Broadband / Featured Blogs

Spectrum Hot Real Estate

The fact that businesses around the world are knocking on the doors of their governments asking for spectrum is a clear indication that this telco real estate market is hotting up. The reason for this is not too hard to guess -- the enormous growth in the demand for mobile broadband. There is a large amount of pent-up demand as the mobile operators didn't want to open up this market while they were in the middle of adding new customers to their mobile voice services. more

Combining the ONT and Smart Meters

In my recent blog on utilities and the NBN I mentioned that the ultimate prize would be a combination of the ONT (Optical network terminal: the network interface device used in fibre-to-the-home applications, which operates as a demarcation point between the local loop of the carrier and the wiring in the user premises) and intelligent gateway the electricity company need for their smart meters and home energy networks. Perhaps I should expand on this a little... more

Using Electricity Infrastructure to Roll Out Broadband

The FCC proposal in its recently launched National Broadband Plan to share infrastructure is a very smart initiative indeed. Sharing infrastructure makes a lot of sense. Without it the business model for universal high-speed broadband will not stack up -- the costs of infrastructure is one of the most critical elements in any national broadband plan. Australia is following an identical course with the rollout of their National Broadband Network. In all six current rollout sites utilities are either already involved or are negotiating to become involved. more

Mobile Operators and the Broadband Boom

With $72 billion invested in mobile broadband it would be hard to argue that this market is suffering from a lack of investment. More than half of this is taking place in Asia. Over the last two years close to 300 mobile operators in 120 countries have launched mobile broadband networks (using the 3G HSPA technology) and some 70 of these are already planning the next upgrade of their networks using the LTE technology -- the first $5 billion of investment money has been committed to that technology. more

What's Wrong With the FCC's Consumer Broadband Test?

The FCC recently published some tools to let consumers measure some internet characteristics. The context is the FCC's "National Broadband Plan". I guess the FCC wants to gather data about the kind of internet users receive today so that the National Broadband Plan, whatever it may turn out to be, actually improves on the status quo. The motivation is nice but the FCC's methodology is technically weak. more

American National Broadband Plan Good First Step

The National Broadband Plan that the FCC will present on 17 March will set the USA on a completely different telecoms path. This plan will hopefully show Congress that it is worthwhile making the legislative changes that will deliver the social and economic benefits of a national broadband infrastructure. more

OTT Threat to Telco's Middleware Opportunities

I recently participated in two Comverse events, and once again the message was driven home to me about the enormous opportunities that lie ahead of the industry in the field of new telecoms applications. The middleware and cloud applications that are now appearing at the edge of the network will of course, be further developed once high-speed broadband becomes available, but already they are having an enormous impact on the telecoms market. The new user experiences that can be obtainable through these applications will enrich fast broadband networks beyond recognition. What we now have is, on the one hand, the Over-The-Top (OTT) applications that have conquered the world... more

LTE and Spectrum Stupidity

Mobile operators are counting on Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology to handle surging demand for mobile data access. But LTE developers made some poor choices, cutting spectral efficiency and thus driving up operator costs. LTE was envisioned as an all IP system, but the RF allocations follow the voice-centric approach of earlier generations. While LTE standards allow for either Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) or Time Division Duplexing (TDD), all initial LTE equipment uses FDD. FDD requires two separate blocks of spectrum... more

More Available Wireless Spectrum and Higher Market Entry Barriers

The tremendous demand for, and profitability of mobile telephony supports legislative and regulatory efforts to refarm spectrum with an eye toward reallocating as much as possible for wireless telephony and data services. But there is a downside that no one seems to acknowledge. In light of past FCC practice and the behavior of incumbent wireless carriers I expect two anticompetitive outcomes to occur with the onset of any more spectrum. more

The Internet is Interconnection

There's a scene in the Steven Soderbergh movie, Traffic, where the widow of a drug dealer brings a doll to the Columbian drug kingpin. "The doll is stuffed with cocaine. Big deal, we've been doing that for years," he says dismissively. "No," she answers, "the doll is cocaine." The whole toy is a heat-treated, compression-molded block of cocaine, undetectable to sniffing dogs. The drug lord becomes very interested. The Internet is like that doll... more