Showing posts from March, 2014

FCC to Auction 65 MHz of Shared Spectrum for 4G

The Federal Communications has moved to free up about 65 MHz of Spectrum on a shared basis for use by Long Term Evolution 4G networks, and the key element might be the face that the spectrum to be put up for auction using "flexible use" rules for the AWS-3 band, which includes the 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz, and 2155-2180 MHz bands. 

The novelty here is that the licenses will not necessarily be sold on an “exclusive basis.” The new band, called Advanced Wireless Services-3 (AWS-3), would be the first shared band between commercial networks and government systems.

That way of allocating spectrum is quite new, as in the past all spectrum has been awarded either on an exclusive basis, or, in the case of Wi-Fi, on an open basis with no interference protection.

The new mode of sharing will likely allow licensees and others to share a given block of spectrum, with interference protections.

That's new.

100 MHz of New Wi-Fi Spectrum Authorized at 5GHz

The Federal Communications Commission has moved to make 100 MHz of spectrum in the 5-GHz (5.150-5.250 GHz) band available for Wi-Fi or other uses. The move will increase the total amount of U.S. Wi-Fi spectrum by about 15 percent, some reckon. 

The rules adopted today remove the current restriction on indoor-only use and increase the permissible power.

That will  be useful for creation of Wi-Fi hot spots at such as airports and convention centers.

The move was expected.

Content Fragmentation, Not Technology, is Barrier to Widespread Video Streaming

Content fragmentation caused by content rights agreements and release windows is among the non-technical reasons widespread video streaming replicating linear video content offerings is taking so long to reach commercial status.
Technology, as such, no longer is the issue. Instead, it is content rights that are the key barrier. It isn’t so much theatrical release, airline or hotel pay per view or release to retail sales that are the issue.
People sort of understand there is a rolling series of release windows for new movie content, and the process is relatively linear and straightforward, up to the point that the “premium” networks get their first access.
Viewers understand that movies debut in theaters, then move at some point to limited hotel and airline pay per view before their general availability on Blu-ray, DVD and digital services.
But then there is what some might call a hiccup. After about a year after theatrical release, movies can be shown on networks such as HBO, Starz and …

Will Facebook Become an ISP?

Precisely what Facebook plans to do with drones is hard to tell, as it once was hard to tell what Google might do in the Internet access area.
But there were more hints, in Google’s case, as Google had invested in a number of Internet service provider initiatives, such as metropolitan Wi-Fi, or airport Wi-Fi, or promises to bid on 4G spectrum (to put a floor under the bidding prices) to actual investments in spectrum (Clearwire).
Up to this point, Facebook has introduced “zero rating” programs in a couple of countries, allowing people to use Facebook without consuming any of their mobile data allotment.
“In just a few months, we helped double the number of people using mobile data on Globe’s network and grew their subscribers by 25 percent,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO. “In Paraguay, by working with TIGO we were able to grow the number of people using the internet by 50 percent over the course of the partnership and increase daily data usage by more than 50 percent.”
Facebook pr…

Perhaps Half of High-Speed Access Consumers Would Pay for "Assured" Speed

poll of U.K. high speed access consumers contains what is probably good news and bad news for Internet service providers who believe quality-assured speeds would be attractive for their consumers, compared to today's more uncertain offers, where, for a variety of reasons, all an ISP can say is that speeds "up to X" are possible.

It all depends on how many other users are on the network at once, and what they are doing. 

The new poll by Think Broadband suggests that perhaps half of consumers might be interested in a speed guarantee, and would pay something extra for such guarantees.

The perhaps not so good news is that those who said they would be willing to pay also indicated they would spend about $5 to $8 a month for the feature. To be sure, a price premium of that sort would be helpful for ISPs, even if it were to be a feature purchased only by 20 percent of consumers. 

The other problem, of course, is that even when an ISP can control contention on its own access links…

Amazon to Launch Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service?

It appears Amazon is considering launching an ad-supported streaming video service, a move that would complement its Amazon Prime service, and provide another source of content for the expected Amazon video streaming dongle Amazon might launch in April 2014.
That device will compete with the Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku boxes.

Consumer Satisfaction With Fixed Network Services Creates Opportunity for Attackers

U.S. consumers appear to have wide differences in “satisfaction” with triple-play services they buy from some service providers, compared to others, according to Consumer Reports. Polling 81,848 customers of fixed network services, Consumer Reports found Verizon's FiOS was near the top of the rankings in every category, while AT&T Inc.'s U-verse was in the middle.

Comcast's TV service ranked 15th out of 17 providers, while Time Warner Cable's was 16th.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable also were in the bottom half of phone and Internet service providers and among the 14 firms selling triple-play services, according to Bloomberg.

Though Verizon executives might be pleased, the industry as a whole ranks at or quite close to the bottom in consumer satisfaction among all industries. Of 43 industries tracked by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index, for example, Internet service providers rank 43rd.

Linear video service providers rank 41st. Even mobile service providers ran…

How Revenues Can Grow Even in Midst of a Price War

A key caveat for all economic predictions is that something will happen, ceteris paribus(all other things being equal). 

In real life, almost nothing is ever equal. In fact, the act of change itself changes the environment, leading to changes in behavior and outcomes. 

Likewise, it is difficult to identify the specific act of one change, such as T-Mobile US launching a pricing and packaging assault, when multiple other changes also are occurring, such as fast-growing demand for mobile data services, addition of new classes of devices to connect and key changes in retail packaging of multi-user plans. 

And that is why there actually can be disagreement about whether any such mobile pricing war actually is occurring.

Some will look at the numbers and conclude there is no mobile price war under way in the United States, despite the many changes in retail packaging and pricing we have seen over the last year.

In fact, some note, mobile service provider revenues are growing, at least in the U.…

If There is No More Beachfront, Users Have to Share the Beach: the Argument for Flexible Spectrum Sharing

Spectrum valuable for the same reason beachfront property is valuable: "they aren't making any more of it."
In other words, if mobile and untethered spectrum demand grows by 1,000 times over the next decade, as many assume it will, there is precious little unallocated spectrum that can be put to use.
Indeed, there is growing recognition in the U.S. communications policy community that the big potential gain in useful communications spectrum will have to come from more efficient use of spectrum already allocated, but under used.
Though in principle it might be possible to move existing licensees from their current frequencies to new spectrum, the cost to do so generally is quite high, and the time to make the changes generally long.
So there is new thinking about ways to share existing spectrum, without the need to move existing users. There also is new thinking about how to manage interference in a decentralized and efficient way, without relying on slow, cumbersome, expen…

Fiber to Home Momentum has Changed Significantly Last 2 Years, Expert Says

Blair Levin, former Federal Communications Commission chief of staff to Reed Hundt, also was the executive director of the the National Broadband Plan effort, issued about four years ago.
With the caveat that not everybody agrees the drafting of a “national plan,” by any country, necessarily means very much, Levin, an experienced “inside the Beltway” operator well versed with the politics of communication policy, has an interesting take on progress in the U.S. market, after release of the plan.
There are four areas Levin says are important for estimating progress. “One is, are you driving fiber deeper?” Levin says. Also “are you using spectrum more effectively?”
Third, “are you getting everybody on?” Levin says. Finally, “are you using the platforms to deliver public goods more effectively?”
As you might guess, Levin thinks progress has been uneven. “It's mixed on all of them,” Levin said.
But Levin is surprised by the progress in the area of “driving fiber deeper.” As recently as t…