airlinesearlybirdspackagesTahiti Tahiti’s latest visitor figures show that in the first five months of 2017 young travellers (15-34), and those aged around the baby boomer bracket (55-74), each accounted for around a third of visitors to the Islands of Tahiti, and the month of May saw a 26 per cent year-on-year increase among 15 to 24-year-old travellers.Air Tahiti Nui Regional Manager Australia New Zealand, Alan Roman, puts the increase in appeal to these different markets down to the freedom and value afforded by rental homes and family-run pensions, attracting more holidaymakers to the Islands. “Tahiti is an incredibly diverse destination, combining stunning natural beauty with a year-round tropical climate, an ancient culture and myriad activities on land and at sea. What we’re seeing is groups of friends hire out homes and rent a car so they can see the islands DIY-style, as well as baby boomers totally immersing in the destination at rustic B&B type accommodation.“Young Aussie travellers are also realising that the ultimate getaway is closer than they think with Tahiti only a hop and a skip across the Pacific – about the same travel time as other millennial hot spots such as Hawaii and Thailand.”In conjunction with Tahiti Travel Connection, Air Tahiti Nui is offering pension packages starting from $1999* per person including return economy airfares and five nights in a pension on Tahiti. Air Tahiti Nui is also offering return economy flights from Australia from $1219*, on sale until 30 November 2017. *Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Airfare is on sale until November 30, 2017.
01May Rep. García recognized for exceptional community leadership Categories: Garcia News GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce recognized community leaders at the J.W. Marriott on April 30 during the Center for Community Leadership Annual Fundraiser. State Rep. Daniela García, R-Holland, was recognized for her community contributions by peers from the chamber’s Leadership Grand Rapids program, which has connected local leaders from business, non-profits and government for 30 years.Legislator honored as a community trustee in 30th annual celebrationState Rep. Daniela García last night was honored by the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce for being one of 30 vibrant leaders making a positive impact in the West Michigan community.“I’m so humbled to receive this honor alongside so many extraordinary individuals,” said Rep. García, R-Holland. “The passion for our community is astounding, and I’m so glad to see tremendous support for the cultivation of leadership and investment in our region.”As a graduate of the nine-month program, Rep. García said she is grateful to the businesses, organizations and community members who routinely invest in the region’s emerging leaders.“Leadership Grand Rapids fosters community leadership with comprehensive vision, uncovers opportunity amidst challenge, and illuminates how important connecting with the people of our communities is because they have entrusted us with our leadership roles,” Rep. García said. “We have every reason to be proud of our communities, and I’m excited to continue my service through my new role as state representative of the 90th District.”According to the chamber website, dynamic individuals spark greatness within the heart of the community, and without community trustees like Rep. García, West Michigan wouldn’t be as flourishing as it is today.“We need to keep fueling the growth of our entire region,” Rep. García said. “The more we give of ourselves to this community, the stronger it will grow and the prouder we’ll be to call West Michigan our home.”
Increased focus on vocational education and jobs training stood out to state Rep. Brandt Iden, of Oshtemo, during a news conference to announce the release of the 2017-18 House of Representatives’ Action Plan Thursday at the Capitol.“Vocational training is paramount to training the next generation of workers in Michigan,” Iden said. “There’s a growing demand across our region for skilled trade employees. Giving high school students the option of a building trades or car mechanic course will go a long way towards developing career interests for many students.“There are many items in this Action Plan that will keep Michigan moving forward in a strong and stable direction. Improving educational options and accessibility in vocational and jobs training will set an incredible foundation for a healthy Michigan economy.”The Action Plan also addressed key issues pertaining to infrastructure investment, tax reform, and economic development. A full copy of the Action Plan can be accessed online at: http://gophouse.org/best-way-forward/##### Categories: Iden News,News 17Feb Rep. Iden: Action plan’s emphasis on voc ed is crucial
19Sep Rep. Glenn talks with top Marine recruiter during September 11th ceremony Categories: Glenn News,News Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Williams Township, talked with Maj. Gen. Paul Kennedy, commanding general of U.S. Marine Corps Recruiting Command, during a September 11th memorial service on the floor of the state House of Representatives in Lansing.Glenn, whose father was a World War II Marine who survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, served eight years in the U.S. Army Reserves and Army National Guard and is a member of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. He also serves as chairman of the Michigan chapter of Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors, a non-profit military readiness and remembrance organization.Kennedy previously served as commanding officer of Marines stationed in two hot spots of the War on Terror — the city of Ramadi, Iraq, and the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. He has also served as USMC Director of Legislative Affairs to the U.S. House of Representatives and Director of Marine Corps Public Affairs.Kennedy’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit with two Combat “V” and two gold stars; the Bronze Star Medal; the Purple Heart; the Combat Action Ribbon (with Bronze Star); the Presidential Unit Citation, and a Navy Unit Commendation (with Gold Star).
26Sep Legislation combating probate fraud gains committee approval Categories: Runestad News Reps. Runestad, Ellison work with AG’s office, Oakland County officials to protect heirs from corrupt public administratorsState Rep. Jim Ellison, left, and State Rep Jim Runestad speak in support of their legislation before the House Judiciary Committee.The House Judiciary Committee today approved legislation introduced by state Reps. Jim Runestad and Jim Ellison to combat probate fraud by requiring more safeguards for heirs of an estate.The bipartisan legislation was developed with input from the Attorney General’s Office after the controversial practices of some county public administrators in southeast Michigan were brought to light. The Attorney General’s Office appoints county public administrators, who serve as representatives for estates in which a deceased person has no known heirs.“This past year we became aware of a situation in Macomb and Oakland whereby heirs were losing rights to property through a fraud scheme,” said Runestad, R-White Lake, who chairs the Judiciary Committee. “I wasn’t going to sit back and allow corrupt public administrators to use their positions to take advantage of residents, so I immediately started working on a remedy to protect families and assets and ensure property is passed down to the rightful heirs by closing loopholes in current statute.”The issue brought Runestad and Ellison together with State Public Administrator Michael Moody, Attorney General Bill Schuette, Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner and Oakland County Clerk Lisa Brown to develop the legislation.Current law allows county public administrators to be appointed to represent an estate if another personal representative is not identified within 42 days. Runestad’s legislation, House Bill 4821, extends the timeframe to 91 days and requires a formal proceeding for a county public administrator to be appointed. Current law allows this to take place through an informal procedure.HB 4822, introduced by Ellison, establishes a line of communication between county treasurers and public administrators to verify that occupants of a home and heirs are properly notified of proceedings in the event of a tax foreclosure. If a property is sold, the bills prevent real estate or asset recovery fees from exceeding 10 percent of the net proceeds.“We want to make sure residents are protected when they are grieving the loss of a loved one and every reasonable measure is taken to find rightful heirs before estates are opened in probate,” said Ellison, D-Royal Oak. “I’m very troubled that rightful heirs have had their relatives’ homes sold out from under them and these estates are being charged such excessive fees. These reforms will make sure the heirs’ interests are protected.”Another reform requires public administrators seeking appointment as personal representatives to give notice to heirs and describe their search for heirs, which must now include an electronic searching service.“These bills will strengthen the notice requirements, protect against excessive realtor fees and thereby protect heirs and their inheritance,” Moody said.House Bills 4821-22 advance to the full House for consideration.###
State Rep. Bronna Kahle invites Lenawee County residents to join her for office hours on Friday, Aug. 10 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at the Lenawee District Library, 4459 W. U.S. 223 in Adrian.“I am grateful for the opportunity to connect with people in our community and hear what matters most to them,” Rep. Kahle said. “I look forward to meeting new friends, talking to our neighbors, and helping address the concerns of the people of Lenawee County.”No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Kahle’s office at (517) 373-1706 or BronnaKahle@house.mi.gov.##### Categories: Kahle News,News 31Jul Rep. Kahle invites residents to in-district office hours
Categories: Vaupel News 08Apr Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column: April 8, 2019 A big congratulations to Micah and Lydia DeMass on their beautiful wedding last Saturday! Micah serves as my legislative aide and works hard to provide timely and beneficial assistance to the people of our district. Lydia is a hard-working and enthusiastic individual who works at a nearby dentist office. They are a tremendous couple who love God, each other, and their community. I know they have a bright future with many happy years ahead. All the best!***This week, I concluded my March is Reading Month tour by visiting Round, Village, and Creekside elementary schools in Hartland. As in years past, it was a pleasure to dedicate some of my time in March to reading to students across the district. They never cease to impress and fill me with hope for the future of our county. A big thank you to all the teachers, principals, and staff who went out of their way to welcome me.***April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, and on Wednesday, I attended LACASA’s annual Plant a Pinwheel Celebration at the Howell Carnegie District Library. Adults and children from across the county gathered to take a stand against child abuse and plant a pinwheel garden as a visible reminder. Thank you to LACASA’s Child Abuse Prevention Council for hosting this important event and to everyone who participated.***It was a pleasure to be invited by 44th Circuit Court Judge Michael Hatty to the 20th annual Michigan Association of Treatment Court Professionals conference in Lansing. It was a great inside look into our court system and the issues judges face both in and out of the courtroom. It was also an opportunity to discuss how the Legislature can make things better for everyone involved in the legal system. Thank you to Judge Hatty for the invitation and the chance to share thoughts and ideas.***If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-8835 or send an email to HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. We are happy to hear from you!PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Hank Vaupel reads to a group of students at Round Elementary in Hartland as part of his March is Reading Month tour.
State Rep. Andrea Schroeder of Independence Township hosted a roundtable discussion on Thursday to discuss how best to educate people about a new Waterford Township ordinance regarding vaping.“We invited all the community stakeholders to create a common message about the new township ordinance and the dangers of vaping for kids,” Rep. Schroeder said. “It’s important to get the message out to businesses, parents, and our children. Everyone has a role and embraces this collaborative effort, which will include additional community members as plans evolve. ”During the in-depth conversation, Rep. Schroeder met with Waterford Township Supervisor Gary Wall, local vape shop owner Jamie Webb, Waterford Board of Education Member Joan Sutherland, parent advocate Lisa Kane, Waterford Township Police Chief Scott Underwood and Waterford Township Trustee Karen Joliat.“Vaping” is when a battery-operated heating device (such as an electronic cigarette) vaporizes liquid inside a cartridge to deliver nicotine and flavoring to the operator without burning tobacco.Waterford Township joins a growing list of local governments enacting measures to regulate vaping among young adults. State legislators are also researching the issue and working with local leaders as the Legislature considers any potential state action.Those with questions on the regulation of vaping may contact Rep. Schroeder at (517) 373-0615 or via email at AndreaSchroeder@house.mi.gov.State Rep. Andrea Schroeder of Independence Township hosted a roundtable discussion on Thursday to discuss how best to educate people about a new Waterford Township ordinance regarding vaping.FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Gary Wall, Jamie Webb, Joan Sutherland, Lisa Kane, Scott Underwood, and Karen Joliat. Categories: Schroeder News,Schroeder Photos 15Apr Rep. Schroeder holds vaping roundtable discussion with local officials and parents
Share45Tweet4Share2Email51 SharesPublic domain. Courtesy of Pixabay.February 23, 2017; National Public Radio, “The Two-Way”In a move that signals things to come, busy new Attorney General Jeff Sessions has rescinded the Justice Department’s commitment to reduce the use of private prisons. That commitment, as you may remember, was made toward the end of the Obama administration after the federal prison population had fallen by nearly a third due to updated sentencing practices. Investigations indicated that private prisons were less safe and more expensive, and offered inadequate services compared to those institutions run by the federal government. Also, in 2014, contracts with private prisons cost the federal government $639 million. So much for the efficiencies and effectiveness of privatization.So why reengage, other than the obvious and ideological “law and order” rationale? Follow the money. Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and the GEO Group are this country’s largest private prison corporations, which have already profited from billions in taxpayer money. Both are publicly traded companies that spend millions on lobbying for policies that will keep our prisons full.This is hardly a hidden factor; once Sally Yates declared the severance of contracts, private prison stock prices plummeted. However, on the day following Trump’s election, those prices soared:This shift reverses the visible decline after the current administration announced in August that it was withdrawing federal prisoners from private facilities. Acclaimed at the time by advocates for the elimination of private prisons, that decision was one element of a bipartisan move to reform the criminal justice system to reduce mass incarceration overall. But Trump’s plans to increase deportation activities and his “law and order” orientation toward crime have apparently given the industry a new lease on life. Trump’s uncompromising stance on immigration has an immediate solution in the use of immigration detention centers, 70 percent of which are run by private corporations.For-profit prison companies “were likely to face negative headlines and persistent contract uncertainty under a Clinton White House,” Isaac Boltansky, senior vice president and policy analyst at Washington-based Compass Point Research & Trading, wrote after the election. “We expect a Trump administration to be more supportive given its focus on immigration and crime.”As readers may recall, Sessions wrote, “The memorandum changed long-standing policy and practice, and impaired the Bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.” That pretty much sums things up in terms of any federal commitment to end mass incarceration. Many activists have long since shifted their reform focus to the states, which house many times the federal prisoner population and where most of the models for reform are being developed, but Sessions’ prediction of a greater need for cells is nothing short of heartbreaking.—Ruth McCambridgeShare45Tweet4Share2Email51 Shares
IP set-top vendor Amino returned to operating profitability last year, posting gross profits of £14.5 million (€17 million), up 16% for the full year ending November 30.Chairman Keith Todd said the company was taking advantage of the increasing popularity of IP-based TV services from both traditional pay TV operators and pure OTT providers. The company has seen particularly strong growth in North America and also in western Europe, where it secured deals with Telecom Italia for the Cubovision service and, more recently, with Vodafone Netherlands for IPTV set-tops.Full year revenue was up 18% to £51.8 million, while EBITDA rose by €3.8 million to €4.4 million.“Amino has delivered a good performance in what has undoubtedly been a challenging year for the global technology industry,” said Todd. “This year Amino has returned to operating profitability, delivered improvements in margin, generated encouraging revenue growth and significantly strengthened its cash position. All of this has been enabled by a rigorous focus on operational management and by the market’s growing acceptance of our stronger, simplified product range.”
UK telco BT has launched an on-demand channel featuring video content from the British Museum to its IPTV platform BT Vision.The channel will be available to all BT TV customers at no extra charge. It will offer films produced by the British Museum including long and short form documentaries on themes including journeys of faith, great leaders, stories of the world, contemporary artists and Shakespeare. It will also air lectures and short films linked to current exhibitions.The British Museum also shares its video content on its own web site, via a dedicated YouTube channel on and social media.Marc Watson, CEO, BT Vision, said: “It is a privilege to be a partner of the British Museum and bring these programmes to BT TV viewers. Our customers can visit the museum without leaving their armchairs and see captivating stories of humanity, from civilisations which disappeared thousands of years ago to the world we live in today.”
Global TV shipments fell by 6.3% to 238.5 million units last year, according to figures compiled by IHS iSuppli for its Worldwide Television Market Tracker report.According to IHS iSuppli, shipments are not expected to recover their 2011 level until 2015, when they will amount to 253.1 million units.The decline follows a 2011 when growth in shipments fell to 1% from 11.6% in 2010. The reversal in fortune for TV manufacturers is attributed in part to the end of the replacement cycle for CRT sets and the completion of digital switchover in western Europe, combined with the impact of the economic crisis. However, while the North American and western European regions in 2012 both experienced significant shipment declines, the biggest fall was in Japan, where shipments fell by 13.5 million units. This was due to end the end of a subsidy programme for energy-efficient products, which helped boost the number of TV sets sold between 2009-11 by about 25 million.IHS iSuppli expects the market to recover from 2014 thanks to the impact of the football World Cup in Latin America, continued growth in China, and the emergence of affordable versions of new technologies such as ultra-high definition and OLED screens.“Television shipments in 2012 declined for the first time for more than a decade, sounding the coda for the flat-panel replacement wave that deluged the business throughout the 2000s,” said Tom Morrod, TV systems analyst at IHS.“This event marked a fundamental change in the growth trajectory of the market, with flat or minimal increases in shipments expected in the coming years – a sharp contrast to the double-digit increases seen prior to 2010. While some specific events contributed to the downturn of 2012, such as the fall of sales to the Japanese market, the decline reflects a fundamental slowdown in the television market, with [LCD TV] shipments falling for the first time ever. Although television shipments will stabilise in 2013 and growth will return in 2014, developed markets have become saturated with flat-panel televisions.”
Bruce Rosenblum, until last month president of the Warner Bros Television Group, has become president of Legendary Television and Digital Media.Legendary is best known as a movie producer and counts Man of Steel and The Dark Knight and The Hangover franchises among its credits. It has a longstanding production pact with Warner Bros., which is currently being renegotiated. Reports from LA suggest it is likely to split from the Studio.Rosenblum will run TV and digital media at Legendary in a move that sees that unit expand. The company said that Rosenblum will oversee “producing programming across multiple linear and non-linear on-demand platforms on a global basis, as well as the development of global multi-platform digital distribution opportunities for broadband, mobile and emerging technologies”.He will report to Legendary founder and CEO Thomas Tull, who said: “Bruce has an outstanding track record in the business, and he will be instantly additive to the team in our efforts to continue to make world-class content for consumers, however and wherever they access that content.”Rosenblum said: “There has never been a better time to be producing and distributing television content. The Legendary consumer belongs to a connected, vibrant demographic, and the opportunity to develop content and strategies to reach this burgeoning audience is invigorating and exciting to me.”Rosenblum’s exit from the position of president, Warner Bros. Television Group was made official last month. He had worked at the Studio for over twenty years and his departure came amid a wide-ranging restructure initiated by new CEO Kevin Tsujihara.
Disney will launch a branded on-demand service on the Lovefilm streaming service in the UK.Disney inked a deal with BSkyB earlier this year that gave it the latest movie titles, exclusively, in the first pay TV window for a the new Sky Movies Disney service and for the pay TV operator’s mobile and on-demand services.Disney Movies on Demand on Lovefilm will offer its subs the chance to access a raft of the studio’s classic and newer features and titles include Wall-E, Ratatouille, Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Dumbo and Bedknobs and Broomsticks.Lovefilm already has a programming deal with Disney, but these titles will be added in a branded section on its service as well as being available as part of the wider Lovefilm library. It launches today.Simon Morris, chief marketing officer at Lovefilm said: We are thrilled to enhance our relationship with the launch of Disney Movies on Demand, and even more excited about bringing our members so much new content in the process.”
Multi-platform video management specialist Saffron Digital has named Leen Segers as sales manager for EMEA. Segers’ appointment follows the naming of former Brightcove sales executive Enda Parker, also as EMEA sales manager, three months ago. Segers was previously a media executive with Kaltura.
Vivendi has agreed to sell French telco SFR to Altice/Numericable, which has fended off competition from rival bidder Bouygues to clinch a deal worth “in excess of €17 billion”.Confirming the agreement, Vivendi said that the Altice/Numericable offer delivered the highest value for SFR’s customers, employees and shareholders.Vivendi will receive €13.5 billion at the closing of the transaction, a potential earn-out of €750 million and has the possibility to sell its 20% stake at a later stage – representing a total value that it said is greater than €17 billion.“This balance between cash upfront and future upside from industrial value creation fits with Vivendi’s philosophy, an industrial and financial group concerned about creating long term value in the interest of shareholders, employees and consumers,” Vivendi said in a statement.Among the factors that contributed to the decision, Vivendi said that Altice/Numericable’s focus on fixed and mobile convergence would produce strong synergies from the merged networks and generate new growth opportunities.It also said that the plan presented by Altice/Numericable guarantees “development of sustainable employment” and that the Altice/Numericable offer presented “the lowest competition risks.”“Vivendi selected the most balanced offer between cash upfront and stock participation allowing the group to benefit from the highest total valuation. While pursuing its announced strategy to focus on media, Vivendi wants to support SFR, its 27 year-long subsidiary, by strengthening its industrial and social structure,” said Vivendi.The news comes a week after Bouygues extended its improved offer to acquire SFR until April 25. Its bid included a €13.15 billion upfront payment, and offered an indemnity payment of €500 million in the event that France’s competition regulator blocked a deal between the pair.
Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO.Modern Times Group (MTG) has decided to write down the value of its Ukrainian pay TV service, Viasat Ukraine, because of continuing economic uncertainty in the country. MTG is writing down 100% of the value of the goodwill value of its 85% stake in the platform via Viastrong Holding. The company said it will include net non-recurring charges of SEK154 million (€17 million) related to the stake in its second-quarter results. The charges comprise a SEK160 million non-cash net impairment related to Viasat Ukraine and SEK70 million of organizational and restructuring costs, offset by a SEK76 million net gain from the recently completed sale of an 80% stake in Swedish open-access fibre-to-the-home network operator Zitius to TeliaSonera.According to the company, the decision was taken due to the uncertain economic outlook in Ukraine and the devaluation of the Hryvnia. Viasat Ukraine accounted for less than 1% of MTG’s net sales in 2013.MTG said its organizational restructuring, costing SEK70 million, would deliver annual cost savings of approximately SEK40 million, which would be reinvested in business intelligence and data analysis.“The impairment of the Ukrainian assets reflects the current situation, but make no mistake that we remain committed to the operations and see substantial long term potential for the business, not least given the scale of the country and the upcoming TV digitalisation process,” said Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO.“The sale of Zitius in Sweden has generated a healthy return on investment for us, and the broader changes we have made are all about optimising our set-up so that we can continue to invest in the Group’s growth and development.”
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Slovakia has introduced an ‘internet for seniors’ offering, providing uncapped data at speeds of up to 10Mbps for €5 a month.The offering is targeted at subscribers over the age of 62. UPC Slovakia is providing two packages, Senior Start, with speeds of up to 10Mbps and a WiFi modem available for an additional €0.90 a month, and Senior Comfort, which includes 120 minutes of phone calls to mobile and fixed networks in Slovakia and other EU countries, for €9.90.The packages include a discounted price for activation of €1, with an installation technician available for €5.UPC Slovakia CEO Martin Miller said that only a third of Slovakian seniors currently use the internet, less than the European average. This offering, he said, is designed to encourage them to get online.
Liberty Global CEO Mike FriesDemands for more formal network neutrality regulation is a “solution in search of a problem”, according to Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries.Liberty Global does not discriminate against traffic or provide preferences to one content source over another, said Fries. “Network neutrality is in some ways a solution is search of a problem. However we recognise that another operator might work differently. We agree there should be transparency and an open environment. At the same time we should be incentivised to invest billions in networks.”Fries said that Liberty is investing in creating broadband capacity, but added that there is a need for proper incentives to invest. He said there would be a need for some specialised services, and that there is plenty of capacity available for all application providers and will be more over time. He added that there is little need to worry about the ability of network providers to deliver content to users.Fries said the presumption that cable could not be trusted is “false”. He said that consumers in Liberty Global’s cable territories had four or five choices about where to go for broadband. “Regulation in and of itself has not done one thing to make the internet great. I would be careful [about imposing regulation] because this energy and this ecosystem has been created from scratch by entrepreneurs and industry,” he said.Fries said that operators needed a consistent approach to regulation across the EU. “We have fundamentally the same proposition [in each market],” he said.Manuel Cubero, CEO of Vodafone-owned Kabel Deutschland and managing director and executive vice-president of Vodafone Deutschland, speaking on the same panel, said that consumers and business customers paid more for higher bandwidth and lower latency times depending on the requirements that they have. He cited the examples of medical applications and automotive applications that require higher quality parameters than other services.“Quality categories are indispensable. Operators of these services will do deals with cable operators. It is not discriminatory. In the end-user segment it is more critical but it is not about having to pay at both ends. When there is a need to transmit data faster to customers and we can enable innovation, we want to be in a position to offer it,” he said. “We see that end users are willing to pay for different quality parameters.”Cubero said that 50% of KD’s revenues had been invested in its network and the company was still increasing the capacity available to consumers. This had to be financed and cable operators have to be free to establish new business models, he said.Fries and Cubero avoided answering directly a question by session moderator Werner Lauff on whether it made sense for them to combine Liberty Global and Vodafone, or arrange an asset swap that would allow them to merge their German operations.Cubero said that consolidation in itself was a positive development, and that while in the past access routes had been scarce, there was now a much wider range of fibre and high-speed mobile broadband competitors in the market. “There is no scarcity of access routes,” he said. “Economies of scale internationally are important. It is also important to be able to offer things nationwide. We support this and we have huge willingness to make investments in broadband,” he said. “We are looking forward to further consolidation and growth. Vodafone has stated its strategy of convergence.”Cubero declined to comment on the prospects for asset swaps between operators. He said that Kabel Deutshchland and Vodafone’s main focus is on convergence and creating convergent products for consumers.Fries said that Liberty Global, chairman John Malone’s widely reported comments on the desirability of a combination of his company with Vodafone were really intended as a more general statement that convergence made sense. He said that Liberty Global had purchased Belgian mobile operator BASE because it also saw the “benefits of quad-play” and cited the example of the success of quad-play in the UK with Virgin Media.“Network companies have to offer as many products as they can find,” he said.Fries said that Liberty Global was in “the connectivity business” and wants to connect consumers on all devices. It also wants to make content easily available by aggregating it in an easy to access way. “It’s all about plug-and-play,” he said. He added that providing connectivity and the best applications, possibly through partnerships, is key.
Online video technology specialist Quickplay is working with Alcatel-Lucent to enable pay TV operators to evolve legacy IPTV platforms to the next generation of TV services.The combination uses both managed and unmanaged networks to offer a user experience across different screens – both in the home and on the go.The partnership combines Alcatel Lucent’s Cloud DVR and Velocix Content Delivery Network (CDN) with Quickplay’s virtual head-end and 24/7 managed service model.The alliance provides a migration path from legacy pay TV middleware to a modular, multi-vendor approach that gives service providers an option to bypass vendor lock-in and innovate to meet market demands, according to the firms.“The pay TV industry as a whole is clearly accelerating its adoption of cloud technologies to improve operations, provide innovative services as well as satisfy users’ growing appetite for anytime, anywhere video. We are delighted to partner with Quickplay to build an end-to-end TV platform for our customers that combines in a full managed service option, the agility of the cloud with the robustness of the network,” said Paul Larbey, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP video business.Wayne Purboo, CEO of Quickplay said: “This strategic partnership is a game changer. Combined, Quickplay and Alcatel-Lucent truly enable best of breed approach with a level of unparalleled experience and a winning managed service model that will ensure pay TV operators can react rapidly to market changes.”Alcatel-Lucent and Quickplay at IBC will present a demonstration based on a proof-of-concept deployment for a major IPTV provider, and plans to add the additional capabilities to the platform in the first half of next year.Quickplay will be exhibiting at IBC 2015 on stand 14.D27