FierceIPTV recognizes 15 telcoTV innovators

Heads up. Tomorrow, FierceIPTV will recognize 15 of the most innovative, daring, avant-garde U.S. companies in business today. None involved kids in garages or dorm rooms. It's not about web sites or Internet applications--no social networks where participants turn themselves into cartoon warrior queens and diabolical madmen. In what may come as a shock to fourth-dimensionally challenged, innovation did not begin with YouTube, Napster or the nauseatingly over-hyped iPhone. There were thousands of ordinary people at the turn of the last century who took the brilliant discoveries of Tesla and Bell and made them into something. Our FierceIPTV Innovators are the heirs of that legacy.

They are, for the most part, small phone companies. One with fewer than 1,400 access lines; another with 10 times that many, but the first to untether its customers home networks. These are among the very first companies in the United States that launched Internet protocol television. They are not AT&T, Verizon, or any of the other Big Bells with a mountain of cash to spend. Most are member-owned cooperatives. All are 50 to 100 years old.

Their employees launched and adapted untried technology. They invested in fiber networks reaching into rural areas. They sat down with some of the most brutal negotiators in business. They characterize the best of what small businesses represent in the United States. We wish them the same loyalty from the people in their communities as they have demonstrated to those communities.

FierceIPTV cops to its zealous tone, but it's genuine. There's plenty going on in American business today to generate skepticism, including the parade of perp-walking CEOs. We're just glad to focus on something else for a change. - D.