In other news, UK politician Boris Johnson has unrealistic fiber dreams, Comcast sees new opportunities for X1, Dish goes home, UK consumer org may avoid court for angry subscribers and the FCC bumps up USF tax -- a sure-fire way to raise US consumers' ire.
Going, going, gone: French entrepreneur Patrick Drahi -- founder of Altice who also acquired Suddenlink and Cablevision Systems -- just bought Sotheby's for a cool $3.7 billion. But Altice will remain Drahi's main focus, he said, not the auction house known for selling multi-million-dollar impressionist paintings, solid gold watches and other almost priceless artifacts. Although the Altice USA chairman and head of Altice Europe said he will not sell any shares of the European company to fund his newest acquisition, Drahi plans to "monetize a small position in Altice USA [of] up to $400 million" by year-end. No word on whether Sotheby's will handle the sale.
Boris Johnson, front runner to be Britain's next prime minister, promises tax cuts and ubiquitous full-fiber coverage (plus the real prospect of a no-deal Brexit), by 2025, reported Light Reading's Iain Morris from Connected Britain. Operator executives listening to BoJo's comments greeted them with "restrained laughter," given that only about 7% of UK households could access fiber networks in May 2019, according to regulatory body Ofcom. (See Brexit-Bound Britain's Broadband Blues.)
Fiber, Fiber Everywhere
The entire UK will have end-to-end fiber by 2025, according to Boris Johnson. And everyone will drive a Jag, live in a palace and earn six figures while working once a week.
Dish Network is re-entering the smart home and IoT market with the launch of OnTech Smart Services for both current and non-Dish subscribers. The direct-to-consumer offering offers on-site installations for many retail devices and entertainment systems via same- or next-day service. Dish is advancing its plan to launch a narrowband IoT network, with future expectations to fund and deploy a standalone 5G network, reported Jeff Baumgartner on Light Reading.
Comcast added eye control to X1, empowering people with disabilities such as spinal cord injuries and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), to control the cable operator's TV services without lifting a finger or speaking a word. A web-based remote (for tablets or computers) is partnered with assistive technologies like existing eye-gaze systems and "Sip and Puff" switches, according to Comcast.
Under a plan the British government is considering, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) may be able to fine service providers for breaking consumer laws and for "poor business behavior" without going to court. CMA expects this will deter operators that use misleading claims, unfair terms and conditions, seemingly endless service subscriptions and contracts that are difficult to break, it said. Nothing in the release addressed operators' ability to argue their cause.
The FCC announced this month the Universal Service Fund "contribution" factor will be 24.4% next quarter. Fixed and mobile long-distance voice providers generally pass that cost along to long-distance voice users (who often complain to and about their operators about this tax). For reference, in September 2018 the tax increased to 20% for the first time. With the number of voice calls via phone lines decreasing each month, how far will the feds push this tax, which originally was used to fund voice lines for those who could not afford them?
Deploying DOCSIS 3.1 across its entire footprint gave Rogers Communications the ability to offer speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s,
contributing to a broadband segement that generated about 60% of the Canadian operator's $3.05 billion (US) in Q4 cable earnings.
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.
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.