Monday, October 28, 2013

Who needs a Gig at home? Half of U.S. businesses | Technology Futures

Who needs a Gig at home? Half of U.S. businesses | Technology Futures

Andrew Cohill makes the excellent point that with the emergence of Fiber to the Home (FTTH) telecommunications infrastructure, the past focus on Internet throughput speeds that was relevant to legacy telephone and cable companies is becoming increasingly less so. Since incumbent telephone and cable companies have to compress data to transport it over metal wire cable plant not originally designed to carry Internet protocol-based signals, from their perspective bandwidth is a limited commodity. This also limits their ability to serve all premises in their service areas. Even more so in the case of mobile wireless technology which provides far less capacity and range. Hence, their business and pricing models treat bandwidth like a metered utility such as water or electricity.

With FTTH, that entire paradigm of bandwidth as a finite commodity goes out the window and with it the incumbents' outmoded business models. This also has implications for now outdated government subsidy programs based on rules written nearly a decade ago when DSL deployed by telephone companies was state of the art Internet technology. Those programs now need to be updated to scrap obsolete references to the speed of available Internet technology and treat any area lacking FTTH infrastructure as eligible for subsidies if incumbent or other providers aren't constructing it or opt not to.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cheaper equipment to give fast copper broadband a boost | PCWorld

Cheaper equipment to give fast copper broadband a boost | PCWorld: G.fast promises up to 1G bps over existing copper telephone wires, but only over distances up to about 100 meters. The technology is now being designed to work at distances up to 250 meters, and it looks like ITU will have a full set of standards by early next year, according to Johnson.
Here we go again with the nutty idea that copper isn't obsolete for IP-based telecommunications. No matter how much throughput one can achieve with this decades-old POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) infrastructure, as this story shows it will always be limited by distance.  The faster the speed, the shorter the distance -- not a good trend as customers expect faster connections.  With such short distances of 1 gigabit connections over copper, it has to be fed by fiber connections so close to customer premises that it makes more sense simply to run fiber all the way to the premise. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting to a gig: How CenturyLink is building out its network and why. — Tech News and Analysis

Getting to a gig: How CenturyLink is building out its network and why. — Tech News and Analysis: “But because of densities and scale economics, we as a country are potentially creating regional digital divides that our economy will struggle to tolerate. What’s always been a key enabler for us is that we have always had a fairly broad equal opportunity infrastructure as we did with the highway system, and we as a country must place a high value on the ability to communicate seamlessly. I don’t think we want to place ourselves in the position that we might miss out on the next Google simply because we as a country didn’t want to have a conversation about access and cost. We are going to have to figure that out and no private company can do that.”
So said Matt Beal, the CTO of CenturyLink, an an interview with GigaOM.  And he's right. Either private providers have to find business models that significantly reduce the cost of labor to deploy fiber to the premise and/or do so with some form of government subsidy or tax incentive. As I've blogged in recent months, even companies with pockets and fiber to the premise ambitions as deep as Google's aren't up to the challenge facing the United States.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Poor internet connections in the countryside are hitting rural property market, estate agents warn - Telegraph

One agent who helps customers buy homes worth more than £1 million told The Daily Telegraph yesterday he was advising all of his clients against looking at properties that have slow internet speeds.
It came as reports in Scotland claimed people dubbed "digital refugees" were now moving from the countryside in search of faster internet speeds in the country's towns and cities. Frank Speir, director at Prime Purchase said: "Slow broadband speeds are having a definite effect on the market. It's becoming a much bigger issue." 

This is bound to become a much bigger issue in America as well.  Notwithstanding some high profile limited 1 Gigabit closed fiber to the premise networks in metro areas, much of the countryside remains without modern Internet connectivity, still served with dial up technology that was state of the art when Bill Clinton was beginning his first term as US president.

Conversely, a property having a fast fiber Internet pipe is more desirable, according to a 2009 study of U.S. broadband consumers, finding 82 percent of homebuyers with fiber to the home ranked it as the leading real estate development amenity.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Telcos engage in nonsensical, circular argument over regulation designed for POTS

IIA Report: Time To Begin Full IP Transition - 2013-10-08 14:53:14 | Broadcasting & Cable: Only 5% of U.S. households rely solely on traditional home phones and that means the current regulatory framework is lagging the marketplace and siphoning off investment from new infrastructure.

That is according to a just-released report from the Internet Innovation Alliance, a broadband adoption and deployment advocacy group whose 175 members include AT&T and fiber-maker Corning.
The report, from analyst Anna-Maria Kovacks, finds a "plethora of choices" for voice, video and data including from wireless devices, cell phones, wired Internet VoIP and Internet applications (Skype), and that 99% of communications traffic is now IP-delivered. She said that despite the speed differentials between wired and wireless — wired is faster — wireless was a legitimate competitor and could deliver even a competitive video service.

From the end users perspective, she said, it would be possible to make them happy with LTE as well as fixed wired broadband.

The legacy telcos are engaged in a disingenuous circular argument.  Their business models don't allow them to revamp their legacy copper cable plants -- over which they offer only outdated dialup Internet access for many premises -- to fiber to the premise (FTTP).  Oddly, however, they wonder why they remain subject to a regulatory scheme designed for POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) delivered over Public Switched Telephone Networks (PSTN).  The answer is pretty self evident. They only have to look at their own networks and service territories for the answer. If they deployed FTTP networks to all of their customers, then their question would be relevant.

As for mobile wireless, it is not a substitute for premise service (can you spell M-O-B-I-L-E?) since it can't offer sufficient bandwidth capacity to serve various IP devices in the home ranging from video, voice service and personal devices like tablets.  It comes with bandwidth caps for good reason since compared to FTTP, mobile wireless can't even come close in carrying capacity.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

UK Internet infrastructure subsidization policy reveals split between citizens and incumbent telco BT

BBC News - Rural broadband: How to reach the broadband notspots

This BBC article goes into good detail on the Internet infrastructure deployment difficulties in the UK. As in America with AT&T, the incumbent telco, BT, prefers to deploy slowly over a period of many years, employing FTTN (Fiber to the Node) network architecture (or FTTC as it's called in Britain -- Fiber To The Cabinet). AT&T's analogue is its U-Verse product, which feeds neighborhood nodes with fiber and uses existing copper twisted pair cable designed decades ago for voice service to bridge the final link to customer premises. However, unlike BT, AT&T limits U-Verse to urban and suburban areas.

British households and small businesses left of the Internet are running short of patience with the slow BT rollout after having waiting about a decade to get some form of wireline Internet connections. Some communities see the passage of time and burgeoning bandwidth demand as having technologically obsoleted FTTC and want Fiber to the Home (FTTH) infrastructure.

Government subsidies are available.  As the article notes, a big question is whether they continue to go toward older but less costly FTTC infrastructure favored by BT or FTTH preferred by the locals who don't want to spend more years waiting for modern Internet connectivity and want a greater degree of control over infrastructure deployment in their communities.
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