Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania


August 23, 2012

It will be at least the third quarter of 2013 before a new 272 area code is implemented in the current 570 area code region.

An effort has been under way for a few years to conserve numbers, and two people involved say the conservation plan is working. Denise McCracken, deputy press secretary for the state Public Utility Commission, said the new area code will be introduced when there are no new seven-digit telephone number combinations left in the 570 area code. Timing of implementation is up to the North American Numbering Plan Administration, an agency of the federal government based in Sterling, Va., Ms. McCracken said. "The NANPA will tell us three months before the numbers are exhausted," she said. "That will allow sufficient time for (telephone service) carriers and the industry to make preparations for implementation."

John Manning, a senior analyst for NANPA, said a better estimate of time will be made after a new count of remaining numbers is made in the next two months. Implementation has been delayed at least twice before because a number conservation plan that allocates smaller blocks of telephone numbers to carriers introduced two years ago is still working, Mr. Manning said. "Carriers don't need 10,000 numbers at a time, and that inventory is available for other clients. It extends the life of an area code," he said.

When the new area code overlay is implemented, it will require all telephone users to dial 10 digits instead of seven. An overlay means two area codes co-exist within one area. This differs from when the 570 area code was created in December 1998 and the 717 area code, which covered a large portion of eastern Pennsylvania, was split. The choice between an overlay and a split lies with the NANPA. "There are advantages and disadvantages to both," Manning said. "A split forces a number of customers to change their phone number, but they retain the ability to dial seven digits. An overlay requires everyone to dial ten digits, but no one has to change their phone number."

The PUC approved the overlay plan because its members felt it would be the plan least disruptive to the public. The three-month notice will also give telephone carriers the opportunity to educate customers on the change - not only dialing, but telling businesses they have to change the telephone number on their business cards, advertising and other printed material. The expansion of numbers' use by cellphones has caused telephone numbers to be depleted in several area codes. Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice

If you want to catch "Bachelorette," starring Kirsten Dunst and produced by Will Ferrell, in theaters, you will have to wait until Sept. 7. Alternatively, Apple Inc.'s iTunes will rent you the raunchy new comedy now for $10. The low-budget film is the first from Radius-TWC, a new division of Weinstein Co. whose mission is to distribute low-budget movies in new ways, upending the staged release system that Hollywood has used for decades, opening movies successively in theaters, home-video and television, to maximize the profitability of each outlet.

But in the Internet age, the system is starting to show cracks, as consumers become accustomed to making their own decisions about when, where and how to find their entertainment, rather than following aging rules that are essentially arbitrary. "Bachelorette" made its debut Aug. 10 online and on video-on-demand services, nearly a month before it hits theaters. After its theatrical run, it will be released on DVD after Christmas. Then, in another novel twist, it will stream exclusively on Netflix Inc.'s online subscription service, under a new deal that puts the video-streaming service in a position in the food chain normally occupied by pay-cable channels HBO, Showtime or Starz. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed but premium cable channels generally pay handsomely for such long-term exclusivity.

So far, the experiment appears promising. "Bachelorette" became the top film rental on iTunes within 36 hours of release-a first for a movie that hasn't yet been in theaters, according to an Apple spokesman. Radius executives said the movie grossed roughly $500,000 in its first three days online, similar to what a comparable movie might make during the same period in theaters. For instance, "Moonrise Kingdom" director Wes Anderson's latest comedy, earned about $523,000 from its theatrical opening over three days earlier this summer, according to information provider Box Office Mojo. Radius's approach isn't entirely unprecedented. Radius Co-Presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego came from Magnolia Pictures, an independent distributor owned by Internet and sports billionaire Mark Cuban. Magnolia has experimented with releasing films to video on demand before theaters since 2008. IFC Entertainment also has premiered its movies first on video on demand.

But "Bachelorette," whose cast includes Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan and James Marsden, is among the highest-profile films to roll out this way. And with its Radius division, Weinstein is among the biggest studios to undertake such a wide-ranging experiment. Mr. Quinn says Radius plans to release genre films and documentaries, low-budget films that often are released direct to video. But the company also is looking to distribute online more films with mainstream appeal or awards potential, such as the coming drama "Only God Forgives," which brings together "Drive" director Nicolas Winding Refn and actor Ryan Gosling.

The new delivery methods represent a rapidly growing slice of a shrinking pie. Digital sales, including video on demand and sales of downloads, increased 51% in 2011 from the prior year, to $3.4 billion, according Digital Entertainment Group, a trade organization. At the same time total U.S. home entertainment spending, including sales and rentals of DVDs and Blu-ray discs, dropped 2% to $18 billion, the group said. Meanwhile, movie ticket sales in North America dropped 4% in 2011 to $10.2 billion, as price hikes failed to offset a decline in attendance. Mr. Quinn says that he and Mr. Janego aren't advocating the wholesale abandonment of the old film release system. They simply believe that some movies will benefit from different approaches, which they admit will require trial-and-error adjustments. "We're still learning," Mr. Quinn says. Wall Street Journal

Motorola Mobility said Tuesday it is licensing the Reference Design Kit from Comcast Corp. to help it speed up its set-top-box development cycle. The RDK is software developed by Comcast which licenses it to manufacturers, chip makers, software developers and video program distributors. Motorola Mobility is a Libertyville, Ill.-based unit of Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. Its set-top box unit is based in Horsham, Pa. Philadelphia Business Journal

Broadview Networks Inc., a provider of phone, Internet and data services for businesses, sought bankruptcy after shifting technology trends and economic conditions made it unable to refinance its debts. Broadview Networks acquired ATX Communications Inc., a King of Prussia provider of business telecommunications services, in 2006. The company listed debt and assets of as much as $500 million in Chapter 11 documents. Debts include $335 million under a senior secured note facility and Broadview plans to complete a reorganization that will repay those note holders by giving them stock in a new company. Bloomberg