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Some Actually Want Policies that Slow More Fiber to the Customer

Most observers would agree that replacing old copper with new optical fiber is a good idea. As with every public policy framework, not everybody always agrees, though.
Some advocate keeping copper in place. Non-facilities-based local access providers in the U.S. market want copper to remain in place, so they can use that copper to compete with the owners of the copper access facilities.
And some of the same policy advocates who generally complain that fiber is not being installed fast enough, often always support more investment in new copper access, moves that make the business case for transition to all-fiber facilities even harder.

So even if it remains a logical public policy stance to move as expeditiously as possible to all-fiber fixed networks, there always is opposition.
For every public purpose, there are corresponding private interests. Some of those private interests actually delay the fastest-possible transition to all-fiber access in the fixed network.

LPWA Connectivity Market Remains Nascent

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The GSMA today announced that its Mobile IoT Initiativehas lead to the launch of multiple commercial rollouts of Low Power, Wide Area (LPWA) solutions using licensed mobile spectrum, by several of the world’s leading mobile operators including AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, China Telecom, Deutsche Telekom (DT), Verizon and Vodafone.
It is likely such efforts produce relatively little revenue yet, as LPWA networks are not so prevalent, yet, and traditional mobile connections (on the standard mobile networks)  likely drive nearly all the present revenue.
At present, U.S. mobile service providers likely earn only a couple of billion dollars a year from IoT connections. By some estimates, IoT accounts already represent existing connectivity revenue of about $3 billion in China.
The larger point is that it still is much too early to say very much about how big the IoT connectivity market might eventually become.
“IoT connectivity revenue will only reach US$28 billion by 2025, repres…

SD-WAN "Versus" MPLS? or SD-WAN "Plus" MPLS?

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How much will the wide area network connections business continue to change as cloud computing and the internet now drives the direction of the WAN business? The analysis will differ when looking at enterprise internal networking requirements, compared to enterprise customer-facing requirements.
Customer-facing use cases arguably represent the overwhelming bulk of transport requirements, if only because so much traffic is content delivery, especially video content delivery.
One source of uncertainty now is use of software defined wide area networks (SD-WANs) by business customers.
Some would note that SD-WANs were conceived, in part, as a replacement for Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks, largely in the cost area, but also because SD-WANs are considered easier to deploy and configure.
But some recent surveys of information technology professionals suggest SD-WAN and MPLS will coexist. At least in part, that could be because IT professionals believe SD-WANs can be overlaid o…

Why 5G? Why Now?

In many parts of the world, people will question why we seemingly are rushing to 5G. In one sense, we are not rushing. Mobile network generations tend to be upgraded about every decade or so, in large part because mobile operators arguably “run out of things to sell” in each generation.
When the ability to use voice on the go is the primary value, service provides eventually reach saturation. When text messaging becomes the “new thing you can do” with the 2G platform, another wave of growth happens, only to reach maturity at some point.
The third generation was the first to be based on the emergence of new apps beyond text messaging. For better or worse, it took some time for lead apps such as mobile email access, to develop.
The 4G network was the first to feature enough speed that video apps become feasible, and the first mobile generation where mobile apps and internet access actually became pleasant, in terms of user experience. Also, 4G was arguably the first mobile platform where…

What Has Changed Since the Launch of the iPhone

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The month of July 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Apple iPhone in 2007. Samsung would claim much of the credit for growth, after the iPhone reshaped the “phone” business, as can Android.
What we sometimes overlook is just how much has changed in just those past 10 years. Mobile computing, by time of use, surpassed "PC" or large screen use. Some whole new industries now are enabled directly by smartphones (ride sharing), while many industries (retail, the restaurant business, lodging, advertising) now are powerfully shaped by mobile interactions.
At the same time, mobile-only use of internet and internet-enabled apps--though a fact in every income demographic--is more important for lower-income users, especially.
It is a subtle shift, but still a shift, that a growing portion of human and future machine uses of the internet happen not primarily because of fixed internet, but because mobile internet is available. It might also be instructive to note that na…

Revenue, Users or Subscriptions: What Matters for OTT Video?

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Some say Netflix now has more U.S. subscribers than U.S. cable TV providers. That is true. But the claim has to be put into context.
There now are about 93.3 million U.S. linear video accounts in service, according to Leichtman Research. Of course, the cable TV segment does have 48.6 million accounts, as Statista notes.
But the linear video category includes both satellite and telco suppliers. So some might argue the appropriate comparison is Netflix or OTT video versus “all linear video subscription” providers.
Looked at that way, Netflix still has some ways to go before it can be said to represent more accounts than linear TV, as Netflix has about half the number of total  linear video accounts.
Of course, Netflix is not the only U.S. over the top video provider. Add up paid subscriptions from Amazon Prime, Hulu, Sling and others and you can make an argument there are as many OTT video subscriptions as linear subscriptions.
For purposes of measuring financial results, accounts--not “u…

OneWeb Approval Means More Stress on Rural Operator Business Model

There is, in essence, no commercially-viable and sustainable business model for fixed network communications services in many rural areas of the United States, even in some cases where there is but one supplier.  That is why we have subsidies for such services.
But the business model is going to get worse. Even if competition from cable operators do not worsen, and even if internet service providers using fixed wireless, and even if mobile operators do not become stronger competitors, there rather soon will be one or more providers with sufficient scale, and low enough recurring costs, to provide new competition.
OneWeb, for example, plans to offer internet access from a new constellation of low earth orbit satellites that will be able to offer internet access at speeds up to 100 Mbps initially, and possibly a gigabit later, across the United States, and, if fact, covering the surface of the earth, ultimately. The Federal Communications Commission has approved a request by WorldVu Sat…