AT&T CEO: We'll piggyback on Google's Fiber rollout plans | Mobile - CNET News
More mutually assured diminished returns threatened by AT&T. Ma Bell is basically saying she will overbuild Google to obtain a slice of picked over cherry pie, leaving each competitor serving 15 percent of the premises passed at best.
This should put to rest the hopeful, magical thinking of some who claim Google is somehow going to goad legacy telcos to undertake a broad-based upgrade of their obsolete last mile copper plant to fiber. Not in this lifetime and not with grandma's shareholder dividend.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
AT&T CEO: We'll piggyback on Google's Fiber rollout plans | Mobile - CNET News
Monday, May 13, 2013
Businesses Lining Up for Service in Longmont, FTTH Build-Out Studied | community broadband networks: If LPC wants to pursue a triple play offering, Uptown estimates it would cost another $6 million. At this point, LPC does not consider triple play a good investment:
"The young generation that's active now, they don't watch TV in the conventional way," Jordan said. At a recent presentation, he said, when he asked a college student how often he watched traditional scheduled TV programming, the response was "Never."
The implication here is the subscriber television channel Internet service offering is losing its appeal going forward with the changing viewing habits of younger adults. This is a potentially huge disruption of the current business models of both incumbent cable providers and telcos offering TV in service bundles like AT&T's U-Verse product. It's also very disruptive of the TV advertising business model that has traditionally targeted younger adults.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
California lawmakers are scaling back a previously proposed increased appropriation for the state’s broadband infrastructure grant and loan subsidy program. As amended this week, SB 740 would also redefine the policy goal of California Public Utilities Commission’s California Advanced Service Fund (CASF) to fund projects to ensure broadband access to at least 98 percent of California households by 2016. SB 740 would also prioritize funding for those areas of the Golden State deemed to be “unserved.” The CPUC has defined this to mean “an area that is not served by any form of wireline or wireless facilities-based broadband, such that Internet connectivity is available only through dial-up service or no broadband service can be identified.”
From a practical perspective, this means only modest wireless Internet infrastructure projects will be subsidized by the CASF since unserved areas per the CPUC’s definition are likely to be very thinly populated. These will also likely be very low budget projects per the CPUC’s decision to require project sponsors kick in 30 percent of the project costs for unserved areas.
The CPUC has also written the CASF rules to discourage community fiber builds by allowing projects in “underserved areas” only if the area has no wireline or wireless service offered at advertised speeds of at least 6 mbps download and 1.5 mbps up. That means an area that is only partially served by an existing wireline providers could not be overbuilt to fill in the coverage gaps. Under the rule, such project would also not qualify since wireless providers could merely advertise service at the minimum speeds, further slicing and dicing a potential fiber service area such to render the project ineligible under the rules. On top of that, the rules require community fiber project sponsors to kick in 40 percent of the project costs – an onerous burden for newly formed entities.
The upshot is California policymakers will end up going through the motions and the CASF monies left largely unspent as sizable areas of the state unserved by the incumbent telephone and cable companies are consigned to technologically substandard, low value Internet service options.
Google Project May Spur Broadband Competition - NYTimes.com
The take away from this story is it's highly unlikely incumbent telephone and cable companies will upgrade and build out their infrastructures to provide better Internet connectivity and serve more premises. It makes more business sense for them to preserve the status quo and harvest whatever profits can be had from their existing cable plants. Particularly given the fact that the legacy incumbents pay fat dividends to their shareholders. Google pays none.
The NY Times piece postulates it will take an third party like Google to break the inertia. But Google thus far is pursuing fiber builds in only a few metro areas of the United States including Kansas City and Austin and lacks a strategy to serve the nearly 20 million Americans forced to live off the Internet grid because the incumbent telcos and cablecos won't serve their homes. These areas will have to rely on good old fashioned American self help and build fiber to the premises infrastructure operated by local governments and consumer cooperatives as was done in much of the nation in the 1930s and 1940s for electricity and telephone service.
There's also the sheer enormity of the financial challenge that would test the resources of even the deepest pocketed players like Google. In 2009, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission projected it would cost $350 billion to universally deliver 100 Mbps or faster Internet connections to all American homes and businesses. That's more than the sum of Google's 2012 revenues.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
Today’s Sacramento Bee reports on the increased legislative scrutiny being applied to the California Public Utilities Commission and whether it is adequately fulfilling its mission of ensuring safe and reliable utility service.
According to the Bee, a California Senate committee is requesting that the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission investigate nonprofits established by the PUC for “possible conflicts of interest or bequesting violations” including the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF).
Lawmakers should also look into whether the CETF is fulfilling its stated mission “to close the ‘Digital Divide’ by accelerating the deployment and adoption of broadband to unserved and underserved communities and populations.”
A review of the CETF website, its annual reports and a summary of 2013 grant investments shows no funding awarded to advance the direct, tangible deployment of advanced telecommunications infrastructure to serve residential premises despite findings by a state broadband task force in 2008 that nearly 2,000 California towns and communities lack broadband access.
Without the infrastructure for broadband access, promoting its adoption is putting the cart before the horse and nothing more than window dressing. This is policy failure piled on top of market failure.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
An El Dorado County, California Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) is challenging incumbent telephone and cable providers in a small, suburban segment of the county.
Cal.net's "Urban Wireless Internet" is offered at a flat $40 monthly fee with no contractual commitments -- clearly aimed at undercutting the triple play bundle pricing of the incumbents. The service offering claims asymmetrical connectivity of 15 Mbs down and 3 Mbs up. There's a $95 installation fee.
Google has been
getting a lot of attention lately over its current and planned fiber to the
premise (FTTP) builds in Kansas City, Austin, Texas and potentially Provo,
Utah. But Google is unlikely to expand
that model to the outer suburban, exurban and rural areas of the United States
anytime soon for the same reason the incumbent telephone and cable companies have
declined to do so: too few potential subscribers to justify the business case
for the sizeable investment.
However, Google may be able to make the numbers pencil better with a fiber to the node (FTTN) network in these unserved and underserved areas, mixing in aerial fiber cable plant where the cost of burying fiber conduit is overly expensive. Using the FTTN model described in this November 2008 white paper, Google would bring Internet “trunk” connections to neighborhood nodes. Property owners could join together in a telecom cooperative – compared to a condominium in the paper -- to build the final fiber segment to bridge the gap from their premises to the neighborhood nodes. The cost of the construction for those projects in rural areas can be financed by low cost, long term loan funding offered by the federal Rural Utilities Service.
Monday, April 29, 2013
Look Out Google Fiber, $35-A-Month Gigabit Internet Comes to Vermont - Digits - WSJ: VTel’s Chief Executive Michel Guite says he’s made it a personal mission to upgrade the company’s legacy phone network, which dates back to 1890, with fiber for the broadband age. The company was able to afford the upgrades largely by winning federal stimulus awards set aside for broadband. Using $94 million in stimulus money, VTel has invested in stringing 1,200 miles of fiber across a number of rural Vermont counties over the past year. Mr. Guite says the gigabit service should be available across VTel’s footprint in coming months.As Google targets large metro areas of the United States for fiber rollouts, small incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) like this one are upgrading their outmoded copper cable infrastructure with fiber to the premise (FTTP). Nevertheless, significant gaps will remain, particularly in areas of the U.S. served by top tier telcos like AT&T and Verizon that have essentially put their copper networks into runoff mode with no plans to upgrade them with fiber plant as they concentrate their CAPex on mobile wireless services. Due to their smaller populations, these areas are also unlikely to attract Google fiber and will have to build their own community-based FTTP networks.
VTel joins an increasing number of rural telephone companies who, having lost DSL share to cable Internet over the years, are reinvesting in fiber-to-the-home networks.
Friday, April 19, 2013
Google's Fiber Takeover Plan Expands: Will Kill Cable & Carriers - Google is going to kill AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and the cable companies. Kids don’t talk on the phone and they don’t have a ton of money. If they can be reasonably sure they’ll have a wifi network, then they are simply not going to sign up for AT&T or Verizon.This hyped up prediction calls for a reality check. In 2009, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission projected it would cost $350 billion to universally deliver 100 Mbps or faster Internet connections to all American homes and businesses, which would like Google's 1 Gigabit service would require fiber to the premise infrastructure. (Consider when the FCC issued this cost projection in September 2009, 100 Mbps was considered the gold standard for Internet throughput -- just one tenth of what Google fiber delivers.)
It’s game over... in five short years.
Assuming minimal change in the cost of deployment -- about 70 percent being labor -- that sizable sum would require Google to expend an average of $70 billion each of the five years -- $20 billion more than Google's reported revenues for 2012. If this article's prediction were to become reality, Google would have to joint venture with other deep pocketed players since it alone could not hope to singlehandedly render the nation's cable and telephone companies obsolete in the span of just half a decade.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Google chooses Provo, Utah, as next city to receive search giant's ultra-fast Internet service | Fox News
Google chooses Provo, Utah, as next city to receive search giant's ultra-fast Internet service | Fox News: The rollout is an expensive undertaking and gamble for Google, which hopes it will drive innovation and pressure phone and cable companies to improve their networks. Google benefits when people spend more time online.
The "pressure phone and cable companies to improve their networks" rationale is repeatedly made in media accounts to explain Google's fiber to the premise (FTTP) builds in some metro areas of the United States. But is it really true, notwithstanding AT&T's pyrrhic posturing in Austin, Texas? It implies the incumbent cable providers and telcos are somehow reluctant to improve their networks. But upgrading their networks is how they can capture more customers and sell more services. If doing so generated sufficient revenues and profits, they would do it without hesitation, Google or no. The issue is their business models don't have sufficient funding for large scale capital expenditures on new plant and equipment. And no one has yet devised a way to more cheaply deploy fiber to the premise Internet infrastructure -- of which an estimated 70 percent of the cost is labor.
Another major issue overlooked in media accounts of the Google FTTP builds is they don't address the large gaps in Internet access that the U.S. Federal Communications Commission in 2012 estimated leave about 19 million Americans offline. The reason they don't is Google shares the same limitations of the investor-owned business model as the incumbent cablecos and telcos that cannot profitably serve areas that remain disconnected and still accessing the Internet via obsolete, circa 1993 dialup connections and satellite Internet.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Dish Network Offers To Buy Sprint In $25.5 Billion Deal: For years, Dish has been able to grow rapidly by luring cable TV subscribers with better deals. But its subscriber numbers have been flat for the past three years. Unlike TV cables, satellite dishes aren't good conduits for Internet access. That means that Dish and larger rival DirecTV have been left behind in the rush to connect homes to broadband, while cable has been able to retain customers by offering TV, Internet and phone bundles
Nor are mobile wireless networks good "conduits" for premises Internet access. This is a move of desperation on the part of Dish Network. The trend is toward high capacity, low latency premises Internet service delivered via cable or optimally, fiber optic infrastructure. Both the satellite TV providers and the dedicated satellite Internet providers such as HughesNet are caught on the wrong side of the trend and face a limited future.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
On the heels of Google's announcement it will build fiber to the premise (FTTP) Internet infrastructure serving the Austin, Texas area, AT&T announced it will build its own 1 gigabit FTTP infrastructure to match Google's.
The announcement amounts to a declaration of pyrrhic war by Ma Bell, designed to impose diminished returns on Google since the economics of competing fiber infrastructures could drive down take rates and ARPU for each player. AT&T is sending a message of deterrence to anyone that dares to invade its sovereign service territory with FTTP infrastructure faces mutually assured prolonged ROI and potential losses.
Meanwhile, as Ma Bell and the Googlers engage in a war of attrition in a select few metro battlefields, much of the United States can and should pursue a more peaceful and sane alternative in municipal and cooperatively constructed and owned open access FTTP infrastructure.
Monday, April 08, 2013
Around the time television began to reach most U.S. homes in the 1940s and 1950s, cable TV came into being with CATV (Community Antenna Television), using a single large antenna to pull in and pipe weak, distant TV signals via cable into communities at the fuzzy, snowy edges of metro area TV broadcast signals.
Now just as it has distributed broadcast radio from all over the globe for the past decade and longer, the Internet is becoming a global CATV of sorts, capturing broadcast signals over thousands of antennas, according to this Reuters dispatch.
This poses a major disruptive threat to the business models of paid cable TV and satellite featuring packages of hundreds of channels. Not to mention over the air TV broadcasters that have invested large sums to upgrade to digital TV broadcast equipment and transmitters with the end of analog TV broadcasts.
As the late mass communications theorist Marshall McLuhan wrote of television in its 1964 heyday, "The medium is the message." Now that medium is no longer TV. It's the Internet.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Memeburn has the story here involving the test involving the Tertiary Education and Research Network of South Africa (TENET).
The test is delivering connectivity comparable to basic Wi-Fi (2.5Mbps) to 10 schools, according to the story.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Google to Offer Internet Service in Olathe, Kansas - WSJ.com: Google hopes its fiber initiative can put pressure on cable and phone companies to improve their networks as Americans use more bandwidth for online-video services such as Google's YouTube, among other sites.
Nonsense. Even assuming the truth of this purported rationale, Google can apply pressure all it wants, but for these publicly traded, investor owned Internet service providers -- Google included -- the real pressure is the pressure to produce quarterly earnings plus in the case of the incumbent telcos and cablecos, generous dividends. And that imperative will always win out over CAPex to improve and build out network infrastructure.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Broadband 'black spots' across UK - Yahoo! News UK: Britons living in rural areas are stuck in "digital ghettos", an expert has warned as figures showed average broadband speeds have more than trebled in the UK.
These now reach 12 megabits per second (Mbps) - around three times the speeds recorded in 2008 and up by a third in the six months from May to November.
But "black spots" still exist across the country and users face a "postcode lottery" in terms of the service they receive, it was claimed.
More than three years ago, Prince Charles warned of the emergence of UK "broadband deserts." Apparently he was right.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
How the Humble Telephone Is About to Bring Internet to the Masses (Again) - NationalJournal.com: You aren’t going to wake up one morning and find every home connected to Verizon FiOS. In fact, even after the IP transition, many houses are still going to be connected to their local switch by copper.
Indeed they are. The last mile (or more properly the first mile) often lacks the infrastructure to deliver IP-based services, leaving many American homes to Plain Old Telephone Services (POTS) that has been around for decades. And two percent/6 million Americans involuntarily left off the Internet grid? That seems an awfully low number given a 2012 U.S. Federal Communications Commission estimate putting the number at nearly 20 million Americans.