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No Demand for Gigabit?

Among the most-dangerous of statements is that something cannot be done, violates the laws of physics, costs too much, is too difficult to manage, or is not wanted by consumers or other users.
The reason such statements can be quite dangerous is that they are sometimes spectacularly wrong, in ways that dramatically affect whole indus
I can remember being at a meeting at the headquarters of the National Cable Television Association, in the earlier days of high definition television discussions, where it was proposed that a full HDTV signal could be squeezed from about 45 Mbps of raw bandwidth to the 6-MHz channelization used by the North American television industry.
The room essentially exploded, as the attendees, mostly vice presidents of engineering from the largest cable TV and broadcast firms, disagreed with the sheer physics of the proposal. Later, the executive who suggested HDTV in 6 MHz was indeed possible talked with his firm’s engineering vice president, about the the science,…

Global WANs Now Driven by Hyperscale Data Center Locations

Technology Predictions are Often Spectacularly Wrong

Nobel prize winner (in chemistry) and physicist Ernest Rutherford (known for his work on nuclear physics) once experimented with radio waves, but gave it up when told radio had no future.
The point is that even the best and brightest minds in technology often are very wrong about how a particular innovation will develop. So humility is not a bad attitude for any market researcher to adopt.
In 1943, Thomas Watson, IBM CEO said “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Ken Olson, Digital Equipment Corp. president, in 1977 said “there is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.”
Western Union execs once argued the telephone “is inherently of no value to us.”
Thomas Edison said “fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time.”
Others argued the automobile was a novelty or fad. Studio executive Daryl Zanuck once said “television won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months.”
Even Marty Cooper, a mobile phon…

Why Software-Defined Networks are Destined to be More Important

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There is a good reason why software-defined networks are getting more attention. Simply, all business and consumer networking use cases are becoming “cloud-based” interactions that are themselves largely virtualized.  
For enterprises and businesses, that tends to mean a shift towards virtual private networks supporting mobile, remote and distributed users who require access to cloud-based computing resources, no matter where they are working. That also implies a need for security and quality of service support provided by VPNs.
source: Cloudify
So a reasonable person might conclude that the shift in enterprise networking will be in the direction of software-defined networking (SD-WANs, VPNs, virtualized core networks, network slicing).

Call Center Experience the Weakest Part of Service Provider Performance

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Unhappiness with call center interactions seems to be the key reason for low customer satisfaction scores with linear video subscription services (no direct question about price or value-price relationship is asked).
And though fixed-line voice service ranks higher, the same pattern of unhappiness with call center experience occurs there. Call center experience also is the lowest-ranked feature of mobile satisfaction tracked by ACSI.
I cannot remember a time in three decades when cable TV services got high satisfaction ratings. Nor, since the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) began tracking internet service providers, do I recall ever seeing high satisfaction ratings for internet access service, either.
In fact,  “subscription television and internet service providers rank last among all industries tracked by the ACSI,” a placement that has been consistent for several years.
It appears much of the problem lies with customer interaction and customer support, especially the us…

Moore's Law Really Does Matter

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Moore’s Law and optical fiber matter, where it comes to fixed network internet access speeds.
Back in the early 1980s, when I first got into the cable TV business, many rural systems were operating at less than 200 MHz of total analog bandwidth, the first big city franchises were about to be awarded, and the state of the art was systems promised to operate at 400 to 450 MHz.
All that was before optical fiber and the hybrid fiber coax architecture, the need for reliable two-way communications or data services.
Because of Moore’s Law advances and optical fiber, HFC physical bandwidth now pushes between 750 MHz and a gigaHertz and internet services now push between hundreds of megabits per second and a gigabit per second, using DOCSIS 3.1.
source: Dr. Walt Cicora
It is possible, perhaps likely, that bandwidth will grow further beyond planned improvements to DOCSIS 3.1. Indeed there is early speculation about what might be possible with next-generation DOCSIS that harnesses new spectrum ra…

Nobody Knows "How Many" Facilities-Based Telcos Can Exist in a Mature Market

In most fixed network telecom markets, the reality is that only a single facilities supplier is financially sustainable on a national basis, so competition usually takes the form of wholesale obligations. Mobile markets historically have featured at least two to four facilities-based competitors.

But as in the fixed network market, there are questions about sustainable numbers of contestants as the market matures. Over time, fewer competitors are generally expected.

The big issue for regulators is how few competitors are required to provide the benefits of competition, but on a sustainable basis. And that answer is not yet known.

“The idea that the U.S. mobile market has an equilibrium of four firms (nationally, at least) is an emotional and not a scientific conclusion,” said George Ford, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Policy Studies chief economist.

In other words, four national providers might not be sustainable. That view is supported, Ford argues is entirely consiste…

Talk Talk Sales Show Value of Indirect Channel

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There is reason why many products are sold using indirect (partner) channels. This chart by Talk Talk in the United Kingdom illustrates the basic economics. Talk Talk sells 83 percent of its products wholesale, using indirect channels (channel partners).
The traditional reason for using indirect channels is that a supplier cannot afford to sell direct to customer segments targeted by the channel partners.
In fact, Talk Talk reports that earnings (cash flow) from the indirect channels used to sell to consumers are about the same as cash flow from the business customer segment which is sold using a direct sales force.
source: Talk Talk

Why 4K/8K TV is a Waste for Most People

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For most consumers, 4K and 8K TVs are unlikely to provide an actual experience boost, despite the denser pixel count. The reason is that the human eye cannot tell the difference between 4K and 8K from 1080p unless a person sits uncomfortably close to a screen, or unless the screen is really huge. Simply put, 4K is a waste of money, as 8K will be, for most people.
Most people simply do not sit close enough to the screen to perceive the difference 4K or 8K can provide.  
It is obvious why consumer electronics companies want to sell you new TVs. TVs no longer break, and manufacturers need new reasons for you to buy a new screen and move the existing screen to a bedroom or elsewhere in a house.
Content developers have their own reasons for wanting higher resolution: it is part of the decades-long effort to create greater realism and experiential immersion.
source" Rtings
The trend to bigger screens therefore makes sense. Either people have to move closer to their screens, or screens ha…

Is Proposed Hillsboro, Ore. Municipal ISP Network Viable?

Building a $66 million, municipal ISP network would be "marginally" viable at a 28 percent "take" rate, a study by Colorado firm Uptown Services predicted in 2015.
That might be an optimistic expectation of market share for any well-run ISP operating a fiber-to-home network and competing against a elco and a cable TV operator where one or both of those competitors are vulnerable because they have not, or cannot, invest in their own networks.
Much hinges on whether the Hillsboro network plans also to sell video service or voice. If not, actual take rates might be as low as 20 percent, and possibly lower.
Many municipal ISPs that report adoption rates (penetration, or the percent of homes passed that actually buy service) boosted by their sales of video and voice services. So the adoption rate is based on “units of service sold,” not the “number of homes buying service.”
At least so far, where a municipal ISP offers only internet access, early adoption rates--even wit…

New Thinking on Mobile Market Structure?

Very few regulators or would-be competitors most places in the world would consider  a facilities-based approach to fixed line telecom services workable in the present market. Simply, revenue upside is too limited and investment burdens too high to support two or more facilities-based fixed network providers.

There are a few exceptions, especially small countries, city states or North America, where cable TV networks were transformed from one-way video broadcast networks into full duplex communications networks.

In the mobile area, most regulators have preferred four providers to three contestants. That thesis will soon be tested in the U.S. and possibly a few other markets as antitrust and telecom regulators have to make a decision about whether to allow the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile US.

The larger policy environment is challenging for Sprint and T-Mobile US in that regard. Some argue the present administration is going to more merger friendly than that last. Then there is the Depa…