Also, Indian provider enters fiber face-off; EchoStar to focus on broadband satellite; operators' virtual reality pros join real VR org's board; Russia's MTS division gets new prez; and UK gov stamps O2 as provider of broadband, networks and more.
Comcast and nearly programmers are fighting a TV bundling battle in Maine by uniting to sue the state and several of its townships over a new law requiring cable operators (and only cable operators) to offer customers a la carte TV channels. Filed on Friday, Sept. 6, the suit -- known also as L.D. 832 -- is preempted by federal law and violates the First Amendment, the complainants said. They seek a court order that preliminarily, then permanently, blocks the state from enforcing this new law, which says consumers should pay only for those channels they want, not operator-managed bundles. This is not an affordable model and ultimately will make cable programs more expensive, Comcast et al. argued. Read all the details and analysis in Jeff Baumgartner's Light Reading story: Comcast, Programmers Sue Maine Over Cable à la Carte Law .
SpaceX could launch 24 Starlink missions next year as part of its plan to construct huge high-speed broadband constellations in space, said President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell during the World Satellite Business Week conference in Paris, reported Space News. The company could launch up to four more satellites this year, although that decision depends on customer needs as SpaceX will send clients' missions up before its broadband satellites, she noted. In May, SpaceX sent up its first 60 Starlinks via Falcon 9. It's deorbiting at least five; three are malfunctioning and it's testing intentional deorbiting processes, the company said.
Indian telecom operator Bharti Airtel today debuted Airtel Xstream Fibre, a gigabit service for the same price as the recently launched Reliance Jio Fiber offering. Xstream Fibre will include unlimited landline calls and include some free content, Airtel said. Already available in about 15 markets, Xstream Fibre will expand across more of India, the service provider added. Both Jio and Bharti Airtel gigabit services cost R3,999 (almost $56) a month. (See BBWN Bites: Jio Begins Vast Fixed Play in India, Sky's Wimpy WiFi Guarantee.)
EchoStar on Tuesday announced it completed the previously announced spin-off and subsequent merger of its Broadcast Satellite Services (BSS) business with Dish Network Corp. The transaction was announced on May 20, 2019 as a stock and share deal. Said Mike Dugan, EchoStar president and CEO, in a statement: "The conclusion of this transaction enables EchoStar to focus on the growing broadband market and other strategic opportunities."
Mauricio Aracena, media standardization manager at Ericsson, was appointed president of the Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF), while Chris Johns (chief engineer of broadcast strategy at Sky) and Ozgur Oyman (principal engineer at Intel) will continue their respective roles as vice president and treasurer, the organization announced today. The new board also includes Thierry Fautier (VP, video strategy, Harmonic), Jan Ellsberger (VP, industry development, Huawei), Justin Ridge (principal engineer at Nokia) and Tom De Koninck (consultant media network on Dutch scientific research organization TNO). It also released the next-gen version of VR guidelines which address live VR360, text and fonts in immersive experiences, watermarking 2D framed content and enhanced-quality viewport distribution.
MTS' Media division named Igor Mishin its new vice president. The Russian operator plans to create several branded channels for content delivery, including cable, satellite, IPTV and mobile app. Mishin spent two years at a popular Russian TV network and produced several TV shows.
The UK's Network Services 2 procurement framework added Telefónica UK (O2) to its roster, following the operator's three-year application process and competitive bid. Now O2 can offer the country's public-sector organizations access to telecom services such as Internet access, data provisioning, networks and voice.
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.
The lack of an accurate broadband map means states and counties are tackling this issue themselves – and sometimes finding big disparities in the data – before spending their residents' money on deploying infrastructure.
Next year many operators must decide whether to invest more in HFC or go all-in to fiber, pick their PON and choose their managed-WiFi path, writes analyst Dan Grossman, who also recommends providers bundle managed WiFi and analytics to best serve residential subscribers -- and operators' own businesses.
Public-private partnerships, investor interest, self-help in rural areas and incumbents' return set the scene for a busy year of broadband deployment in the US countryside in 2020, writes Analyst Dan Grossman.
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.