Thursday, September 30, 2010
If true, though, such data would show the important role the economy, housing crisis and joblessness are having on fixed-line service providers. Significant percentages of people also claim they cut off a mobile phone subscription or fixed-line voice subscription as well.
What Americans say they gave up in 2009
Over a year, preference for Android has grown about 600 percent.
While the Apple iOS remains the number one OS preference for future buyers, it dropped as expected in the aftermath of the huge spike we saw during June’s iPhone 4 release.
Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse and fellow executives Keith Cowan and Steven Elfman have resigned from the Clearwire board. A spokeswoman for Sprint said the company plans to appoint independent successor directors in the next few months. In the meantime, Sprint has named its general counsel, Charles Wunsch, as an independent observer to the Clearwire board.
Clearwire said that the resignations were prompted by recent changes in antitrust laws, but the move could also could provide Clearwire added flexibility to pursue a deal of some sort that might bring T-Mobile USA into Clearwire as an equity owner, for example.
On the other hand, some speculate that Sprint might also have an opportunity to increase its stake, as other shareholders such as Comcast Corp. have signaled they are unwilling to provide additional funding Clearwire requires. A move of that sort might not require a greater arms length relationship with Clearwire, though.
Clearwire said the move came "out of an abundance of caution to address questions raised by Clearwire
Clearwire's board structure allows for 13 members, seven of which Sprint has the right to appoint. The remaining four independent Sprint appointees to the Clearwire board remain.
Since Clearwire and Sprint compete at the retail level, the current board membership has proven awkward, observers note.
In some ways, it is hard to see any long-term solution that does not have Sprint acquiring a larger stake in Clearwire. Whether a firm the size of Sprint can live, long term, with buying its crucial 4G services from a firm it also competes with is open to question.
Sprint Nextel also faces the complexity of operating several different air interface networks (iDEN, CDMA and WiMAX). Those problems are not directly related to the size or control of the Clearwire network, but could become even more complicated if Sprint adds Long Term Evolution services at some point.
Weak Economy, Not Cord-Cutting, Drives US Pay-TV Subscriber Decline by 167,000 in the Second Quarter
Whether the end user value obtained from the variety of different Web experiences is better or worse is a matter of interpretation. Apple has been a salient exception to the "open" trend. But Apple's achievements also illustrate the fact that "closed" approaches to user experience sometimes are embraced by end users.
There is a major push toward customization in the marketplace because designers assume that more customization is better, but our research shows that only some users prefer customization," said S. Shyam Sundar, distinguished professor of communications, whose research with Sampada S. Marathe of the Media Effects Laboratory in the University's College of Communications appears in the July issue of "Human Communication Research."
For purposes of the study, researchers defined "customization" as a more proactive, highly user-driven practice, and "personalization" as having the system tailor content for users without active user input.
In the first study, the researchers discovered that power users -- those having higher levels of comfort with technology and interest in controlling their experiences -- found their visits to an online news site more enjoyable when they could customize the search process by defining search parameters or making changes to a website's settings themselves.
Conversely, "non-power users" -- those less comfortable with technology -- enjoyed personalized experiences the most. Under those parameters, the site shaped the news it provided without any overt control by the users themselves. It offered news based on user behaviors while browsing and searching during a previous visit.
"Power users like to control their information universe," Sundar said. "So they like news when they customize it themselves. But regular or ordinary users of the Internet like it better when the system configures the news for them.
The follow-up study indicated that power users might prefer customization out of a concern for their privacy. As part of that second study, users were notified that the news site they visited either "may use" or "will not use" their browsing information to provide services they requested. This subtle difference in notification resulted in dramatic changes in user behaviors.
Specifically, in the high privacy environment, power users were more willing to cede control and have information tailored for them because they trusted the site and appreciated the convenience. In a lower privacy setting, those same users wanted more control.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The draft also would have prohibited the FCC from imposing regulations on broadband Internet access service or any component of the service under Title II of the Communications Act, except when a broadband Internet access provider prefers to do so.
The rules would have applied to all consumer broadband connections, wired and wireless.
The short draft basically codified the existing "Internet freedoms" rules the FCC has bee using, without apparently adding language that prohibits application of quality-of-service features to consumer broadband access.
The rules would prohibit service providers from blocking lawful content, applications, or services, or prohibit the use of non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management. Service providers do not object to those rules.
The draft language also would have allowed reasonable network management practices, specifically saying that such practices "shall not be construed to be unjustly or unreasonably discriminatory."
The draft language did not elaborate on whether enhanced services or other quality of service features are permissible. The language focused on "minimum" standards of behavior, but did not specifically address whether consumers have the right to buy services that offer expedited or quality-assured delivery.
"The concept of being a so-called 'cord-cutter' sounds cool (leveraging technology) and,or,rebellious (fighting the entrenched multichannel video system)," BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield says. "But cool and rebellious do not necessarily translate into action."
While we are concerned about the long-term potential of "over-the-top" video, it is not a major threat to the cable and satellite industries over the next three to five years, he argues.
"Rather than blame the obvious headwinds, including a U.S. economy with housing going nowhere fast, high unemployment and consumer discretionary income falling, investors seem to have convinced themselves that concerned video cord cutting is becoming a real threat to the multichannel video entertainment industry.
At a high level, just about everybody would say the pressure is growing. Where observers disagree is about the immediate prospects. Greenfield says a survey of 1,300 consumers suggests the threat is overblown, at the moment.
Of the 1,200-plus subjects that subscribed to multichannel TV service, 37 percent say they have considered dropping their cable, satellite or telecom video service.
But when the 434 potential "cord-cutters" were asked if they would actually drop their subscriptions if it meant losing live sports events, missing out on live reality TV results shows and missing some of their favorite programming entirely (such as "True Blood" or "Weeds"), only 96 people (less than eight percent) would still consider dropping their service.
That would be in keeping with recent data on video churn, which suggests behavior at the one percent or two percent a year level.
But adjusting for the young-skewing, Web savvy survey panel, he concluded that "actual cord cutting risk is well below five percent.
Such surveys do not account for the reluctance of content owners to mess up their own revenue streams by making valuable content available in ways that damage current revenue streams. People might like the idea of buying and watching only what they want. But content owners are not going to allow that.
The desire to "cut the cord" might be there, but people will not be able to act on the impulse and still see what they want.
But some attitudes and values uiiWhat does a cord cutter look like? They are younger, watch less TV and are less likely to get HBO or Showtime, according to Greenfield.
What might really be worrisome isthe magnitude of the cuts and the timeframe for expected savings. He says he has "heard numbers between 20 and 40 per cent and timeframes of a year or less."
Tech recovery? This doesn't sound like it.
Also, according to a U.K. McKinsey study, the average person consumed 72 minutes of news a day, up from just 60 minutes in 2006. What’s more, the increase was driven almost entirely by people under the age of 35.
The iPad targets a set of applications and use casesthat are not dependent upon keyboards and mice. But there are plenty of jobs for which a tablet is an unsatisfying replacement for a traditional computer, and so the segmentation is pretty clear.
Apple also makes sure it doesn't make low-end MacBooks for which an iPad would represent a practical alternative. Beyond that, every product in the Apple line has a fairly easy to understand role in a user's life, with different form factors and input methods that make each product suitable for different use cases.
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 devices will grab seven percent of the market in the fourth quarter, as Windows Phone 7 devices will be available from all the major U.S. mobile providers.
Meanwhile, Apple's share of the growing market will slip slightly this year to 15.3% from the 16% it had at the end of 2009, according to the report.
The big question is how soon critical mass is reached, and there are repercussions for alternative viewing modes.
Part of the answer hinges on willingness to pay for such viewing, either as part of some other subscription service, such as cable TV or Netflix, or new appetite for on-demand viewing, for which there is a discrete fee.
Going forward, it looks as though gaming and video are where the larger opportunities might lie.
But social media usage has grown in virtually every age demographic.
The number of bloggers will also grow, though somewhat more modestly. In 2010, 11.9 percent of US internet users keep blogs. By 2014, there will be 33.4 million bloggers in the United States, representing 13.3 percent of internet users.
Sysomos also discovered that 92.4 percent of all retweets happen within the first hour of the original tweet being published, while an additional 1.63 percent of retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94 percent take place in the third hour.
That's a classic "Pareto" distribution, often known as the "80/20" rule or a "long tail" distribution. Since so many processes and distributions in the natural world follow a Pareto curve, this should come as no surprise.
Facebook is emerging as a serious threat to Google's core business, and Twitter is the only social company Google can buy that might have a chance of combating this.
Google now has decided to allow each user to decide to "thread or not thread." It's a big deal for some of us.
While 82 percent of the 200 businesses completing the survey felt confident that their IT resources could sustain disruptions and support operations effectively, 97 percent admitted network disruptions had detrimental effects on their businesses in the last year.
Also, about 1800 smaller businesses reported network disruption of four hours or more within the last year. CDW estimates that such network outages cost U.S. businesses $1.7 billion in lost profits last year.
"The survey confirms that while many businesses believe they are prepared for an unplanned network disruption, many are not – and yet the three most common causes of IT outages are addressable," said Norm Lillis, CDW vice president, system solutions. Power loss ranked as the top cause of business disruptions over the past year, with one third of businesses reporting it prompted their most recent disruption. Hardware failures caused 29 percent of network outages, followed by a loss of telecom services to facilities (21 percent). "
The survey also revealed that businesses need to take advanced preparation more seriously and support employees more effectively with network accessibility.
While 53 percent of respondents said employees are instructed or given the option to work from home when a foreseeable network disruption approaches (a weather event, for example), only a third of businesses activate standby communications and network systems to support increased remote access when warned of such an event.
In fact, while respondents reported that, on average, 44 percent of the workforce normally has telework options, they said that only 39 percent of employees could telework during their most recent network outage.
link to full study
Aspen Institute Fellow Recommends Big Changes In USF, Intercarrier Compensation, Use of Satellite Broadband
He proposes that the money be gotten by revamping the Universal Service Fund, including reducing or freezing funds currently allocated under the Interstate Access Support and Interstate Common Line Support funds, steps that would have immediate impact on many rural telcos and rural mobile providers.
Levin points out that there are about seven million housing units (about five percent of the total) without access to the 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream services the Federal Communications Commission now believes is a minimum.
The FCC has estimated the cost to provide such service with wired broadband at $32.4 billion, with a revenue projection of only $8.9 billion, leaving a $23.5 billion gap.
But Levin maintains that the costs are so high because of costs to build wired infrastructure to just 250,000 homes. Reaching those 250,000 homes would cost about $13.4 billion. Levin does not appear to believe that is a wise investment. So he suggests using satellite to reach the most-isolated, high-cost homes, instead. That would free up enough money to build out facilities to the roughly 6.75 million other rural homes.
In 2010, the federal fund (USF) is projected to make total outlays of $8.7 billion, but not specifically to support broadband access.
Some $4.6 billion is set aside for deployment of networks to high-cost areas, where population density or other factors would cause the price of services to consumers to be at a level that would not reasonably compare to urban areas (this is in addition to the 21 states that have similar high-cost funds that distribute a total of over $1.5 billion).
About $1.2 billion is allocated to provide discounts to make basic telephone service available
and affordable to low-income consumers (in addition, 33 states have similar programs).
Another $2.7 billion is reserved for subsidizing telecommunications services, Internet access and
internal connections to enable schools and libraries to connect to the Internet (in addition, nine states have similar programs).
Making better use of existing funding should be the first priority in any reform effort, Levin says. The universal service contribution factor—an assessment on interstate and international charges that usually appears as a surcharge on consumers’ phone bills—is already at about 15 percent (having risen dramatically in the last decade), he notes.
Further increases would create both political and policy problems, he suggests.
"More ambitious goals in terms of network speeds, at this time, would cause such an increase in the assessment on the current system that it could backfire in terms of driving America’s use of broadband," Levin argues. "For example, the FCC calculates that going from 4 Mbps to 6 Mbps would increase the investment gap by more than 100 percent."
The rational approach would be to avoid building fixed-line networks to serve a quarter million homes, at a cost of $13.4 billion, using satellite broadband. That would free up nearly all of the available funds to build fixed-line networks for 6.75 million rural households.
There are a number of problems with the current Universal Service Fund, Levin suggests. "Among these are that the fund is targeted to support analog voice requirements, rather than data networks; that the fund does not target unserved areas but rather funds particular kinds of companies; that the fund provides incentives for inefficient build outs; that there is no accountability for actually using the funds for their intended purposes; and that the support programs are not coordinated to
leverage the funds to maximize broader policy objectives," says Levin.
Though rural telcos might not like the idea, there are a number of current programs within the Universal Service Fund that need to be changed.
About $4 billion could be redireted to broadband support, over 10 years, by reductions in USF payments to wireless providers.
Interstate Access Support (IAS) payments could be reoriented to broadband, adding approximately $4 billion over 10 years.
Freezing Interstate Common Line Support (ICLS) would limit the growth of the existing high-cost fund and result in savings of about $1.8 billion over 10 years. Those funds also could be redirected to broadband support.
To accomplish this, the FCC would have to require that rate-of-return carriers move to incentive regulation.
Phasing out remaining legacy high-cost support for competitive carriers (wireless, primarily) would yield up to an additional $5.8 billion over the coming decade.
Together these actions would result in between $15 and 16 billion in savings from the existing high-cost program that could be used to support broadband facilities construction.
As logical as the changes might be, there will be resistance from any number of firms that currently rely on the current mechanisms for significant portions of their current revenue, including but not limited to, rural telcos.
Voice sessions created using the Internet now represent the second-fastest-growing source of bandwidth demand.
That isn't to say those apps consume much bandwidth, but rather than use of the application is growing fast.
Web browsing consumes about 29 percent of bandwidth while file downloads represent about 16 percent of demand.
Peer-to-peer apps, which include video and file downloads, represents about 15 percent of mobile bandwidth demand.
VoIP and instant messaging account for about three percent of bandwidth demand.
None of those metrics represent revenue contributions, though.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Congressman Henry Waxman's net neutrality proposal won't please everyone. It is doubtful any proposal can do that. But its a serious effort to achieve a fair and workable compromise.
Pinger might be the first voice and text provider to make a sustainable business out of ad-supported communications.
Nor would it shock anybody that digital growth rates far surpass that of traditional venues.
Here's the latest forecast from BIA/Kelsey.
Apple's market share in the U.S. market is far higher than it is globally, for example.
Up to this point such enhancements have not been terribly necessary. But the amount of real-time traffic is growing.
The basic premise of Project Devil is that “advertising is content.” The problem with banners is that they force the consumer to cancel what they were doing and look for a marketer’s message across the web. So AOL wants to move banners "into" the context of the web page and application the user already is engaged with at the moment.
Forrester Research breaks users into a number of categories based on their behaviors. You might, or might not, be surprised that the number of active content creators has not grown as much as the ranks of "readers."
The latest Forrester Research data tends to indicate that not everybody actually wants to "write."
The draft also would prohibit the FCC from imposing regulations on broadband Internet access service or any component of the service under Title II of the Communications Act, except when a broadband Internet access provider prefers to do so.
The rules would apply to all consumer broadband connections, wired and wireless.
The short draft, which of course always could be amended into something quite different, should it advance, basically codifies the existing "Internet freedoms" rules the FCC has bee using, without apparently adding language that prohibits application of quality-of-service features to consumer broadband access.
The rules would prohibit service providers from blocking lawful content, applications, or services, or prohibit the use of non-harmful devices, subject to reasonable network management. Service providers do not object to those rules.
The draft also would prohibit "unjustly or unreasonably" discriminating against lawful traffic over a consumer’s wireline broadband Internet access service. Depending on later elaboration and interpretation, this likely would not be objectionable to service providers, either.
The draft language also would allow reasonable network management practices, specifically saying that such practices "shall not be construed to be unjustly or unreasonably discriminatory."
The language also specifically makes clear that it addresses consumer broadband connections, not all broadband connections, an important distinction as one would not want any new rules to apply to business services.
The draft language so far does not elaborate on whether enhanced services or other quality of service features are permissible. The language so far focuses on "minimum" standards of behavior, but does not specifically address whether consumers have the right to buy services that offer expedited or quality-assured delivery.
read the bill here
Monday, September 27, 2010
Of course, it is still a $500 million revenues annual market, but growing quite fast.
We probably won't hear comments of that sort anymore.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
Still, there seems to be a clear sentiment that the government is not likely to make things better if it becomes more active in things related to the Internet, with the exception of privacy protections and child safety.
When asked if the federal government should regulate the Internet, 57 percent responded “no”. Of the 31 percent who thought the federal government should regulate the Internet, more than two thirds said any such regulation should be focused on privacy, online safety and protecting children.
The market has probably become concerned that drops in landline customers is no longer being made up for by growth in cellular subscriptions.
These sorts of questions have gotten more complicated as media have evolved, but there is a basic contradiction here, nonetheless. Is the right something that belongs to the speaker, or the listener? Courts have ruled both ways.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Do you really believe less than $36 billion in ARRA spending had any meaningful impact?
If you know your U.S. history, you know that the United States was in a "Great Depression" throughout the 1930s, getting out only sometime during World War II.
So the "official" recession last less than four years, though the Great Depression lasts up to a decade and a half.
Part of the reason is that there were two separate "recessions" during the Great Depression, if we can say something that sounds nonsensical.
Also, despite the moniker "roaring twenties," and the undeniable growth of that period, there were recessions in 1920, 1923, 1926 and 1929. Every three years, a reversal from growth to decline.
Given current worry about a double dip recession, and recent comments by the Federal Reserve suggesting it is worried about that happening, despite other "happy talk" about the low possibility of such an event, the 1920s and even 1950s record suggests one can say it is possible, perhaps even likely, there could be a growth reversal every three years, even in an otherwise robust economic climate.
If the last recession "ended" in June 2009, that might suggest another recession starting in June 2012 or so. Maybe its not strictly a "double dip," but two separate recessions. Americans won't care.
Nor does it provide any comfort to note there were "just" two recessions in the era we call the Great Depression. In other words, the formal definitions are one thing; the human experience quite another thing.
Friday, September 24, 2010
It could be a blessing in disguise.
Some firms see an opportunity.
That would-be quite a feat.
Sure signs of yet another bubble forming, most likely.
Morrow says Clearwire could raise money by selling off unneeded spectrum. However, Morrow said that the company's preference is to get an equity investment from a service provider that would rent space on its network at a preferred rate, similar to the deal Sprint Nextel has with Clearwire. Sprint holds a 54 percent stake in Clearwire.
Windstream's Gardner: Enhance focus on business, wireless backhaul and broadband services - FierceTelecom
Thursday, September 23, 2010
DirecTV already offers video, voice and data bundles with phone companies CenturyLink, AT&T and Verizon, but it isn't clear whether cable companies would want to help out a dangerous competitor, even if it meant some incremental sales of voice or broadband subscriptions.
It's to the advantage of attackers to say the threat is imminent. It's to the advantage of cable and satellite execs to deny the extent of the threat, with telco executives a bit less inclined to downplay the issue, in part because other competitors have more to lose.
The cable business is going to go the way of the wireline telephone business, says Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg.
Seidenberg says he doesn't believe demand for multichannel video entertainment is going away immediately. But it will, he said.
“We take the over the top issue with video very seriously,” he said. “I think cable has some life left in its model…but that it is going to get disintermediated over the next several years.”
Verizon might lose some of its video subs as well, but the issue is a matter of business model impact. As telcos have been hit very hard by voice compeititon and abandonment, while cablers have gained at telco expense, something like that will happen to cable, the dominant video provider.
Decline of demand for multichannel TV might affect Verizon, but nothing like it will cable, which relies on video revenue in the same way that telcos have relied on voice revenue.
It might take a few more quarters to see whether there is a new trend in multichannel video, but there is at least a possibility that a peak has been reached in the multichannel video entertainment business, and that henceforth the total number of subscribers will start falling, as landline voice subs have for nearly 10 years.
Verizon has not said percisely what form the tiers will take, other than to note that Verizon Wireless's offering wouldn't simply copy rival carrier AT&T's approach.
About 67 percent are discouraged by non-continuous video playback and the length of time it takes a video to begin playing, as well.
Of the 16 to 24 year olds surveyed, 69 per cent of users prefer video to be optimized, rather than wait significantly longer for higher-quality streaming, the study suggests.
The perhaps-useful findings were about screen size, which affects form factor. About half suggested they preferred a nine or 10-inch screen. More than a quarter wanted a 12-inch screen. Some 21 percent wanted a seven-inch screen and three percent wanted a five-inch screen.
Tablets might ultimately reflect a variety of form factors and lead applications, or some form factors might not get traction. The three-inch screen, for example, would seem to overlap almost directly with smartphones.
Overall, across demographic cohorts, Morpace found 52 percent of total TV viewing time consisted of live TV. Among younger adults ages 18 to 34, that proportion fell to 41 percent. Adults 55 and up watched live TV almost two thirds of the time, but even Gen Xers and younger boomers were evenly split between live TV and several timeshifting nethods.
Online was the most popular alternative to live TV, with about half of consumers using some online source for viewing video content, and another 23 percent using a streaming video service.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
The tablet, which some inside RIM are calling the BlackPad, is scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of this year. It will feature a seven-inch touch screen and one or two built-in cameras.
It will have Bluetooth and broadband connections but will only be able to connect to cellular networks through a BlackBerry smartphone. The tablet apparently won't be sold with a cellular service included.
'We are watching very closely,' Hesse said. "Clearly, I'm not ruling out metered."
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Later, Dunn appeared to want to soften the reported remarks. "We see some shifts in consumption patterns, with tablet sales being an incremental opportunity," Dunn now says.
We might not know whether the latter statement, or the first statement, is closer to the truth until the round of quarterly reports.
That might not be a disaster, but it is somewhere between 1.5and nearly twice the total number of net new subs Verizon gets in three months.
In a supposedly commodity business, Apple is anything but.
The internet obviously disrupts many legacy businesses, print among them.
Print content firms hope not. It isn't clear yet whether that is a rational hope.
I initially though the 2008 recession was just a garden variety downturn: not pleasant but not tragic. I apparently was quite wrong.
paid, earned and other approaches require more planning in an online context.
Monday, September 20, 2010
It might not matter much whether there is a "double dip" recession, or just another recession, or simply continued stagnation.
The HTC tablet will feature the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chipset, a 1280 by 720 resolution touchscreen, 2 GBytes of RAM and 32GB SSD, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS.
Some regulators are going to be shocked to find out that the historically high value of spectrum used for mobile communications is unsusta...
You can see where this is going. Younger users text more than they talk, and though today's users 25 and above still talk more than they...
USB-based device chargers can create noise that interferes with touchscreen operation especially when the chargers omit noise suppression ...
It is difficult to separate 5G from edge computing from network virtualization from internet of things from applied forms of artificial in...