Also today, gigabit broadband's healthy EU boost, Ofcom picks Oxly as temporary chief exec, Jurassic Fibre starts FTTP era, Zen Internet collected about credit, ITI finalizes Canal+ deal, Missouri's $5M grant, Pennsylvania county starts broadband survey and FCC reschedules November meeting.
Australia's Optus this week expanded its foray into 5G home broadband after initially trialing the service with 200 subscribers. It's now available to an additional 138,000 homes who reach a current average speed at peak time of 164Mbit/s and top speed over 5G of 400Mbit/s, CEO Allen Lew said, according to The New Daily. While Optus said its fixed wireless-access service complements the ISP services attached to NBN's fixed access wholesale offering -- noting it continues to use these broadband services -- one industry observer questioned that statement. Optus' 5G home wireless broadband "seems pitched directly as an NBN alternative," Alex Choros of telco comparison site WhistleOut told The New Daily. "Priced at $70 per month, [FWA 5G] is the same price as Optus' cheapest NBN plan. The key difference between the two is speed."
A Tale of One Fiber
Optus uses NBN's wholesale network fiber for fixed wireline and its new 5G fixed wireless services.
Ubiquitous high-speed, low-latency broadband would improve European healthcare, according to a report released today by economists Oxera, based in part on population estimates by Eurostat. About 179 million people in the European Union have medical needs that remain unaddressed; lack of time is the issue for one-fourth of those surveyed and cost was the culprit for one-third of respondents. Gigabit broadband, powering telemedicine capabilities like diagnostics via video streaming and remote consultations, would improve the rates of early diagnosis, cut costs and travel and improve health, while 24-hour home-based monitoring for conditions like stroke would improve outcomes and save up to €35,000 (about $38,790) per patient annually, said Oxera in the report created for Liberty Global. (See High-Speed Broadband: The Prescription for a Healthier Country.)
UK communications regulator Ofcom appointed Jonathan Oxley as interim chief executive to cover for Sharon White, the current head who's leaving at the end of November. Oxley -- group director for competition and an Ofcom board member -- did not apply for the top spot, and expects to only hold onto the role until Ofcom announces a permanent replacement for White after the UK's general election on December 12.
Jurassic Fibre, whose name originates from its location on the so-called Jurassic Coast of southwest England and not from a preference for ancient technologies, started constructing a fiber-to-the-premise network. Trials are scheduled to start later this month.
Digging for Fiber Trenches, Not Dinos
Jurassic Fibre expects to avoid prehistoric beasts as it lays down miles of glass for high-speed broadband in southern UK.
For its part, Zen Internet lined up £20 million ($25.7 million) in credit from NatWest Bank to help it compete with larger ISPs, according to sister site Telecoms.com. About half the money will go toward installing Zen equipment in 250 exchanges, bringing it to a total of 700 -- or 500,000 of the UK's 1.7 million postcodes. Zen also plans to refinance debt and invest in its staff and product offerings, Telecoms.com reported.
ITI Neovision, which operates Canal+ in Poland, finalized its acquisition of a 70% stake in film distributor Kino Swiat, gathering 2,000-plus hours of theatrical and TV movies. Former owners Tomasz Karczewski and Marcin Piasecki now are minority stakeholders and retain their seats on the board. New board members include Frederic Berardi, who is now Kino Swiat's chairman, plus vice presidents Marta Palucka and Anna Limbach-Urun.
Missouri's broadband expansion grant program will award $5 million to help bring high-speed Internet to the almost one-fifth of state residents who are stuck in the broadband slow lane, Governor Mike Parson said on Tuesday. The program, developed in conjunction with the Department of Economic Development and Department of Agriculture, matches up to 50% of a broadband expansion project's construction costs -- including facilities, engineering and construction plans, installation and service validation, DED says on its website. Eligible applicants include corporations, Missouri-registered non-profits, rural electric coops and political subdivisions. Projects must benefit unserved or underserved areas, that is areas without access to fixed or wireless broadband with speeds of at least 10Mbit/s down and 1Mbit/s upstream.
To meet its goal of ensuring 90% of rural Pittsylvania County, Pa., residents have broadband access by 2024, the under-served region wants residents to complete an Internet-focused survey by December 31. Conducted in partnership with non-profit Center for Innovative Technology, the study also asks about how much households would be willing or able to pay for good Internet service and what that would allow them to do which they cannot accomplish today. In phase two of CIT's Broadband Path Program, the locality decides what its role will be, moving forward. Thirdly, the region creates a comprehensive, 10-year plan to develop public-private partnerships and widespread broadband infrastructure.
If you've booked a ticked to Washington, DC, for the FCC's November public meeting, it's time to change those arrangements: The commission now will hold the session on Friday, Nov. 22 (instead of Tuesday, Nov. 19) to allow Commissioner Michael O'Rielly's to attend the three-week-long World Radiocommunication Conference in Egypt. Topics on the FCC's November meeting agenda include: Banning Universal Service Fund broadband subsidies on "suspect network tech" from vendors such as Huawei and ZTE, unbundling voice and broadband, and removing "bad actors" from FCC programs.
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.