Saturday, March 31, 2012

Bell wireline monopoly stymies wireless Internet

The physics of radio spectrum place a natural limit on wireless Internet capacity. That limit is exacerbated by the wireline telco monopolies who restrict wireline backhaul connections to cell sites, writes Level 3 Communications CEO James Q. Crowe in this Forbes article.

Crowe details uncompetitive market practices aimed at creating artificial market scarcity of wireless backhaul and calls for action from Washington to break up the big telcos' wireline cartel.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

“Broadband adoption” is an irrelevant non sequitur

More than a decade after the term “broadband adoption” was relevant, studies such as this one issued today by TechNet continue to use the phrase as if the United States was on the eve of the new millennium and Y2K was a topic of concern. In 2000, discussing “broadband adoption” was pertinent since “broadband” Internet connections were relatively new and distinct from the then commonplace dialup “narrowband” service delivered over legacy copper cable telephone networks.

In 2012, broadband adoption is a non sequitur since both the term “broadband” and the notion that people are migrating in large numbers from “narrowband” are badly outdated. Nowadays, the Internet can deliver voice telephone and TV video in addition to websites and email that was relatively novel for many in 2000.

People adopted voice telephone and TV decades ago. What has changed is the means over which these services are provided. Internet protocol technology and fiber optic connections allow voice, video, websites, email and many yet to be popularized applications to be delivered to peoples’ homes.

TechNet is talking about the wrong subject. The real issue isn’t “broadband adoption.” The real issue is lack of adequate Internet infrastructure. President Obama so in his January State of the Union speech in which he spotlighted America’s "incomplete high-speed broadband network.” While the president’s choice of terminology — “broadband network” — is technologically obsolete from this writer’s perspective, he is clearly on the right track in identifying the problem as one of infrastructure.

It’s time to retire the term “broadband adoption” to the history books and get on with modernizing the nation’s telecommunications infrastructure to provide all American homes fiber optic connections and the many Internet-based services they can provide.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Verizon's residential LTE "HomeFusion" likely to serve only fringes of small number of metro areas

Verizon's announcement today of its HomeFusion wireless residential Internet service offering based on its nascent 4G cellular LTE service appears aimed at picking up marginal residential market share in suburban and exurban fringes of U.S metro areas where wireline connectivity from incumbent telcos and cable providers is sketchy. These are also areas where Verizon might otherwise deploy its FiOS fiber to the premise residential wireline product but will not because the company has called a halt to further FiOS expansion.

It's not likely HomeFusion will be broadly deployed in predominantly rural and quasi-rural areas. Like Verizon's mobile wireless offerings, it's bandwidth metered and can't offer the ample headroom for bandwidth demand growth -- much of it driven by video -- that fiber does. In order to improve Internet deployment and access in these areas, these communities will have to build their own fiber to the premises networks constructed by local governments or telecom cooperatives.

AT&T has effectively thrown in the towel in serving these areas. HomeFusion represents Verizon's last ditch effort to pick up some limited revenues in these underserved markets.
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