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Gigabit to Every Customer, Everywhere, is AT&T's Goal

There are continuing signs that concern about the pace of U.S. internet access upgrades and investment are likely unfounded. Nor is the pace of mobile bandwidth expansion slowing, either.
Comcast has pledged to upgrade its whole network to gigabit access, as have other bigger cable operators other than Charter Communications.
Verizon recently announced symmetrical gigabit service for eight million FiOS passings, while AT&T continues to add more metro areas for its own gigabit services.
Google Fiber, meanwhile, seems to be preparing for a big new test of its fixed wireless strategy.
If fixed wireless assaults mount, and as fiber-based gigabit offerings expand, the pace of investment pace of investment is going to remain high, for competitive reasons.
Mobile bandwidth also has grown substantially, with T-Mobile US and Dish Network gains in the 600-MHz auction, new activity to add millimeter wave spectrum on the part of AT&T and Verizon, and more coming as shared spectrum in the …

If Using Roads is Free, Then Your Business has to Use Roads, Not "Be the Road"

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Mobile video has been a problem for operators because competitive pressure prevents them from usage pricing in a way that would realize much incremental revenue from the shift, Tom Nolle, Cimi Corp. principal, notes.  “They’re stuck with another reason for revenue per bit  to decline, sinking into the realm of dumb, cheap, plumbing,” Nolle says.
“And, of course, if the road is becoming free, then you have to make money on what’s traveling the road, which is video content,” Nolle adds. That is a fundamental insight into present and future business models for many access providers who once earned most of their revenue from voice or messaging.
Across the full range of applications and services, “telcos” (including even cable TV companies, which are a segment of the telecom industry using a different access platform), the value and revenue from traditional apps has fallen. That is starting to be true even for the “newer” legacy services, such as internet access or entertainment video.
The…

Verizon "Goes Gig" for 8 Million Locations

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Verizon has launched “Fios Gigabit Connection,” said to be “the nation’s largest deployment of gigabit Internet connection service.” to eight million U.S. homes. Comcast has pledged to upgrade all of its customers on all its networks, to gigabit levels of service in the near future, but Verizon is the only operator that now has done so across its entire footprint of fiber-to-home connections, and has done so using a symmetrical bandwidth approach.
AT&T has been adding gigabit access across its footprint of metro areas, but on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.
Fios Gigabit Connection provides downloads as fast as 940 Mbps and uploads as fast as 880 Mbps.
Priced at $69.99 a month standalone and starting at $79.99 a month for a triple play bundle when ordered online, Fios Gigabit Connection for the first time in some years allows Verizon to argue that “no cable provider comes close to offering the speeds and power of Fios Gigabit connection on this kind of scale.” In addition to s…

Threat and Reality of Common Carrier Regulation Reduced U.S. telecom investment $150 Billion to $200 Billion

Between 2011 and 2015 (the last year data are available), the threat of reclassification reduced telecommunications investment by about 20 percent to 30 percent, or about $30 to $40 billion annually, according to George Ford, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal and Economic Public Policy Studies chief economist.
In other words, over the interval 2011 to 2015, another $150-$200 billion in additional investment would have been made “but for” Title II reclassification, he argues.
Actual investment averaged $126 billion annually. But the average investment over the five-year window would have been about $160 billion (or more) annually, in the absence of concern over the rules, Ford argues.
“Notably, I find no decline in investment following the release of the FCC’s “Four Principles” to promote an Open Internet in 2005, suggesting it is reclassification—and not neutrality principles—that is reducing investment,” says Ford.
In other words, rules that ensure that consumers have access to all l…

Internet of Things Tops Mobile Executive LIst of "Most Important" Apps for 2017

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With the caveat that we might all turn out to be very wrong, a survey of executives conducted by GSMA suggests that internet of things is, far and away, the area of greatest mobile operator interest for 2017.
Conversely, 50 percent  of respondents said that voice is a “low value, bundled service.” About  16 percent of respondents said voice “has no future and revenues will dwindle” as users turn to other communications formats.
Asked which new business areas will be the most attractive in 2017, 48 percent of respondents said internet of things would be most important, not only for access account potential, but also for additional roles in the value chain.
No other category ranks that high. The next largest opportunity, for example, was mobile payments, chosen by 14.5 percent of respondents as important in 2017.

Will Customer Service Ever Cease Being an Issue for Access Providers?

Comcast customer service scores are improving--apparently by substantial amounts-- in Oregon, where Comcast has been testing new procedures and processes to improve customer service, the company says.  Comcast says complaints have dropped 25 percent in two years.
Oddly enough, one of the changes involves a new use for an old trouble-detecting mechanism. Decades ago, a cable operator would learn it has a problem because trouble calls started to pour in. Now, in a new way, Comcast monitors one specific behavior--customers using speed test apps--as an indicator it might have a problem in a neighborhood.
It really is not easy being a network-based service provider of any type, whether the service is electricity, mobile or fixed phone service, internet access or linear subscription video.
For years, customer satisfaction scores for internet access service and linear TV have been at the bottom of industry rankings, though there are signs of improvement, recently. That seems to always be the…