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First Look: Germany Puts Off Vectoring Another Six Months
Thursday, 21 November 2013 03:56

DT is having more problems than I knew. Deutsche Telekom is starting to build 12-24M lines of Vectored DSL, turning on 10 cities, But they aren't turning on full vectoring until second half of 2014. Belgacom is turning on vectoring in ?February, but throttling down the top speed to 70 megabits. Alcatel is still putting out press releases with how many "vector-ready" lines they have, but they clearly aren't ready.

    Deutsche Telekom had promised regulator Jochen Homann they would roll 100 meg in 2013. In return, he rushed through new rules they demanded. They'd be stupid to embarass Homan unless they had no choice because the system wasn't working. DT isn't stupid. 

    The software and probably the firmware on Alcatel's gear (and probably Adtran's) is not working right yet in the real world.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 November 2013 18:32
Cartels Emerging Worldwide in Broadband
Thursday, 14 November 2013 00:52

England, Australia seeing price rises as competition falls. Virgin Cable in the UK is raising prices 7% despite falling costs. I've previously reported that England has fallen to 3-4 major players and we're seeing now they are comfortable signalling each other to raise prices. They aren't nearly as high as the two player U.S. and Canada markets (few are) but the trend is unwelcome.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 November 2013 01:10
G.FAST at Hundreds of Meg Demoed by British Telecom & Huawei
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 14:43


Years away, maybe never cost-effective, but damn impressive. Three friendlies, probably BT employees, connected to a Huawei G.FAST box at speeds averaging 800 megabits down and 200 megabits up, over ordinary phone wire. The test box was loaded with semi-custom FPGA chips. Dedicated chips aren't yet even sampling. Huawei hasn't yet implemented parasitical power, which will draw power from the users' modems instead of from the telecom exchange. Not needing to connect to outside power can be a huge cost savings. Hu Yuelin of Huawei tells me the power functions will be implemented soon. 

Yuelin tells me commercial deployments are two or three years away. Other think that's optimistic for any volume of deployment. The G.FAST standard isn't final yet, although it's close. Chips running at a gigabit and required to do vectoring at that speed to reduce interference, are challenging to design.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 23:58
Belgacom Chairman Michel Moll Out After $M Huawei Payment
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 07:43

"I only gave them strategic advice, but certainly not about Belgium or Europe." Alcatel and Siemens used to be the biggest bribe payers in this business, with Siemens pleading guilty to over $1B and Alcatel over $100M. Siemens is now completely out of telecom gear and a friend at the top of Alcatel tells me "We don't do that anymore." Huawei apparently is taking over as a leader in questionable payments, with problems in several countries around the world.

Last Updated on Monday, 21 October 2013 19:58
Hall of Fame for DSL Inventor Joseph Lechleider
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 19:18

Image from Lechleider's foundation patentJoe Lechleider at Bellcore invented DSL in the late 1980's, along with numerous colleagues going back to Claude Shannon. He's now been inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame located at the U.S. Patent Office. The citation   

Joseph Lechleider was the first person to demonstrate the feasibility of sending broadband signals over copper. His work led to DSL and ADSL technology, turning the existing copper wire phone network into a high-speed broadband delivery instrument and allowing for transmission of data at equal or different rates in each direction.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 December 2013 23:57
$21 for 2 Meg from Time Warner Cable
Tuesday, 29 October 2013 15:05

Glenn_Britt by SDK1M connected by Comcast's $10 for the poor. High prices mean almost a third of U.S. homes don't take broadband, but now TWC is offering nearly 25% of the U.S. a reasonable connection for $21/month. It's 2 down, 1 up and doesn't have a silly cap. If you buy your own modem, cheap on eBay, it goes down to $15/month. This is a regular price, available to all, not a 12 month cheap taste of broadband to get you addicted. 

    Before Obama was elected, most of the U.S. could get a minimal broadband connection from the telcos for $15/month. Julius Genachowski talked about broadband but allowed low end prices to go over $30 most places. In Verizon FiOS territory, the cheapest connection is now an amazing $70/month. Next time Randall of AT&T visits the White House, maybe his new friend Barack can talk him into more reasonable prices.

     Low prices are the only method proven to work to increase adoption.

Last Updated on Saturday, 11 January 2014 18:04
AT&T CEO: Fiber Costs Have Plummeted
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 14:30

Randall“The cost dynamics of deploying fiber have radically changed. The interfaces. the home wiring requirements, how you get a drop to a pole and splice it, it’s just totally changed.” That's straight from CEO Randall Stephenson speaking to investors at Goldman Sachs. Randall personally killed 30 million lines of fiber home in 2004, so his change of opinion is significant. Although some doubt it, the industry reference is Verizon's < $700 to pass a home and as much for the home hookup drilling walls and burrowing under gardens. Randall is implying that many homes could be reached at $600-1,000 per, a realistic figure where distances are short and conditions favorable. Not all will subscribe, so the cost per customer will be more like $1,500-2,500. Average yearly revenue per U-Verse sub is $1,800 but the huge cost of TV programming eats up a quarter of that. The fiber payback period remains long for a private company.  

Fiber costs are still very high in most rural areas and some urban ones, particularly with buried cables with poor access.At least 30% of homes in most countries will cost more than that, so that is not a figure to use, for example, to analyze Australia's planned 90% deployment. I know the actual costs in one rural build are over $3,000/home passed.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 October 2013 23:35
Huawei’s Australian Future Still Up to the Spooks
Tuesday, 08 October 2013 17:41

Dave with Malcolm TurnbullTurnbull promises to defer to security. Malcolm Turnbull “would review the decision” to prohibit Huawei from supplying the NBN. But he carefully defers to the security service. At the Commsday conference this spring, he said, “I won’t receive the full security briefing until I am in government. I need that before I make any decision.” Western companies, especially Adtran, remain encouraged to bid. Alcatel, preferred vendor to former Alcatel employee NBN CEO Mike Quigley, remains a contender. The NBN problems were not due to technical difficulties with the Alcatel gear, except for the two year delay in the promised gigabit service. (Note to Alcatel - what is holding up the gigabit service on your GPON equipment?)

    Everyone in Australia believes Huawei would have supplied the NBN gear at a lower price than Alcatel

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 October 2013 03:19
Dave on Why the U.S. Should not Delete Net Neutrality from WSIS
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 12:34

The U.S. wants neutrality out of the coming WSIS and I wrote to ITAC "The U.S. is not a credible defender of the open Internet if we keep making decisions like this." WSIS is the upcoming U.N. ITU World Summit on the Information Society, which is working on a statement. ITAC is a State Department Advisory committee that's open to all and I urge those interested to join. It's easy and you get most of the "secret" documents from the ITU in your email. Write daveb@dslprime.com and I'll connect you.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2013 13:46
Early Vector Results: 30-50% Improvement, More Expected
Monday, 28 October 2013 01:30

Estimated future vector performanceEngineers confident speeds will rapidly improve. Although early test results from Alcatel, Belgacom and Swisscom put 100 meg vectored VDSL into the headlines, there's still a way to go before those speeds are commonly delivered. Belgacom, after delaying the commercial rollout of vectored DSL to January, 2014, now says 70 megabits down will be their top speed at launch. Huawei, which is the likely supplier to Telecom Italia, Eircom, Swisscom and British Telecom, is only getting 30-50% speed improvements in the early trials.

   Hu Yuelin of Huawei tells me they already have identified and solved many of the problems and that higher speeds will soon be practical. That corresponds for what Belgacom is saying, that they will raise maximum speeds to 100 megabits in the future with software and firmware upgrades. For now, best to think of vectoring as raising VDSL from common 25-50 megabits to common 45-80 megabits, for distances in the hundreds of meters.

Last Updated on Monday, 28 October 2013 20:17
First Look: Declarations of Independence of the Net
Friday, 18 October 2013 03:02

Internet father Vint Cerf, WWW creator Tim Berners-Lee and two dozen of their peers and colleagues are trying to take de facto control of the Internet back from government in a worldwide coordinated movement. Much of the world is demanding change as PRISM brought home the breadth of U.S. surveillance; the "wise old men" of the net, angered themselves by PRISM, are terrified about governments coming in heavily.

     The proposals are without details yet but the intent is clear: practical problems will mostly be resolved in ICANN and IETF, with an informal coalition of the most respected Internet engineers persuading governments to keep out of the way. Update 10/28 Even more confusing after U.S. Ambassador Danny Sepulveda in Bali seemed to endorse the Montevideo and ICANN proposals. Amazing, because the plain reading of what he's endorsing takes away control from "one country," which means the U.S. That could be explained as the U.S. accepting that European and Brazilian anger forces change and this is a fallback position. ICANN - legally under U.S. control and dominated by people from the developed countries - may be the U.S. choice to prevent the U.N./ITU taking charge. But neither I nor several of the principals are sure what's happening.  

Last Updated on Monday, 28 October 2013 08:59
Terror as Alcatel’s Stock Triples
Saturday, 05 October 2013 00:00

Nokia takeover feared. Update: 15,000 layoffs confirmed, one of the largest in telecom history. PR below. Alcatel’s market cap has jumped from $4B to $9B since June, including $3B in the last month. Alcatel remains a great company, world leader in DSL and one of the best in LTE wireless, but the market cap was barely $2B a year ago. Investors are betting that Nokia will take the $7B it’s getting from Microsoft, buy Alcatel, and “create synergies,” a euphemism for firing tens of thousands of people. From Nokia’s point of view, eliminating one of only two Western rivals was certainly worthwhile at the lower prices and still plausible at today’s higher bid.


   Alcatel $24B in balance sheet liabilities is widely rumored to be much more, with Lucent’s pension and health care obligations possibly understated. That’s one barrier, as might be antitrust and especially security concerns. There are only three companies in the west supplying LTE networks in any volume: Ericsson, Alcatel and Nokia. They have almost all the U.S. contracts, where three letter agencies prohibit Asian suppliers. Ericsson and Alcatel have deep connections to the intelligence services; evidence on Nokia is sparse.


   Alcatel and Lucent suffered from a decade of ludicrous battles within management, wild overspending on corporate jets and entertainment, and corporate hubris of historic proportions. The stories are bitter and the results brought the combined companies to the edge of bankruptcy.

   The death of a great company would be a tragedy.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 October 2013 01:53
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