Also today, CityFibre passes 100,000 premises with fiber, US gigabit by the numbers, FCC's new accountability rules, Broadband Forum's quality measure advances, video-binging stats in the Limelight, Apple TV+ says 'Nyet' to dubbing and Canal+ closes door on video-on-demand platform.
AT&T's pay-TV business tanked in Q3, when it lost 1.35 million total video subscribers. That includes 1.16 million DirecTV satellite and U-verse IPTV customers and 195,000 AT&T TV Now subs. By the end of Q3, AT&T had 21.56 million pay-TV customers versus 25.15 million a year ago.
Fiber in the UK
CityFibre recently passed the 100,000-premises threshold, according to researcher ThinkBroadband.
UK altnet CityFibre has passed 100,692 premises with fiber, estimates ThinkBroadband. The wholesaler's in the midst of Phase 1 of its £2.5 billion ($3.22 billion) initiative to deploy 1 Gbit/s FTTH broadband to 5 million UK premises in 37 cities and towns by year-end 2025. Vodafone partnered with CityFibre to sell to end-customers, as CityFibre works to pass at least 1 million premises in 12 cities by the close of 2021.
Today, 23% of Americans can receive gigabit services and 67.1% can get 500 Mbit/s service, according to the latest quarterly report from BroadbandNow. That's a large increase from the second quarter, when only 19.7% of the country had access to 1 Gbit/s and about half could receive 500 Mbit/s speeds, wrote BroadbandNow, which monitors providers' services and pricing.
The Federal Communications Commission on Friday (October 25) "approved performance testing procedures" for operators receiving Connect America Funds for fixed broadband networks in rural regions. These rules are designed to ensure taxpayers get what they're investing and rural Americans receive the fixed-access broadband infrastructure they expect and deserve, commissioners said. To accomplish this, the FCC modified the schedule for the start of testing by "basing it on the deployment obligations specific to each CAF support mechanism," creating a new pre-testing timeframe so carriers can familiarize themselves with testing without losing support for failing to meet these new requirements, and giving providers more flexibility to identify which customers should be tested and choosing the endpoints for testing broadband locations. This does not mean, however, operators should put white boxes in customers' homes, said Commissioner Brendan Carr in a separate statement.
Broadband Forum today announced the release of a paper on its Quality Experience Delivered (Broadband QED) initiative, which seeks qualitative measures operators can use to improve end-user satisfaction with broadband. As gigabit becomes more common, it's imperative the industry does not degenerate to a costly price war, Gavin Young, head of Fixed Access Centre of Excellence at Vodafone, told Broadband World News. Within nine months, Broadband QED has grown from a concept to a highlighted initiative at multiple conferences. Of recent note, Broadband QED was showcased in three demonstrations at Broadband World Forum in Amsterdam earlier this month. (See Vodafone: Use Quality Attenuation to Escape Gig Speed Trap and Broadband Forum Updates Quality of Experience Delivered Initiative.)
Streaming Pain Points Vary Depending on Geography
Buffering annoys most countries' subscribers, although French consumers find poor video quality the biggest pet peeve. (Source: "State of Online Video," Limelight Networks)
Worldwide, people spent an average of six hours, 48 minutes a week watching online video in 2019, with 82% of online video viewers admitting to binge-watching, according to a new State of Online Video report from Limelight Networks. Viewers increased their bingeing, which grew 18% year-over-year to an average of two hours, 40 minutes in 2019, the study found. Americans, however, spent more than three hours on the couch, binge-watching online video. The 2019 study found that seven in 10 consumers subscribe to at least one streaming service (59% last year) and 72% use dedicated streaming devices (67% in 2018), the report said.
Apple TV+ will premier in Russia, but without the language-dubbing Russian audiences are accustomed to, according to a local news report. Instead, the video service will rely on local-language subtitles. Apple will offer the new premium video service as an app free for one year on new Apple devices, or R199 ($3.13) per month. That sits right between two of Russia's top OTT services -- ivi and Okko -- which charge R399 ($6.27) upfront for the app, and then between R99 ($1.56) and ($9.42) monthly, the report said.
French pay-TV operator's Canal+ will shut down Canalplay, its video-on-demand platform on November 26. The provider alerted customers to the change on its website, though the news could not have surprised them: After all, Canal's subscriber base fell to 200,000 from 800,000 in two years. Canal has teamed up with Netflix to offer a dual subscription to customers of its Cine/Series offering.
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.
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.
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.