Friday, December 31, 2010

Analyst: Tablet Sales Will Triple in 2011

According to Caris & Co. analyst Robert Cihra, tablet sales will more than triple, rising 226 percent to 54 million units. And of those, Cihra believes Apple will claim 67 percent.

Which would spike iPad sales from 14 million this year to 36 million in 2011.

Craig McCaw to Resign as Clearwire Chairman -

Craig McCaw is leaving the board of Clearwire Corp., resigning his position as chairman of the company he founded. It isn't clear what significance the move might have.

McCaw has not be active at the company for some time, it appears. McCaw's Eagle River Holdings LLC still holds a four-percent stake in the company. But that is no longer very significant. Google owns about three percent. Clearwire owns about 14 percent.

Intel owns about 11 percent. Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Brighthouse own ab out 15 percent between them.

Sprint holding 57 percent ownership, though the terms of its ownership agreement deny it control.

Clearwire's national network plan remains less than fully funded, and the company has enough cash to get it through the year, but obviously additional capital will have to be raised. Some continue to believe that Sprint will ultimately wind up owning the whole company. Most probably have believed all along Clearwire would ultimately be sold, one way or the other.

Whether McCaw's departure means anything special is impossible to determine, at this point. But all three Sprint executives resigned their seats earlier in 2010, a move that most observers thought was an indication of change.

Most executives in the wireless business would agree that one fewer national providers of 4G service would not be a bad thing, given the wireless market's maturation, as well as the existence of no less than five national 4G or 4G-speed networks.

Just about any way one looks at it, the Clearwire-Sprint relationship is complicated and unstable.

95% of Twitter Accounts Created Since January 2009

Fully 95 percent of the current Twitter accounts were created after January of 2009, according to an analysis by Sysomos. That is some serious scaling.

The other significant finding is that roughly 22 percent of users produce 90 percent of the tweets.

If you are familiar with the Pareto Principle, that is precisely what one would expect to find.

Why Are Twitter Users So Attractive To Marketers?

Marketers like active Tweeters for a couple of obvious reasons. They are heavily brand conscious.

More than 40 percent of those who use Twitter monthly or more frequently agree with that owning the best brand is important to them — twice the number of total U.S. online consumers.

They spend more money, as well. People who tweet monthly or more report that they spent almost $870 online in the past three months, almost $300 more than the average U.S. online consumer.

They post their opinions. Not only are people who tweet monthly or more tweeting about products and services; they are also sharing their opinions much more frequently than the average U.S. consumer, and through a variety of channels.

This in and of itself is reason to invest in additional human resources to respond to tweets directed at your brand. While their reach may not be solely through Twitter, you can be assured that what they say will carry great magnitude as they infiltrate other social networks (both offline and online).

Android: SMS Popup

"SMS Popup" for Android is a free app that provides more-prominent text message alerts.

Once installed users are given a series of options of how you can interact with incoming texts. You can select when the notification should appear, whether it should mark incoming texts as read so you don’t have to fiddle with the notification bar, have a delete button appear, reply button, quick reply button where you can set custom pre-typed text messages, and you can even opt to have your text spoken to you aloud thanks to Google’s built in text to speech capabilities.

Chinese Bot Attacks Androids

A Trojan Horse app capable of stealing data from infected Android smartphones, and bundled with botnet-style functionality, has appeared in China, The Register reports.

The mobile malware, dubbed "Geinimi", which usually poses as gaming applications, has been uploaded onto third-party Chinese Android app markets. If installed, the malware sends personal data from compromised devices (specifically device identifiers, location information and list of installed applications) to a remote server.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Has the Internet Moved Pricing Power to the Consumer? (comScore Voices)

"It’s clear that retailers have gone far beyond the use of paid online display advertising to cost-effectively communicate deal pricing information to consumers, while at the same time consumers have now become accustomed to using online tools to root out best prices," says Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman. That statement is hard to argue with, most might agree.

In many ways, the aggressive acceptance and use of these tools by consumers means that they can easily find the most attractive price for any product and, as such, pricing power has surely moved from retailers to consumers, says Gian Fulgoni, comScore chairman.

Such observations, including the notion that "brands have lost control to consumers," are catchy, seem to resonate and capture something of the drift of the times. But the statements are not so accurate as statements of fact, one might argue. Consumers do not actually have pricing power, retailers do. Consumers do not define brands, brands do. That is not to say that in nearly every market, brands must deal with more powerful word of mouth than they used to, and that retailers have to respond more actively to price discovery mechanisms that make pricing more transparent than before.

But brands haven't lost control of their brands, or retailers control of their own pricing decisions. Markets simply are more transparent and "liquid" than they used to be, especially regarding pricing and information about alternate retail channels.

Google as a Telco?

Google has assembled all the pieces it needs to be a mobile provider like Verizon, AT&T (T, Fortune 500) or Sprint (S, Fortune 500), CNN Money notes. It's an irresistible storyline. But as the story concludes, though Google has the funds and the resources to get it done, it probably would not want to.

On the other hand, having all the piece parts ready to go is a helpful negotiating position when dealing with its mobile service provider partners. "All that's left is the will to do it," the story suggests.

It's an intriguing line of speculation that has only gotten stronger foundations over the past couple of years, as Google has fostered the Android platform, for example.

But the story, with an intriguing headline, concludes with the thought that Google just likes to push at boundaries, sometimes, experimenting with things that might or might not prove fruitful. But as a headline, it works.

Suddenlink Addresses Economics Of Bundling In Viacom Contract Renewal Dispute - 2010-12-30 22:09:52 | Multichannel News

Suddenlink says its program carriage dispute with Viacom (Nickelodeon, MTV and Comedy Central are among networks affected) is caused by Viacom's 20 percent price increase for its portfolio of networks and the continued inclusion of movie service Epix in its proposals.

Skype now illegal in China

Internet phone services other than those provided by China Telecom and China Unicom have been made illegal, which is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country, People's Daily reports.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said all voice over Internet protocol phone services are illegal on the Chinese mainland, except those provided by telecommunications carriers China Telecom and China Uniom. The ministry gave no timetable on when the ruling takes effect.

Suddenlink, Viacom in Retransmission Consent Disputes

When content owners and distributors start having more public disputes about their business relationships, it is clear that financial stress is growing in the revenue ecosystem. And that is what is happening in the cable TV business (and in the satellite TV business and telco TV business to some extent).

Time Warner Cable and Sinclair Broadcasting have disagreed about financial terms for Time Warner to carry broadcast signals. Suddenlink is engaged in a similar retransmission consent dispute with Viacom, which could result in Suddenlink losing access to a large number of major channels.

Financial disputes between programmers and distributors are not unusual. But the inability to come to terms without risking service disruptions are more common these days, in part because distributors realize ever-growing retail prices are going to have a negative impact, at some point, as alternatives become available and linear video prices continue to climb.

It is significant that multichannel video subscriptions have declined for two consecutive quarters, something that never has happened before. If the trend continues, observers will be forced to admit that multichannel TV now is more than a mature product, but has become a "declining" product.

Near Field Communications Forecast

Worldwide shipments of mobile phones with built-in near field communications capability will rise to 220.1 million units in 2014, up by a factor of four from 52.6 million in 2010.

In 2014, 13 percent of cell phones shipped will integrate NFC, up from 4.1 percent in 2010, according to iSuppli. All of that is expected to lay the foundation for wider use of NFC for a variety of mobile payments and commerce applications.

Nokia has said it will support NFC in all new smart phone models introduced in 2011 while Google has made NFC a standard feature of its Android 2.3 operating system.

What Impact on AT&T Revenue from Verizon iPhone?

Verizon Wireless is getting the right to sell the Apple iPhone, it seems clear enough. All of that has financial analysts modeling the potential impact on AT&T.

Estimates from industry analysts of the resulting number of defections to Verizon from AT&T range from one million to six million. John Hodulik, an analyst at UBS Securities comes in somewhere in the middle. He predicts that AT&T will sell 8.8 million iPhones in 2011, down from 15.6 million in 2010.

Of the 13.3 million Hodulik expects Verizon to sell in 2011, about 2.3 million will be to AT&T refugees, he predicts. An additional 10 million will be current Verizon subscribers who upgrade from other devices, and the rest will come from other carriers.

 If six million of its customers defect, the $6 billion in lost annual revenue would amount to about 10 percent of AT&T's wireless sales in 2011 and 4.8 percent of total revenues of $126 billion in 2011, according to UBS projections.

On the other hand, while AT&T has reason to worry about losing the lucrative iPhone arrangement it has enjoyed since Apple introduced the device in 2007, the damage may not be as severe as many anticipate, for a number of reasons, mostly related to financial barriers to switching.

Despite the well-reported call dropping and other service issues in some cities and neighborhoods, many iPhone users do not report unusual levels of call dropping beyond what might be expected from any carrier, at some times, and therefore presumably do not have overwhelming incentives to change carriers. Churn possibly will be highest in New York and San Francisco, for example.

There are financial barriers as well. Contract termination fees, though pro-rated, could run up to $325 for a consumer at the start of a new contract. About 15 million of 23 million iPhone customers appear to be on such contracts.

Devices used on Verizon's network will not multitask, supporting both a phone conversation and Web usage, for example. For many customers, the cost of service on the Verizon network might be more than they have been used to, on the AT&T network.

AT&T says its 3G network is faster than Verizon's 3G network, and one does not hear Verizon disputing that in public.

Perhaps most significantly, many iPhone users are on family plans. Switching every user on a plan because one or two iPhone users want to migrate could pose barriers as well. Also, many users might want to switch, but then discover that Verizon Wireless prices are higher than AT&T's, in many cases. Whether that makes a difference is tough to determine at the moment.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

VoIP | Telecom | Mobility | Blog

About 50 percent of respondents recently surveyed by Frost & Sullivan expect their communications and collaboration budgets to increase over the next 12 months, while 47 percent say their budgets are likely to remain the same.

Frost & Sullivan surveyed 200 North American C-level executives as part of the study.

Will Some 4G Suppliers Aim for Substitution?

Though for the most part mobile voice services have been viewed as complementary to fixed voice, at least some providers have taken a direct "replacement" tack with their marketing.

The classic example is Cricket Wireless, which marketed itself as a local calling substitute for landline voice service. Since many observers have noted that a 4G wireless service might be a substitute for a fixed broadband connection, one wonders when, and if, one or more providers will try and carve out a niche for 4G as a "wireline replacement" service.

Clearwire has been the best example of that, up to this point. Wireless likely will not be so workable a replacement for multi-person households and households that watch lots of online video. But 4G wireless might be a perfectly workable, or at least workable solution for single-person households, or households with unrelated persons, typically younger, who use about an average amount of data each month.

Some estimates peg "average" household consumption per month at about 12 gigabytes. But that is misleading. The "mean" or "average" includes consumption by very-heavy users who are a minority of all users. The "median" gives a better sense for "typical" usage.

According to Sandvine, for example, the median North American user consumed about 4 Gbytes on a fixed connection, monthly. If that remains roughly the case, then wireless is going to be workable for quite a number of users.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Amazon Says Many Use Kindles for Reading, Tablets for Games, Movies, Browsing

One wonders how many more mobile gadgets people are willing to carry around with them, and how many of the newer devices might be something less than fully mobile products, in terms of usage, if not design.

According to, in fact, "We're seeing that many of the people who are buying Kindles also own an LCD tablet. Customers report using their LCD tablets for games, movies, and web browsing and their Kindles for reading sessions," says Jeff Bezos, CEO.

At least for the moment, that raises an interesting question. Until the time that prices for tablets drop much further than current levels, discretionary income is going to be a barrier for many, perhaps most, consumers weighing the value a tablet can provide. Up to this point, early and well-heeled individuals and people who are not paying for their devices have driven iPad sales, for example.

But at current prices, an iPad can be an expensive way to watch movies, do some casual browsing or play games, when all those things can be done on PCs and other devices, especially if the reading function is largely offloaded to a Kindle or other e-reader.

Bezos says the low price of a Kindle makes choices unnecessary. "Kindle's $139 price point is a key factor," says Bezos. "It's low enough that people don't have to choose" between a tablet and an e-reader.

That people will buy and use multiple devices isn't so much a surprise. The bigger issue is that there probably are limits to the use cases. Most people take their phones everywhere. Traveling business people sometimes carry PCs or tablets. Lots of people carry iPods. But there are practical limits to how many devices people will carry with them everywhere.

That suggests some newer categories of mobile devices won't actually be used in mobile fashion, but rather simply "untethered," as with PCs and gaming devices that are Internet-connected in the home. There are implications.

Internet-connected devices can function perfectly well using Wi-Fi. Mobile devices work lots better, one might argue, with a full-time mobile broadband connection. That, in turn, drives purchases of mobile broadband services.

Apple iPad Owners Seem to Prefer 3G over Wi-Fi Models

Among the questions posed by devices such as the Apple iPad is whether users would buy the Wi-Fi-only models, which do not create mobile broadband revenue for service providers, or the 3G models, which do. Apparently, 60 percent to 65 percent of units sold are of the 3G variety, according to DigiTimes.

Apple also is expected to release three versions of iPad 2, supporting either or a combination of Wi-Fi, UMTS (for GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile USA) and CDMA (for Sprint and Verizon Wireless), for 2011 with mass production to start as early as the later half of January.

Apple will ship about 500,000-530,000 units to channels in January with shipment ratio of Wi-Fi, UMTS and CDMA models at 3:4:3, according to industry sources, citing upstream component makers.

The Mobile Future is Now

By Brianna Swales and Lynda Starr, Vantage Communications

We’re at that time of the year again—when everyone dusts off their crystal balls and starts thinking about the upcoming New Year and what it will bring personally and professionally.  At Vantage, we follow trends and breaking news to help our clients prioritize marketing and sales goals for the coming year. Can you believe how quickly the year has gone by?

Here are the trends in no particular order that we think will characterize the mobile landscape.

The circle continues:  Faster data rates and additional bandwidth to spur new applications which will further push bandwidth.

While 3G networks have made strides in download speeds reaching 600 Kbps to 1.4 Mbps, the next-gen network, 4G, offers additional bandwidth of 1 Gbps for stationary reception and 100 Mbps for mobile reception that supports new applications.  This in turn is pushing carriers to further upgrade bandwidth. T-Mobile, Sprint, AT&T, MetroPCS and Verizon Wireless are each upgrading networks to increase capacity and data rates to enable subscribers to take advantage of robust applications and services.

Smile! Mobile video and smart phone adoption to surge upward

The growth of 3G and 4G networks has increased the use of mobile video, running the gamut from mobile TV, video on demand (VOD), and video messaging to mobile advertising, video conferencing and more. By the end of 2010, over 23.9 million people will have viewed mobile video, according to eMarketer, with those numbers expected to double by 2013. For service providers, mobile video opens new revenue streams. Much of this growth is propelled by smartphone adoption, which has reached about 23 percent of U.S. adults. Moreover, new tablet devices are improving video quality and are being seen more and more as replacements for laptops.

Location-based services know where you are and might just reward you for it

Compelling applications and availability of enabling technologies have led to the rise in location-based services, which take advantage of the geographical position of the mobile device to provide consumers with everything from personalized weather to coupon offers. Location-based services (LBS) offers advantages to both consumers and businesses.  For example, with location-based marketing, businesses can provide information to consumers in proximity. Moreover, consumers can check in with Foursquare and Facebook Places and become word-of-mouth marketers for their favorite proprietors. Location-based services increase customer loyalty and create a new class of influencers, which is changing the marketing model.

The Mobile Wallet is coming

Mobile commerce is beginning to change the way we shop and make purchases by allowing consumers to make point-of-sale purchases via mobile devices. Gartner estimates that by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry handsets capable of rich, mobile commerce. Likewise, mobile commerce is tied to the availability of bandwidth able to handle an onslaught of activity such as recent experiments by Macy’s and Best Buy.

Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile USA are jointly launching a mobile commerce initiative dubbed Isis. The Isis network will use Near Field Communications (NFC), through which consumers can make purchases by waving a radio microchip-equipped smartphone at a corresponding retailer reader unit. Google, Apple and Research in Motion have also announced plans to integrate NFC technology into their products.

Anyone who watched The Jetsons is most likely waiting for “the future” to get here.  But as these mobile trends and others come to fruition, it might just seem like the future is now.

Amazon Cloud Computing Had Nothing to Do With Selling Excess Capacity

There's an urban myth that started Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing business, because it had already built the platform to support its own internal needs, and had extra capacity that it decided to sell.

But CTO Werner Vogels says the story is untrue.

"The excess capacity story is a myth," he says. "It was never a matter of selling excess capacity, actually within two months after launch AWS would have already burned through the excess capacity."

Rather, Amazon Web Services always was seen as a business with excellent growth prospects.

Voice Apps Beyond Dial Tone: A Discussion

A discussion of custom apps beyond dial tone.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Facebook is 3rd Largest Web Site, by Traffic

Facebook is now the third largest website in the world, taking the number-three spot from Yahoo, according to comScore. Facebook drew an estimated 648 million unique visitors from across the globe in November, 2010, compared to 630 million for Yahoo.

In October the two sites were dead even with 633 million worldwide unique visitors each. The only two Web properties left which are bigger than Facebook are Microsoft (869 million worldwide visitors) and Google (970 million) when you look at all of their sites collectively.

Marketers Spending More on Social Media for the Wrong Reasons - The eMarketer Blog

Businesses are adopting social media, but they also are discovering it is no more "free" or "inexpensive." In fact, many seem to be finding that it costs as much money to use social media as any other advertising or marketing channel.

A few years ago, companies could run a few tests and gain some valuable learning without spending much.

But times have changed. Social media sites have matured, and you can’t do much for free anymore, eMarketer argues. A "promoted trend" ad on Twitter can cost $100,000 per day.

Top social media agencies are in demand, and they charge premiums for their work. "Earned" media hasn't been "costless,"either, but as social media "grows up," the costs are climbing as well. Along the way, the historic distinction between earned media and paid media also is blurring.

Major Smartphone Push in 2011?

In 2010, the cheapest mainstream smartphone cost just below $200, unsubsidized by a carrier contract. But prices could drop by as much as 50 percent in 2011, making a smartphone a viable purchase for many consumers that would have bought a feature phone in the past.

Broadcom's "BCM2157 3G HSDPA 'Android' Baseband" chipset, for example, provides everything a modern smartphone builder needs: a dual core ARM processor, Bluetooth, GPS, support for up to a 5-megapixel camera, support for capacitive HVGA (320x480 like iPhone 3GS) or or WQVGA (~240x400) displays.

The chipset will work on AT&T (T) and T-Mobile's 3G networks in the US and on global GSM providers.

An unsubsidized $100 smartphone will enable more purchases of service plans without contract, and arguably increase competition between mobile service providers. So it is possible that data plan prices could drop as well.

At the very least, m,ore consumers might start using Wi-Fi-only data connections. In one sense that is not a direct driver of data plan sales. On the other hand, use of Wi-Fi connections will create a new habit that indirectly drives more data plan sales.

Email, Social Media to Get More Spending by Enterprises

According to a November 2010 survey of business executives around the globe by StrongMail, nearly two-thirds of companies will increase spending on email marketing, and 57% will put more dollars toward social media marketing. Search took a distant third place with 41% of respondents indicating they would spend more.

Email and social will continue to get closer as more marketers integrate the two channels with each other. More than a quarter of respondents said they had already formulated and implemented a strategy for making email and social work together, and another 43% plan to make efforts toward integration in 2011, though some are more prepared than others.

Apple Expects to Ship as Many as 21 Million iPhones, as Early as Q2 2011

Apple is telling component suppliers it wants 20 million gto 21 million iPhones for the first quarter of 2011, DigiTimes reports.

Shipments don't equal sales, so it's not a perfect comparison, but for some context, Apple sold 14.1 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Piper Jaffray has a pretty conservative estimate of 12 million iPhones sold for the first quarter of 2011.

Of the 20-21 million phones Apple is ordering, five million to six million will use CDMA, which means they could run on Verizon's network. That gives you some idea of how many Apple believes Verizon Wireless will sell, possibly as early as the second quarter of 2011.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Blu-ray Movie Sales up 75%

Sales of Blu-ray movies were up 75 percent year-to-year at the start of the holiday shopping season, according to Nash Information Services, and are expected to nearly double for the full year. That will come as welcome news for consumer electronics firms selling hardware, as well as for Hollywood studios anxious to sustain physical media sales.

Blu-ray is on track to be a $2 billion business this year, while the DVD business, down 13 percent through the first three quarters of the year, is expected to shrink to $8 billion.

NPD Group said that 13 percent of U.S. households had a Blu-ray player at the beginning of the holiday season, and that number could rise to 20 percent early next year, driven by a proliferation of Blu-ray players available for under $100 in this holiday season.

On the Fly Video Translation

I haven't tried this app yet, but am going to.

Display advertising: Google's Vision

Google's vision of dynamic advertising includes the ability to change offers, on the fly, based on such issues as weather.

Imagine you own a popular coffee chain in Denver that you want to promote. On Monday afternoon, it’s warm and 80 degrees in the city. You run a display ad campaign online that offers Denverites a discount coupon for an iced cold latte, with a searchable map embedded in the ad to show local branches, and a real-time feed from people who have tweeted publicly about your newest flavor.

That evening, a cold front rolls over the Rockies. Your ad automatically and dynamically adjusts to present a photo of a hot, steaming cup of hot chocolate in front of a warm fireplace, together with a home delivery number and an offer of free marshmallows.

If you live in Denver, you know a 40-degree temperature swing in a single day is quite possible. The ability to change an offer on the fly is something local advertisers have not had, up to this point.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Online Video "On TVs" Lacks Ad Support

While more and more online video publishers are connecting with audiences in their living rooms with smart TV's, Blu-ray players and devices such as Roku and Google TV, advertising on these platforms is not yet in place.

Who Uses Deal-Of-The-Day Websites?

Who uses group buying or social buying sites?

You might think it is people for whom saving money is really important because they don't make as much. Actually, says Forrester Research, the three percent of U.S. consumers who frequently use deal-of-the-day sites have a lot of money to spend.

About half of them report having an average household income of $100K or more, and they expect to spend more money online this year than last year.

They are twice as likely to be influenced by what's hot and what's not, two-thirds are willing to try new things, and 62 percent agree that they often change their mind about which brand to buy after doing some research, making them the ideal target audience for deal-of-the-day sites.

But the Forrester Research data also shows that the majority of U.S. online consumers aren’t familiar with deal-of-the-day sites like Groupon or Living Social, and another 25 percent haven't used them yet.

Social Networking is Fastest-Growing App

Social networking is far and away the fastest-growing application people of most ages are adopting.

Video and audio also are noteworthy.

read more here

What People Do Online

There are generational differences in use of apps online.

"Everybody" uses email and search. You might be surprised at how high "health information" ranks.

Apparently, for most people that is a more frequent activity than using "news."

Of course, there are some things almost nobody, of any age, does.

Virtual worlds, blogging and podcasts are among those infrequent activities.

read more here

Mobile is the New "Online"

"Mobile is the new online," says analyst Paul Kedrosky. Mobile is the new ad network, the new data substrate, the new product screen, the new shopping list.

It's rapidly become the currency as well, with people more at peace with turning your mobile phone into your wallet.

But Kedrosky warns there is a serious "scaling" problem with local mobile advertising, namely the cost of reaching local advertisers to sell them programs.

There's definitely a billion-dollar hyper-local ad market but the right way to see it is there's a $15,000 local ad market. There's a whole bunch of many, many small markets.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

FCC Net Neutrality Rule Creates Tiered Internet Access, Despite Not Wanting To

The Federal Communications Commission's "Open Network" rules, which inevitably will be known as the "network neutrality" rules, ironically enshrine the notion of tiered Internet access service, even when it attempts to keep the fixed-network Internet access service a "best effort only" type of product.

There are two reasons. First, the rules applying to wireless networks are more flexible. The second reason is that the rules explicitly exempt enterprise access services from the rules.

"Mass-market retail service" is covered, meaning "a service marketed and sold on a standardized basis to
residential customers, small businesses, and other end-user customers such as schools and

"The term does not include enterprise service offerings, which are typically offered to larger organizations through customized or individually negotiated arrangements," the official document says.

That suggests we might conceivably see wireless and business access become the places where more experimentation occurs, since those are the places that differentiated access products can be created and sold.

read the whole document here

Net Neutrality: 4-6 Years of Uncertainty

Professor Tim Wu says the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules mean at least four to six years of uncertainty, as it will take that long for court challenges to the FCC's authority to bubble up to the Supreme Court for final ruling.

"We’ll get an initial indication in about two years (the length of time it will take for the initial legal challenge), but a final answer may require the Supreme Court to get involved," Wu says. Meanwhile, if the new rule is struck down by a federal court, the FCC retains the power to reenact it using a different basis of authority (its backup power, so to speak). That will effectively reset the authority question for another two years.

The ruling will have other effects. There are lots of firms that sell software allowing service providers to create services offering priority handling of packets, and custom services built on the apps users care about most. It will now, in the U.S. market not make so much sense to try and sell such products to wireline operators, as they probably will not want to bother creating services other than "best effort."

That shifts the whole focus of sales effort to other countries where creation of such services is possible. Inside the United States, only the wireless providers will be able to create many new types of differentiated service. That's good for mobile providers, but not so good for the commodity providers of fixed broadband service.

A 42-Inch Android Tablet? Seriously?

Apparently this is a test of potential demand for a 42-inch-screen Android tablet. Not sure it makes much sense for most people, but I can imagine lots of point-of-sale display applications.

Best Gadgets of 2010

Gadgets matter for lots of reasons, mostly because they frequently are fun, and sometimes help us be productive. But at least in part because gadgets drive demand for communications and communications services. And, ultimately, that demand supplies the demand that allows us to keep investing in better networks.

At the end of the day, consumers decide whether advanced communications are important, by our willingness to spend on the services.

iAd Producer Makes iAd Ad Creation Easier

Apple's new "iAd Producer" will make it easier for would-be advertisers to design and assemble high-impact, interactive content for iAd. iAd Producer automatically manages the HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript behind your iAd to make creating beautiful, motion-rich iAd content as easy as point and click, Apple says.

For advanced developers, iAd Producer offers sophisticated JavaScript editing and debugging, along with a powerful extension mechanism that enables them to create and re-use their own page templates and components.

That's going to delight, or at least appease, brands that found Apple's instance on creative control stifling.

Can Twitter Inform Stock Trades?

A hedge fund called Derwent Capital Markets says it will launch a new fund in February that will trade based in part on analysis of Twitter sentiment. This approach is built on research from the University of Manchester and Indiana University that showed how the number of emotional words on Twitter could be used to predict moves in the Dow Jones index.

Researchers said they found that a change in emotions as expressed on Twitter would be followed by a move in the index between two and six days later, and that this method had greater than 87-percent accuracy.

Was Skype Outage an Attack?

The ultimate cause of the Skype global outage is still unclear (or at least Skype isn’t ready to talk about it yet), but it does not appear Skype completely rules out the possibility of an attack designed to take the network down.

Use Android to Program Google TV

FCC chair to approve Comcast-NBC merger with conditions

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission issued a draft order approving Comcast's proposed merger with NBC Universal on Thursday, putting the deal up for vote.

Approval would come with several conditions related to Internet video distribution of NBC and Comcast content and the sharing of shows to competing cable and satellite firms. The merger would also have to ensure that competing networks get on Comcast's platform.

The Justice Department is conducting a separate review to see if the deal passes antitrust laws.

Google Doesn't "Get" Hollywood

If Google managers hope to license premium TV shows and films for Google TV and YouTube, they should do what Netflix did and build relationships through traditional means. That's the recommendation of one studio executive.

After two years wooing the film and TV sectors, Google is still not very tuned in to the industry, said two film sector insiders who spoke to CNET.

These same executives cautioned against naming Netflix the winner of Internet distribution, adding that there's a long way to go in this contest. But both sources acknowledged that Netflix has had more success acquiring content thanks to the company's big head start in the sector as well as adopting a smarter approach to Hollywood.

Broadband Networks: Slim Returns

Wireline networks have the weakest returns on invested capital with a 1.5 percent gain over the last decade, argues Sanford Bernstein financial analyst Craig Moffett.

Wireless networks had a meager return of 0.3 percent. Cable garnered a 2.5 percent return. Satellite networks had the best return on invested capital at 5.5 percent.

At least in part, that's one reason DirecTV shares have trounced other companies in 8-year returns, he argues. Other stocks—AT&T, Comcast, Dish, Sprint and Verizon—have negative returns, says Moffett.

But here’s where the returns get tricky. Once you add up the costs of various telecom deals, the returns look much worse.

Monetizing Mobile Networks

One way of looking at ways mobile operators can create revenue in new ways.

Hard to Top Apple, Really

Steve Jobs, Apple CEO, has been named the Financial Times "Man of the Year."

“Steve’s the last of the great builders,” says Roger McNamee, the prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist. “What makes him different is that he’s creating jobs and economic activity out of thin air while just about every other CEO in America is working out ways to cut costs and lay people off."

Put simply, Apple under Jobs has created markets, not "taken market share." That's a big deal.

One can only hope McNamee is wrong about that last assessment.

read more here

Skype Outage Continues

Skype's service outage continues into its second day. Skype says that traffic is running around 30 percent of what typically is expected.

Android Market Gets AT&T Carrier Billing

Android users who are customers of AT&T now can use AT&T "Direct Carrier Billing" for purchases from the Android Market.

The move shows the role a mobile service provider can play in mobile payments for digital goods, even though carrier billing has been available for decades.

Some firms using carrier billing from a number of carriers say the payment method can be expensive without volume, but Android Marketplace should not have a "volume of transactions" problem.

Google Makes Comparison Shopping Easier

Google has introduced a new feature for product searching in the United Kingdom, called "Nearby Shops."

Nearby Shops shows stores in a user's vicinity that sell what a user is searching for. As you can well imagine, this is going to help steer users to "stuff" they want, but also could lead to an increase comparison shopping behavior, since it will be easy to find other locations that might have the same items, in case a user decides a price or other item elements are not right.

"Getting" Social Media Takes Work and Time

We might generally agree at this point that social media tends to work better for consumer brands than for business-to-business brands, though at some point that is likely to change.

What is harder to contest is the issue of what it takes, not to understand, but to use, social media such as Facebook. A new study by A.T. Kearney illustrates some of the issues. The study found that 89 percent of consumer replies on company’s Facebook pages remained unanswered. To be sure, not every post requires a reply. But A.T. Kearney points out that Gucci didn’t reply to a single thread in the last three months.

That appears to be a common problem that mostly is "budget" related. Though it doesn't necessarily "cost" much to use Facebook, replies imply monitoring, and that takes people and time. And if the volume of replies and comments is large, then the labor to monitor and reply is going to be significant. Few large firms seem prepared to create entirely new staffs to handle this function, and perhaps few small firms can do so.

Even when marketers responded, only 15 percent of their posts “invited further conversation” and 17 percent actually “addressed the consumer by name. That is arguably tougher in a business-to-business setting, because many, if not most posts in such settings are "anonymous," suggesting that a poster needs or wants to keep an identity hidden. That's not so useful.

Firms that were a bit more friendly and responsive on Facebook averaged a consumer-to-company post/response ratio of 3:1. Most, however, had a 1:4 ratio. If you think about it, that's probably reasonable, since not every post does require a substantive reply.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Users Appear to Prefer "Do Not Track" Rules

Most people do not seem to like the idea of advertiser tracking of their online behavior, and with the Federal Trade Commission looking at tracking, it seems likely some new "do not track" program is coming.

The ironic facet of the issue is that refined tracking, conducted with permission, would mean a much-higher chance that most of the ads a user sees over the course of a day might actually be relevant, interesting and valuable.

Some forms of tracking, such as "remember me" functions, also are highly useful, and represent one way of maintaining "permission" status for any tracking programs.

Newspapers Stream More Video than Broadcasters

With the caveat that usage and bandwidth are not direct proxies for "revenue," Brightcove and TubeMogel report that newspapers surpassed broadcasters in total minutes streamed for the first time in the third quarter of 2010.

Brightcove suggests that newspapers are rapidly adopting and producing video content for what was once a print business. Of course, broadcasters probably figure they are "streaming" (broadcasting) all day, so online might not be so important to them.

Online media properties (which includes pure-play Web properties and blogs) also had a strong growth quarter in player loads (127 percent growth) and titles uploaded (23 percent growth), suggesting that video adoption and production activity is on the rise across the growing media category, Brightcover says.

Perhaps significantly, game consoles such as the Wii and PlayStation lead in viewing time with an average
of 2:45 minutes watched per view, compared with online video averaging out to just under 2:27 minutes per view.

read more here

Are People Watching TV?

Because consumers are using their PC for activities that require more attention than watching TV, which is mostly a passive activity, some might say TV viewing statistics are questionable.

Almost a third of consumers are playing games on their computers while watching television, and one-quarter are doing schoolwork, for example.

SMBs Still Prefer Premises-Based IP Telephony

The growth potential of the hosted market over the next five to six years is still low when compared to premises-based IP telephony solutions, Frost & Sullivan says. Most smaller businesses still appear to want local control and prefer the one-time cost of a premises-based system, since the monthly charges associated with hosted services.

This is particularly true in the 50-to-100 extensions segment. While hosted telephony services have improved considerably in terms of voice quality and uptime, an on-site system is often less costly to maintain over a longer period of time and can exceed hosted services' uptime rates.

Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad Lead Reader Race

The e-Reader market has essentially become a two horse race between the Amazon Kindle and the Apple iPad, according to ChangeWave’s latest survey of more than 2,800 consumers.

The Amazon Kindle (47%; down 15-pts) is hanging on to a rapidly diminishing lead over the Apple iPad (32%; up 16-pts) among current e-Reader owners. However, the iPad’s share of the overall market has doubled since the last time ChangeWave surveyed e-Reader owners in August.

Travel Purchases Lead Mobile Commerce

U.S. mobile online shopping, excluding travel, grew from $396.3 million in 2008 to $1.4 billion in 2009. ABI Research believes that in 2010, mobile online shopping excluding travel in the US had more than doubled again, to total more than $3.4 billion by year’s end. Travel-related purchases (airline tickets, hotels, etc.) will add another $1.5 billion.

In 2010, U.S. mobile commerce sales were lead by travel, at 31 percent of value, followed by electronics at 20 percent. That would not be surprising given the relative higher cost of travel expenses compared to most other categories. Among other product types, the volume of expenditure in 2010 is estimated at :

Apparel: 13%
Books/Music/DVDs: 9%
Office Supplies: 7%
Housewares/Home Furnishings: 6%
Entertainment Tickets: 3%
All Other: 12%

When Will Mobile Providers Move Big into Location-Based Advertising?

Location-based mobile apps are shaping up to be a major channel for local advertising, for some obvious reasons. Mobile devices are sensors that can alert advertisers to a potential customer's proximity.

That means proximity (maybe a better way of describing the value than "location") creates a new channel for local advertising revenues around which a proximity marketing business can be built.

Local advertising is a $133 billion revenue stream in the United States. You would expect Yellow Page companies, Facebook and Google to pitch mobile "proximity advertising" services.

But, at some point, mobile service providers are going to make a play as well. By definition, mobile providers know where their users are. All 293 million of them, or about 93 percent of the U.S. population. Though there are significant challenges to scale at the level of designing rich media campaigns using specific smartphone features, virtually all 293 million mobiles can receive text messages.

So it would make sense for carriers to create and sell proximity advertising with reach of 293 million potential customers. That sort of thing requires new levels of cooperation between the major carriers, though. Some believe they won't be able to work together. But the carrot of a universal ad platform built on proximity, available to 93 percent of all U.S. residents, has to be appealing. Isis, the mobile payments venture launched by AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile USA, is one example.

ROI: Why iPads Make Lousy Christmas Gifts -

In an entertaining commentary providing 10 serious and some not-so-serious reasons to avoid buying an iPad right now, or possibly an iPad at all, Brent Arends makes an interesting point about Apple, as a company.

"This isn't a technology company. It's a luxury brand, like Hermes or Tiffany."

Which, to the extent the observation is correct, makes Apple one of those rare firms that have achieved marketing differentiation in a big way, not selling the physical attributes of the product, but the subjective value of the product.

Not the steak, the sizzle, in other words. Not product features but the image and brand. That makes for nice profit margins.

In a broader sense, he notes that the scarcest resource for most adults is time. At some level, every application or "experience" provider is competing with limited time, not another app providing similar value. At some point, even with multitasking, a busy adult can only do so much.

At some level, the big constraint for Internet-mediated experiences and past-times of all sorts is the shortage of disposable time. Beyond a certain point, disposable income is not a barrier, time is.

Among the reasons for delaying an iPad purchase are the practical reasons. It will be better and cheaper by about April 2011. Alternatives are coming, and prices will drop. If you can live with access to Flash-authored video, use an iPad. If not, you might want to wait for a device that supports both HTML5 and Flash.

He also argues that a 3G-equipped version actually enables many of the best features, and that gets expensive, not to mention allowing people to waste even more time playing games or hanging out on social networks.

Teen E-Mail Use Drops

In the last year, time spent using e-mail sites like Yahoo and Hotmail has fallen 48 percent among 12- to 17-year-olds, according to comScore, at least time spent with e-mail on computers. That might not come as a surprise. Virtually all studies have shown similar results.

ComScore also found a decline of 10 percent in time spent on Web-based email among 18- to 24-year-olds, about the same as it found for people up to the age of 54.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Communications Taxes Going up in 2011

Get ready for new taxes on your mobile services in 2011.

When you buy a Kindle e-book in 2011, a buyer living in New Jersey who purchases a $10 e-book housed on a server in Texas might pay $1.52 in taxes (7 percent sales tax in N.J.; 8.25 percent in Texas). Mobile phone service generally saw tax increases of about two percent a month in 2010, compared to 2009. But 2011 could be far worse.

Some observers say tax hikes could amount to as much as 75 percent in some localities next year, as governments shift more of the communications tax burden to mobile services, where those levies used to primarily be carried by wired services.

On average, 15 percent of a monthly mobile phone service bill is already made up of taxes and fees, compared to 7% for most other goods and services, according to CTIA.

But in 23 states, taxes run even higher, including Washington at 23.64 percent, Nebraska 23.44 percent, Florida 21.31 percent and New York at 21.1 percent.

Municipalities can tack on a tax, as well. Maryland's Montgomery County, for example, raised its telecommunications tax by 75 percent to $3.50 per month for next year. Oregon's Keizer City Council has voted in favor of a similar tax hike of three percent.

Taxes on e-book downloads to an e-reader could add up to 21 percent of the total price, assuming multiple states apply taxes to the same transaction, according to , a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

Taxes on cable TV bills are likely to get hiked as well.

 read more here

UN Gives Governments a Monopoly on Internet Governance

The United Nations Committee on Science and Technology has decided that governments alone would be able to sit on a working group set up to examine improvements to the Internet Governance Forum.

This move has been condemned by the Internet Governance Caucus, the Internet Society, the International Chamber of Commerce and numerous other organizations, who have published a joint letter and launched an online petition to mobilize opposition. Read the letter here:

A Bit More Clarity on FCC's Net Neutrality Order

Following are key excerpts from the Report and Order adopted by the Commission to preserve the open Internet, released by the Federal Communications Commission. Though the language will be fleshed out when the formal order is issued, the language hints at the amount of work yet to be done to flesh out what it all means.

Rule 1: Transparency

A person engaged in the provision of broadband Internet access service shall publicly disclose accurate information regarding the network management practices, performance, and commercial terms of its broadband Internet access services sufficient for consumers to make informed choices regarding use of such services and for content, application, service, and device providers to develop, market, and maintain Internet offerings.

Rule 2: No Blocking

A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management.

A person engaged in the provision of mobile broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not block consumers from accessing lawful websites, subject to reasonable network management; nor shall such person block applications that compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services, subject to reasonable network

Rule 3: No Unreasonable Discrimination

A person engaged in the provision of fixed broadband Internet access service, insofar as such person is so engaged, shall not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service.  Reasonable network management shall not constitute unreasonable discrimination.

Select Definitions

Broadband Internet access service:  A mass-market retail service by wire or radio that provides the capability to transmit data to and receive data from all or substantially all Internet endpoints, including any capabilities that are incidental to and enable the operation of the communications service, but excluding dial-up Internet access service.  This term also encompasses any service that the Commission finds to be providing a functional equivalent of the service described in the previous sentence, or that is used to evade the protections set forth in this Part.

Reasonable network management.  A network management practice is reasonable if it is appropriate and tailored to achieving a legitimate network management purpose, taking into account the particular network architecture and technology of the broadband Internet access service. Legitimate network management purposes include: ensuring network security and integrity, including by addressing traffic that is harmful to the network; addressing traffic that is unwanted by users (including by premise operators), such as by providing services or capabilities consistent with a user’s choices regarding parental controls or security capabilities; and by reducing or mitigating the effects of congestion on the network. 

Pay for Priority Unlikely to Satisfy “No Unreasonable Discrimination” Rule

A commercial arrangement between a broadband provider and a third party to directly or indirectly favor some traffic over other traffic in the connection to a subscriber of the broadband provider (i.e., “pay for priority”) would raise significant cause for concern.  First, pay for priority would represent a significant departure from historical and current practice.  Since the beginning of the Internet, Internet access providers have typically not charged particular content or application providers fees to reach the providers’ consumer retail service subscribers or struck pay-for-priority deals, and the record does not contain evidence that U.S. broadband providers currently engage in such arrangements.  Second this departure from longstanding norms could cause great harm to innovation and investment in and on the Internet.  As discussed above, pay-for-priority arrangements could raise barriers to entry on the Internet by requiring fees from edge providers, as well as transaction costs arising from the need to reach agreements with one or more broadband providers to access a critical mass of potential users.  Fees imposed on edge providers may be excessive because few edge providers have the ability to bargain for lesser fees, and because no broadband provider internalizes the full costs of reduced innovation and the exit of edge providers from the market.  Third, pay-for-priority arrangements may particularly harm non-commercial end users, including individual bloggers, libraries, schools, advocacy organizations, and other speakers, especially those who communicate through video or other content sensitive to network congestion.  Even open Internet skeptics acknowledge that pay for priority may disadvantage non-commercial uses of the network, which are typically less able to pay for priority, and for which the Internet is a uniquely important platform.  Fourth, broadband providers that sought to offer pay-for-priority services would have an incentive to limit the quality of service provided to non-prioritized traffic.  In light of each of these concerns, as a general matter, it is unlikely that pay for priority would satisfy the “no unreasonable discrimination” standard.  The practice of a broadband Internet access service provider prioritizing its own content, applications, or services, or those of its affiliates, would raise the same significant concerns and would be subject to the same standards and considerations in evaluating reasonableness as third-party pay-for-priority arrangements.

Measured Steps for Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband presents special considerations that suggest differences in how and when open Internet protections should apply.  Mobile broadband is an earlier-stage platform than fixed broadband, and it is rapidly evolving.  For most of the history of the Internet, access has been predominantly through fixed platforms -- first dial-up, then cable modem and DSL services.  As of a few years ago, most consumers used their mobile phones primarily to make phone calls and send text messages, and most mobile providers offered Internet access only via “walled gardens” or stripped down websites.   Today, however, mobile broadband is an important Internet access platform that is helping drive broadband adoption, and data usage is growing rapidly.   The mobile ecosystem is experiencing very rapid innovation and change, including an expanding array of smartphones, aircard modems, and other devices that allow mobile broadband providers to enable Internet access; the emergence and rapid growth of dedicated-purpose mobile devices like e-readers; the development of mobile application (“app”) stores and hundreds of thousands of mobile apps; and the evolution of new business models for mobile broadband providers, including usage-based pricing.

Moreover, most consumers have more choices for mobile broadband than for fixed broadband.   Mobile broadband speeds, capacity, and penetration are typically much lower than for fixed broadband,  though some providers have begun offering 4G service that will enable offerings with higher speeds and capacity and lower latency than previous generations of mobile service.   In addition, existing mobile networks present operational constraints that fixed broadband networks do not typically encounter.   This puts greater pressure on the concept of “reasonable network management” for mobile providers, and creates additional challenges in applying a broader set of rules to mobile at this time.   Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android.  In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile wireless carriers in the U.S.  

In light of these considerations, we conclude it is appropriate to take measured steps at this time to protect the openness of the Internet when accessed through mobile broadband

Specialized Services

In the Open Internet NPRM, the Commission recognized that broadband providers offer services that share capacity with broadband Internet access service over providers’ last-mile facilities, and may develop and offer other such services in the future.  These “specialized services,” such as some broadband providers’ existing facilities-based VoIP and Internet Protocol-video offerings, differ from broadband Internet access service and may drive additional private investment in broadband networks and provide consumers valued services, supplementing the benefits of the open Internet.  At the same time, specialized services may raise concerns regarding bypassing open Internet protections, supplanting the open Internet, and enabling anticompetitive conduct.  We note also that our rules define broadband Internet access service to encompass “any service that the Commission finds to be providing a functional equivalent of [broadband Internet access service], or that is used to evade the protections set forth in these rules.

We will closely monitor the robustness and affordability of broadband Internet access services, with a particular focus on any signs that specialized services are in any way retarding the growth of or constricting capacity available for broadband Internet access service.  We fully expect that broadband providers will increase capacity offered for broadband Internet access service if they expand network capacity to accommodate specialized services.  We would be concerned if capacity for broadband Internet access service did not keep pace.  We also expect broadband providers to disclose information about specialized services’ impact, if any, on last-mile capacity available for, and the performance of, broadband Internet access service.  We may consider additional disclosure requirements in this area in our related proceeding regarding consumer transparency and disclosure.  We would also be concerned by any marketing, advertising, or other messaging by broadband providers suggesting that one or more specialized services, taken alone or together, and not provided in accordance with our open Internet rules, is “Internet” service or a substitute for broadband Internet access service.  Finally, we will monitor the potential for anticompetitive or otherwise harmful effects from specialized services, including from any arrangements a broadband provider may seek to enter into with third parties to offer such services.   The Open Internet Advisory Committee will aid us in monitoring these issues.

Australia National Broadband Network Pricing Clues

Australia's planned National Broadband Network (NBN) expects, over a decade, to build a fiber-based broadband access network providing 93 percent of Australian homes and small businesses with 100 Mbps service. Some locations will be served by wireless or satellite services that will operate at 12 Mbps. Fixed wireless will be used to supply service to about four percent of locations, while satellite is used to deliver service to about three percent of locations.

In total, about 13 million connections will be supplied.

"Retail pricing structure for fiber products is based around bundled (cheap or free) voice, fast broadband access and multi-channel TV," the NBN plan suggests. That little tidbit largely reflects the prevailing view that voice communications, though still a huge part of the overall value proposition, will not be the revenue driver for the network. Some might wonder about the relative contribution of multi-channel TV, over the medium or longer term, as well.

Of course, since the NBN will only supply wholesale access and transport, the specific retail plans will be determined by the retail providers themselves. Some may elect not to provide any one of the potential constituent services. Also, the NBN and its retail partners will continue to compete in a market with existing cable competition and expected growing competition from mobile networks as well.

One might guess, based on prior instances of robust wholesale regimes, that Telstra's current 70-percent-plus share of voice, and nearly-70-percent share of fixed broadband, could drop to about 40 percent, as already is the case in the wireless services domain. Market share of about 40 percent for fixed services would be consistent with other markets where robust wholesale competition is possible.

Some idea of the "retail pricing floor" can be gleaned from planned NBN pricing. Wholesale prices for a single 12 Mbps circuit are set at $24. A retail service provider will add operating, sales and capital costs to derive retail pricing. Other prices include wholesale charges of $27 for a 25 Mbps service with 10 Mbps return; $30 for a 25/20 service and  $34 for a 50/20 access; $38 for 100/40 service.

Wholesale pricing for a 250/100 plan will cost $70; $100 a month will buy a 500/200 service and $150 is the wholesale price per month for a 1 Gbps/400 Mbps service. The charges intentionally are designed to encourage wholesale partners to buy and retail services running at 100 Mbps.

The NBN also will sell symmetrical services with guaranteed quality of service (committed information rates).

NBN Co will "provide a layer two bitstream service only, using a GPON (gigabit passive optical etwork) architecture. The company is not preparing for the provision of layer one services, layer one unbundling, functional or structural separation. Retail partners will not be able to buy "dark fiber," in other words.

Wholesale products will be sold supporting downstream bandwidths of 12 Mbps, 25 Mbps, 50 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 250 Mbps, 500 Mbps and 1 Gbps, with upstream bandwidths ranging from 1 Mbps up to 400 Mbps. The NBN also will offer wholesale voice capabilities.

The NBN will add video streaming delivery, but will not supply the rest of the video infrastructure. Also planned are features to support multi-location enterprises and 1 Gbps virtual LAN services, as well as protected diverse-routing services.

The entire fiber network will take 9.5 years to build, assuming no materials or labor delays, and is projected to cost $36 billion. Revenues to 2020 are expected to be about $21 billion and operating costs are expected to run about $22 billion through 2020. The Australian government is contributing R27.5 billion, with debt financing of about $13 billion. The internal rate of return is expected to be seven percent.

For Telstra, the stakes are high, as Telstra will essentially be out of the infrastructure business, and purchase access and transport services from the NBN. Telstra also will divest its cable network customers as well.

You can read the full report here

The Downside of Multi-Purpose IP Networks

By now, virtually all observers agree that direct revenue generated by fixed networks will shift to supplying broadband access, while some o...