main airport Panama to send 3,800 US-bound Cubans to Mexico
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: W.X <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/28912/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a> Orient-Express Hotels has won a legal battle for the ‘Cipriani’ brand, and as such as seen a family-owned restaurant in London filing for bankruptcy and fighting to keep its name.The Cipriani family, who owns and runs the Cipriani London restaurant, which names singer Sir Elton John, soccer star David Beckham and supermodel Naomi Campbell amongst its patrons, have been served with papers by a court to change its name after it lost a battle with Orient-Express Hotels.Hotel Cipriani in Venice, part of the Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. group, in 2006 had filed a law-suit against the London restauranters for infringing on their trademark.Hotel Cirpiani, founded in 1956 by another Cipriani family currently holds the U.K. trademark for the name which it registered for in 1996. The restaurant was opened in 2004“We have no wish to cause difficulties for other businesses but Orient-Express Hotels has worked long and hard over many years to build a worldwide reputation for Hotel ‘Cipriani’,” said Paul White, Orient-Express Hotels President and CEO.“We are entitled to protect this famous name in Europe and it was important to us to do so.”To further convolute the issue, the London restaurant which was ordered to publicize the decision, and pay for damages, has since filed for bankruptcy in a bid to “protect its assets” as it works towards launching an appeal.
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J Sydney is sharing the tourism light with regional New South Wales after State Premier Barry O’Farrell unveiled the ‘biggest ever’ integrated campaign to drive tourism into areas outside the main city.Unveiled this morning at Westfield Bondi Junction and described as “the first of its type and scale”, the Make Some Our Time campaign aims to inspire Sydney-siders to take a short break in regional areas across NSW.Running for four weeks until 12 August this year, the campaign will utilise augmented reality technology to enable Westfield shoppers to ‘interact’ with NSW native wildlife and inspire them to visit the real thing.Accompanied by a promotion with up to $1 million in regional accommodation vouchers up for grabs, Mr O’Farrell said the campaign will push more Aussies to “take advantage” of the state’s “diverse regional areas”, beaches and winter wonderland in the Snowy Mountains. “Time-poor Sydneysiders are the biggest takers of short breaks – this innovative promotion will help them take advantage of the millions of destinations NSW has for the perfect break,” Minister for Tourism and Major Event George Souris said. “We all know we are meant to recharge our batteries every now and again, and we always remember how good we felt when we did. This campaign makes it easy for people to do this.”The promotion running over the same four-weeks of the campaign, will see Destination NSW give away $1 million in accommodation vouchers in eight Westfield centres in NSW.Shoppers who spend $30 in any participating retailer in-centre, they will receive a scratch card that could see them win $200 off any regional accommodation booking over $400. Participating stores include Westfields in Bondi Junction, Parramatta, Miranda, Chatswood, Penrith, Eastgardens, Burwood and Sydney.
Ahoy Buccaneers is offering an earlybird special across six expedition voyages in March and October 2018, with one free night’s accommodation in a four-star hotel both before and after each cruise.Bookings must be made before 15 March 2017 and is valid for three 13-day cruises in February and March 2018, travelling from Broome to Wyndham or vice versa; and three Buccaneer Archipelago cruises in October 2018, which are seven-day, round-trip cruises from Broome.Ahoy Buccaneers takes guests into areas inaccessible to large ships as they explore the rugged cliffs, spectacular waterfalls and pristine waters of the Buccaneer Archipelago in the Kimberly region of Western Australia. Guests travel on board Oceanic, Ahoy Buccaneer’s 25-guest motor yacht, providing an intimate and relaxed atmosphere, with guests encouraged to help fish or sail the boat.The 13-day Broome to Wyndham cruises depart on 26 February and 26 March 2018, and a Wyndham to Broome cruise departs 12 March 2018. Each costs from $4400 per person (including for solos) in a swag, and from $5500 per person in a cabin, twin-share, or if sharing with another solo passenger. The free accommodation will be at four-star hotels in Broome and also Kununurra, near Wyndham.The Buccaneer Archipelago cruises depart1, 8 and 29 October 2018, and cost from $2200 per person (including for solos) in a swag, and from $2800 per person in a cabin, twin-share, or if sharing with another solo passenger twin-share. Fares include meals and transfers. cruiseKimberley
Comments Share David Johnson’s pass-catching abilities helped move the chains and spread out the defense last season. He caught 36 passes for 457 yards and four touchdowns. Ellington had 15 receptions for 148 yards, while Chris Johnson reeled in six passes for 58 yards and neither scored a touchdown.With 36 receptions and four touchdowns, David Johnson was fourth on the team in receiving, only behind Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and Michael Floyd. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) is his by Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Jake Ryan (47) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) With the NFL regular season coming up in September, fantasy football rankings have already begun and an Arizona Cardinal could be a big reason why fantasy owners win their league this year.SI.com writer Micheal Beller created a list of the top ten fantasy running backs in 2016, and he has David Johnson as the no. 5 back in the the NFL.Chances are if you grabbed Johnson off waivers last year, you won your league. Or at least came very close. A bit player for Arizona’s first 11 games, Johnson was one of the best fantasy weapons over the last five weeks of the season, running for 442 yards, catching 17 passes for 216 yards and hitting pay dirt five times. He enters this season as the unquestioned starter, and it’s easy to see why that should be a great spot. The Cardinals offense figures to be among the best in the league, with Carson Palmer, Michael Floyd, Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and an impressive line surrounding Johnson. Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington are still in Arizona, and both will have roles in the offense. Johnson’s appeal this season is strong and easy to see, but given the company, he does carry some risk at his ADP.Even with Chris Johnson and Ellington in the backfield last year, David Johnson ran for 581 yards and eight touchdowns. Chris Johnson had more rushing attempts and yards, with 814, but had less success finding pay dirt, with only three touchdowns. Ellington also added three touchdowns and 289 yards for the Cardinals. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
January 28, 1997Looking onto Phase III construction from the third-floor.
03Apr Join Rep. Reilly at his April office hours State Rep. John Reilly of Oakland Township invites residents to join him in Oxford and Orion Township for his monthly local office hours on Monday, April 15.“I value the insight that I receive during local office hours,” Rep. Reilly said. “The governor’s recent budget proposal has prompted significant feedback, and I am eager to hear from more people in our community.”Rep. Reilly will meet with residents at the following times and locations:6 to 7 p.m. at Oxford Public Library, 530 Pontiac St. in Oxford; and7:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Orion Township Public Library, 825 Joslyn Road in Orion Township.Rep. Reilly hosts local office hours on the third Monday of every month. No appointments are necessary to attend. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Reilly’s office at (517) 373-1798 or JohnReilly@house.mi.gov. Categories: Reilly News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares November 3, 2014;WPLG Local 10 (Miami, FL)This past week, two pastors and a 90-year-old man were charged by Fort Lauderdale police for violating a new city ordinance banning public food sharing. Arnold Abbott, 90, was the first to be charged. Having run a nonprofit that has been feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale for over 20 years, Abbott has faced obstacles to his mission from the city before. In 1999, Abbott won a lawsuit against the city after restrictions against feeding the homeless on Fort Lauderdale Beach were announced. And legal action might be needed again, as Abbott and the local pastors face up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine for their charitable work.In 2012, NPQ covered a similar situation concerning food sharing in Philadelphia. Before that, in 2011, it was Food not Bombs in an Orlando park. And according to surveys found in the October 2014 report from the National Coalition for the Homeless, “Share No More,” 12 cities, in addition to Ft. Lauderdale and Philadelphia, passed property use restrictions for feeding the homeless in 2013-2014. Such ordinances block the use of public space in terms of public food sharing, claiming that providing food to people experiencing homelessness causes traffic congestion and an increase in littering. Other cities cite food safety among the reasoning behind their anti-food sharing regulation. As such, nonprofits and others looking to distribute food in these cities often need to obtain a variety of special permits—a process that can be costly and time consuming for smaller organizations and individuals. //Such criminalization of the homeless and of people offering assistance is being fought by organizations like the National Coalition for the Homeless, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. Claiming that regulations and restrictions on the homeless and their supports are not only ineffective and cost-inefficient as policy but also inhumane, advocacy against such marginalization of the homeless is reaching international levels. In November, the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty will ask the U.N. Committee Against Torture to review the U.S.’s human rights treaty commitments to rule that the criminalization violates our country’s human rights obligations. Such rights include the right to food, as confirmed by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1999, the Commission on Human Rights in 2000 and the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture in 2003. By ending criminalization, efforts can be put into policies that help the individuals who are suffering from homelessness achieve success rather than penalizing them for their human needs. Such goals can only be achieved through resolving the causes of homelessness – not by banning support services to those that need them.—Michele BittnerShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share5Tweet3Share4Email12 Shares “Tickets” by Bart HeirdApril 1, 2017; Washington PostIt should come as no surprise that college admissions decisions are sometimes influenced by an applicant’s relationship with a major donor or other influential person. The influence is seldom acknowledged and usually done on a wink and a nod, or, at its most explicit, a handshake agreement behind closed doors.The coordination between the advancement and the admissions departments at the University of Virginia (UVA) has been exposed through a state-level freedom of information act (FOIA) request. (Thirty-six states have some type of FOIA law.) UVA was compelled to release documents related to a “watch list” of VIP applicants awaiting an admissions decision. The Washington Post made a sample of the 164 pages of documents, obtained by author Jeff Thomas as part of book research, available on its website. There are handwritten notations for applicant records that include “$500K,” “if at all possible A[ccept],” and “BFF” and “sorority sister” of a redacted individual. The documents appear to have been generated by the advancement department; no admissions department files were included in the 164 pages.UVA’s response was generic, not addressing any specifics contained in the revealed documents.“The Office of Advancement is occasionally contacted by alumni, friends and supporters recommending students who have an interest in attending UVA,” spokesman Anthony de Bruyn wrote in a statement to the Post. “Such a practice is not unique to UVA and can be found at similar institutions.”De Bruyn wrote that the admission office alone “is charged with the sole responsibility of reviewing applications on a holistic basis” and that it “does not coordinate with the advancement office about applicants during the application process.” But he wrote that the advancement unit “receives periodic updates to better inform its stewardship efforts.”UVA was founded as a public state university in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson. It is also among the 100 most academically elite schools in the U.S. and has an endowment of almost $6 billion, also placing it solidly in the top 100. Elite schools, including UVA, have been criticized for having disproportionately high numbers of wealthy or affluent students. For example, in 2015, only 13 percent of UVA students qualified for Pell grants.The approximately 59 students on the “watch list” for the class of 2021 would not materially affect these student and family income statistics, as almost 10,000 students were accepted for admission. However, the wait list is uncomfortably emblematic of a mindset. Sensitivity to the desires of those seeking to influence the watch list’s composition and disposition makes one wonder whether applicants without economic, athletic, or other influence are reaching the sensitivities of UVA officials.This is a story that other public universities should pay attention to, as others may emulate Thomas’s idea to petition or sue for their state universities’ advancement and admissions records to determine how one department may influence the other. They should also be ready to answer the inevitable questions from legislators and the public about how wealth influences academic opportunity in their state’s selective public universities.—Michael WylandShare5Tweet3Share4Email12 Shares
Share5Tweet8Share4Email17 SharesBy Corn, Jack, 1929-, Photographer (NARA record: 8464440) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsAugust 7, 2017; Washington PostThe article “Rural Appalachia lags the rest of the country in infant mortality and life expectancy” provides an overview of a new study showing a dramatic decline in key health indicators in the Appalachian region. Appalachia is an area of rugged land stretching from Maine to Mississippi, just a few hours’ drive from the thriving coastal cities of the U.S. According to the article,The country made gains on those health measures over the next two decades, but progress in Appalachia stalled. Between 2009 and 2013, the infant-mortality rate was 16 percent higher in Appalachia than in the rest of the country. People could expect to live 2.4 years less than their counterparts in the rest of the United States.In contrast to many media sources, which adapted the AP story to emphasize a stereotype of reckless hillbillies with bad health behaviors, Carolyn Y. Johnson’s article looked at other factors that could account for the sudden drop in these health indicators. After all, these rural dwellers didn’t just begin to have problems with alcohol, tobacco, and obesity in 2009. Lack of access to healthcare facilities and the emergence of the opioid epidemic can account for some of the divergence, but neither is significant enough to account for the disparity, according to Ms. Johnson’s account.What’s not examined in the article are the impacts of the degradation of air, land, and water; poor housing conditions that foster chronic illnesses; and a prevalence of high-risk occupations like agriculture, mining, and logging. But, again, none of these factors have changed dramatically during the study period. Ms. Johnson does note that one important explanation for the disparity could be the outmigration of healthy individuals, but fails to link depopulation to a cultural malaise of the “left behind.”Another survey out this past week comes from academic superstar Raj Chetty. Daily Yonder reports on the study in “The Rural Advantage: Rural Upbringing Raises Kids’ Future Earnings, Study Shows.” Rural communities vary widely in how much they promote or retard pathways to adult success, and the article describes some key elements: “Communities that are less racially segregated, that don’t have wide disparities in income, that have good schools and have a strong civic life produce grown-ups who earn more than people who grow up in places without those qualities.”From that short description of a good community, one might guess that Appalachia’s counties would stand out as examples of “non-metro areas with negative impact” on the Daily Yonder map. But that’s not the case; instead, Appalachia is a hodgepodge of counties with positive and negative impact.Dr. Chetty’s study hints that perhaps outmigration of young people links these two studies. “Children from many of these counties may not earn their higher salaries at home…[M]ost will move off to the big cities. But once there, they will earn more.”A strength of Chetty’s study that’s missing in the study of health disparities is the use of very local data to distinguish among rural counties. The health disparities study, by looking at all U.S. data vs. data for the portions of the 13 states that make up Appalachia, may well be missing important local differences. Then, too, each study is a snapshot of a period of time during which massive changes in economics (the Great Recession) and healthcare (the advent of the ACA) were shaping the landscape in every community. Maybe, depending on social resilience, communities responded to these challenges differently.Appalachia and rural America have been exporting young people to “the big city” for a century, beginning around the World War I when national service, urban industrialization, and rail and highway transportation paved the path to individual prosperity outside the region. At the same time as the pull of the city took the best and the brightest, the traditional rural occupations of mining, drilling, and agriculture were being automated and industrialized to require fewer unskilled workers.These big socioeconomic swings were powerfully disruptive of the rural and Appalachian communities, and not all communities could cope. For some, retaining a Jeffersonian ideal of civic institutions in a community with some ethnic diversity and without broad disparities of wealth (Chetty’s recipe for success) continued to support the success of young people as they matured and moved away. For other communities, the loss of a civic base and the emergence of “haves” and “have nots” have taken a toll. Factory farming converted farmer owners to tenants; the demise of unions in the extractive industries made the work more dangerous and the wealth less widely shared. And then, just as the Great Recession hit, cheap gas turned coal into a dying business.Rebuilding Appalachia could be a model for a new initiative that broadens the economic base and preserves unique cultural values of rural America. Marian Conway makes this point in an NPQ newswire, “The Environment as a Moral, Class, and Human Rights Issue.” Perhaps wise leaders can reframe federal assistance as a form of reparations for the demographic, ecological, and cultural damage done by a century of removal of agricultural products, coal, gas, timber, and young people.Social psychologist Kurt Lewin laid down some guidelines for what was called “cultural reconstruction” in the midst of World War II. Dr. Lewin was looking forward to the need for reconstruction in his native Germany at war’s end. In an essay, Lewin wrote:It seems feasible and natural to build up group work around the feeding of Europe after this war in such a way that the cooperative work for reconstruction would offer a real experience in democratic group life. It would be possible to reach a large number and wide variety of age levels in this and other works of reconstruction.Think of the Marshall Plan as a direct extension of Lewin’s imagining, and then consider the failure of Lyndon Johnson’s community action agencies, which devolved from civic engagement to the dole.The U.S. is already doing the feeding and providing the healthcare in much of Appalachia, but it fails to foster what Lewin called “the cooperative work for reconstruction.” This work, as envisioned by Lewin and the many others working from a similar conceptual base over the years, has to do with the common envisioning, planning, and implementation of our collective futures. It is basic organizing done well and owned locally, and that should be the core of the work of many nonprofits.—Spencer WellsShare5Tweet8Share4Email17 Shares
Sweden-based technology provider Net Insight has launched video appliance designed to support contribution applications over unmanaged first mile IP connections.According to Net Insight, the Nimbra VA 210 is designed to enable media service providers to address markets that are currently out of their reach, due to costs related to first-mile connectivity, enabling new channels for specialised content to be transported to users and subscribers.Net Insight, which launched its Nimbra MSR product a couple of years ago, has recently done a lot of work on reducing costs for remote production. If production can be done remotely during large-scale international events, for example bringing back high quality camera feeds from the London Olympics to Sweden, this can save considerable amounts of money for broadcasters, the company said.Now, according to Net Insight’s business development director Per Lindgren, driven by OTT content, the market is opening up for tier two or three live events with a big potential global audience but not necessarily a large enough audience within a particular territory to justify expensive investment in infrastructure. For these events, so far the cost of production has been prohibitive, especially for contribution, thanks to the high cost associated with live satellite or fibre links. Service providers are therefore increasingly looking at delivering coverage of such events over the internet, but with some Quality of Service.The Nimbra VA 210 is designed to enable delivery of content acquisition at high quality over unmanaged IP networks. Combining this new product for first mile delivery to a PoP, with the existing Nimbra-enabled media service network is seen as a good way to deliver coverage of this type of event, according to Lindgren.“This gives you high quality with low delay and so can change workflow…for tier two and three event coverage,” he said. “You will see a lot more live events.”The Nimbra VA 210 uses two basic techniques: it provides ‘smart’ or ‘content aware’ Forward Error Correction within MPEG streams to protect the i-Frames on video feeds, and it combines this with “selective retransmission” over the UDP transport layer protocol. ‘Selective retransmission’ means that only packets that have not already been received are asked for.“This reduces the overhead in retransmission,” said Lindgren.By combining the Nimbra VA 210 with existing Nimbra networks, broadcasters can deliver events across large distances with less delay and better quality, said Lindgren.Lindgren identified three markets for the appliance: delivery of sports events online to complement ‘higher tier’ sports broadcasting; newsgathering, where reporters use the public internet to deliver news stories; and to connect service providers’ remote affiliate sites and thus reach a greater number of smaller sites, increasing the target market for operators.“When you go longer distances, the risk of quality degradation increases, but looking at [this product] for the first and last mile the benefit is strong,” said Lindgren. The Nimbra VA 210 can increase the number of sites over which live events can be covered, he said. It could also complement or replace existing SNG technologies.“We are currently doing lab trials with customers,” said Lindgren. “We have several customers doing trials and we are seeing a lot of interest, both from the OTT but also to deliver new content over online platforms. OTT is becoming more interesting for live events. There is also the possibility to extend reach cost effectively to more remote facilities. It’s about improving QoS over unmanaged networks and improving packet loss.”Commercial delivery is scheduled for the first quarter of next year. The Nimbra VA 210 is a hardware platform, available both as a rack-mounted product and as a desktop-type product.Lindgren said that while there were existing technologies within CDN systems to do some of this, this was the first time such technology had been integrated into telecom grade equipment and tied to the Nimbra platform and the Nimbra management system.
Russian satellite operator RSCC has chosen conditional access provider Irdeto to secure the content of the commercial TV channels distributed via RSCC satellites.“The most advanced information security technologies comprise the basis for protecting investments in mass media, said Sergey Plotnikov, director of the infocommunication technologies and multimedia services department, RSCC. “An important aspect of the RSCC business strategy is to improve the quality of our services, and I believe this will give us a competitive advantage in today’s market. It is also very important for us to treat with utmost attention such aspects as backup and redundancy of technical means and information security. The implementation of Irdeto’s conditional access solutions for RSCC’s TV platform allows us to significantly improve our services, and guarantees RSCC the highest level of content protection.”
Free-to-air satellite TV operators from France, the UK and Italy – Fransat, Freesat and Tivusat – have partnered to form the FreeTV Alliance, with an aim of standardising satellite TV services and technologies in Europe.Announcing the initiative at IBC yesterday, Fransat CEO Jean-Luc Deroudilhe, Freesat managing director Emma Scott and Tivusat CEO Alberto Sigismondi said the alliance would help to promote economies of scale and would help drive the continuing rollout of compelling free-to-view satellite TV.Among the goals of the FreeTV Alliance is to make it easier and more economical for manufacturers to develop new products. It also aims to help broadcasters and content providers deploy hybrid TV services that combine satellite reception and IP-based interactivity.To do this, the alliance will produce common recommendations and specifications based on open standards for set-top boxes and smart TVs in the European market. Alliance members will also work together to establish preferred technologies and common understandings for multiscreen TV solutions.“Until now, the major free-to-view satellite TV operators have focussed on building a business within their national boundaries. As the TV and consumer electronics industries become increasingly globalised, now is the right time for us to work together to ensure free-to-view satellite remains at the forefront of the television market,” said TivuSat’s Sigismondi.“The FreeTV Alliance’s priorities include providing concrete help, support and advice to manufacturers so they can more easily include satellite technology into their devices, which in turn will allow operators to offer an even more competitive service to consumers.“We will be able to combine our collective resources to deliver the best customer experience whilst minimising costs to manufacturers and so act as a collective group to agree upon common standards and features.”Germany’s HD+ was originally initially slated to be a fourth launch member of the FreeTVAlliance, but has not yet committed to the scheme.In a statement read out on behalf of HD+ at the launch of the FreeTV Alliance, the company said: “HD+ is not able to join the FreeTV Alliance at this moment in time. However, HD+ has always been fully supportive and interested in developing an ecosystem and they have a track record of working with industry partners on open standards and systems.“We welcome any free-to-air TV operators’ initiatives and wish the alliance a successful launch today and believe they will fulfil an important industry role. We also look forward to joining in due course.”
EE TVUK 4G mobile operator EE is to launch a fixed-line TV service, competing with BT and TalkTalk.The EE service will be available free with an EE home broadband subscription, or for £9.95 a month for mobile-only subscribers.EE will offer over 70 Freeview channels and a 24 hour Replay feature, plus the ability to access additional on-demand channels and catch-up channels, including more than 10,000 TV series and movies.EE TV will allow viewers to watch programmes on their home TV, as well as on up to three smartphones or tablets simultaneously.Users will be able to to stream live and recorded content directly from the EE TV box’s hard drive using a new remote app for iOS and Android. A multi-record function will enable users to record up to four separate programmes to be recorded simultaneously. Programmes are stored directly on the EE TV box, which is equipped with a 1TB hard drive.The service will offer the BBC iPlayer and Demand 5 catch-up services at launch. Other services available will include Wuaki.tv, Dailymotion and YouTube.The telco has tapped French technology company Netgem to provide boxes for the service, which will be HbbTV-based, EE having decided against joining the YouView consortium that forms the basis for BT and TalkTalk’s services.“Today we’re announcing the most advanced TV service the UK has ever seen. How, where and when people watch TV and movies is changing, and mobile technology is driving that change. As the UK’s biggest and fastest network, with more than 25 million customers, we have unrivalled insight into people’s changing viewing habits. It’s helped us create a service that has mobile at its heart, and makes the TV experience more personal than ever before,” said Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE.“With EE TV, not only can you watch different streams of live and recorded content, on multiple screens simultaneously, but your mobile becomes the remote. This gives each viewer the chance to watch, queue and view what they want, when they want. It’s a completely new way to enjoy your favourite programmes, films and internet content.”
The number of subscribers of bundled services in Portugal reached three million at the en d of March, up 2.6% quarter-on-quarter and 12% year-on-year, according to figures compiled by the country’s communications regulator.According to Anacom, 44.4% of bundled subscribers take a triple-play offering, while some 35.7% take five services from the same provider.Revenues from bundled services reached €360 million in the first quarter, according to Anacom, up 34% on the same period a year earlier. Average monthly bills for multiple service households was €52.15.Meo has the highest share of the multi-play market, with a 43.7% share, followed by Nos with 38.5%, Vodafone with 10.9% and Altice/Cabovisão with 6.9%.
Marc ZagarFormer Modern Times Group COO Marc Zagar has joined Greece-based broadcaster Antenna Group as CFO.Zagar joins from telecoms group Millicom, where he was group CFO andhead of financial planning.Prior to that he was on Scandinavia-based MTG’s executive committee board, holding various high-level roles.Antenna is gearing up for expansion, having recently hired another former senior MTG exec, Gerd Utecht as head of M&A and investments. After partnersing with The Raine Group, it has invested in initiatives with Vice Media and US producer Imagine Entertainment.The group already has former NBCUniversal International president Pete Smith as managing director and Darren Childs, CEO of UKTV, as an advisory board member.“Marc Zagar is one the most successful finance executives in Europe’s media industry and his tremendous experience will be key to help executing our ambitious growth strategy,’’ said Theodore Kyriakou, CEO of Antenna.“I am very excited to be joining Antenna Group and look forward to being part of its dynamic and innovative management team,” said Zagar. “The company’s experience in developing hugely successfully television and digital operations demonstrate that it has found a unique formula to benefit from the enormousshifts in the media and entertainment industry.“The partnerships and investments in companies such as Vice and Imagine Entertainment are tremendous assets and will allow Antenna Group to grow even faster in the future.”
Home networking technology group the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA) has turned its attention to the network access market with the launch of MoCA Access. The industry group is pitching the new specification as a “fibre extension technology” and as a potential low-cost complement or alternative to DOCSIS 3.1 – or G.Fast – in cases where network operators have fibre-to-the-building in place.The new specification, which is set to be approved by the MoCA board imminently, is based on the existing MoCA 2.5 spec and can turn MoCA 2.5 devices into access nodes via a firmware upgrade.The technology is capable of delivering 2.5Gbps downstream and 2Gbps upstream with latency of under five miliseconds, according to MoCA. The spec removes home networking elements of the MoCA 2.5 spec to create a technology for point-to-multipoint access serving up to 63 client devices. It operates in the 400MHz-1675MHz range, enabling it to co-exist with TV transmissions as well as DOCSIS and cellular technologies.“The only tweaks to the spec will be in software,” said Rob Gelphman, VP of marketing and member relations, MoCA, speaking to DTVE at the ANGA COM trade fair in Cologne.Helge Tianen, chair of the MoCA Access working group and head of product marketing at InCoax, also at ANGA COM said MoCA Access had been designed as an in-building technology. He said it had removed the mesh elements of the MoCA 2.5 specification for home networking and added features to provide QoS, which is necessary for an access technology. It works in the 400-1675MHz range.Tianen said that, in addition to providing residential high-speed broadband, MoCA Access could serve as a backhaul technology for 5G coverage in homes as well as enabling larger operators to more effectively target the business services market with guaranteed services.For small and medium-sized operators, however, the technology can provide a way to offer ultra-fast services without the need for an expensive DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade, he said.“Small and mid-size operators can’t afford to go to DOCSIS 3.1. But [often] they already have fibre to the building so they can use this technology in parallel with their DOCSIS 3.0 service. They can use this for premium tier services,” he said.“The small and mid-size cable operators love this because they can’t calculate the business case to upgrade to 3.1. [With this] they can either rent fibre or they may own fibre. This is an affordable way to go ahead.”In addition to MDUs, Tianen said that MoCA Access could also serve as an affordable technology for individual homes. He said that the technology has been evaluated by a number of tier one telcos as well as cable operators.Tianen said that MoCA also has a roadmap to enable the technology to deliver up to 10GHz with the technology.The new specification, which is set to be approved by the MoCA board imminently, is based on the existing MoCA 2.5 spec and can turn MoCA 2.5 devices into access nodes via a firmware upgrade.The technology is capable of delivering 2.5Gbps downstream and 2Gbps upstream with latency of under five miliseconds, according to MoCA. The spec removes home networking elements of the MoCA 2.5 spec to create a technology for point-to-multipoint access serving up to 63 client devices. It operates in the 400MHz-1675MHz range, enabling it to co-exist with TV transmissions as well as DOCSIS and cellular technologies.“The only tweaks to the spec will be in software,” said Rob Gelphman, VP of marketing and member relations, MoCA, speaking to DTVE at the ANGA COM trade fair in Cologne.Helge Tianen, chair of the MoCA Access working group and head of product marketing at InCoax, also at ANGA COM said MoCA Access had been designed as an in-building technology. He said it had removed the mesh elements of the MoCA 2.5 specification for home networking and added features to provide QoS, which is necessary for an access technology. It works in the 400-1675MHz range.Tianen said that, in addition to providing residential high-speed broadband, MoCA Access could serve as a backhaul technology for 5G coverage in homes as well as enabling larger operators to more effectively target the business services market with guaranteed services.For small and medium-sized operators, however, the technology can provide a way to offer ultra-fast services without the need for an expensive DOCSIS 3.1 upgrade, he said.“Small and mid-size operators can’t afford to go to DOCSIS 3.1. But [often] they already have fibre to the building so they can use this technology in parallel with their DOCSIS 3.0 service. They can use this for premium tier services,” he said.“The small and mid-size cable operators love this because they can’t calculate the business case to upgrade to 3.1. [With this] they can either rent fibre or they may own fibre. This is an affordable way to go ahead.”In addition to MDUs, Tianen said that MoCA Access could also serve as an affordable technology for individual homes.He said that the technology has been evaluated by a number of tier one telcos as well as cable operators.Tianen said that MoCA also has a roadmap to enable the technology to deliver up to 10Gbps with the technology.
Telenor’s Fornebu HQNorwegian telecom operator Telenor’s broadcast unit saw a 1% decline in revenues in the second quarter caused by currency effects, but grew EBITDA. Declines in its Canal Digital pay TV unit and Telenor Satellite were partly offset by growth at its Norkring domestic transmission services unit.Telenor Broadcast posted revenues of NOK1.547 billion (€165 million) for the quarter. Canal Digital DTH posted revenues of NOK1.154 billion, down from NOK1.165 billion for the same period last year. Telenor Satellite saw its revenues decline from NOK241 million to NOK227 million, while Norkring grew its revenues from NOK275 million to NOK283 million.Canal Digital did see EBITDA grow however, up from NOK217 million to NOK230 million. The group’s subscriber base continued its long, slow decline, losing 4,000 customers in the quarter to end with 851,000.Overall, Telenor Broadcast’s EBITDA grew from NOK512 million to NOK529 million. Operating profit jumped from NOK232 million to NOK709 million, thanks to a NOK0.5 billion gain related to a financial lease arrangement for satellite transponders.Telenor as a whole posted revenues of NOK31.4 billion for the quarter, up from NOK30.9 billion. EBITDA grew from NOK11.4 billion to NOK12.7 billion.
Eurochannel is upgrading from Standard to High Definition (HD) in partnership with Eutelsat, it announced at MIPCOM.Eurochannel, which has been a Eutelsat customer for five years, will expand its capacity on the Eutelsat 16A satellite to launch its HD version for European viewers.Eurochannel is a TV station dedicated to European culture and broadcasts films and series and content featuring European fashion events, arts and destinations.Eutelsat 16A is positioned at Eutelsat’s 16° East key neighbourhood, a preferred location for TV distribution to terrestrial networks across Europe.
First comes the deal. Then the battle for hearts and minds. Liberty Global and Vodafone have their €18.4 billion agreement. As long expected, Liberty will sell Germany’s Unitymedia to the mobile giant along with its central and eastern European assets with the exception of Poland and Slovakia.In announcing the agreement, Liberty Global and Vodafone were at one in hailing the creation of what Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao called “the first truly converged pan-European champion of competition”.Germany is at the heart of the deal and the likely source of resistance, with Deutsche Telekom CEO Timotheus Höttges already describing the tie-up as “completely unacceptable”.This raises the question of how far Liberty and Vodafone are from winning the hearts and minds of regulators – and consumers – in support of their plan.On one level, Höttges’ objections are risible. Deutsche Telekom remains by far the bigger player in the German market, with 13.2 million customers against Vodafone and Liberty’s combined 10 million. The combination of Vodafone and Unitymedia does not remove any competition because there is little overlap between the companies regionally-focused networks. On the contrary, the combination of the pair would create a serious competitor to Telekom across broadband and mobile with a national reach for the first time.Höttges’ claim that Vodafone plus Unitymedia would have a larger share in TV distribution in Germany might be more significant from a regulatory point of view if cable TV is considered as a distinct market in its own right – though why this would make any sense is less clear.Of course, national regulators do have a habit of training a beady eye on cable in countries where historically it has been seen as a utility-type service. Belgium is one of the worst offenders, implementing an ‘open cable’ regime where cable TV providers had to open up their networks to third parties on a wholesale basis – with only Orange taking this up. More recently regulator the BIPT tried to regulate cable broadband access, forcing Telenet and Voo to open up their networks on the basis that cable broadband was somehow distinct from other types of broadband.In Germany, too, regulators have history when it comes to treating cable as a special case. Liberty Global has after all tried to consolidate the industry before, first in 2002 when it tried to acquire Kabel Deutschland at a time when it had a 52% stake in the recently combined EWT/Primacom. At that point – ironically enough – the willing seller of Kabel Deutschland was Deutsche Telekom, the management of which has evidently had second thoughts in the intervening 16 years. However, competition watchdog the Bundeskartellamt nixed the deal on the grounds that it would reduce competition in “the German cable market”.Liberty came back for a second go in 2013 when Providence Equity Partners put Kabel Deutschland up for sale, this time being simply outbid by Vodafone.The market has changed beyond recognition since 2002 of course, when cable broadband was in its infancy and OTT TV was still not much more than a twinkle in Reed Hastings’ eye. In the case of Germany, regulators would be better advised to ponder why Europe’s richest economy still lags many of its neighbours in the availability and cost of high-speed broadband and advanced TV services.Nevertheless, the deal does have opponents – and not just Telekom. Fibre-to-the-building operator association the Bundeslverband Glasfaseranschluß (Buglas) has already registered its opposition in a letter to Federal economic affairs and energy minister Peter Altmaier. Buglas argues that the economies of scale generated by the merger would undermine the business case for the building out of FTTH/B networks by regional players given the “declining margins in the telecommunications business”.While a case against the merger based on the inference that it could drive down the cost of high-speed broadband for consumers might raise an eyebrow or two, Buglas’ claim that the deal would distort competition in the supply of services to housing associations may carry more weight. The group rounds off the case against by claiming that Vodafone-Unitymedia’s ability to bundle products would undermine its business and by arguing that any attempt to remedy matters by regulating access would be a retrograde step.The German Federal Network Agency – the Bundesnetzagentur – which regulates utilities, telecoms and the post and railway services, has also made itself heard since the deal was announced, with agency chief Jochen Homann suggesting that Telekom may no longer be the dominant service provider in certain cities. The Bundesnetzagentur has already been looking at whether cable operators have gained a dominant position in telecoms in certain regions.On the plus side, some politicians have expressed support for the deal. Joachim Pfeffer of the CDU, who has served as deputy chairman of the Bundesnetzagentur’s advisory board, was cited by the Handelsblatt newspaper as saying that the merger would be “a major leap forward” for broadband and digital innovation.Given Germany’s lack of broadband progress to date, Colao’s argument that the combination would create a challenger to a dominant fixed-line incumbent and would contribute the creation of the Gigabit society in Germany may be more effective in winning hearts and minds than Buglas or Telekom’s case. Vodafone has committed to invest heavily in enabling the creation of “the Gigabit society” and ensuring Germany’s “digital competitiveness”. Colao portrayed Vodafone’s ability to deliver convergence between fixed and mobile services as a positive aspect of the deal.In his remarks on the deal during Liberty Global’s own presentation to analysts, CEO Mike Fries said that the German broadband market was “screaming for investment, consolidation and convergence”. Fries made a point of highlighting the European Commission’s role in deciding whether a pan-European merger of this scale will be a good thing, and that he did not expect it to be referred back to the German regulator.The argument is well made. Infrastructure competition is the best remedy to the well-established power of telecom incumbents. Seriously hobbling or actively preventing the deal is not going to lead to more competition and better services for German consumers.