Monday, June 29, 2009

Survey Shows Preference for FTTH

The U.S. FTTH Council has published a survey of U.S. broadband users that shows that there is a strong preference for FTTH over cable modem broadband services. DSL had the least favorable rating for broadband services. FTTH had an even stronger preference for HD TV over FTTH compared to satellite and cable services.

The survey is well worth reading. The results are no surprised but do underscore the technical superiority of FTTH technologies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Femto Applications

Light reading published an article describing work that is going on to develop applications that run on femto cells. There is discussion that we will see femto application stores in the future.

Many of the applications are based on presence. One example is an application that will tell your room mate to feed the fish when the femto recognizes that the room mate has returned home from work. Other applications involve home control including remotely controlling the TV or home entertainment system, the home heating and cooling system, or other home appliances.

This is interesting; however, the home controller idea has not taken hold as yet. Maybe the femto is the missing element that will make it work.

Femto Cells Coming in the UK and the U.S.

Vodafone will introduce a 3G femto service in the UK on July 1, 2009 using an Alcatel-Lucent gateway. The femto service will be available under several plans that include no charge to a cost of $250 for the gateway and $8 per month.

ATT is expanding its current 3G femto technical trial with 200 users to a marketing trial where it will be sold at ATT stores in several cities. It plans a full rollout by the end of 2009.

The telcos have significant challenges in pricing and marketing femto cells. They will have to convince a broad market what femtos do and what their benefits are.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Verizon Increases Fiber Upstream Speeds

Light Reading has published an article describing how Verizon is increasing the upstream speeds of its FiOS FTTH service.

Tier Old New Old New
Upstream Upstream Downstream Downstream
Entry-level 2 Mbit/s 5 Mbit/s 10 Mbit/s 15 Mbit/s
"Flagship" mid-level 5 Mbit/s 15 Mbit/s 20 Mbit/s 25 Mbit/s
Entry-Level (NY area) 2 Mbit/s 15 Mbit/s 10 Mbit/s 25 Mbit/s
"Flagship" mid-level (NY area) 5 Mbit/s 20 Mbit/s 20 Mbit/s 35 Mbit/s

Verizon is taking advantage of the the technical advantages of fiber vs. cable modems to respond to an aggressive Cablevision in the New York area in particular.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Singapore Going to Fiber

Lightreading has published an article describing Singapore's plans to move to fiber access. This is being developed by two separate entities, known as the NetCo and the OpCo: OpenNet (the NetCo), a consortium comprising Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. (SingTel), Axia NetMedia Corp., Singapore Press Holdings, and Singapore Power Telecoms, which will provide the passive infrastructure; and Nucleus Connect (the OpCo), a wholly owned subsidiary of StarHub Pte. Ltd., which will provide wholesale connectivity to multiple retail service providers.

The companies are working on parallel rollouts that are required to deliver 100 percent coverage by January 1, 2013, and are actually ahead of schedule, with 95 percent coverage promised for June 2012 instead of the 80 percent required in their license conditions.

This is the kind of commitment that will get real results. The U.S. and the UK should take not.

UK Digital Britain Report

The UK government has published its Digital Britain report along with an Impact Statement. These are extensive reports. The Executive Summary by itself makes 83 separate points. There are a couple of significant things that I saw:
  • It wants to increase the households that can access broadband at 2 Mbps from under 90 percent to 100 percent. It expects that wireless will be important in accomplishing this. It expects to make 200 million pounds available to support this goal. It also encourages the allocation of new spectrum for this purpose.
  • It encourages the deployment next generation fixed broadband, which it defines at 50 Mbps by example.
This is not an ambitious set of goals. A number of other European countries have much more aggressive programs, including France, Switzerland, and the Scandinavian countries. It does not come close to matching what is going on in Asia, especially Japan, Korea, and China.

Following this plan will keep the UK at the back of the pack. At least it will be in good company along with those of us in the U.S.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Cisco IPTV Traffic Forecast

Cisco has released its latest IPTV traffic forecast that covers 2008 to 2013. It finds that video traffic will be of increasing importance and will account for 80 percent of consumer Internet traffic by 2013. It states that Internet traffic and consumer IP traffic will account for more than 70 percent of total traffic by 2013. This means that more than half the traffic on the network will be video traffic at that time.

This reports shows IP traffic growing at a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent per year over this period. This is a bit below the 50 percent per year that I have been assuming. My assumptions are that video on demand to the TV will grow faster than Cisco's forecast. I have seen very high rates of video on demand utilization where network PVR services are available.

It is clear that IP traffic will continue to grow at a high rate and that video will come to dominate these networks. This will require the architecture of these networks to change to optimize the transport of video traffic.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Broadband Providers "Not So Fair Use" Violates Net Neutrality

A couple of articles have been published recently describing how broadband providers are managing their traffic to their advantage and to the detriment of specific services. The BBC has published an article describing how BT throttles the bandwidth on its broadband service and degrades the quality of the BBC iPlayer at certain times of the day. The second is a Light Reading article describing the results of femto cell testing by Epitiro that shows that traffic management by broadand providers will negatively affect the performance of femto cells during peak traffic periods.

The BBC has identified a clause in BT's fair use policy that permits it to reduce the bandwidth on its broadband service to below 1 Mbps, which degrades the quality of the BBC iPlayer over the top IPTV service. The article cites an example of a user who has been affected by this policy.

The traffic analysis performed by Epitiro shows that some broadband providers are throttling IPSEC traffic so that it provides worse performance that best efforts Internet traffic at the same time.

These are the kind of situations that those promoting the Net Neutrality agenda are concerned about. In both cases the broadband providers are throttling the traffic of competitors. The BBC iPlayer competes with BT's BT Vision IPTV service. Femto cells will compete with the broadband provider's VoIP and POTS services. The broadband providers are building the case for Net Neutrality when they do this and will produce a regulatory reaction that they will not like at all.