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Wireville.com

Issue: March 2006
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

Every coin has two sides. The object of the game (PR-wise) is to maximize the exposure of the positive (strong points) side and minimize the negative (or weak points) side. Recently, we came across an agenda by a commercial cartel (see below links) to suppress media coverage that includes negative information about their products.

The Fluoropolymer Division- Wire and Cable Section Agenda, for the upcoming meeting (3-28-2006) in Hilton Head, SC. This meeting may include Daikin and DuPont discussions on market conditions and steps to influence the code development process. Review the PDF that is linked below:

http://www.plasticsindustry.org
http://www.fluoropolymers.org/index.htm
http://www.fluoropolymers.org/conference
http://204.3.197.242/conference/wc-03-28-06.pdf

If the media covers only the glowingly positive reports issued by the manufacturers and their PR Press Corps, the result might not be "fair and balanced coverage". The pages of the Heard On The Street monthly column contain a wide variety of news and information relative to the communications industry. Over the years we have gathered a myriad of information about a host of subjects. When the information was the "glittering side" of the product and news coverage, we received no complaints.

Recently, the headlines of the National and International media have proclaimed cautionary messages about product concerns and possible safety hazards. It seems that if the news is positive public relations, it's A-okay. However, if the news is negative, it is labeled as a propaganda attack on the manufacturers and their products. www.ewg.org , or try www.dupontcouncil.org …….if all else fails try a Google search for "toxic Teflon".

We don't make the news. We just follow it. Even a cursory review of www.wireville.com will find lots of news about fluoropolymer products. In most people's perspective, that is called "fair and balanced" coverage.

FOR THE RECORD: FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) is a chemical product that has become an integral part of the communications cabling industry. This material soared into a commercial success as the primary insulating and jacketing material used in the first telecommunications cables that were code approved for use in return air plenum spaces (without the requirement of metallic conduits). Initially the primary manufacturer of FEP was DuPont (under the trade name DuPont ® Teflon FEP). The financial cost comparisons between the Teflon FEP cable and the traditional cables (including the labor and materials for installation in metal conduit), showed a huge savings with the CMP (NFPA 262) approved cable. The market responded with a volume of orders for the plenum cable that exceeded the supply of FEP.

In short order, the chemical industry found another jacketing material that could meet the NFPA 262 (Steiner 910 Tunnel Test for flame spread and smoke generation). The jacketing material that met the test requirements was FRPVC (fire resistant Polyvinyl Chloride). The FRPVC was substantially less expensive than the Teflon FEP and it alleviated the supply shortage on the FEP that was used primarily for the insulating material on the copper conductors. Later, we discovered that the FRPVC compounds contained high levels of heavy metals (including LEAD).

When the patent for Teflon FEP expired, Daikin America began production of this material under the trade name of Daikin Neoflon FEP. Today the significant majority of the FEP available in the market place is produced by Daikin and DuPont. http://daikin-america.com/ , www.dupont.com, www.cablefireresearch.org

Today, we commonly understand that 80% of all deaths in a fire scenario are caused by toxic gasses and smoke. Unfortunately, the current testing methods that have been used for more than a quarter of a century do not test for toxic gasses. This obvious gap in the safety net of product design is potentially deadly. Remember----- SAFETY IS TOO IMPORTANT TO IGNORE.

Fires in Buildings
During a fire the occupants of a building are exposed to two main hazards; one is the exposure to the flames and radiant heat from the fire itself. This hazard is confined to a small area in the vicinity of the fire and the danger decreases rapidly as the distance from the fire increases. The second hazard, and the more dangerous of the two, comes from the smoke and toxic gases given off by the fire. Most fire deaths are caused by the inhalation of hot smoke or toxic gases, or both, and the danger from this hazard is present at considerable distances from the fire itself. http://www.adelaide.edu.au/security/emergency/fire.html

We know that FEP continues to play a major role in the construction of high performance datacom cables used in return air plenum applications. The material does not like to burn. It requires very high temperatures, and additional oxygen levels to achieve flammability. FEP is an extremely low fuel load material and very stable under normal environmental conditions. These points are very favorable for this halogen material.

FEP can generate toxic gasses under heat decomposition. These gasses can be highly corrosive in combination with even minute amounts of moisture (such as humidity). Some of the clear gasses generated under heat decomposition are potentially deadly. Until testing for toxicity is required this potential public safety threat remains elusive information from the consumer.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that there is more than 60 billion feet of communications cabling installed in the American workplace. Most of that cable is jacketed with PVC containing high levels of heavy metals. Most of the cable insulating materials installed in the air systems are insulated with FEP (a product that remains untested for toxic gas generation in a fire scenario).

We believe that the combination of these two converging issues dealing with installed cable represent a major public health and safety threat that should be addressed properly. If the cable remains in place, it may generate problems due to product decomposition. If the cable is removed, it presents a whole new set of concerns for dealing with these products in the waste stream.

Finally, we heard reports at BICSI (winter conference in Orlando 2006) that CMP cable installed in return air plenum spaces required sprinklers, unless the cable was the CMP -50. We checked with the NFPA-13 panel and found that this report of sprinkler requirements was in error. We suggest you check with the National Fire Protection Association for a proper interpretation. www.nfpa.org, or try www.mikeholt.com - http://www.nfpa.org/Assets/Files/PDF/ROP/13-06-ROC.pdf

In our opinion, we find no compelling evidence that the CMP (NFPA 262) cable design fails to deliver the safety requirements for communications cabling under current test criteria.

But that's just my opinion.


Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
www.wireville.com
Note our NEW Address
Communication Planning Corporation
4949 Sunbeam Road, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077
frank@wireville.com

Fluke Networks Closes Acquisition Of Visual Networks

Customers of Visual Networks can expect that existing products and programs will continue to be sold, supported and will continue to receive further development by the newly expanded Fluke Networks. The acquisition adds to the company's already strong VoIP Lifecycle Management solutions and broadens its application performance monitoring offerings. Customers now have additional alternatives from the combined product lines to select solutions best suited for their particular network management needs.

"With the closing of this acquisition, we look forward to working with the Visual team and continuing to innovate Visual Networks' flagship solution Visual UpTime® Selecttm," said Jeff Lime, newly appointed President of Visual Networks and Fluke Networks Senior Vice President of Marketing. "Visual UpTime Select will be an integral part of Fluke Networks' wide array of solutions that enable enterprises to optimize network performance."

Visual UpTime Select customers will be served by their current sales and support staff. Customers can also expect continued support from the existing combination of VARs, distributors and service providers. These channels will in fact add a new and beneficial dimension to Fluke Networks' service capabilities.

"The closing of this acquisition is a significant addition to Fluke Networks' business and supports the company's vision of how to serve enterprise customers," said Chris Odell, President of Fluke Networks. "Visual Networks' expertise in the managed services market will bolster Fluke Networks' already strong offerings in VoIP and application performance management." www.flukenetworks.com

As A New Term Begins, Continuity And Progress Follows

From The Presidents Desk - Milner Irvin

Hello! My three-year term as NECA's new president just commenced, and I would like to thank my fellow NECA contractors for giving me this opportunity to expand my service to our association. And, to all the readers of this magazine, I thank you, too. The fact that you are reading these words indicates you have an interest in our association and its work to advance our industry.

When I set out to write this introductory column, I was not sure whether to emphasize continuity or progress, but I soon realized these concepts cannot be separated. Both are important in my life and the life of my company. They are two entwined threads of a strand that runs throughout the history of our association and industry and leads into the future, as well. Let me give you a couple of examples from a personal vantage.

1. Riverside Electric, established in 1922, is one of the oldest electrical contracting firms in the southeastern United States. Our company in Miami grew out of the one my grandfather founded in 1910 to bring the marvels of electricity to the streets of Atlanta, and it is still a family business, now in the fourth generation.

However, as proud as I am of that pedigree and our company's well-established reputation for quality and integrity, it gives me even more pride to note that Riverside Electric was one of the first electrical contracting firms in the area to provide voice and data cabling services. That's continuity and progress all wrapped up together!

2. My election as the 30th holder of this office places me in a line that goes back to 1901. I suspect that all 29 NECA presidents before me made a good life in electrical contracting, as have I, and so, like me, they wanted to give something back to the association and industry central to their success. Repayment takes the form of service dedicated to continual improvement for the benefit not only of our contemporary counterparts but also for the next generation.

The leaders of our association, arising from the same tradition of a commitment to service and progress, shared something in common. But, the focus on "continually improving conditions within our sphere" (words from NECA's original charter) ensured that each brought something new to this office as they applied their unique talents and personalities in addressing the particular concerns of their times.

Of course, they had a lot of help along the way. NECA is, after all, a member-driven organization, and I am pleased that effective means to expand the ability of members to participate in our association were developed during the tenure of my very capable predecessor, Ben Cook.

My point: Readers of this magazine should not expect to see any radical departure from NECA's mission under this new president. However, I do hope to report new activities and accomplishments in this column as I work with other industry participants on addressing the issues of our day-including what I see as one of the most important: building a highly skilled and adequately populated workforce to enable electrical contractors to compete successfully in both traditional and new markets.

I pledge to do my best in this regard, and, though member companies will continue to be the primary focus of NECA's efforts, I am confident that our entire industry will benefit as we work together to overcome current challenges and take advantage of present and future opportunities. That's what NECA-and I-are all about.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor magazine - January issue www.ecmag.com

Comment: Recently, NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association www.necanet.org) has pushed ahead with several bold initiatives "to raise the bar" on quality assurance. In this environment of particular focus on safety, security, and performance, NECA has clearly differentiated their value and workmanship above all other trade organizations involved in the electrical and VDV world. Watch our upcoming issues for more detailed information on these exciting programs that will include major steps ahead in the educational opportunities and craft quality assurance verification. www.wireville.com

General Cable Reports Fourth-Quarter Net Loss Of $3.3 Million; Shares Rise 14.2 Percent

General Cable Corp., which makes aluminum, fiber-optic and other wire and cable products, on Tuesday reported a fourth-quarter loss, but sales and adjusted results beat Wall Street estimates and shares surged after hours.

General Cable reported a net loss applicable to common shareholders of $3.3 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with profit of $25.7 million, or 53 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. Excluding one-time items -- such a charge of $16.3 million for preferred share conversion -- the company earned 29 cents per share, compared with last year's adjusted earnings of 12 cents per share.

Sales jumped 27 percent to $617.5 million from last year's $485.3 million.
Analysts, on average, were looking for earnings of 18 cents per share on much more modest sales of $553.7 million, according to a Thomson Financial poll. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates.

For the full year, the company's net income available to common shareholders was $17.2 million, or 41 cents per share, down 46 percent from last year's $31.9 million, or 75 cents per share.

Sales totaled $2.38 billion, up 21 percent from last year's $1.97 billion.
For the first quarter, the company said it expects earnings between 23 cents and 29 cents per share and sales between $680 million and $700 million.

Shares jumped $3.27, or 14.2 percent, to $26.24 in after-hours electronic trading, after losing 8 percent, to close at $22.97 on the New York Stock Exchange. www.generalcable.com

"The times, they are a-changin´"

"Toyota Sees new path to growth..." "GM Shares sink to 23 year low...."
Side-by-side columns, page one, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 21, 2005. Who'd a thunk? Please, no letters regarding domestic versus foreign car companies. I lived in Detroit for 14 years, drive a General Motors product, have many friends there and my son works for a major domestic company's Detroit-based automotive division.

The point is paradigm shifts are occurring across many markets in our great country. Shifts that, like it or not, are here to stay. These shifts will directly affect how companies think about, develop, adapt, position and sell products. Ignore these shifts at your own risk.

Our market is a prime example of a dramatic, market-changing paradigm shift. How you respond to it will go a long way toward determining your long-term business growth. What's the paradigm shift?

Today's electrical contractor has evolved from an INSTALLER of product, to a PRODUCT SPECIFIER and sometimes a DESIGNER of final systems! Want some proof?

· Design-build projects now represent more than 46 percent of the average contractor's total revenue. That activity is growing. Design-build directly implies specification involvement. Look over our comprehensive research report on this subject. It's full of great stuff.

· Specifications are supplied to the contractor far less specific than ever before. More than 82 percent of all specifications are multiple, or equal, or performance. This is a big jump from a few years ago. Guess who will make the final choice between you and the other guy's product?

· Schematics are supplied to the contractor in a partially or totally incomplete manner more than ever before. Contractors are having to finish these designs in-house or through subcontracting-out. Think they will not have a direct influence on what is designed and ultimately installed?

Yes, "the times, they are a-changin'." If you include the electrical contractor in your specifier and installer budget, good for you. It will pay off handsomely. However, if you still cling to what used to be appropriate, then... oh well.

Please have a happy and prosperous 2006. And-as always-we thank you for your business.

John W. Maisel

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor magazine www.ecmag.com

Comment: This publication (The Electrical Contractor Magazine) is the best source of current and pertinent information about the electrical industry and the convergence with the world of datacom. Visit their website and see for yourself. The NECA and IBEW new programs, through the National Joint Apprentice Training Committee (NJATC) will be covered in future issues.

Belden CDT Fourth-Quarter Earnings Slide To $9.7 Million On Hefty Charges, Higher Copper Prices

Cable and wire products company Belden CDT Inc. on Thursday posted a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profit as the company logged hefty charges and wrestled with rising copper prices.

The results -- as well as the company's full-year and first-quarter outlook -- fell short of Wall Street expectations, sending shares down $1.74, or 6.4 percent, to $25.43 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $17.65 to $27.72.

The company posted net income of $9.7 million, or 21 cents per share, down from $17.1 million, or 33 cents per share, in the prior-year period. Excluding executive succession and severance costs and accelerated depreciation, operating income was $18.4 million.

Analysts in a Thomson Financial poll forecast earnings of 39 cents per share. Revenue grew to $362.9 million from $330.3 million in the year-earlier quarter.

A rapid rise in the price of copper has put the squeeze on Belden. The company said its North American networking business grew revenue but said, despite list-price increases, net pricing could not keep pace with rising material costs. Belden's North American electronics business increased prices and reported strong operating margins, as a result.

Full-year net income ballooned to $47.6 million, or 96 cents per share, from $15.2 million, or 43 cents per share, in 2004. Revenue for all of 2005 rose to $1.35 billion from $966.2 million in the prior year.

Excluding possible restructuring charges, Belden forecast 2006 earnings of $1.50 to $1.60 per share, versus analysts' consensus estimate of $1.65. For the first quarter, the company sees profit of 27 cents to 30 cents per share, excluding charges, while analysts predict per-share earnings of 35 cents. www.belden.com

The Light Brigade Announces A New Interactive DVD On Fiber Optic Splicing

The DVD covers PAS, LID and fixed V-groove fusion splicers for ribbon, FTTH and premise applications. Also discussed are the various types and applications for mechanical splicing, such as access for testing fibers and cables, emergency restorations and premises applications.

The professionally-filmed lab and field footage and detailed graphics make this an essential tool for today's splicer. It is structured into user-selectable chapters that allow for easy viewing of specific topics applicable to the viewer's needs. The DVD also features student and instructor quizzes.

Chapters include splicing applications, fiber preparation and cleaving as well as the techniques and theory involved in fusion and mechanical splices. The DVD also examines splicing in the outside plant and the issues involved in the splicing of multimode and specialty fibers.

Other highlights include:

  • The correct methods of preparing, cleaving, splicing and protecting optical fibers and how to obtain optimum splice quality.
  • Splicing applications including outside plant, inline, pigtail, emergency restorations and FTTH.
  • Fiber preparation for single strand and ribbon fibers from stripping the coating through the cleaning process.
  • Fusion splicing methods such as manual, LID, PAS and ribbon splicing.
  • Mechanical splicing and its applications.
  • Splicing in outside plant applications.
  • Multimode and specialty splicing.

www.lightbrigade.com

Certified Training Schedule
Certified Communication Inc.
March - April, 2006

Dates                 Class

MARCH
3/6 - 3/10          ITS Technician
3/20 - 3/24        ITS Installer 1

APRIL
4/3 - 4/7            ITS Installer 2
4/17 - 4/21        ITS Technician

This schedule is subject to change based on Customer requests.

James R. (Ray) Craig RCDD/ITS Specialist
Corporate Trainer
Certified Communications, Inc.
15928 Midway Road
Addison, TX 75001
Office 972-432-8310
Toll Free 1-800-479-7126
Cell 972-880-6528
www.certified.com

Rexel, Distributor of Electrical & Datacom Products Announces The Grand Opening On March 10th 2006 Of A New BICSI Technology Training Center In Newton North Carolina.

The new BICSI Training Center located in the Newton branch of Rexel is a giant step in bringing world-class training to the local area. BICSI is an organization that specializes in the preparedness training and education of communications designers and installers.

Cable and connectivity installation of any computer or telephone network represents 10% of the overall cost and yet account for 90% of all network problems. BICSI trained technicians and RCDD's (Registered Communications Distribution Designers) are trained to insure best practices for installation and connectivity virtually eliminating a high rate of system down-times and cost of ownership issues associated with the cabling system.

During a 5-day class the trainee will learn proper techniques for termination of communications cable, proper grounding and bonding, proper fire stopping techniques and of course how to achieve the best performance for a cabling system and reduce downtime of any network.

The Newton BICSI Training Center is a permanent site and is built with a shell cabling infrastructure pathway including an Entrance Facility, Telecommunications Room racking, Main Cross Connect and termination equipment. The facility was built following all NEC and ANSI EIA/TIA standards. Trainees will get hand-on experience utilizing real-life obstacles in cable-path design and installation.

Rexel has made its investment in the area to increase awareness and assist with local communications contractors and end-users. These professional classes are recommended for all communications installers, designers and project managers that deal with cabling infrastructure issues including Category 5e, Category 6 and Fiber-optic cables for Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet. Courses follow the National format of BICSI recognized as the authority worldwide for best practices training. www.rexelusa.com

NAHB's National Green Building Conference Features Latest Green Building Techniques, Achievement Awards, Informative Tour & New Class for Builders

Albuquerque to Host National Green Building Conference


WHEN - March 11, 2006
Green Building for Building Professionals, Day 1 of 2
(Certified Graduate Builder Designation Course)

March 12, 2006 · Green Building for Building Professionals, Day 2 of 2
· Green Building Home & Technology Tours
· Green Building Awards Reception & Dinner

March 13-14, 2006
Keynote, education sessions, and new product exhibits

WHERE - Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, 330 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102

WHO - Conference speakers include keynoter Harry Green, president of the International Code Council; Albuquerque Mayor Martin J. Chavez and more than 30 experts in new technologies, energy efficiency, sustainable products and innovative design.

WHAT - As the leader in the nation's residential green building movement, NAHB provides home builders and developers with information and research to promote environmentally sensitive land development, resource conservation and energy efficiency. This annual conference attracts more than 900 builders, architects and engineers to explore construction and marketing techniques with seminars, innovative new product and tool displays and other special presentations. The greater Albuquerque area is a prime example of unique green building architecture, interiors and design, and the Green Building Home & Technology Tour will provide insights and details through a half-dozen area homes, including Vision House 06, a 4,000 sq. ft. completely sustainable custom home.

For detailed Green Building Conference information, go to www.nahb.org/greenbuilding.

Fluke Networks Introduces Four SimpliFiber™ Verification Kits That Improve Technicians' Productivity

Fluke Networks has introduced four new SimpliFiber™ Optical Loss Test Kits, designed to directly address the unique jobs and situations faced by technicians and contractors. The kits contain tools for measuring loss and power levels, locating faults and polarity issues, inspecting connector endfaces, and many other tasks. Each kit is delivered with a convenient carrying case that helps to organize, transport, and protect the tools.

"Whether they are responsible for installation and maintenance of singlemode fiber, multimode fiber, and even copper cabling, one of these kits will provide the right selection of tools to test and troubleshoot cabling infrastructure. "said Harley Lang, Marketing Manager for Fiber Test Products for Fluke Networks.

"The new kits are all built around Fluke Networks' latest generation of affordable, easy-to-use and field-tough fiber test products," Lang said. "These tools help technicians to quickly troubleshoot and spot check newly installed fiber links."

The Complete Fiber Verification Kit is designed for contractors or network technicians that install and maintain premises networks with both multimode and singlemode fiber. It provides tools for verifying optical power loss and power levels at 850 nm, 1300 nm, 1310 nm, and 1550 nm, inspecting fiber endfaces, and locating cable faults, connector problems, and polarity issues.

The Multimode Fiber Verification Kit is designed for maintaining premises networks, including verifying optical loss and power levels at 850 nm and 1300 nm, inspecting fiber endfaces, and locating cable faults, connector problems, and polarity issues.

The Fiber and Copper Technician kit is designed for installing, maintaining and troubleshooting both copper and fiber cabling. This option combines our popular CableIQ Advanced IT Kit and FTK300 Multimode Fiber Verification Kit to provide you with all the tools you need to qualify copper cabling bandwidth verify fiber optic loss and power levels and troubleshoot both copper and fiber links.

The Basic Fiber Verification Kit is designed for verifying optical loss and power levels at 850 nm and 1300 nm, making it a great starter kit with room to expand and add additional tools as needed.

Fluke Networks SimpliFiber Power Meter, included with each kit, saves troubleshooting time by quickly identifying inadequate power levels. The meter features the ability to save a reference power level, enabling direct display of power loss. It has an intuitive four button panel, and a large LCD display screen.. An 850 nm / 1300 nm source is offered with all kits and an additional 1310 nm / 1550 nm source comes with the Complete Fiber Verification Kit. The instrument stores and uploads tests results to a PC which can be used to generate professional LinkWare reports.

Fluke Networks handheld Fiber Viewer microscopes, offered with all except the basic kit, enable technicians to ensure that fiber connector endfaces are smooth, clean, and ready for optical transmission. Dirt, dust and other contaminants are the enemy of high-speed data transmission over optical fiber, it is critical that all optical connections are clean and free of contaminants to ensure network operation.

VisiFault Visual Fault Locator, offered with all except the basic kit, makes verification of polarity and continuity easy. It can also help identify broken fibers, bad connectors, and micro and macro bending of fibers. This instrument provides continuous and flashing modes for easier identification and is ruggedly constructed for demanding field testing.

More details and a selection guide for the new SimpliFiber™ Optical Loss Test Kits can be found at http://www.flukenetworks.com/us/Cabling/Fiber+Cabling/SimpliFiber/Overview.htm.

www.flukenetworks.com

Anixter IP Surveillance Guide Now Available

Anixter Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), announced the release of its first publication of their IP Surveillance Guide.

The IP Surveillance Guide provides a 65-page descriptive overview of the dynamic changes occurring in today's video surveillance market, providing a useful resource for customers who are making the transition from analog to an IP environment. The guide offers solutions for security methods, migrating existing analog technology into digital systems, and addresses the concerns of cost, video transporting, and network bandwidth when it comes to video surveillance utilization.

Anixter is helping their customers understand the options involved in making security advancements in their business. The IP Surveillance Guide is already proving to be a success for many security directors and integrators. The guide is known throughout as a "road map" for utilizing legacy video components and migrating to a full-blown IP Surveillance System.

"Anixter has the technical expertise to assist customers in choosing the right products to help achieve long-term security goals in a cost-effective manner. We can also help them migrate their security to IP," says Michelle Allard, Vice President of Marketing, and Security Solutions.

IP convergence in physical security is inevitable, and Anixter's IP Surveillance Guide is a valuable resource to help customers better understand and navigate this complex market shift. Anixter continues to be the market leader in providing guidance to customers regarding their IP infrastructure, and the security infrastructure of the future is headed towards IP. This tool is a user-friendly manual for anyone who wants to accelerate their security networks.

To keep up with emerging new security products, Anixter owns and operates a Security Lab. Anixter's customers use the Security Lab to evaluate and test products before purchasing them. http://www.anixter.com/ipsurveillanceguide

CABA Member Survey For Planning Purposes

The CABA Board of Directors has embarked on a strategic planning process entitled CABA Vision 2010. They will be holding a planning session in the near future and respectfully request your input on CABA member expectations and issues. As we develop a future vision for the association, we will try to ensure your CABA membership continues to be a relevant part of your industry activities. This information is very important as CABA sets the strategic direction for the future of the association and the industry.

Following is a link that will take you to a short survey that will ask you key questions about CABA. The survey results will become part of the planning session discussion. Your completion of this survey by February 21, 2006 would be most appreciated. If you have problems completing this survey, please contact our planning consultant Jim Pealow at jim@amces.com or CABA at caba@caba.org; CABA Member Hotline 888.798.CABA (2222) or 613.990.7407. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=709311770346

Vonexus Wins INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine's 2005 Product Of The Year Award

Vonexus Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), received INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine's 2005 Product of the Year Award for the company's Microsoft-based IP communications system, Enterprise Interaction Center® (EIC).

Vonexus was honored for its commitment to quality, innovation, and meeting real marketplace needs, according to Rich Tehrani, INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine's group publisher and editor-in-chief.

"Backed by its parent company's more than 10 years of experience developing innovative contact center automation systems for organizations worldwide, Vonexus offers the advantage of a powerful, yet proven IP PBX solution," Tehrani said. "EIC's standards-based architecture using SIP, along with tight integration to the entire Microsoft platform - from applications and servers, to Web portals and client devices - ensure businesses get a practical and complete system designed to meet their most pressing needs."

"We built EIC to fill the gap left by vendors offering proprietary, hardware-based, multi-product VoIP-based solutions," said Joseph A. Staples, senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Interactive Intelligence and Vonexus. "EIC's all-software architecture has filled that gap, offering businesses a more cost-effective, feature-rich, yet easy to install and maintain solution. For the benefits we bring to businesses, we are very proud to win INTERNET TELEPHONY Magazine's Product of the Year Award."

EIC is a Microsoft-based IP communications system built on open standards, offering pre-packaged IP PBX, auto-attendant, IVR, presence management, conferencing, recording, unified messaging, and Web chat functionality, along with Microsoft .NET Office desktop plug-ins. Pre-integrated Microsoft Dynamics applications for data management include CRM, Great Plains and Navision.

As an "out-of-the-box" system with a wide range of productivity-enhancing and customer-facing applications, EIC is ideal for medium size businesses (50 to 1,000 employees), large distributed organizations, and is particularly well suited for businesses with remote or mobile employees. EIC is also ideal for vertically-focused companies, such as auto dealerships, financial services firms, healthcare organizations, technology companies, law firms, and other types of professional services organizations. http://www.vonexus.com

Newton's 21st Edition Telecom Dictionary Is GREAT!

We recently reviewed the newest updated and expanded edition of Newton's Telecom Dictionary by Harry Newton. This 21st edition (offered by CMPBooks). With more than 650,000 copies sold, we rate this essential resource publication with 5 stars. If you are involved in IT, communications, cabling, or facilities management, you don't want to leave home without it. www.cmpbooks.com

MRV Demonstrates H-VPLS Ethernet Demarcation And MPLS Ethernet Aggregation Interoperability

MRV COMMUNICATIONS, INC. (Nasdaq: MRVC), a leading provider of products and services for out-of-band networking, WDM and optical transport, metro Ethernet, fiber optic components, 10GE and other service aware networking products, today, successful demonstrate its Virtual Private LAN Services (VPLS) and MPLS Ethernet aggregation and Ethernet demarcation improbability on both its OptiSwitch Master 207 (OSM207) and OptiSwitch 9000 (OS9000) series as part of the MPLS & Frame Relay Alliance Interoperability Demonstration at MPLS World Congress, Paris 2006.

The demonstration is one of the industry's first interoperability events to showcase HVPLS and VPLS Multipoint Ethernet Service. HVPLS extends the capabilities of VPLS, allowing Carriers to further optimize their networks for triple play Ethernet services.

"Our continued successful demonstration of MPLS point to point Ethernet Services and VPLS Multipoint Ethernet Services interoperability using the OSM9000 and OSM207 series shows MRV's commitment to increase the scalability of carrier Ethernet networks and enhanced the reliability of Ethernet services. Being certified by organizations such as the MFA, EANTC and Metro Ethernet Forum validates our commitment to providing truly service enabler solutions for optical access and metro networks." said Chen Genossar, Senior Vice President for MRV Communications.

MRV's OptiSwitch 9000s are the first carrier-class Ethernet Aggregation routers that integrated optical Ethernet connectivity, provision enhanced MPLS Ethernet services, and aggregate WDM optical transport. OS9000 series offer enhanced optical Ethernet services for triple-play voice, video and data networks and Ethernet carriers. The router series is used to aggregate FTTX or DSLAM devices and provision flow-based and application-aware QoS, per subscriber enhanced security and physical layer to service layer end-to-end multilayer management capabilities for optimal carrier Ethernet aggregation solutions.

The OSM207 VPLS Ethernet Demarcation series was one of the first metro Ethernet compliant products as certified by the Metro Ethernet Forum. It is a compact carrier-class metro Ethernet demarcation platform support EPL, EVPL and E-LAN Ethernet services. The OSM207 enables the delivery of differentiated metro Ethernet services thanks to built-in support for dynamic QoS and intelligent service enabler features.

The OSM207 is ideal for service providers seeking to deliver profitable business services, such as Point to Point and Multipoint VPNs Ethernet services, over a variety of bandwidths and with different service-level agreements (SLAs). www.mrv.com

Preformed Line Products Announces Quarterly Dividend

The Board of Directors of Preformed Line Products (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) on Wednesday, February 15, 2006 declared a regular quarterly dividend in the amount of $.20 per share on the Company's common shares, payable April 20, 2006 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 3, 2006.

Founded in 1947, Preformed Line Products is an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network companies.

Preformed's world headquarters are in Mayfield Village, Ohio, and the Company operates three domestic manufacturing centers, located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albemarle, North Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina. The Company serves its worldwide market through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand. www.preformed.com

New Network Service Module Makes DTX CableAnalyzer™ Series The First Certification Tools To Include Network Service Testing, Troubleshooting And Documentation

Fluke Networks has introduced a new Network Service Module for its DTX CableAnalyzer™ series that makes it possible for the first time to verify and document link connectivity along with the cable certification, all with a single instrument. The new module enables technicians to follow industry best practices that recommend verifying the link connectivity after certifying each cabling link and documenting all test results in one report. This allows technicians to eliminate callbacks, reduce network downtime and expand services to end users.

Three Critical Tests, One Report

Successful technicians follow a three-step process for installing network cable and activating network service. The first step is certifying the cabling infrastructure meets TIA/ISO Standards requirements. Next is to ensure that service can be activated by verifying network service availability and verifying link connectivity to the network. Last, all test results should be documented into one consolidated report. The DTX CableAnalyzer with the new Network Service Module is the only tester that can perform both cable certification and network verification tests and produce one report with all results.

"Technicians can offer their customers improved service by providing a single report that documents network service availability, link connectivity and cable certification test results," said Hugo Draye, Fluke Networks' Marketing Manager for Certification Products. "They can provide clear evidence that the job was done right - according to standards and best practices."

The "Best Practice" approach yields higher uptime, productivity

By following industry best practices, technicians can provide the highest level of assurance to their customers. Technicians can avoid callbacks while lowering network downtime. They will also have more time to focus on priority projects "The ability to document certification and connectivity in a single report will be useful for technicians so they can demonstrate to their customers that they not only certified link performance but have also turned up the service," said Draye. The new module will also allow technicians to improve the quality of their historical documentation."

Verifying connectivity to the network

The Network Service Module pulls an IP address from the DHCP server, then pings the default router and DNS server. It also makes it possible for the technician to assign IP addresses manually. The Network Service Module determines the data rate and network technology, including 10 Mb/s, 100 Mb/s and 1 Gb/s Ethernet and half or full duplex. The tester also determines the Ethernet utilization of the link under test as a percentage of available bandwidth. The tester also verifies proper connectivity by blinking the switch or hub port activity light of the port where the link is connected.

Verifying Power over Ethernet (PoE)

The Network Service Module also verifies the presence of Power Supply Equipment (PSE) on a link and tests the delivery of proper voltage levels for powered devices for Power over Ethernet (PoE) applications such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), network cameras, and wireless access points. The Network Service Module verifies that the PSE delivers power compliant with alternative A or B in the IEEE 802.3af standard. The Network Service Module can also act as a PSE and supply up to 30 mA at 48 VDC to power small devices.

The DTX CableAnalyzer provides a 9-second Autotest, three times faster than conventional testers, for Cat 6 links that meet TIA-568-B certification requirements for structured cabling warranties. The DTX is the only independently verified TIA Accuracy Level IV tester to meet ISO Level IV and proposed TIA Level IIIe Accuracy requirements. The DTX's 900 MHz frequency range makes it capable of meeting future applications such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Class F, and CATV. Resident fiber modules make it possible to switch between copper and fiber with the push of a button.

New Regional Centers Bring Cutting-Edge Training Closer To Home

Education is a journey. But for union electrical workers, the continuing quest for knowledge - to hone the varied skills that power America safely - once meant traveling hundreds of miles from home to reach the nearest training center. Today, however, that vital education is now coming to the workers, through a groundbreaking new program developed by the National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (NJATC). That program is creating a nationwide network of regional training centers, each staffed and equipped to keep union electrical workers up-to-date in a rapidly changing industry.

Explains Michael Callanan, executive director of NJATC, "Many in our industry had clearly expressed the need for regional training, for bringing continued education closer to our members. So NECA and IBEW jointly rolled up their sleeves and met that need, by creating venues throughout the country to bring the quality training we're known for directly to our members."

Already, for 2006, regional training sites have been established in Portland, Oregon, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Detroit, Michigan, and Birmingham, Alabama. At the centers, union members can avail themselves of a range of course offerings, covering such cutting-edge topics as computer technology, fiber optic and photovoltaic systems, copper structured cabling, traffic signal operation and alarm systems installation, as well as work zone safety.

For 2007, additional regional training sites are planned for Winter Park, Florida, Omaha, Nebraska, Commerce, California, and Dorchester, Massachusetts. Says Callanan, "Continuous improvement through quality education is crucial in any industry. And for America's electrical workers, I'm especially excited about the training potential and opportunities this regional training structure provides. The possibilities are endless. And with the industry's help, we'll make regional training a venue that permits better use of all of our resources, to ensure we stand prepared together, to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow." www.njatc.org

About IBEW and NECA Acting through their joint marketing organization - the National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee (NLMCC) of the organized electrical construction industry - NECA and IBEW together work to:

   · reach customers with accurate information about the industry; and
   · achieve better internal communication between labor and management.


With 750,000 members who work in a wide variety of fields - including construction, telecommunications, manufacturing - the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers began in 1891. The IBEW is among the largest member unions in the AFL-CIO. www.ibew.org

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing lighting, power and communications to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA's national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, and research and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. For more information, visit www.necanet.org.

CommScope to Acquire Trilogy's MC2(R) Trunk and Distribution Cable Television Products Business

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News), announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with Trilogy Communications, Inc., located in Jackson, Mississippi, to acquire the assets supporting Trilogy's MC2® 75-ohm trunk and distribution cable television products business and certain other assets. CommScope will not assume any liabilities of the business or purchase any real estate and does not plan to employ any of Trilogy's present employees in conjunction with this acquisition. Trilogy's 75-ohm trunk and distribution products business had revenues of less than $20 million for the twelve months ended September 30, 2005. "We are pleased to add Trilogy's MC2 product line and technology to our portfolio of products," said Jim Hughes, Executive Vice President, Broadband Sales and Marketing. "We believe that this acquisition further enhances our ability to serve our global broadband cable television customers."

The transaction, which is subject to due diligence and customary closing conditions, is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2006. CommScope is not acquiring any of Trilogy's other product lines as part of this transaction. http://www.commscope.com

Light Brigade At OFC/NFOEC

Here are some links to highlights of events The Light Brigade is hosting at this year's OFC/NFOEC conference in Anaheim:

Short Courses
   · Hands-on Workshop on Outside Plant Splicing, Testing and Troubleshooting for FTTX Networks
   · Outside Plant Hands-on Testing and Troubleshooting
   · Hands-on Polishing, Inspection and Testing of Connectors

Special Events
   · The Light Brigade is hosting this year's FTTH Center, Emergency Restoration Demonstration Area and Video Theater.
     More information can be found here.

The Light Brigade will also have a corporate booth at the show, Booth #1814.
www.lightbrigade.com

Fluke Networks Delivers Detailed Per-Call VoIP Visibility And Intelligence With Latest Release Of Visual UpTime Select

Fluke Networks today announced significant enhancements to its Visual UpTime® Selecttm solution that will enable enterprises to optimize VoIP performance through unparalleled network-wide visibility into VoIP on both a real-time and historical basis. The cornerstone of the release is the monitoring of MOS (mean opinion scores), which represents end-user quality of experience for every actual call placed at every site throughout the network. Visual UpTime Select provides in-depth, real-time and historical information that enables organizations to intelligently manage application and network performance and availability across the entire enterprise.

Visual UpTime Select calculates and presents MOS for each VoIP call on a continual basis, enabling network managers to troubleshoot both real-time and intermittent VoIP performance issues. With the ability to drill down into key VoIP metrics such as delay, CODEC loss, packet loss, latency and jitter, which are automatically collected on a per-call basis for poor quality calls, the underlying cause of poor performance can be rapidly and accurately isolated, even for problems that occurred days or weeks ago. Consequently, users can quickly pinpoint and troubleshoot intermittent issues, thereby minimizing the impact of poor quality calls on the organization.

"Visual UpTime Select helped us identify and isolate key issues that were adversely impacting the performance of VoIP on a small business network," said David Cuddy, Chief Technology Officer at Natural Convergence, a Visual UpTime Select beta site. "We used the product to detect LAN configuration issues, identify a misbehaving router and isolate jitter problems on the network. Service Providers who are looking for a solution that provides in-depth visibility into VoIP performance and robust troubleshooting capabilities should consider Visual UpTime Select."

In addition to per-call troubleshooting and network-wide visibility, this release incorporates a number of in-depth performance reports. From a centralized console, users can access on-demand reports of trends and patterns across the VoIP network including MOS distribution by hour per site, MOS over time per site, sites with most VoIP calls, worst performing VoIP sites, and overall VoIP performance.

"As a hosted VoIP infrastructure provider focused on quality and superior service levels, we have a complex environment that requires routing of VoIP traffic between various customers facilities and termination points," said Talal Ali Ahmad, President and CEO of vCentrix. "This new release of Visual UpTime Select provides us with deep visibility into all of the key metrics across our VoIP network - including our partner's network environment and beyond to that of their customers. We utilize Visual UpTime Select's intelligence and problem segmentation to identify problems, usually before they have a noticeable effect on call quality."

"Fluke Networks' Visual UpTime Select is a solution for enterprises that want to manage the performance of applications on both a per-site and network-wide basis," said Dennis Drogseth, Vice President at Enterprise Management Associates. "The solution provides network managers the requisite insight into how individual applications -- such as Citrix or VoIP -- interact and how they are impacted by network performance."

"The substantial enhancements to Visual UpTime Select meet the growing needs of today's network managers for an all-in-one distributed management solution that provides a centralized, holistic view of both the network and enterprise applications," said Jeff Lime, President of Fluke Networks' Visual Networks division and Sr. Vice President for Fluke Networks -- Enterprise & Datacom Marketing. "With this latest release, Visual UpTime Select delivers the granular visibility required for complete VoIP lifecycle management."

Visual UpTime Select will be showcased at Network World's Network Management Technology Tour, beginning this Thursday in New York City with stops in Denver (February 28), Houston (March 2) and Washington, DC (March 8). http://www.networkworld.com/events/networkmgmt06/index.html

Board: Teflon Chemical a Likely Carcinogen

A group of scientific advisers to the Environmental Protection Agency voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a recommendation that a chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon and other nonstick and stain-resistant products should be considered a likely carcinogen.

The approval of the EPA's Science Advisory Board is conditioned on minor clarifications being made to a draft report submitted by a review panel, but no major changes will be made to the panel's findings.

The revisions called for by the SAB include making a cover letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson more reader-friendly and clarifying the scope of dissent among members of the SAB panel that reviewed the EPA's draft risk assessment of perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C-8.

Board members also agreed that the report should clarify why some unpublished scientific studies were considered by the panel while others weren't, and that the panel's findings should not be considered the last word on PFOA but should be updated as additional data become available.

PFOA is a processing aid used in the manufacturing of fluoropolymers, which have a wide variety of product applications, including nonstick cookware.

The chemical also can be a byproduct in the manufacturing of fluorotelomers used in surface protection products for applications such as stain-resistant textiles and grease-resistant food wrapping.

Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont Co., owner of the Teflon brand, is the sole producer of PFOA in North America.

Some members of the review panel disagreed with the majority view that PFOA should be classified as a "likely carcinogen," a finding that went beyond the EPA's own determination that there was only "suggestive evidence" from animal studies that PFOA and its salts are potential human carcinogens.

"Are we talking two-fifths of the panel, or are we talking about a small number?" asked SAB Chairman M. Granger Morgan, head of the department of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University.

Deborah Cory-Slechta, chair of the PFOA risk assessment review panel, said dissent from the majority views of the 16-member panel on issues it was asked to study typically was limited to three or four members.

Cory-Slechta also noted that an unpublished study from the 1980s linking PFOA to mammary tumors in laboratory rats was considered by the panel because it was peer-reviewed within the EPA and included in the original risk assessment submitted by the agency for review.

The same could not be said for a 2005 review sponsored by the DuPont and 3M Co. challenging the earlier study's conclusion. "We do not feel that it rose to the same level of scrutiny as the other information we were considering," she said.

But 3M scientist John Butenhoff accused the panel of making "selective use" of information to make an unwarranted recommendation about PFOA's potential carcinogenicity.

Robert Rickard, director of health and environmental sciences at DuPont's Haskell Laboratory, said the company had asked the review panel after its February 2005 meeting if it would be appropriate to submit new data, and was told it could.

The only SAB member to offer significant criticism of the PFOA review panel was James Bus, a lead toxicologist for Dow Chemical Co.

Bus, who did not submit his written comments until shortly before Wednesday's meeting, said the review panel should have considered the DuPont-3M paper, and should have offered a stronger rationale for upgrading the recommended cancer descriptor from "suggestive evidence" to "likely carcinogen."

Johnson, the EPA administrator, is free to accept the SAB's recommendations regarding PFOA, or to reject them. The EPA will use the report "as well as all new information that becomes available, to formulate the next steps in our continuing assessment of these chemicals," said Oscar Hernandez, director of the risk assessment division in the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. http://www.ewg.org/news/story.php?id=5066

Cabling America's Retail / Commercial Hardware & Cabling Training Program

Both BICSI cabling contractors and electrical contractors are recognizing a significant value and additional income from the retail sector. Recently, we reviewed a new training program offered by Cabling America. http://www.cablingamerica.com/page1.htm

The retail market's low voltage cabling and hardware does not only consist of one type of system, it consists of several systems and requires integration of these systems. While these systems are not difficult to learn, they are essential for a total understanding of low voltage cabling and hardware installations. Once you have completed this course, you will have learned more than the requirements for the retail market, you will also have the tools to apply this information to the commercial market.

This Cabling America Training program for retail has been broken down into eight distinctive training sections. In this fashion, the student will gain a complete understanding of installation procedures to provide voice, data, video and signaling systems in a broad range of markets.

We found this training package to be packed with value and very affordable.

NFPA World Safety Conference And EXPO

Mark your calendars for this "must attend" event. NFPA World Safety Conference and EXPO will be held at the Orange County Convention Center (Orlando FL) June 4-8, 2006. www.nfpa.org/wsce

With new challenges facing the IT world, we must be sensitive to building & life safety, codes & standards, and disaster preparedness. There are too many important areas of value in this conference to list them all. Visit the website and study the agenda. We are confident that you will find numerous opportunities to gather important information that will benefit your company and your customers. Remember "SAFETY IS TOO IMPORTANT TO IGNORE".

Adoption Of The National Electric Code By States And Local Jurisdictions Now Available Online

NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, announces the availability of a comprehensive online report showing the adoption of the NEC® by states and major local jurisdictions.

The National Electrical Code® (NEC) is a set of rules and regulations that ensure the safe installation of electrical wiring and equipment. It is the preeminent electrical installation code in the U.S.

The NEC® takes on real significance when it is adopted into law by states and local jurisdictions. However, the timing for adoption of installation codes is different by locals, and some locals adopt the NEC® with state or local amendments. That results in different electrical codes being enforced in different parts of the U.S.

NEMA's Field Representatives track the adoption of the NEC® in their respective territories and have developed a report that identifies which electrical codes are enforced where.

For example, included in the report is that Seattle, WA, approved the 2005 Seattle Electrical Code on September 19, 2005; and that the state of Texas adopted 2005 NEC® on July 1, 2005, however, each local municipal jurisdiction may amend the edition of the NEC® adopted by the State.

The NEC® Adoption report can be conveniently viewed on the web, or downloaded as an Excel file. Both versions are updated as new information becomes available.

The NEC® report is available to all NEMA members at no extra charge. Non-members can access the password-protected website at a minimal subscription fee. For more information, go to http://www.nema.org/stds/fieldreps/NECadoption.

In addition to the NEMA Field Representatives' involvement with the NEC® and state and local adoption of electrical codes, they track the progress of state and local laws affecting the electroindustry in areas such as energy, environment, and product certification. For more information about the work of NEMA Field Representatives, including their monthly itineraries and past code alerts, can be found at http://www.nema.org/stds/fieldreps.

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion. www.nema.org

Powerware 9355 UPS Now Available In 20kVA And 30kVA Modules

MaxPower Corp., the reseller's single source for critical power and infrastructure solutions, is pleased to announce that we are offering from stock one of the industries's most reliable, cost-effective and recently expanded Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPSs) --- the Powerware 9355.

The Powerware 9355 is now available in 20kVA/18 kW and 30 kVA/27 kW modules, making this exceptional power protection solution more flexible and powerful than ever.

Like the PW9355's 10 kVA and 15kVA modules that were released last year, the new units can be paralleled with up to four modules (3 capacity +1 redundancy), offering a maximum capacity of 90kVA.

The replacement for Powerware's 9330 UPS, the PW9355 includes a built-in rotary bypass switch, two X-Slots, the ability to accommodate up to four external battery cabinets, and top or bottom entry for wiring. Even more, an options cabinet is available with the new 20kVA and 30kVA modules, offering input, bypass and output transformers. A PDM option will be available in early summer.

The new units deliver superior power protection with double-conversion, online topology, a 92% efficiency rating, and a sleek tower design that is half the size of most competitive units on the market today --- just 20 inches wide and 34 inches deep, including the batteries.

Ideal for a variety of mission-critical applications including telecommunications equipment, the PW9355 provides more real wattage in less space with its 0.9 power factor. In fact, 10 to 20 percent more power is achieved with this power factor, making the PW9355 able to protect a broader range of modern IT equipment that may have varying power factors. www.maxpowercorp.com

Disaster Recovery: Strategies For Bringing Buildings Operational Quickly - BOMA Seminar

The widespread devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita put most commercial real estate disaster recovery plans to the test, creating challenges for assessing damage and coordinating repairs quickly and efficiently. This audio seminar will share best practices gleaned from those directly affected by the storms. You'll learn what they did to get their buildings operational as quickly as possible following these devastating hurricanes.

Get answers to key disaster recovery plan questions:

   · What communications channels and technology infrastructure were vital to assuring a timely reopening?
   · How were strategies implemented for site assessments, repair and reopening?
   · How was business continuity planning incorporated into disaster planning?
   · What changes were made to disaster plans, based on lessons learned from these disasters?

What is an Audio Seminar/Webcast?
A seminar delivered over the telephone with support materials presented over the Internet. A "site" is defined as a telephone connection, so one registration fee allows unlimited listeners on the connection via speaker phone. With your registration confirmation you will receive complete instructions for logging into the seminar.

Who can Participate?
Any commercial real estate professional: Building/property owners, brokers, leasing agents, corporate counsel, property managers, asset managers, facility and corporate facility managers, and vendors and suppliers to the commercial real estate industry. www.boma.org

COOLCUBE 10 Engineer To Speak At AFCOM

MaxPower Corp., the reseller's single source for critical power and infrastructure solutions, is proud to announce that Engineering Manager James Magellan's will be a featured speaker at AFCOM Spring 2006 Data Center World in Atlanta, GA.

Magallanes, engineering manager for MaxPower's CoolCube 10 product line, will facilitate a session on "Cooling the Modern Day Wiring Closet." His presentation, which is scheduled from 8 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, March 22, will focus on the different methods available to deliver proper cooling to a wiring closet, including extending the building's central A/C, or using ceiling systems, mini split systems, portable systems or modular systems. While each solution has a place within the industry, a modular system such as MaxPower's CoolCube 10 presents the most flexible and cost-effective alternative.

With a revolutionary modular design that easily adapts to virtually any application, the CoolCube 10 is the only air conditioning solution that changes to fit the individual needs of each user. The compact, 10,000 Btu/h module can be rack-mounted in a standard, 19-inch rack, hung from the ceiling, stacked for capacity or redundancy, or used as a stand-alone portable unit --- simply by adding the respective accessory kit.

In addition to its unique modular design, the CoolCube's minimum height, easy mobility, and efficient cooling operation make it ideal for a wide variety of applications requiring reliable, space-saving cooling alternatives, including equipment and telecom closets, computer and server rooms, rack rooms and network stations. For more information on CoolCube 10, please visit our web site at www.coolcube10.com.

ACUTA'S 35th Annual Conference and Exhibition

ACUTA encourages everyone involved in providing voice, data or video services on college and university campuses to attend the 35th Annual Conference and Exhibition to be held July 23-27 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California.

One of the hot topics of concern from coast to coast is convergence. This year more than ever, ACUTA is encouraging campuses to send representatives from different departments so that they can bring different perspectives to the discussions and collaborate more effectively as they seek cost-effective solutions to the technical challenges of higher education in the 21st century.

Keynote speaker will be technology futurist Thornton May. Other general session speakers will be Jeff Linder and Nancy Victory of the Washington law firm of Wiley Rein and Fielding; Mark Luker of EDUCAUSE; Brian Voss from Louisiana State University; and humorist Judy Carter.

In addition, attendees will choose from some 50 breakout sessions dealing with VoIP, security, wireless technologies, infrastructure issues, and more.

In the exhibit hall, nearly 100 companies will provide a glimpse of products and services that are now available to serve the needs of higher education.

This annual event is known for the outstanding professional networking opportunities it provides. http://www.acuta.org

COME TO PROVIDENCE FOR ACUTA's SPRING SEMINARS

Track 1. VoIP and Its Applications
Track 2. Network Survivability and Security

April 2-5, 2006
Providence, Rhode Island
The Westin Providence

Great Networking Opportunities!

http://www.acuta.org

ACUTA's Core Purpose: To support higher education communications technology professionals in contributing to the achievement of the strategic mission of their institutions.

NEMA's Electroindustry Business Confidence Index Posts Sharp Increase In February

NEMA's Electroindustry Business Confidence Index for current North American conditions posted a sharp increase in February, climbing to 68.5 points from 55.2 in January. The most recent month's reading was the strongest since last September and the 34th in a row above the critical 50-point threshold indicative of favorable business conditions. At the same time, the January EBCI for future North American conditions slipped slightly to 53.6 points, down from 56.9 a month ago.

The diffusion of positive sentiment regarding North American business conditions saw its biggest jump in 5 months as the strength of the electroindustry surprised a number of panelists.

For a complete summary of the February 2006 index, including charts and a list of participating companies, visit http://www.nema.org/econ/ebci/upload/02_2006_EBCI.pdf.

The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index gauges the business confidence of the electroindustry in Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America, and are based on the results of a monthly survey of senior managers at NEMA member companies. Those companies represent more than 80 percent of the electroindustry.

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its approximately 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion. www.nema.org

New COYOTE(R) DEN Enclosure From Preformed Line Products Provides a Consolidated Demarcation Solution for Fiber-to-the-Premises Networks

The new COYOTE DEN Demarcation Enclosure from Preformed Line Products (PLP) consolidates and protects electronic equipment against physical damage and temperature extremes at the residential network demarcation point. Its large interior (15" x 13" x 7.5") accommodates a removable chassis for mounting Optical Network Units (ONU), Battery Back-up Units (BBU) and Power Supply Units (PSU). The DEN is compatible with COYOTE fiber management hardware and splice trays, and has capacity for structured wiring and demarcation components.

The COYOTE DEN Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) network interface is constructed of flame-retardant, impact and UV-resistant thermoplastic resin, with a double wall, foam insulation and a gasketed, lockable door. It is designed for use with a passive convection ventilating system (kits sold separately) that draws cool air from the home's interior and vents heated air out to protect lower cost, non-hardened electronics from excessive heat and cold.

COYOTE DEN Demarcation Enclosures are designed for installation during the rough-in framing stage of a home's exterior walls. They include pass-through openings to feed cables directly into the wall, protecting drop and premise wiring cables from physical damage. There are also provisions to mount an electrical box and standard receptacle (not included) to power battery back-up systems and other equipment. UL/CSA approved, the COYOTE DEN also meets NEMA 4 hose down requirements for the most demanding environmental conditions.

Founded in 1947, Preformed Line Products (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) is an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network companies.

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, the Company operates three domestic manufacturing centers, located in Rogers, Arkansas; Albemarle, North Carolina and Asheville, North Carolina. Preformed serves worldwide markets through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand. www.preformed.com

IBEW Local 1974 Ratifies New Contract with Connectivity Solutions Manufacturing, Inc.

CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV - News), a world leader in cable and connectivity solutions, today announced that Connectivity Solutions Manufacturing, Inc. (CSMI), a wholly owned manufacturing subsidiary located in Omaha, NE, has reached a new labor agreement with its represented production and maintenance employees.

The negotiated agreement between CSMI and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1974 has now been ratified by the entire bargaining unit. The existing contract expires on May 31, 2006.

"We are delighted that our employees recognize the critical role they play in helping to make the Omaha facility more globally competitive," said CommScope Executive Vice President and CSMI Board Chairman Eddie Edwards. "I believe that this new contract enhances CSMI's manufacturing potential and better positions CSMI to continue its long tradition of being one of Omaha's premier manufacturing locations."

The collective bargaining agreement governs the pay, benefits and working conditions for approximately 600 production and maintenance employees at the Omaha facility. The new agreement will be in effect from June 1, 2006 through December 31, 2008. http://www.commscope.com

Don't Miss EnvironDesign10: A Compelling Forum for Today's Environmental Leaders

APRIL 25 - 27, 2006
NATIONAL TRADE CENTRE
TORONTO, CANADA

Take a Progressive Approach and Network with Industry Leaders
EnvironDesign effectively combines varied learning and networking opportunities to deliver essential information regarding real-life challenges and concrete solutions. EnvironDesign10's knowledgeable audience ensures engaging, insightful dialogue and unparalleled learning opportunities for:

   · Architects, engineers and planners · Manufacturers and suppliers
   · Interior designer's · NGOs and non-profit executives
   · Industrial designer's · Urban planners
   · Environmental executive's · Landscape professionals
   · Facility manager's · Educators and students
   · Real estate contractors, developers and owners · Journalists
   · Government and environmental policy maker's · Environmental consultants

http://www.environdesign.com

NAED Announced Its New Regional Leadership

NAED Names Regional Vice Presidents for 2007-2008

  Eastern Region Vice President-Elect: Dan Gray, president of Independent Electric Supply, Somerville, Mass. Gray has served in several leadership capacities for the NAED, including NAED Market Area Meeting chair and Eastern Region Council member.

  Western Region Vice President-Elect: Thomas Isenberg, president of Western Extralite Company, Kansas City, Mo. Isenberg, who has played an active role in the electrical distribution channel for 26 years, is also completing a two-year term as a member of NAED's Board of Directors.

  South Central Region Vice President-Elect: Glenn Goedecke, division manager of Mayer Electric Supply Co., Inc. in Birmingham, Ala. Goedecke has served on the South Central Region Council, SPA Task Force, Lighting Practices Task Force, New Member Recruitment Committee, and been the NAED Panhandle Meeting Area chair. Goedecke has also achieved EPEC Gold Graduate status.

Each regional vice president-elect will be responsible for attending and helping direct the region's conferences and council meetings, as well as participating in NAED's Membership Committee. www.naed.org

NEMA Launches Nanotechnology Council

NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, today announced the creation of the Nanotechnology Advisory Council, a panel of experts intended to provide guidance to the electrical manufacturing community on this nascent, but quickly emerging technology.

"President Bush made it clear in his recent State of the Union address," said NEMA President Evan Gaddis, "that the development of nanotechnology is vitally important to the future of this nation. We agree with the president. The establishment of an industry advisory council will help electrical manufacturers take the lead in the development of this revolutionary technology."

The new council will be a resource for manufacturers interested in the research and public policy implications of nanotechnology development, as they themselves seek to apply the technology to their products. The council will be comprised of nanotechnology experts in academia and government. Council members will be announced in the coming weeks.

Nanotechnology is expected to produce breakthrough performance enhancing applications in photovoltaics, thermo electrics, sensors, structural materials in electrical equipment, and fuel cell technology, among others.

NEMA lighting manufacturers are already studying possible nanotechnology applications. Through the Next Generation Lighting Industry Alliance, administered by NEMA, manufacturers are working with the Department of Energy to evaluate the possible use of nanotechnology in solid-state lighting semiconductors. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandates that DOE designate one of five federal nanotechnology research centers as a national solid-state lighting center. Congress has appropriated five million dollars to fund it.

"While many practical applications of nanotechnology for the electrical industry are at least a few years away," said Gaddis, "we want to help the electrical manufacturing community stay ahead of the curve. The NEMA Nanotechnology Advisory Council is our first step."

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion. www.nema.org

ReNew Orleans : by Rick Fedrizzi

By Rick Fedrizzi

The Great Fire of London in 1666; Mrs. O'Leary's cow and the Chicago fire of 1871; the San Francisco earthquake of 1906; post-World War II London, Berlin, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki: All examples from history of cities that were brought to the ground for one reason or another, only to be rebuilt stronger.

So, it was somewhat heartwarming to see even a scaled-down version of Mardi Gras open up in New Orleans, and truly amazing considering the complete devastation that city, its citizens, and the rest of the Gulf Coast endured just 6 months ago as a result of Hurricane Katrina. And, while the immediate and long-term response for a storm of this magnitude has been a nothing short of a travesty and complete failure at all levels, I am still an optimist about the recovery.

Though it's difficult to put aside the loss of life, separation of families, and sustained disruption at all levels, we have an unprecedented opportunity in our lifetimes to rebuild an entire city and region the right way. Last November, a group of concerned individuals led by USGBC chapters in St. Louis and Arkansas*; Bill Browning of Browning & Bannon LLC; Mark Ginsberg of the U.S. Department of Energy; Bob Berkebile of BNIM Architects; and Alex Wilson of Environmental Building News developed The New Orleans Principles, a 27-page report generated from the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Charrettes held at the U.S. Green Building Council's Greenbuild Conference in Atlanta. The 10 principles and more than 50 detailed policy recommendations and actions chart a course for incorporating a context of sustainability into planning and reconstruction efforts in New Orleans. These principles represent a consensus position of the 160 participants, approximately 20 percent of whom were invited guests from New Orleans and the immediate vicinity. The rest, from throughout North America, represented a wide range of expertise in urban planning, water management, engineering, and architecture and included some of the leading voices in sustainable design.

The primary aim of the Principles is to lay out guidelines for rebuilding these communities in a way that brings forward their rich history while creating a new definition of a 21st-century city. In the process, it also allows the city to address problems that were long-standing before Hurricane Katrina - to create a city that is stronger economically, physically, and culturally for all of its citizens.

Elegantly stated, "The process and outcome of the rebuilding effort on which our nation is about to embark holds the potential to generate a redevelopment of New Orleans that serves as a world-class, living example of what is possible when we work together intelligently and strategically. In choosing this path of creating opportunity out of adversity, by growing vibrant, prosperous communities out of the devastation, New Orleans will find a new place for itself once again as a world-class destination that lives up to its reputation as a place to celebrate life while also embracing the well-being of its residents."

So, without further fanfare, I present to you an outline of "The New Orleans Principles:"
Respect the rights of all citizens of New Orleans. Displaced citizens who wish to return to New Orleans should be afforded the opportunity to return to healthy, livable, safe, and secure neighborhoods of choice.

Restore natural protections of the greater New Orleans region. Sustain and restore the coastal and floodplain ecosystems and urban forests that support and protect the environment, economy, communities, and culture of southern Louisiana, and that contribute greatly to the economy and well-being of the nation.

Implement an inclusive planning process. Build a community-centered planning process that uses local talent and makes sure that the voices of all New Orleanians are heard. This process should be an agent of change and renewal for New Orleans.

Value diversity in New Orleans. Build on the traditional strength of New Orleans neighborhoods, encourage mixed uses and diverse housing options, and foster communities of varied incomes, mixed age groups, and a racial diversity. Celebrate the unique culture of New Orleans, including its food, music, and art.

Protect the city of New Orleans. Expand or build a flood protection infrastructure that serves multiple uses. Value, restore, and expand the urban forests, wetlands, and natural systems of the New Orleans region that protect the city from wind and storms.

Embrace smart redevelopment. Maintain and strengthen the New Orleans tradition of compact, connected, mixed-use communities. Provide residents and visitors with multiple transportation options. Look to schools to jump-start neighborhood redevelopment and rebuild strong communities in the city.

Honor the past; build for the future. In the rebuilding of New Orleans, honor the history of the city while creating 21st-century buildings that are durable, affordable, inexpensive to operate, and healthy to live in. Through codes and other measures, ensure that all new buildings are built to high standards of energy, structural, environmental, and human health performance.

Provide for passive survivability. Homes, schools, public buildings, and neighborhoods should be designed and built or rebuilt to serve as livable refuges in the event of crisis or breakdown of energy, water, and sewer systems.

Foster locally owned, sustainable businesses. Support existing and new local businesses built on a platform of sustainability that will contribute to a stronger and more diverse local economy.

Focus on the long term. All measures related to rebuilding and ecological restoration, even short-term efforts, must be undertaken with explicit attention to the long-term solutions.

If you would like to add your thoughts and ideas to the rebuilding effort, I encourage you to participate in the Post-Disaster Green Reconstruction Forum, a mailing list for discussing strategies and projects for rebuilding after disasters such as Hurricane Katrina. It is led by Browning and Ginsberg, and hosted by BuildingGreen Inc., an independent company committed to providing accurate, unbiased, and timely information designed to help building-industry professionals and policymakers improve the environmental performance, and reduce the adverse impacts, of buildings.

Make no mistake - New Orleans does not have to be rebuilt according to these principles. It is possible to rebuild the city using the same level of tainted thinking that was the underpinning of its collapse. And while all those who had a hand in forming these principles and putting them to paper should be appreciated for their efforts, it marks just the beginning. Making certain the right voices are heard above the din of "front page" finger-pointing is perhaps the next level. Having the fortitude and discipline to stay on the right path is something by which we - and those to come - will be judged. History will record what happened to New Orleans in August 2005, but future generations are more likely to remember it for what it became, not what it was.

Of all the quotes from Sir Winston Churchill that I could have used in this column, I think this is most appropriate as I encourage this industry not to falter: "Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb." *Mary Ann Lazarus and Bill Odell, HOK St. Louis; Ralph Bicknese, Bicknese-Hellmuth Architects, St. Louis; Martha Jane Murray, The Wilcox Group, Little Rock; and Muscoe Martin, M2 Architects, Philadelphia.

Corning Cable Systems Releases The 6th Edition Of Its LANscape® Solutions Fiber Optic Design Guide

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated's Telecommunications segment, announces the release of its 6th Edition LANscape® Solutions Fiber Optic Design Guide. The Design Guide, featuring information on emerging technologies and standards development, is intended to help those who design, plan and implement fiber optic cabling systems in the Local Area Network (LAN).

The new Design Guide emphasizes the data center and includes information on Corning Cable Systems LANscape Pretium™ Solution. It also features information on Corning Cable Systems Plug & Play™ Universal System, a preterminated optical fiber cabling system that eliminates polarity concerns in the field through a patented manufacturing process.

The 6th Edition LANscape Solutions Fiber Optic Design Guide has been updated in concert with the TIA/EIA-568B Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling Standard. It includes recommendations on designing and testing LANs and data centers, guidance on the deployment of high-data-rate Ethernet applications, and optical fiber and hardware recommendations for a variety of premises network applications.

Corning Cable Systems published the original Design Guide in 1988. Release 6 takes an opportunity to update and refresh many product references and recommendations. It is among the industry's most complete design guides relating to optical fiber in the LAN. www.corning.com/cablesystems · www.corning.com

NFM&T, MS Expo Announces Partner Associations For 2006 Event

Management from the National Facilities Management and Technology Conference/Exposition (NFM&T) and Maintenance Solutions Expo (MS Expo) announced its industry association partners for the 2006 event. Some of the associations include:

¨ Association for Facilities Engineering ¨ BOMI Institute

¨ International Design Center for the Environment ¨ National Association of Power Engineers ¨ National Capital Healthcare Engineering Society ¨ National Institute of Building Sciences ¨ Professional Grounds Management Society

"We are excited to welcome several new partnering associations to our list of returning organizations," said Bob Wisniewski, president of NFM&T and MS Expo. "By working together with these prestigious organizations, we are unifying the industry and fulfilling our vision to make NFM&T the gathering place for facilities decision makers in this country."

Additionally, several regional chapters and organizations will be supporting the event. Continuing education credit maintenance is available from some certifying organizations for attendees participating in the NFM&T and MS Expo conference sessions. Attendees should contact the educational office of the respective association for more information.
www.nfmt.com

BICSI Releases 6th Edition Of The Network Design Reference Manual

The NDRM is the basis for Byssi's RCDD/NTS Specialty. The new manual covers the fundamentals of network architecture, connectivity, communications and administration. Design examples are also provided for departmental, backbone, wide area and remote access networking. The manual should be used as a reference tool and is required for the NTS Specialty classes. BICSI will also be releasing the NDRM 6th edition flashcard set in March 2006. The set, designed to be a supplemental study aid for the NTS exam, will have more than 800 questions to supplement students' knowledge. www.bicsi.org

Discover the Future of Facility Management at The TFM Show

The TFM Show
April 10-12, 2006
Navy Pier, Chicago
Register Free
www.tfmshow.com

In a climate of ongoing change and advances, The TFM Show keeps newcomers and industry veterans alike informed of the latest trends in the facility management profession. This year's event will arm you with the knowledge and tools you need to improve your facility and anticipate job challenges before they become problems.

This year our conference program is free and features sessions, workshops, and panel discussions lead by visionaries and world renowned facility management experts. You'll leave The TFM Show armed with valuable information that will allow you to avoid skyrocketing energy bills, initiate new environmental practices, reduce staff and visitor complaints, discover new technology options and so much more.

To view the entire conference program please visit www.tfmshow.com.

The TFM Show Exhibit Hall will once again be filled with cost-saving facility management solutions that you can implement today. Come see, Test & Compare Hundreds of Cutting-Edge Facility Management Solutions:

* Access Control
* Acoustic Ceilings
* Building Automation
* Business Continuity
* CAFM
* Carpet/Broadloom
* Carpet/Tile
* Carpet Fibers & Treatments
* CCTV
* CMMS
* Conference Room Furnishings
* Dispensers
* Door Hardware
* Elevators & Escalators
* Energy Management
* Energy Services
* Fire & Life Safety
* Flooring
* Furniture Refurbishing
* HVAC
* Lamps
* Lighting Controls
* Non-Task Seating
* Outsourced Services
* Paint
* Panel Fabrics & Textiles
* Paper Products
* Pest & Bird Control
* Roofing
* Security Systems
* Shredders
* Signage
* Storage
* Systems Furniture
* Toilets & Urinals
* UPS
* Window Films

This year we have incorporated a bit of fun in the exhibit hall. You could be a Winner! There will be prize giveaways in the hall throughout exhibit hours. One lucky attendee may walk away with the $50,000 cash prize in The TFM Show "Series of Shots" Basketball Competition. Be sure to visit the exhibit hall to find out how you could win.

Beast Cabling Systems Installation System Video Now Available

At the BICSI Winter Conference (January 2006) we had the opportunity to see the Beast Cabling System demonstrated in its latest advanced version. In a craft intensive environment for the installation of high performance datacom cabling, The Beast Cabling System is a real winner for quality installations and major labor savings. We have secured a demonstration video (DVD) on this system and we will be happy to send you a copy. Email laura@wireville.com or gbramham@thebeast.us

Mike Holts Seminar Schedule

Mike is nationally recognized as one of America's most knowledgeable electrical trainers. He has touched the lives of many thousands of electricians, inspectors, contractors and engineers. His dynamic and animated teaching style is relaxed, direct and fun. Perhaps Mike's best quality is his ability to motivate his students to become successful.

Mike is devoted to providing quality training seminars, videos, books and software that enhances job performance, personal confidence and career growth. The quality that sets Mike apart from the others is his ability to motivate his students to become successful. Mike's experiences as an electrician, inspector and contractor help him develop training programs that the electrician understands and enjoys. His ability to take the intimidation out of learning is reflected in the success rate of his students.

Mike does seminars on Electrical Theory, National Electrical Code, Grounding vs. Bonding, Electrical Calculations, as well as Business Management. He also does seminars for magazines, trade shows, inspector's groups, contractor's groups, industrial facilities, and others interested in the National Electrical Code.

To see Mike Holt's current seminar schedule follow the link below
http://www.mikeholt.com/seminar.php?id=seminarabout

ICC Regulatory Hearing: Where's Our Strategic Infrastructure Plan? : Carlini's Comments

There have been several Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) open meetings recently across the Chicagoland area about whether there is competition in the residential services market. At the one I attended in Skokie, Ill. last week, there were several concerns from various groups including seniors with the AARP organization, SBC workers, an Evanston, Ill. business group and the general public.

Since they were soliciting comments from everyone who wanted to testify, I prepared a statement. I identified myself as a consultant and expert witness as well as an elected official (a trustee of East Dundee, Ill.) and a member of the Fox Valley Regional Cable Commission, which reviews and maintains the franchise agreement with Comcast for eight communities.

Speaking Out to Make a Difference

While there were several audience members who spoke about the seniors, the disadvantaged and the average consumer, none really had the view of the big picture.

An ICC hearing officer did a great job in listening to everyone and making them feel at ease as they gave their perspective. No one was given any preferential treatment because they were with the phone company or with any group. That should be highlighted as some criticize the ICC for being biased. At this hearing, they definitely were not.

The SBC/AT&T spokesperson gave the obligatory "we are good corporate citizens" speech and didn't really give a dynamic direction that the company would take in making the infrastructure a sound and competitive one in light of the global challenges we face. After outlining my consulting experience and speaking on municipal broadband initiatives for global economic competitiveness, network security and e-911, I gave the following perspective:

I am here strictly independently to offer an in-depth perspective on the big picture of competitiveness that may not be heard. It is needed to be heard in order to make an informed decision that benefits everyone in Chicagoland and puts Illinois back into a leadership position instead of lagging behind, which it clearly is today.

There is a definite clash of what "competitive" means and who should be allowed to develop last-mile infrastructure. Be it in the City of Chicago or elsewhere in the state, we need to have new capabilities and what some may think of as "ungodly" speeds.

In terms of defining "universal service," is it more than just basic phone service? What should it include? What if I said its one gigabit of speed to everyone? That should be the target for everyone and it should be delivered at a very inexpensive rate. You have heard testimonies from many people with various interests and concerns. I am here to tell you that we are beyond the "digital divide" and into the "digital desert" where everyone is affected at all economic levels when infrastructures are not robust.

All levels of communities are affected when you do not have a state-of-the-art network infrastructure in place to serve both the needs of the individual as well as the needs of the businesses within those communities. Jobs diminish and people leave. Chicago has dropped into fourth place in population and is now behind Houston.

Having a copper-based infrastructure on the last mile is very limiting and is not conducive to attracting many businesses. Some municipalities have seen this firsthand and are trying to look at real alternatives that may or may not rely on incumbent solutions.

Here in Illinois, we do not have a true broadband initiative as they do in California where their motto is "one gigabit or bust by 2010". This means they want to have connections to everyone at all economic strata at one gigabit per second. Chicago and other areas would benefit if an initiative like that was in place and promoted.

This is not the same as having DSL connectivity to everyone (which is much slower). I have published articles where I have made the analogy that "putting DSL on copper is like putting a vinyl top on a stagecoach in the era of the space shuttle."

You may say that's California and they are considered a more high-tech state. The shame is that we are also behind other states including Iowa and Kentucky, which have fairly well-defined broadband initiatives that are highly touted by their governors. There are dramatic differences in speed when comparing fiber-optics to other transmission media like copper and wireless. I have clearly depicted this in a chart that I have used in several articles, which I will share with the commission.

I then shared my everyday comparison of how long it takes to download a 90-minute video based on the transmission medium you use.



I finished by saying:

There should be no restrictions on who can enter the last-mile market and there should be encouragement in the form of regulatory policy as well as hard dollars to build this infrastructure into something that will regain the global competitiveness this state needs.

We should be aiming very high instead of trying to protect the status quo or business models that have been deemed obsolete through technology. Everyone should be on the same page to make this happen including municipalities, businesses, carriers, competitive carriers and individuals.

This state needs to take a serious look at having a broadband infrastructure in place to attract and maintain economic viability not only in Chicago but across the state. Economic development depends on broadband connectivity and broadband connectivity equates to jobs.

Incumbents Have the Opportunity

Don Samuelson, a testifying attendee, said progression by incumbents throughout previous decades was built on the premise that the network was given a protected market status with no competition and they were guaranteed a rate of return in the days of the Bell monopoly. He would like to see the disadvantaged protected as deregulating the last mile might have the incumbent phone company look at cherry-picking the markets.

He felt that it is a "mistake to make big-picture policy through a series of small-picture issues". What is needed today is a way to foster development of a new Illinois infrastructure that provides the best broadband capability to everyone. We need to emulate the California edict of "one gigabit of bust by 2010" or the "connect Kentucky" broadband initiative.

Where are the visionaries in this state for the future?
Should the last mile be fiber, wireless or a combination of the two to attain one gigabit? These are the questions the strategic planners at the incumbent phone companies and state should be asking and answering - that is, unless the phone company's strategic planners were let go in the last layoff or the one before. Maybe they should have laid off some lobbyists instead.

Carlinism: Phone company lobbyists tend to protect the old ways rather than stimulate interest in something new and radical.

Carlini's Comments, ePrairie's oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common man's view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of "pseudo" experts.

Upcoming Half-Day Seminars

Center for Commerce   Economic Development
McHenry County College
8900 U.S. Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012
info@ccedtraining.edu
Where's Your Money Going? (What Color is Your Bentley?)
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006; $89
Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance   Issues
Thursday March 23, 2006; $109

These practical seminars provide you and you staff with valuable insights from someone who has worked on major projects in the public and private sector and has been an expert witness in civil and federal courts.

Learn from someone who has reviewed facilities and negotiated multimillion-dollar contracts for hardware and network services as well as for multimillion-dollar court cases on major projects. For reservations, please call 815-455-0718.

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini   Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888.
Click here for Carlini's full biography.
Copyright 2006 Jim Carlini

SMP Announces Western Region Sales Management Restructure

SMP Data Communications (Superior Modular Products) is pleased to announce the addition of Brian Thompson as the new Western Regional Sales Manager and the promotion of John Awad to the position of Western Regional Technical Sales Manager.

Brian Thompson comes to SMP with 22 years in the communication industry and an extensive background in structured cabling sales management. As the Western Regional Manager for SMP, Brian will be responsible for overseeing sales and marketing efforts for California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Nevada, Arizona, and Wyoming. Reporting to Brian will be Electrigroup, Inc, covering Northern and Southern California, Hawaii and parts of Nevada, Proactive Marketing, covering Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, and newly appointed Aspen Power & Telecom Sales, covering Utah, Montana, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Wyoming and El Paso, TX.

To compliment Brian's new appointment, he will be joined in his sales efforts by John Awad. John has been employed at SMP since 2001 and boasts fifteen years of experience in the datacom industry and a proven commitment to the dedication of high quality standards set by SMP. Within his new role, John's responsibilities will include assisting SMP sales efforts through technical and design integration support. John's technical proficiency will assure continued expert support to our existing and potential customers. Both John and Brian will report to Dan Trotta, Director of Sales and Marketing.

Bill Reynolds, General Manager of SMP Data Communications stated, "With the addition of Brian Thompson and John Awad's move to technical sales, the Western region is positioned for tremendous growth in 2006 and beyond. We have invested heavily in the Western Region and Brian and John are just the people to implement our initiatives."

Superior Modular Products, headquartered in Swannanoa, North Carolina, is internationally recognized for its role in establishing the world's data/communications standards, through its innovative-patented technologies. SMP, founded in 1990, manufactures and develops copper and fiber passive connectivity hardware components for use in commercial and residential applications. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Preformed Line Products (PLPC) of Cleveland, Ohio. For more information about SMP's complete product line visit our website at www.smpdata.com


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