New management is kicking BT network investment and deployment into high gear -- and that should be good news for customers who see an increasing amount of competition for their broadband business with the infusion of altnets (and altnet funding) around the UK. Pay-TV providers vying with Netflix for subscribers' eyes and wallets, however, are in for a tough time, given the OG's continued dominance of the video subscription market. Read on for that and more in today's BBWN Bites.
New BT CEO Philip Jansen reportedly will unveil an accelerated deployment plan of Openreach's gigabit-capable FTTP broadband ISP technology this week, reported ISPPreview.UK on Sunday. The newly ramped up service could target 15 million premises versus the original 10 million, one analyst firm reportedly said. Openreach's existing plan, "Fibre First," calls for full-fiber broadband to 3 million homes and businesses by March 2021, with 10 million reached sometime around 2025. These goals depend upon negotiations with regulatory agency Ofcom and other government bodies.
Streaming video leader Netflix, which currently has about 149 million subscribers worldwide (including 60 million domestic customers), could more than double the number of domestic cable subscribers by 2024, a Motley Fool article suggests today. Major cable operators have suffered a 1.5% annual decline in video subscribers. In 2018, Netflix added 5.68 million US customers, and could reach 90 million by 2024; at the same time, if cable losses continue, total industry video subscriptions could drop to 43 million. That suggests that cable would idly sit by for five years, and that's something unlikely to happen, as blog writer Danny Vena notes:
It's important to note that a lot could happen over the next five years to change those statistics substantially. The research points out that Netflix also has challenges ahead if it wants to reach this arbitrary benchmark.
What's on Your Streaming Menu?
So many choices, only so many minutes and budget allowances.
DOCSIS 3.1 is cable's top tech priority (slightly more than 21% of voters) -- prioritized a smidgen more than Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) and FTTH, according to reader polls conducted on Broadband World News and Light Reading. One fifth of respondents found implementing DAA was their top tech priority, followed by building new FTTH networks, cited by almost 16%. Extending fiber deeper into HFC networks came in fourth, accounting for 12% of votes. While somewhat low as a standalone number, all fiber-related votes -- when combined with FTTH -- tallied up to 28%, taking the top spot as the most important tech initiative for the cable industry in 2019, wrote Light Reading's Alan Breznick.
Telenor of Norway is discussing a merger of Asian assets with Malaysia's Axiata, a deal that would create one of South Asia's largest telcos, serving about 300 million customers with revenue of about $13 billion annually. Under the terms being discussed, Telenor would have a controlling 56.5% stake, while Axiata would have remaining shares, according to details of the deal that were announced earlier today. With headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, the new business would consolidate operations in Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand, where both Telenor and Axiata are currently rivals in the telecom sector, wrote Iain Morris in a follow-up Light Reading piece today.
So much for service bundling combating subscription video-on-demand and OTT video services. The bundle apparently isn't working as-is, at least according to this figure: 1.1 million US pay-TV subscribers cut the cord in the first-quarter 2019. It was, wrote BTIG Analyst Rich Greenfield, "the worst multichannel video quarter sub loss quarter in history." AT&T lost 544,000 premium TV subs (U-verse TV and DirecTV satellite customers) in Q1; Dish Network saw 266,000 subs move on, and Verizon shed 53,000 video subscribers. For its part, Comcast saw 121,000 video subs leave, while Charter lost 152,000 video subs, Mediacom Communications dropped 53,000, and Altice USA bid adieu to 10,000. Even online skinny bundles lost their attraction: AT&T's DirecTV Now shed 83,000 subs in the first-quarter 2019, and Dish-owned Sling TV added only 7,000 customers in the first three months of 2019. Hulu, which recently said it passed the 28 million customer mark, has about 2 million live TV streaming customers, Bloomberg estimated. YouTube TV, meanwhile, has about 1 million subscribers, according to Variety.
Overall peak usage on US cable networks continues to flatten out and even decline slightly, but sustained higher levels of usage on the upstream path have persisted, according to the latest data from the NCTA.
Over the next two years, approximately 60% of service providers (both large and small) will adopt virtualization on a wide scale across their networks, according to the latest survey report from Ovum. Why are providers making these moves? Is there an easy way to start?
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Key topics will include:
Current network infrastructure and the move to virtualization
Benefits and challenges of network virtualization
How providers can get started
Service provider success stories: the decision to virtualize, the solution, and results