BBWN Bites: $3 Billion Pours Into US Broadband – Report
Also today: Vodafone and Tele2 make IoT executive hires; MSOs dance around DAA; Dell and Orange push their partnership to the edge; Openreach drills into radar; and Intracom gets inter-continental.
Capital investment among US broadband providers reached $75 billion in 2018, an increase of $3 billion over the prior year, according to preliminary analysis from USTelecom. The industry organization's capex trends mirror those of the FCC: Provider investment increased after "light touch" regulations in the Ajit Pai era and decreased during net neutrality and the Tom Wheeler years.
Tom Guy will join Vodafone in the newly created role of chief product officer, working with Thomas Engelbertz in the operator's innovation and product hub that debuted in late 2018. Guy, who formerly held the same title at British Gas' connected home subsidiary, Hive, will help Vodafone develop a consumer-focused Internet of Things strategy and product line, he wrote in a blog on the operator's site.
And Greg Lensch, former AT&T general manager of Nordics, is now CEO of Tele2's IoT division. Lensch succeeds acting CEO Johan Ragnevad, who remains strategy director at Tele2 IoT.
Many MSOs have made Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) investments, but haven't deployed them, according to Alan Breznick of Light Reading. Reporting from last week's Anga Com show in Germany, the analyst found vendors increasingly frustrated by operators' treacle-like rollouts of Remote PHY and/or Remote MAC/PHY this year. Other than sporadic announcements from major cablecos like Comcast and this week's news from Altibox of Norway and Denmark that it will use Nokia's virtualized DAA solution, most operators are in no rush. (See Why Cable DAA Is DOA This Year.)
Orange and Dell Technologies have agreed to jointly explore developing distributed-cloud architecture technologies to benefit real-time edge uses and new services based on 5G. By using network telemetry for intelligent automation and service orchestration systems, coupled with AI, management systems will see the entire network stack and improve network operations and customer experience, the partners said. This sets the stage for as-yet-unimagined new services, just as LTE provided a foundation for brand new offerings like Uber and Airbnb.
Openreach debuted its use of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to accelerate fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) deployment. Premiering in Salisbury, GPR allows BT Openreach engineers to reduce the risk of inadvertently cutting existing utility pipes or cables and simplifies micro ducting (a.k.a. micro trenching) which, Openreach claims will allow it to lay up to 300 meters of new cable daily.
Intracom Telecom of Greece now has a subsidiary in Monza, Italy. It has, however, been deploying rural ultra-broadband in Italy since 2014.
IoT Is the Place to Be
At least two operators added key IoT executives this week, demonstrating the importance of connected homes and other segments of this market to service providers.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.