Also in today's roundup, Italy could soon have one giant broadband provider, Kentucky points the finger at squirrels for project's failure (but dollars, not acorns, seem more at fault), Ohio sends Welcome Wagon to operators, Comcast sings Prime songs to subscribers, plus news from Hungary and the Netherlands.
Using software alone, operators can upgrade existing DOCSIS 3.1 equipment to deliver sub-1-millisecond latencies necessary for gaming, virtual reality and other real-time applications, according to CableLabs. The recently released annex, which it most lately updated in April, was included in a January update to D3.1 for the MAC and upper layer protocols interface. Dubbed LLD, it could power low-latency gaming, which providers view as a contending services enhancement. Cox, for one, is testing a low-latency gaming pricing tier for about $15 a month. (See CableLabs Unleashes Specs for Low-Latency DOCSIS .)
Italy wants its two largest telcos to merge and end the broadband stalemate holding back the country's expansion beyond urban areas, Reuters reported today. Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) is a major shareholder in both TIM and rival Open Fiber (owned by CDP and Enel). Both operators are deploying fiber across Italy, generating concerns about duplication in the nation's most attractive and profitable regions. TIM's biggest foreign shareholders disagree over the provider's broadband strategy -- including any merger talks -- and CDP now wants to take over the discussion, sources told Reuters. CDP is owned by the state (82.8%) and wants to craft a network merger that empowers it to become TIM's biggest shareholder. Currently that position goes to French media group Vivendi, which has been feuding for months with US-based fund Elliott. CDP owns about 10% of TIM's shares.
KentuckyWired, a project designed to deploy fiber optic cable infrastructure across the state and allow government agencies to reduce broadband costs currently paid to providers like AT&T, continues to face time and cost over-runs, as well as an apparently aggressive breed of squirrels that's particularly fond of cable. With these factors in mind, lawmakers recently denied KentuckyWired's request for an additional $110 million to advance the state-wide initiative. (In February, it did not get the $20 million it wanted, either.) Seems the real nut of the problem lies in a bonus tied to completion on a project that's already at least two years late, the Courier Journal Reports. Perhaps bats in the belfry, not squirrels in the cable, are the issue?
A Diet Full of Fiber
Tough to imagine cable is the culprit for this squirrel's pleasantly plump physique. (Source: Steve Baker/ Flickr) - (CC BY-ND 2.0)
(Home page photo source: Fake Eyes, Colonicle)
In other state broadband news, the Ohio Department of Transportation is considering various means to encourage high-speed broadband expansion across the state. Governor Mike DeWine is mulling over the possibility of letting providers use state highway's rights-of-way, ODOT cell towers, Ohio's fiber-optic network and other assets in exchange for private providers' investment in expanding broadband into rural and inner-city regions, enhance the state's autonomous vehicle capabilities, boost Ohio's economy and generate public money for future projects, according to newsite Cleveland.com.
Comcast launched Amazon Music on Xfinity X1 and Xfinity Flex, making the ad-free and on-demand streaming service available on television via the cable provider. The service will become available over the next few weeks and will be delivered over the Internet; Comcast subscribers will access it on X1, just as they do other live, on-demand or web content, or through the Xfinity Flex service for Internet-only customers. In addition to traditional buttons, users can say "Amazon Music" into the voice remote to access many functions, Comcast said.
Boost your understanding of cable's virtualization efforts, and hear from experts about the business impact of 5G on the cable industry. You're invited to attend Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Breakfast Series, a free two-day breakfast event at SCTE/ISBE's Cable-Tec Expo on October 1-2 in New Orleans.
At least one government minister in Hungary says it has no evidence Huawei's equipment poses a security threat, Reuters wrote. "Until it is proven that Huawei or Cisco or any other technology poses any threat to our community, that is Hungary, NATO or the European Union, we will handle Huawei's technology as any other technology," said Laszlo Palkovics, innovation and technology minister in the Hungarian government. Germany is Hungary's biggest investor and it's likely the once-Soviet nation will closely heed Germany's decisions, he said.
The Netherlands' KPN is ramping up its fiber rollout in The Hague. By year-end 2021, it predicts at least 80,000 households across a variety of the city's districts will have access to high-speed broadband. To date, the Dutch incumbent has deployed fiber in Benoordenhout and Ypenburg districts and will start work in the Regentessekwartier district in next month.
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.