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Jeff Pulver wants to be HD's ambassador

NEW YORK -- Or maybe Pulver wants to be HD's vice president of marketing. In the speech that opened the HD Communications Summit last week, Jeff Pulver, the show's organizer, unveiled an HD marketing association called HD Connect, which is also the title of a recent manifesto by Pulver colleague Dan Berninger.

Pulver was introduced by Berninger during a speech in which Berninger admitted that in 1995, he was a spy for the Bell Company. Berninger first learned of Pulver while working at AT&T. Berninger's Bell colleagues feared VoIP and they feared Pulver. Berninger said that he volunteered to help Pulver with VoIP projects (he's now CEO of Pulver's Free World Dialup) but was also reporting back on Pulver's activities to the phone company.

Pulver seemed surprised but proceeded with his prepared speech.

"Voice is an application whose value is achieved when we liberate it from the service providers," Pulver said. "We want to allow consumers to do whatever they dream of."

He said that current voice quality over telephones is so poor that you can do better with two tin cans and some fishing line, an experiment that he invited attendees to try when they got home.

Telecommunications is ruled by an idiocracy, he said. "Consumers accept poor quality. Verizon's 'can you hear me now' commercial is funny but sad."

It won't be easy to change entrenched attitudes. "I want to meet the people who set prices on Wall Street," he said. "I want to give away half a million dollars' worth of product."

There's plenty at stake, he claimed. "There's billions of dollars if we get it right, and a future to lose if we get it wrong."

Then he quoted the movie Star Trek II. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or one."

The first step in this campaign will be to ask the government for money. "I will petition the FCC for an HDV initiative so that our kids can live in a world that sounds better," he said. The HDV initiative would be modeled after the FCC's ongoing digital TV initiative.

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