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Glossary of Telecom Marketing Terms

3G – Third Generation. An advanced cell phone system that includes the availability of broadband on cell phones.

Access Network – The part of the telephone company network that touches the customer’s premises. The Access Network is also referred to as the local drop, local loop, or last mile.

Ad-supported Network -. A national or regional cable TV channel, such as MTV or ESPN, that makes available a certain amount of time per hour for local commercials.

ADSL – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line is a form of DSL that enables faster data transmission over copper telephone lines than a conventional modem can provide. It does this by using frequencies higher than normal human hearing. ADSL can only be used over short distances, typically less than 3 miles. ADSL is several hundred times faster than dial up modems. ADSL provides simultaneous delivery of voice, video and data. Faster version: ADSL2+. See VDSL.

Algorithm – An algorithm is a procedure or formula for solving a problem. In marketing, a computer model typically analyzes a group of consumers to determine the characteristics of those who responded or did not respond to a particular direct mail offer. When the program has finished, the software typically produces an algorithm that can be used to “score” a large database of consumers. These scores are used to predict which of the consumers will respond to a similar offer and which are unlikely to.

Analog – The technology which has been used for more than 50 years to transmit conventional radio and TV signals. Analog involves electronic transmission by adding signals of varying frequency or amplitude to carrier waves of a given frequency. Broadcast and phone transmission usually use analog technology. A modem is used to convert analog to digital information to and from your computer.

Analog Problem – A situation faced by cable TV companies that have for 40 years sent all (up to about 100) TV channels at once on their coaxial cables to customers. Customers use their TV sets to pick the channel they want to watch. The other channels just take up space on their cable. The problem is that the space (bandwidth) on the cable is needed to provide digital services including TV, broadband and VoIP. There is sometimes not enough bandwidth left on the cable to provide these services, because the analog channels are using so much of it.

ANI – Automatic Number Identification. Also called Caller ID. The automatic identification of the telephone number of the person calling you.

AOL – (formerly America Online, Inc) an American online service provider operated by Time Warner. It was, at one time, one of the largest corporations in the Internet-Telecom space. It built its business based on dial up access by more than 30 million consumers. After the dot com crash of 2000 the total value of AOL stock plummeted from about $226 billion to about $20 billion.

ARPANET – The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) developed by the United States Department of Defense was the world’s first operational packet switching network, and the predecessor of the global Internet.

ARPU -(Average Revenue per User) Average Revenue per User (ARPU) measures the average revenue generated per telephone, wireless, broadband or TV user per month. ARPU is used to compare various companies, as well as internally to spot lagging product lines.

AT&T- Currently the largest telecom company in the US following the acquisition by AT&T of Bell South and Cingular Wireless. AT&T was formed by acquisition of several regional telephone and wireless companies.

Backbone – The high-capacity network infrastructure; the part that carries the heaviest traffic. It is also that part of the network that joins local area networks (LANs) together – either inside a building or across the country.

Bandwidth – The common measure of transmission capacity. For analog transmission, it is measured in cycles per second. Digital rates are measured in bits per second, kilobits (kbps), megabits (mbps) or gigabits per second (gbps). The bigger the bandwidth, the faster the connecting speed and the more data can be transferred in a given time.

Basic Cable – Cable TV channels that are typically packaged and made available to a wide number of subscribing households. Basic channels usually are advertiser-supported.

Bit – contraction of the term Binary Digit. The smallest unit of information a computer can process, representing one of two states (usually indicated by “1” or “0”).

Bit Rate – The speed at which digital signals are transmitted, usually expressed in bits per second (bps).

Bonding – Method for making two or more twisted pair copper phone lines look like one high-rate line by use of an inverse multiplexer. It allows VDSL to deliver more than 24 mbps – if there are two or more twisted pairs of copper wires available going into a premise.

BPL – Broadcast over Power Lines – A technology that allows Internet data to be transmitted over utility power lines. A subscriber installs a modem that plugs into an ordinary wall outlet and can receive TV, phone or broadband. BPL works by using high-frequency radio waves that travel along the regular power lines and pass around the utility transformers to subscribers’ homes and businesses.

Branding – A traditional advertising method used to create a response from a target audience based on cumulative impressions and positive reinforcement. The ads are aimed at increased product or company name awareness leading to lifelong customer purchasing.

Broadband – A transmission medium that can support a wide range of frequencies, typically from audio up to video frequencies. It can carry multiple signals by dividing the total capacity of the medium into multiple, independent bandwidth channels, where each channel operates only on a specific range of frequencies. Broadband comes from the words “broad bandwidth”.

Bundling- A system whereby users pay less for buying two or more telecom services if they buy them together than if they bought them separately. Bundling “locks” the customer into a relationship, because if the customer discontinues one service, his price for the other services would go up.

Byte – The smallest unit of information that a computer system stores in its memory. A byte consists of eight bits and represents an amount of information roughly equivalent to a single printed or typewritten character.

Carrier – Vendor of transmission services operating under terms defined by the FCC as a common carrier. A carrier owns a transmission medium and rents, leases or sells portions for a set price to the public via shared circuits. (Examples: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon.)

CCPU – Cash Costs Per User measures the average cost to operate a telecom business on a per subscriber basis. It permits the comparison of one telecom’s subscriber costs to other telecom providers including telephone, cable, wireless and satellite companies. In addition to direct subscriber costs, CCPU includes the costs of incoming calls. CCPU is calculated as the total of GAAP operating expenses reported on consolidated statements of operations, less equipment revenue, depreciation and asset disposal, amortization, non-cash compensation and costs incurred to acquire new subscribers CCPU does not include non-cash compensation or depreciation, asset disposal or amortization.

CD – (Compact Disk) An optical digital audio disc that contains up to 74 minutes of hi-fi stereo sound or digital data. It is a plastic platter (120mm/4.75″ diameter) recorded on one side, with individual tracks playable in any sequence. Its storage capacity is from 650MB to 700MB. Sound is converted into digital code by sampling the sound waves 44,056 times per second and converting each sample into a 16-bit number. It requires approximately 1.5 million bits of storage for each second of stereo sound. The audio tracks are recorded as microscopic pits in a groove that starts at the center of the disc and spirals outward to the edge.

CDMA – Code Division Multiple Access – a cell phone system used by Verizon and Sprint to divide licensed radio spectrum so that it can be used by thousands of customers. Under CDMA all users transmit at once, but each set of users is assigned a code that permits them to talk to each other. Differs from of GSM used by AT&T and most of the rest of the world.

Cell Phones – Wireless phones which receive their signals from towers. A cell is typically the area (several miles) around a tower in which a signal can be received.

Channel – A signal path of specified bandwidth for conveying information such as voice, data and video. Analog cable TV typically has about 80 channels in a single coaxial cable.

Churn – Churn is a measurement of the percent of customers who leave you each month for voluntary reasons -usually to buy a competing service. A typical churn rate is 2% per month, or 24% per year. Churn can be reduced through retention efforts by company marketers.

Circuit Switching – Switching system in which a dedicated physical circuit path exists between sender and receiver for the duration of the call. Contrast with packet switching.

CPM – Cost Per Thousand The cost of advertising per thousand potential customers reached by a given broadcast advertisement.

CLEC -Competitive Local Exchange Carrier -Any company or person authorized to provide local exchange services in competition with an ILEC

Codec – COder-DECoder. A video codec converts the analog video signals from a video source to digital signals for transmission over digital circuits, and then converts the digital signals back to analog signals for display. An audio codec converts the audio signals to digital signals for transmission over digital circuits, and then converts the digital signal back to analog for reproduction.

Commodity – A commodity is a product or resource that is traded primarily on the basis of price and not on differences in quality or features. The prices of commodities typically fall to the marginal cost of the lowest cost volume producer. Phone service and broadband are in danger of becoming commodities in the next few years.

Compiled Names – Four US companies provide databases of virtually every consumer in the US complete with more than 100 different attributes, such as age, income, home value, children, etc. These databases are called compiled files. They can be used by Telecom companies to find out about their own subscribers, or to learn of prospects that live within their service area.

Compression – The method of taking raw data and processing it so that it may be represented with less bits. MPEG-4 is a compression standard for TV that uses less than 20% of the bits to provide the same picture as an uncompressed picture.

Coaxial Cable - The basic cable used by almost all cable TV systems. It is an electrical cable consisting of a round conducting wire, surrounded by an insulating spacer, surrounded by a cylindrical conducting sheath, usually surrounded by a final insulating layer. Because the electromagnetic field carrying the signal exists (ideally) only in the space between the inner and outer conductors, it cannot interfere with or suffer interference from external electromagnetic fields. As used in Cable TV, one cable may serve as many as 500 different homes. One cable can typically an carry about 80 TV channels of which some may be used for broadband and some for telephone.

CPGA – Cost per Gross Addition. The costs to acquire a new subscriber. CPGA is calculated by dividing the number of subscribers acquired in a given period into sum of the out of pocket cost of the equipment and labor used for adding the new subscribers plus the selling expenses related to adding the new subscribers

Creative Destruction – A term introduced in 1942 by the economist Joseph Schumpeter which describes the process of industrial transformation that accompanies radical innovation. Schumpeter said that the innovative entry by entrepreneurs is the force that sustaines long-term economic growth, even as it destroyes the value of established companies that enjoyed some degree of monopoly power. Creative destruction describes what is happening today to the telecom industry due to new technology being introduced by active entrepreneurs.

Customer Segmentation – Telecom customers are usually broken down into customer segments for marketing purposes. Segments may be based on usage or demographics (teenagers, seniors, etc.) Segments have proved to be a profitable system of marketing.

DBS – Direct Broadcast Satellite A high-powered satellite that transmits or retransmits (typically video) signals which are intended for direct reception by the public. The signal is transmitted to a small earth station or dish (usually the size of an 18-inch pizza pan) mounted on homes or other buildings.

Digital -The use of zeros and ones to represent information. There are two major benefits to digital signals: First, the signal can be reproduced precisely. This is especially helpful in long transmissions where the signal loses strength along the way, picking up static and other interference. Instead of just amplifying the signal (as is done in analog), the code is put through filter to delete the noise and then transmitted. The other benefit is that digital technology is becoming cheaper and more powerful, whereas analog is becoming a thing of the past.

Direct Marketing – A means of marketing via a promotion delivered and targeted directly to the individual prospective customer – the opposite of mass marketing where promotions are sent (by radio, TV, print or billboards) to millions of consumers without specific targeting. Direct marketing typically uses direct mail, but can also involve individually targeted digital TV ads.

Discount Rate – The discount rate is a number that is divided into a future revenue or profit number to yield the net present value of that number. There is a simple formula that is used to compute the discount rate. It is: D = (1 + (i x rf))n Where D = Discount rate, i = interest rate , rf = the risk factor, and n = number of years that you have to wait.

DNS Domain Name Server – On TCP/IP networks, DNS converts the domain name (URL) of a host computer into a numeric IP address using the format For example an IP address for Google ( HYPERLINK “” is

DSL – Digital Subscriber Line. A generic name for a family of broadband digital lines being provided by both large and small phone companies to local subscribers. See ADSL, VDSL.

Double Play – selling of two telecom services to a customer, such as phone plus DSL or Cable TV plus phone.

DSLAM – Digital Subscriber Line Access Multiplexer Equipment that concentrates traffic in ADSL systems. Located in the central office.

DVD – (Digital Video Disc) An optical digital disc for storing movies and data. The disc uses the same diameter platter as a CD (120mm/4.75″ diameter), but holds 4.7GB rather than 700MB. Whereas CDs use only one side, DVDs can be recorded on both sides as well as in dual layers. DVD drives and players read most CD disks as well

DVR A digital video recorder is also known as a “personal video recorder” (PVR) or “hard disk recorder.” A DVR is a consumer device that digitizes broadcast or cable TV onto a hard disk using MPEG-2 compression. It allows the viewer to pause at any time and continue playing or to record a program for viewing at a later date like a VCR. The DVR can also be set to periodically record favorite shows whenever broadcast.

Early Adopters. Customers who are the first to sign up for new services.

EDGE – Enhanced Data Rates for GDM Evolution – GSM enhancement that triples the data transfer rates for GSM cell phones.

Ethernet – A local-area network (LAN) protocol developed by Xerox Corporation. It is one of the most widely implemented LAN standards.

EVDO – Evolution Data Optimized – A very fast data exchange system used by CDMA cell phone systems.

FCC – Federal Communications Commission A federal government agency that regulates interstate and international telecommunications originating in the United States. The FCC plays a role in implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

Fiber Optics – Communications technology that uses thin filaments of glass or other transparent materials. Fiber optic technology offers extremely high transmission speeds, allowing for data-intensive services such as video on demand. Each fiber can carry from 90 to 150 mbps. Long-haul fiber-optic cable is often bundled with anywhere from 100 to 800 fibers per cable.

FIOS – Fiber Optic Services -Verizon fiber-optic services offered over the fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) network; Verizon retail service known as FiOS.

Frequency The number of times the same viewer sees your commercial. See Reach.

Gateway – The entrance and exit to a communications network or system. Gateways are commonly used to connect computers on one network with those on a long-distance network.

GIS – Geographic Information System – A cell phone system that permits users to know where they are on the surface of the earth. It is based on GPS satellites.

GPS – Global Positioning System – A US satellite system that lets those on the ground, on the water or in the air determine their position with extreme accuracy using GPS receivers.

GSM – Global System for Mobile Communications – The standard digital cellular phone service of Europe, Japan, Australia and elsewhere. It is used by AT&T wireless, whereas Verizon Wireless uses CDMA.

GUI – Graphical User Interface – Computer interface that lets users access programs and enter data by using a mouse. GUI is considered to be user-friendly

Head End – In IPTV, the site in a cable system or telephone TV network where the programming originates and the distribution network starts. Signals are usually received off the air from satellites, microwave relays, or fiber-optic cables at the head end for distribution.

HDTV – High Definition Television- An improved television system which provides approximately twice the vertical and horizontal resolution of existing television standards. It also provides audio quality approaching that of compact discs.

HFC – Hybrid Fiber Coax -A cable (CATV) network that includes a combination of fiber-optic and coaxial cable, with fiber-optic cable running from the cable company’s facility to a location near a home and coaxial cable running from there into the home.

Household Penetration The percentage of households within a cable TV service area that have subscribed to a cable or phone TV service.

IIEE – Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers – Professional organization that defines network standards.

ILEC – Incumbent local exchange carrier – A telephone company in the U.S. that was providing local service when the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was enacted. ILECs include the former Bell operating companies when the Bell System was broken up in 1983. ILECs are in contradistinction to CLECs (competitive local exchange carriers).

IM – Instant Messaging -A communications service that enables you to create a private chat room with another individual in order to communicate in real time over the Internet.

Individually Addressable TV Ads – A system whereby digital TV ads can be customized, personalized and addressed to a particular household, rather than to everyone watching a particular channel.

Interactive Cable – Cable systems that have the technical ability to let subscribers communicate directly with a computer at the system head end from their television sets, using special converters and regular cable lines. VoD is a form of interactive cable.

Internet – An international network of networks, originally started for military purposes, that connects millions of users instantaneously through commonly-used protocols such as TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, etc. The widely-used World Wide Web is available through the Internet.

Internet Address – Also called an IP (Internet Protocol) address; a 32-bit address assigned to hosts using TCP/IP .The address is made up of a network section, an optional subnet section and a host section. Example:

IP – Internet Protocol -Part of the TCP/IP family of protocols that tracks the outgoing address of nodes, routes outgoing messages and recognizes incoming messages.

IPTV – Internet Protocol Television – A system where a digital television service is delivered using packets over a network infrastructure. For residential users, IPTV is often provided in conjunction with Video on Demand and may be bundled with Internet services such as Internet access and VoIP. Despite its name, IPTV typically does not come to consumers over the Internet, but over carrier owned fiber optic, or coaxial cables. IPTV is provided by cable TV companies, telephone companies, and soon by electric utilities using BPL.

ISDN – Integrated Services Digital Network – a set of standards for digital transmission over ordinary telephone copper wire as well as over other media. Home and business users who install an ISDN adapter (in place of a telephone modem) receive Web pages at up to 128 Kbps compared with the maximum 56 Kbps rate of a modem connection. Broadband, in contrast may be more than 20 times faster.

iPOD – A family of popular digital music players from Apple. One of the most successful consumer electronics (CE) products in history, within five years of its launch, more than 60 million iPods and a billion and a half songs were sold. The hard disk iPod is a multimedia device, which plays audio and video and displays photos.

ISP – Internet Service Provider -A vendor that provides direct access to the Internet, and services such as email. The user accesses his ISP by dialing up through a personal computer and modem, or through a dedicated line. Also known as an Internet Access Provider (IAP).

Jitter Buffer – A hardware and software process that deals with the problem of VoIP voice packets arriving out of order and at different times. As the jitter buffer receives voice packets, it adds small amounts of delay to the packets so that all of the packets appear to have been received correctly. The jitter buffer ensures that the received packets are in the correct order and that conversations sound normal.

Land Line – plain old telephone service (POTS) provided by a regular telephone plugged into a wall outlet.

Last Mile – Many of the problems of communications occur in the “last mile” – from the exchange to the house or final destination. Often the last mile is old, limited bandwidth copper wire that cannot support the faster modems and computers.

Latency – A measure of the waiting time or delay, representing the length of time required for information to pass through a network.

LAN -Local Area Network — A short-distance data communications network. LANs are typically within a building or campus. They link together computers with a standard protocol. LANs are usually owned by the user.

LTV Lifetime Value – Lifetime Value is the net profit you will receive from a newly acquired customer during his purchasing lifetime with your company. It is usually calculated for customer segments, but can then be applied to individual customers, assuming that the customer has the same retention rate as the other members of his segment.

Marketing Database – A database of telecom customers usually outsourced to a service bureau. The database is used for retention and up-sell communications. It usually contains demographics, behavior and promotion history. It is usually accessed by telecom marketers over the web. Software includes drill down capability and campaign management.

mbps – megabits per second. – A measurement of data transmission. One megabit per second equals one million bits per second

MCI – A former American telecommunications company acquired by Verizon Communications. In 1982 MCI won a lawsuit against the giant telephone monopoly AT&T which led to the breakup of AT&T into eight different companies.

Megabits – A measure, representing 1,000,000 bits, generally used to express the speed per second of telecommunications services and equipment. A bit is the smallest unit used to express digital information.

Megabytes – A measure, representing 1,000,000 bytes generally used to express the storage capacity of digital components. A byte represents a single character. It is made up of eight bits.

Modem – Contradiction of modulator-demodulator. A device that converts signals transmitted over communication facilities; for example, converts analog voice signals to digital signals.

MPEG – Motion Pictures Experts Group. Multimedia compression standard for professional and consumer applications such as digital video, digital audio and systems compression. MPEG compresses similar frames of video, tracks elements which change between frames and discards the redundant information. The two current standards are MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.

MSA – Metropolitan Statistical Area – As defined by the U.S. Census Bureau, areas based on counties that have cities and surrounding regions with populations of 50,000 or more.

MSO - Multiple System Operator. A company that operates more than one cable TV system. Companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable are examples of MSOs.

MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) – In wireless communications, a company that does not own a licensed wireless system, but instead buys such services from an established company, and resells them under its own name. MVNOs help large wireless companies find customers who help pay for their networks.

Naked DSL - DSL is typically sold by a phone company together with a phone line. It can be sold without a phone line, which is somewhat cheaper, and is called Naked DSL.

NetFlix – A service that provides consumers with DVD movies by mail. A significant competitor for Video Rental stores and for Video on Demand by cable and phone TV companies.

NCF – Near Field Communications – – A short-range wireless connectivity standard (Ecma-340, ISO/IEC 18092) that uses magnetic field induction to enable communication between devices when they’re touched together, or brought within a few centimeters of each other. It enables cell phones to exchange data.

NPV – Net Present Value. The NPV of future revenue or profits is determined by dividing the expected future revenue by a discount rate which reflects the interest which that revenue would have earned if we had the revenue in hand today.

Node – A point of junction of the links in an electronic network. Switching center used in data networks, particularly in the context of packet-switching.

On Demand – An entertainment service that allows viewers instant access to content such as movies, cable series, original programs, educational programs, premium channels, news, sports, etc. Programming from content providers is delivered by consumer’s cable company and may be free, subscription-based, or paid for on a pay per view basis. With On Demand service, consumers can control what they watch and when, with features such as play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and stop.

Packet Switching – A form of data transmission in which data is broken into small packets that are transmitted independently and reassembled at the destination. This is in contrast with circuit-switching, traditionally used for voice telephony, in which the transmission occurs over a dedicated circuit.

Pay-Per-View – Usually movies or special events that a cable subscriber specially requests to receive for a single fee added to the monthly cable bill.

Per-Inquiry Advertising – Direct-response advertising for which the cable network is paid based on the number of responses received rather than the commercial time used.

POTS – Plain Old Telephone Service. The basic single line switched access service offered by local telephone companies to residential and business end users.

Predictive Analytics – A system using computer modeling that enables marketers to begin with a previous direct marketing promotion to thousands of customers, some of whom have purchased a product (but most of whom have not), and determine the characteristics that determine who will buy and who is unlikely to buy. The result of the analytics is an algorithm which is used to “score” a database of consumers to identify those most likely to purchase in a subsequent promotion.

Prepaid Cell Phones – The fastest growing and most profitable segment of the wireless industry. With a prepaid phone, there is no credit check or contract to sign, or monthly bill. Users pay in advance and use the phone until their time is exhausted. Rates are much higher than post paid phones, and churn is much higher.

Prospect Database – A system whereby prospect consumer names and addresses are rented for an entire year (instead of for a single use) so that data can be appended to them including promotion history, demographics and behavior. Prospect databases are usually outsourced to a service bureau. They permit analytics and a higher response rate than a single use mailing program.

PVR (Personal Video Recorder) – A device, similar to a VCR, that records television data in digital format PVRs have all of the same functionality of VCRs plus the ability to instantly jump to any part of the program without having to rewind or fast forward the data stream. Two common PVR systems are TiVo and ReplayTV.

Quadruple Play – The quadruple play consists of providers who are selling the triple play, offering wireless service as well, making four different services sold to a single customer.

RBOC – Regional Bell Operating Company – The acronym for the local telephone companies created by the break-up of AT&T. The original seven RBOCs were Ameritech, Bell Atlantic, Bell South, Nynex, Pacific Telesis Group, Southwestern Bell, and US West.

Reach The number of different people or households exposed to your television commercial. See Frequency.

Response Names – Many companies (magazines, catalogers, retailers, etc.) are willing to rent the use of their customer names to companies who want to send them direct mail promotions. Response names are consumers who have responded to some sort of previous promotion. Compare these to compiled names which are the names of everyone in the US, whether they have responded to a promotion or not. Response names usually have only the name and address, the product that they bought, and the date they bought it.

Retention Rate – The Retention Rate is the percentage of a specific group of customers who are still purchasing from you one year from now. It can be derived from the Churn Rate. RR = 1-(churn x 12).

Relationship Buyers – Consumers or businesses that make their purchasing decisions based on their relationship with the supplier rather than price. Their decisions may be based on quality, service, and established relationships. These are the most profitable customers.

Remote – A television remote control device invented by Dr. Robert Adler of Zenith corporation. The remote controls a TV set or a set top box. It enables users to change channels, and, increasingly, to conduct a number of related functions including ordering and paying for Video on Demand.

RGU – Revenue Generating Units. A measure of the number of services (phone, DSL, TV, etc.) sold to individual customers. The triple play sold to a customer would be an RGU of 3.0. Most RGUs today are about 1.5 or less.

Ring Tones – The sound that a cell phone makes when it receives a call. Thousands of different musical and spoken tones are available for download to the millions of cell phones in the US at a price of about $1.50 each. It has become a big business

Risk - Revenue Matrix – A way of segmenting customers by their likelihood to churn (defect) compared to their Lifetime Value. Those with a high value and high likelihood to defect are identified so that an active retention program can be used to reduce churn.

ROI – Return on Investment – The ratio of money gained or lost on an investment relative to the amount of money invested. In marketing, the net profit from a particular marketing strategy, divided by the cost of implementing that strategy.

Router – An intelligent device located within electronic networks that receives data packets, selects the most expedient route for data to travel, and sends the packets on their way.

Satellite TV – TV broadcasts delivered via a satellite that is in geostationary orbit 22,000 miles above the Earth. Signals are beamed up to the satellite from an Earth station, then relayed back down again to be received by a dish. There are two such services in the US – DirecTV and EchoStar. Together they reach 25% of US TV homes, about 27 million in all. They typically broadcast digital TV. To receive their broadcasts, users typically need a dish plus a set top box. Users pay a monthly fee, plus charges for premium broadcasts.

Search Engines – A search engine is an information retrieval system designed to help find information stored on a computer system, such as the Internet, inside a corporate or proprietary network, or in a personal computer. The search engine allows users to ask for content meeting specific criteria (typically those containing a given word or phrase) and retrieves a list of items that match those criteria. This list is often sorted with respect to some measure of relevance of the results. Search engines use regularly updated indexes to operate quickly and efficiently. The most popular search engines today are and

Set Top Box – A device that connects a television set to some external source of signal, and turns the signal into content then displayed on the screen. The signal source might be an ethernet cable , a satellite dish, a coaxial cable, a telephone line (including DSL connections), Broadband over Power Line, or even an ordinary VHF or UHF antenna. Set top boxes are usually controlled by a “remote” battery powered hand held instrument.

Share The percent of the audience of a particular television program or time period viewing TV at that particular time.

SKYPE – A VoIP service owned by

SMS – Short Message Service – A wireless service that permits sending short text messages on cell phones. It costs about $0.10 per message. Very big in Europe, but not widely used in the US since cell phone calls are often paid for in bundled plans.

SONET (Synchronous Optical Network) – The American National Standards Institute standard for synchronous data transmission over fiber optic cable. SONET insures that digital networks can interconnect internationally. Actual line rates approaching 20 gigabits per second are possible.

Streaming Video – A one-way video transmission over the Internet or a data network. It is widely used on the Web to deliver video-on-demand or a video broadcast. Unlike movie files (MPG, AVI, etc.) that are played after they are downloaded, streaming video is played within a few seconds of requesting it, and the data is not stored permanently in the computer.

T-1 Circuit – A digital circuit that uses the DS-1 signaling format to transmit information over the telephone network at 1.544 megabits per second. A T-1 can carry up to 24 uncompressed voice channels.

TCP/IP -Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol is the basic communication language or protocol of the Internet. When you are set up with direct access to the Internet, your computer has a copy of the TCP/IP program. All other computers on the Internet also have copies of TCP/IP.

Telco – A land line telephone company such as AT&T and Verizon. There are about 1,300 independent Telcos in the US.

Telecom – a general term for all industries and companies providing data, phone service or entertainment to consumers and businesses. Includes wireless, phone, cable TV, satellite TV, and VoIP companies.

TIVO – A popular brand of digital video recorder (DVR) in the United States. It allows users to capture television programming to internal hard disk storage for later viewing (sometimes called “time shifting”).

Transaction Buyers – Consumers and businesses who make their purchasing decisions primarily based on price, rather than reliability, quality, service or other features.

Triple Play -The triple play refers to the delivery by one provider of phone, broadband and television service.

Twisted Pair – Cable consisting of two solid copper wires twisted around each other. The twisting provides a measure of protection from electromagnetic and radio-frequency interference.

UMA – Unlicensed Mobile Access – Provides access to cellular mobile voice and data services over unlicensed spectrum technologies, such Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (802.11). A UMA phone can use a cellular networks (GSM, CDMA, etc.) when out and about, and automatically switch to a UMA-enabled Bluetooth or Wi-Fi local network when in range, such as at home or in the office.

Verizon – Currently the second largest telecom company in the US consisting of Verizon land line and Verizon Wireless. Verizon, which operates primarily in the Eastern US, was formed by the acquisition of several telephone and wireless companies.

VDSL – Very high rate Digital Subscriber Line, a form of DSL that can transmit up to 52 mbps downstream and up to 2.3 Mbps upstream, though only over short distances (up to 4500 feet). It is planned to be used by AT&T to deliver the triple play over twisted pair copper wires. A faster version is VDSL2+.

VOD – Video on Demand – The ability to deliver a movie, sports event or other video program to a TV set whenever the customer requests it. Video-on-demand typically refers to free and paid programs from the cable TV companies or the telephone companies that offer video over DSL lines. Although the Web offers countless video clips and movies in a video-on-demand model, these are generally referred to as “streaming video.”

VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol -An industry transmission standard which supports voice communications over packet networks, such as the Internet. VoIP is used by many cable TV phone systems and is the basis for such Internet phone providers as Skype and Vonage.

WAP – Wireless Application Protocol – A technology that lets cell phone users access the Internet using micro-browsers that enable Internet websites to fit on the tiny wireless cell phone screens.

Web Site -A location on the World Wide Web. Each website contains a homepage, which is the first document users see when they enter the site. The site might also contain additional documents and files. Each site is owned and managed by an individual, company, or organization.

WiFi – A broadband transmission system that transmits over the air at frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5GHz. This frequency is considerably higher than the frequencies used for cell phones, walkie-talkies and televisions. The higher frequency allows the signal to carry more data. Intel has built WiFi into the chips put in most laptop computers so that users can access the Internet in airports, coffee shops and hotels, or within their own homes. WiFi transmits and receives in short distances of about 100 feet.

WiMAX – WiMAX is a wireless broadband transmission system known as IIEE 802.16e. Unlike WiFi which has a maximum range of about 100 feet, WiMAX may reach three miles or more. With new chips WiMAX may be accessed by cell phones and laptops. Sprint has announced plans to set up WiMAX towers to cover up to 65% of the entire US by 2010.

Wireless – Mobile or cellular telecommunications, for which part of the communications pathway uses radio links to land-based networks. Wireless communications include cellular phones and pagers.

World Wide Web or WWW or Web – Another word for the Internet. An area of the Internet that allows for graphical information retrieval via hypertext-based software, such as a web browser like Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer, using point and click.

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