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5M U-Verse Homes on Hold
Thursday, 14 August 2014 22:06

Biggest current U.S. broadband build virtually stopped  I haven't confirmed Paul de Sa's suggestion that the AT&T/DIRECTV deal is a cause. 

"Prior to the DTV deal, Project VIP (announced November 12, 2012) planned to expand AT&T's U-verse video footprint from 24.5m customer locations as of 4Q12 to 32.9m by 4Q15.6 At the end of 1Q14, we estimate the project was ~45% complete, with ~28.2m locations offered U-verse video." 

    I have double confirmation that the AT&T neighborhood DSLAM (FTTN build) is barely moving forward. I've asked AT&T if they'd release the actual deployment figures for the last three quarters to get a precise measure of what's going on. 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 August 2014 14:38
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DSL beating cable yet again
Wednesday, 13 August 2014 19:12

Winning in Canada and England.  DSL upgraded since 2005 goes 25-50 megabits (VDSL2) and competes well with cable. 1998 ADSL (3-6 megabits) gets clobbered by cable. The dismal results from areas with obsolete equipment, especially in the U.S., have convinced many that the race is over. It's a different story where the DSLAMs aren't 10 years out of date.

    British Telecom "added 104,000 retail broadband customers." Cable competitor Virgin Media actually lost 300 subscribers. Bell Canada added 18K and Telus 15K. Rogers and Shaw cable added only 14K, combined. In a recent quarter, AT&T actually beat cable in U-Verse homes, about 60% of their network.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 14:58
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Verizon ends unlimited service
Friday, 25 July 2014 18:35

Verizon until now hasn't imposed caps on some of their older customers, knowing many would leave if they did. Customers hate caps and limits are not required most places most of the time. They've changed that now, with what could be very modest restrictions that would have little impact on customers. There's not immoral - or neutrality breaking - about modest limits honestly related to actual congestion and costs.

    Fortunately, technology is improving so fast that today networks can be built for reasonable cost with truly minimal congestion. That should continue well into the 5G future and next decade despite steadily rising traffic. Very few traffic limits limits are necessary for network purposes today. The caps are for raising prices by collecting more from heavy users, not avoiding congestion.

    Verizon's actual proposal should be rejected by the FCC because it actually doesn't disclose what they are doing. How often would I be throttled? How much slower would I go? In nearly 4,000 words, Verizon doesn't answer those basic questions. Comcast's similar plan in times of congestion reduces some customer up to 30% but no more. 12 meg would fall to 7 meg when one of their engineers described it a while back. The fall would only be for 15 minutes and very rarely even several hours/month. That's so unobtrusive I don't think anyone has even noticed it in practice. I certainly would accept it, especially because the minimum speed on most Comcast networks has gone up.

    Nowhere in the 3,779 word document below does Verizon tell you how much your speed would be reduced or how often. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:04
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Berlin, Paris, Palo Alto, Brooklyn Gigabits everywhere
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:25

As I travel, world class engineers are telling me what's coming is almost ubelievable. Palo Alto 6 February �Wireless capacity will go up 50 times in the next 5-10 years,� Stanford Professor Andrea Goldsmith predicted at a Marconi webinar. Her Stanford colleague A.J. Paulraj and Broadcom�s brilliant Henry Samueli thought 50X reasonable. Both have won the Marconi Prize, the "Nobel Prize" of communications.

Berlin. 8 April 2014 G.fast came out for the first time at the Informa Fixed Access Summit.  Deutsche Telekom, British Telecom and France Telecom all described active programs and an intent to deploy. European and American telcos want the hundreds of megabits from G.fast to match cable speeds going to a gig. I�ve been skeptical: the cost is nearly as high as fiber all the way home, it will take until 2016 or 2017 to get the kinks out and the coverage is more like 100 meters than 500.

Brooklyn, 30 April Ted Rappaport�s NYU 5G Summit had an amazing group of speakers. AT&T #2, John Stankey, keynoted and is damned serious about moving to 5G before the end of the decade. CTO Seizo Onoe of giant NTT Docomo was also there and soon after the event announced plans for 5G in 2018 with Ericsson, Samsung, Alcatel & Huawei. (3 of which sent CTO level speakers to Brooklyn, flying from around the world.) The enormous support for Ted and his NYU Brooklyn Institute has made him �The Prince of the 5G World.�Rappaport is concentrating on 28 GHz, a top down build which needs access points on nearly every crowded urban block. Others raised the possibility of WiFi �bottoms-up� to deliver similar capacity. The debate is raging, with FON, Free in France and probably the U.S. cablecos on the �bottom-ups� side.

Paris May 20-22 2014 A dozen of the absolute top engineers developing G.fast came together at the outstanding Upperside G.fast Summit. Les Brown provided an in-depth overview of the 300! page standard. CTOs and their peers from Sckipio, Broadcom, Ikanos, Lantiq and more spent three days trying to resolve the details. Top folks from BT, FT, Alcatel & Adtran joined in. Sckipio promises full standard chips in 2014. Broadcom�s customers are being told they will have something in 2014, probably far less than the standard. Some folks thought deployments were possible in 2016. Others thought later. (Deutsche Telecom�s CTO has said trials in 2014. He misspoke.)

Paris May 21 At that same G.fast event, John Cioffi introduced his remarkable plan to get to a gigabit using 100 meg vectored DSLs and gigabit WiFi. It sounds impossible but it definitely could work. In my apartment I see 20-25 WiFis. There�s no technical reason we couldn�t all share bandwidth; WiFi is already at 1.3 gigabits and going higher. Even if 25 homes were watching 2 HD TV and surfing, there�s over a gigabit unused that could be shared. Check http://bit.ly/GIGADSL   

 
Huawei/HiSilicon Coming on Fast
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 12:21

Producing a vectored VDSL chip. Like Henry Ford steel & timber mills, Huawei seems to be following the path to "vertical integration." Their latest DSLAM board features vectored VDSL chips from their HiSilicon subsidiary. There is no announcement and I haven't been able to find any article about the chips in either English or (Google-translated) Chinese but I have multiple sources within the industry. HiSilicon also has a G.hn chip close to market.

    Huawei is the chosen supplier for vectoring to Telecom Italia & Fastweb/Swisscom and bids on nearly all other large contracts. The Italian deployment is struggling, however. TI & Fastweb agreed to link their vectored DSLAMs and unbundle local loops. Huawei promised they would be able to have separate terminals, possibly 50 meters apart, but still vector the local loops. As far as I can determine, they haven't delivered yet and the companies are scrambling.

    HiSilicon did $1.3B in chip sales in 2013. Growth is well into double digits although 90% of chips still go to the parent company. Digitimes believes HiSilicon, like Samsung, is actively looking for outside customers. R & D budget is well into the $hundreds of millions. HiSilicon chips are in Hewlett-Packard terminals. They have an 8 core cell phone application processor (ARM Big-Little) that is among the leaders. They are among the first with 300 megabit CAT 6 LTE, possibly beating Qualcomm to market. These are fabricated at 28 nanometers and soon below. TSMC, with massive orders from Apple, is essentially sold out at advanced nodes for the rest of the year. HiSilicon will probably be capacity-constrained.

    TSMC 16nm FinFET chips will be TSMC's best in 2015 and HiSilicon is the first vendor to commit.    

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 15:32
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Broadband Growth in One Chart
Thursday, 03 July 2014 16:55

Africa 5%, U.S. & West ~1%; China huge. This chart from Point-Topic makes wireline clear in 2014. The West is almost saturated, including the U.S. China, Latin America and East Europe are growing two or three times faster. Africa, with nearly no wires, has the most room to grow.

     This would look different if wireless smartphones were included. The countries with few wires - India, Indonesia and most of Africa - are seeing fantastic growth in mobile broadband. By around 2017, there will be more Africans than Americans on the net, I've calculated from Cisco data.

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 August 2014 21:53
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How to lie with statistics, part 243
Thursday, 14 August 2014 18:52

Any conclusion you want. In France in the first quarter, 3 of the 4 DSL providers grew faster than cable. But if I look at the prior twelve months, cable beat 3 out of 4 DSL companies. Without lying, I could say either DSL is beating cable or cable is beating DSL. I just have to choose which period to use.  In fact, the data is too sparse to firmly support any conclusion.

     9 out of 10 “studies” about telecom policy are similarly weak and prove nothing. Or, as Teresa Mastangelo promises clients, “I can guarantee my report finds you #1.” As she explained to me, she simply looks carefully at the data until she finds some way to slice it to come to that conclusion.

   The classic example in broadband was when Copper Mountain reached a market cap of $1.5B on sales of $120M/year and losses every quarter. Brilliant pr woman Molly Miller invented a new category of “business DSLAMs” in which they were #1. Actually, they were far behind DSLAM makers like Alcatel and went broke a few years later.

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 August 2014 11:43
 
Verizon, truth, and what's really going on with the network
Monday, 28 July 2014 13:45

Earned a remarkable reputation. When someone on Dave Farber's IP list criticized Verizon for lying, I spoke up. Verizon's comment that there was congestion at the point where they peered to the Internet was accurate. That, and not congestion on the network, is the current battleground. Fortunately, problems at peering points can be resolved in a few weeks and at minimal cost. That's what happened when Netflix agreed to the carrier demands for money. 

​​Based on 15 years of reporting, I believe it's wildly inappropriate to say "anything VZN​ says in public is a self-serving lie based on a poor understanding of the Real World" I'm often extremely critical of Verizon's policy, including this one. But Tom Tauke and Ivan Seidenberg overwhelmingly were truth tellers.

Covering dozens of Verizon stories,  I only once heard a Verizon policy person tell me something he had reason to believe untrue. Even in that case it may be that the D.C. policy person really didn't know but should have.

In my experience, Verizon stands out as virtually the only lobbying shop that persuasively makes its point while not distorting the truth. In this case, Verizon is accurate saying the problem is "there is [not] adequate capacity for the traffic to enter our network."

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 August 2014 13:52
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Deutsche Telekom Installing Millions of Vectored Ports
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:44

Still not turned on and not all 100 megabits. Deutsche Telekom has promised 24M lines of vectored DSL at 100 megabits in three years. They are taking delivery on several million ports, many from Adtran. Adtran had a surprising increase in DSL sales this quarter, with profits also up. Adtran's financial call also announced a Tier 1 customer is cutting sales. That's AT&T, which I've separately reported has nearly frozen U-Verse builds to influence D.C. on the DirecTV merger.

   German regulator Matthias Kurth told me five years ago that DT had no choice but to upgrade where they face cable, but they've been delaying in hopes of persuading the government to cripple their competition. Deutsche Telekom loses 89K subscribers because they delayed VDSL upgrades. Cable offers twice the speed for the same price as DT and covers 2/3rds of Germany. They finally blocked most unbundling in 2013 and began the build of fiber/DSL hybrids. CEO Tim Hottges,"The fiber is the answer on what we are doing," but of course he means fiber/DSL. 

   German regulator Jochen Homann and EU Commissioner Nellie Kroes are doing what politicians do, claiming their policy of raising prices created the build when everyone in the industry knew DT would do it anyway. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:58
 
Triductor, the New Chinese VDSL & G.hn Chipmaker
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 21:51

Yaolong Tan "Our chips are 8% faster than Broadcom's" Yaolong Tan earned his doctorate at UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering in 2000. He worked in Silicon Valley for years, and now is back in China. He's CEO of Triductor, founded in 2006. He is shipping VDSL2 vectored cpe chips to Chinese manufacturers who in turn are distributing the boxes worldwide.

Tan received his UCLA degree directly from Henry Samueli. He has enormous respect for Broadcom. But he's not afraid to take on Broadcom's chips. China is deeply committed to replacing imported chips with Chinese designs. Tan said,"The technology of this chip used to be monopolized by America, so our country had to spend tens of millions of dollars importing from overseas. What my team and I want to do is realize the localization of this chip in the new developing wave of semi-conductor industry, to equip Chinese people with their own high-speed video networks."

Triductor, like HiSilicon, has also announced a G.hn chip. While G.fast is getting the publicity, thanks to an effective campaign by the ITU, it's two years or more away. G.hn, a much simpler system, is already being used to extend "fiber to the basement" to apartments at hundreds of megabits. China Telecom & Unicom, the monopoly landline providers, are fiercely resisting government demands they upgrade something like 100 million apartments from DSL to fiber. Fiber to the basement + G.hn might be an attractive alternative.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 12:57
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Forbes: India has more net users than the United States
Sunday, 13 July 2014 20:59

Their 243 million Internet connection estimate is high but the result is inevitable soon. I wouldn't count 2G smartphones with minimal data allowances who rarely if ever connect to the net, so my figure would be lower. However Indian 3G & 4G connections will soon pass the 315 million population of the U.S.. Fewer than 20M of these connections are fixed, mostly DSL. With fewer than 40M landlines in place, the Indian future is inevitably mobile.

    Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi talks about the "broadband highway" and has promised almost $10B over five years for broadband, smart cities, wireless in Naxalite territory and more. Much of that money will be needed to prop up ailing government carriers BSNL & MTNL. There's an ongoing project to connect 250,000 villages that's two years behind schedule. Completion is now set for 2017, but the local loop is not included. 69% of Indians - 700M - still live in villages.

   New Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is promising to meet the revised schedule. He may be the right man to overcome the inertia and corruption that has plagued so many Indian projects. Prasad prosecuted a corrupt Governor of Bihar state and put him in jail. 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 23:46
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DT: "We had in the fourth quarter minus 47, Q4 minus 22, minus 7 in the first quarter"
Sunday, 18 May 2014 20:44

Deutsche Telekom loses 89K subscribers because they delayed VDSL upgrades. Cable offers twice the speed for the same price as DT and covers 2/3rds of Germany. German regulator Matthias Kurth told me five years ago that DT had no choice but to upgrade where they face cable, but they've been delaying in hopes of persuading the government to cripple their competition. They finally got their way in 2013 and began the build of fiber/DSL hybrids. CEO Tim Höttges, quoted above bit.ly/1o5a85S , now hopes that the 24M lines of vectored VDSL saves his company from disaster. "The fiber is the answer on what we are doing."

   BNetzA is playing dumb, acting as though the regulatory changes were the reason that DT did what we all knew they had to do.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 August 2014 15:34
 
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