Friday, April 24, 2009

GVT Brazil to Offer 100 Mbps Broadband Service

GVT, the Brazilian CLEC, will launch 50 Mbps and 100 Mbps broadband services in cities where it currently operates. This follows on to its successful 10 Mbps offering, which now accounts for 29 percent of its sales and is available to 9 percent of its ADSL foot print.

GVT is taking a disruptive approach to the Brazilian market by offering significantly higher speeds and the same price or less than the incumbent carriers. It is another example that shows the preference for higher speeds.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

BT Says No Need for Fiber to the Home

The Register published and article reporting a panel presentation where BT said that there is no need for fiber to the home. That its plans for a 40 Mbps VDSL deployment provides enough bandwidth and that the economic case for fiber to the home is weak.

This approach is understandable but it will put BT at a significant disadvantage to its cable competitors as they deploy DOCSIS 3.0 technologies. BT's real challenge is to figure out how to make the business case for fiber to the home work out before it is so far behind the technology curve that it will lose significant market share. Customer retention is a powerful economic argument.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Verizon to Deploy 4G by 2014

Light Reading has published a Verizon interview that states that the timetable of Verizon's planned LTE deployment of a couple of test markets in 2009 and "30 or so" markets in 2010. He then suggests that the build out could be completed relatively quickly after that.

This is an aggressive deployment schedule and I expect that it will be 2012 or 2013 before Verizon's 4G build out is complete.

Telenor and Tele2 to Build 4G Network in Sweden

Telenor Sweden and Tele2 Sweden plan to build a joint 4G network in Sweden. The agreement includes the formation of a joint venture for network construction and sharing of spectrum. The roll-out will start in 2009 with the intent of launching LTE based services in the end of 2010.

In 2013, the operators expect 99 percent of the Swedish population to have access to mobile broadband at speeds of up to 80 Mbit/s in rural areas and up to 150 Mbit/s in urban areas. The roll-out includes an extension of the GSM network by 30-50 percent, resulting in better indoor and outdoor coverage on mobile voice communication.

This is another example of resource sharing between operators for building 4G networks. I think this will become a common approach for 4G and is likely to become important for FTTH networks.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

FCC to Create U.S. to Create National Broadband Plan

The recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also known as the stimulus act, charged the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with making grants and loans to expand broadband deployment and for other important broadband projects. Congress provided $7.2 billion for this effort but is not insufficient to support nationwide broadband deployment. Consequently, the Recovery Act charges the FCC to create a national broadband plan by February 17, 2010, that will seek to ensure that every American has access to broadband capability and establishes clear benchmarks for meeting that goal.

This kind of comprehensive plan is over due. Europe and countries such as Japan, Korea, and Australia are well ahead of the U.S. in this effort.

The problem is that such a comprehensive view is very a very complex project. It will be difficult to bring focus to such a large effort that will make it effective. It could easily end up so general that it does not provide a useful perspective.

I think that the FCC should focus on creating an open environment that creates a competitive service environment based on fiber to the home and 4G wireless. The current approach that relies on competition between the telco and cable giants impedes competition. ADSL, VDSL, 2G, and 3G wireless are all technologies that are either now obsolete or rapidly approaching their obsolescence. Drawing such clear lines will help the FCC make this effort meaningful.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

4.4M FTTH Subscribers in North America

The Fiber to the Home Council has issued a report on North American fiber deployments that states that there are 4.422 million FTTH subscribers and 15.17 homes passed. Of these, 2.65 subscribe to video services. 3.3 million are subscribers to Verizon's FiOS service and another 1.13 million are subscribers to one of the 681 other U.S. telcos that offer fiber services.

This shows the extent to which Verizon is driving FTTH in North America. AT&T and Qwest have not made any significant deployments yet.

Femto Cell Standards Complete

The 3GPP has published standards for femto cells listed in a release from the Femto Forum. The Broadband Forum also contributed to these standards. The new standards cover four main areas: network architecture; radio & interference aspects; femtocell management/provisioning and security.

These standards are based on the 3GPP UMTS protocols and extend them to support the needs of high-volume femtocell deployments. The new standard has also adopted the Broadband Forum’s TR-069 management protocol which has been extended to incorporate a new data model for femtocells developed collaboratively by Femto Forum and Broadband Forum members and published by the Broadband Forum as Technical Report 196 (TR-196).

Femto cells will be a key network element and will generate fundamental changes in how services are delivered and sold. This is an important start.

Australia will Establis New Company to Build Fiber Network

The Australian government has unveiled a plan establish a new company to build and operate a national broadband network that will provide 100 Mbps fiber connections to homes, schools, and businesses in towns of a population of about 1,000 or more, which will provide coverage to 90 percent of the people in Australia. Wireless and satellite technologies capable of providing 12 Mbps will be used in more remote locations. This network will include fiber links between cities, major regional centers, and rural towns.

The services of this network will be provided on wholesale-only, open access network. The initial estimate is that this network will cost $30 billion to build. The government plans an immediate investment of more than $3 billion. The Australian government will seek private investment in the company to draw on private sector capacity and expertise. However, ownership restrictions will be established to protect the Government's objective of a wholesale open-access network.

This is a strong commitment to an advanced broadband network. It provides a unique approach to provide an open fiber network. It illustrates the importance of government policy in building fiber networks.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Nokia Ubimeda Competition

Nokia has announced a contest described its website to encourage makers of digital media to generate ideas and develop new and innovative ubimedia products & services. The entries are expected to take a stand on the following questions, for example:

  • How does ubiquitous computing affect media environments?
  • What are intelligent media environments like?
  • What will the location- and context-aware media services of the future be like?

The total award sum is 7,000 euros which may be awarded to one entry, divided between several entries, or not awarded at all.

These contests are an interesting way to stimulate innovation by encouraging broad participation and providing some amount of reward for winning.