Operators: It's time to converge your access networks.
While cost is always an issue and change is never easy, multiple factors have aligned to forge a close-to ideal scenario for service providers to put aside their silos, think outside purpose-built fiber access networks and innovate across outside plant architectures, says Dan Grossman, contributing analyst for Heavy Reading in "Converged Access Infrastructure," released Aug. 31.
The report looks at the trends driving converged infrastructure in the access network; discusses synergies between business segments and trade-offs between architectural alternatives; and addresses complementary technologies involved -- such as software-defined networking, network functions virtualization, central office as a data center, network slicing and fog/edge computing.
That's a good reason for operators to think big-picture, Grossman told UBB2020.
"Service providers, particularly those with multiple lines of business like fixed consumer/small business, mobile, or enterprise, should look at their needs for new fiber infrastructure as a whole, rather than in terms of their traditional silos," Grossman said. "The business case for fiber projects will be much stronger for all businesses than it will be for individual ones."
Verizon and AT&T have recently adopted a "one network" approach, triggered by the urgent need for 4G density and preparation for 5G. But rural co-op, municipal and new players have followed this philosophy for some time, Grossman said.
"It is becoming an industry best practice," he said. "I don't necessarily expect siloed access to go away. Instead, there is a resurgence of new fiber deployments and those will be converged from the beginning."
Well-established operators face the challenge of integrating silos -- and addressing territorial, management and workflows associated on the human side of existing systems. Similar issues apply to government and rules.
"Access networks are infrastructure in the same sense as power plants and airports. There's a lot of concern in Washington that the US is falling behind in fixed and mobile broadband. Access network convergence is a big enabler for closing that gap," Grossman said.
"The question is whether public policies at all levels of government work to help or hinder. For example, the Federal Communications Commission is re-examining the rules surrounding pole attachments, which are one of the biggest hindrances to broadband access projects. On the other hand, some states and localities have put up various legal, political and bureaucratic roadblocks."
On Jan. 23, Broadband World News hosts a Calix-sponsored webinar that explores several ways CSPs can enhance customer experience and find new business opportunities to avoid devolving into a speed race where nobody wins, not even the customer.
As the pool of savvy, fiber-rich operators across the US rural and regional landscape wanes, the financial community will grow even more interested in acquiring or investing in them, a CoBank report says.
It wasn't long ago that TV was ranked by subscribers as the most important service in the bundle provided by their communications service provider (CSP). Recent research indicates that for nearly three quarters of subscribers, broadband is now the most important service. Broadcast TV is the most important service to only 15% of North American consumers, replaced by OTT video streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+. In addition, many different competitors are moving aggressively to stake a claim in consumers' homes.
In 2020, CSPs need to fight back by transforming their business models, which are becoming more reliant on a single source of revenue: fixed broadband services.
This webinar will focus on helping CSPs transform their business models by placing a firm focus on delivering a sensational subscriber experience and by offering compelling new services that generate value for subscribers. These actions will reinforce the CSP's strategic position in the home network and position themselves for growth in the next decade.
Key topics include:
Being the first to market with WiFi 6 technology, in response to consumer purchases of new devices over the holidays;
Having the insights needed to proactively resolve issues, often before your subscribers even know that there are issues;
Providing help desk agents with the visibility they need to resolve common subscriber issues more quickly;
Delivering a mobile app, in response to consumer demands for the ability to do some things themselves, rather than having to call technical support; and
Addressing consumer concerns around device security, privacy and control with enhanced security and parental controls.
In this insightful Light Reading radio show, Kurt Raaflaub, Head of Strategic Solutions Marketing, will outline the key service provider challenges, deployment considerations, next-gen Gigabit technologies, and service models to win market share in the rapidly growing MDU market.