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April 3

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 "We've never had a spectrum shortage." Cell phone inventor Marty Cooper

Stanford Professor Andrea Goldsmith believes wireless capacity can increase 50 times in the next 5 to 10 years. We�ll soon have gigabits rather than the tens of megabits now typical. The cost of delivering each bit - or gigabyte - is dropping at a ferocious rate. Prices are staying high in most countries.

   Inability to sell the capacity coming online at the prices they want is far more of a problem for telcos than the wildly exaggerated spectrum "crisis." The result is a desperate effort to eliminate competitors around the world. It�s easy to see price-fixing is the goal behind Sprint/T-Mobile, Bouygues/SFR, Telefonica/E-Plus, Softbank/eAccess, AT&T/Leap and the massive CEO support for ETNO�s campaign to shrink the industry.

   Cell phone inventor Marty Cooper points out "we've never had a spectrum shortage." By and large, the �spectrum crisis� has been invented by politicians and lobbyists who pull politicians� strings. In all but  limited situations, there�s plenty of bandwidth and spectrum.

   Randall Stephenson and St�phane Richard lose sleep about competitors taking too many customers, �commoditizing� the mobile market. Smart public policy advocates dream about the same result - competition bringing prices in line with costs.

  To learn more about what's coming, join me and some of the world�s best engineers in two weeks at Ted Rappaport�s 5G event NYU Wireless center. In person http://bit.ly/QTwOe5 or at the (overly expensive) live-stream  http://bit.ly/1e39Ewh  In two years, Ted has built one of the world's best research centers at NYU.
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    Time Warner Cable has already announced 400 megabits to me in New York and their customers in LA. Kabel Deutschland is considering a gigabit over cable. So this week's Informa�s G.fast event in Berlin http://bit.ly/PM12i6. is particularly timely. Say hello to the round fellow with a beard.

    Plan ahead for the Marconi webinars: Sir David Payne on fiber�s future on April 29th and John Cioffi on �Gigabits to the billions� May 8. 


Cisco: Africa In 2017 To Have More Internet Users Than U.S. http://bit.ly/1g3nAAV
300,000,000 smartphones coming soon.
Carlos Slim of Telmex tells me the world is about to change. �Two billion more people will connect to the Internet when smartphones cost $50. The phone makers are promising me a $50 phone in 2014.� If Spreadtrum and Firefox deliver a $25 smartphone, as promised, that could accelerate takeover.
  ~310,000,000 Africans will be connected to the Internet in 2017, Arielle Sumits of Cisco predicts. The population of the U.S. is about 310,000,000, Africa over a billion. It�s inevitable that the U.S. will be dwarfed by the rest of the world. In Africa, there are already about 450,000,000 mobile phone users with substantial growth continuing. Most of them will get Internet-capable phones in the next few years.
   The Internet expansion is remarkable. Kenya is calling itself "Silicon Savannah" with an estimated 12M connections for 40M people. lat.ms/1gLNo69 98% are wireless. Dr. Bitange Ndemo as Communications Minister proposed some of the most advanced spectrum policies in the world. Building a single network in 100 MHz provides an estimated 30%-70% more capacity. Many of the African regulators understand networks better than any recent FCC commissioner. Most are engineers, several with doctorates. more  http://bit.ly/1g3nAAV

*** G.fast Focus Day at Informa Berlin Tuesday April 8
Five top analysts project the future. Rupert Wood, Stephen Wilson, Teresa Mastrangelo, Erik Keith & Richard Jones. Alcatel, Sckipio and others. http://bit.ly/PM12i6 (ad) I'm chairing and will make sure there's plenty of substance. For the record, they are covering my expenses.

Gigabit and Faster Wireless Surprisingly Close http://bit.ly/1ejvYMB
Continue skeptical but world-class engineers are highly confident
The Marconi webinar, The Remarkable Wireless Future, outlines the next ten years from the engineer�s point of view http://bit.ly/1hiCYiw. Marconi Prizewinners Henry Samueli and A.J. Paulraj, joined by Professor Goldsmith, were in general agreement with the forecast of remarkable technical improvement.
   Since 2010 and 3GPP Release 10 & 11, LTE Advanced, the road ahead has been clear. There�s a natural 8-10x improvement from LTE Advanced; that can double or better with a second SSID on everyone�s home gateway. WiFi is taking 70% of the load off the towers. �Bottoms-up� is today�s most efficient network design, reusing the same spectrum from local small cells.
   Stage 1 LTE Advanced, starting to deploy, will produce about a 300% improvement. The key innovations are 2x2 MIMO and and Carrier Aggregation, which puts more of the available spectrum to use. The iPhone  and many others have the necessary extra small antenna. Verizon and Korea Telecom have already begun. Deutsche Telekom, AT&T Vodafone and Sprint are among those jumping on.
   Stage 2 LTE Advanced will yield ~300% additional. Ericsson has a great video of a van driving,around Stockholm at 800 megabits. MIMO can go to 8x8, aggregation to 100 MHz. The spectrum is generally there - Deutsche Telekom recently added 95 MHz, Africa and Asia will generate as much from the digital dividend. Alcatel, Nokia, Huawei and others are confident this will all be product in 3-6 years.
    There is an straightforward 15x to 25x improvement from LTE Advanced, related technologies including beam-forming and SON and putting WiFi to use. After that, 5G will likely add 300%-500%. 5G will add immense batches of spectrum using higher frequencies and millimeter waves. MU-MIMO and probably cognitive radio should move from the labs to our phones.
    Politics may prevent putting all that capacity to work. Internet companies benefit from cheaper service so they are on the people�s side here. Google sent Milo Medin and Microsoft Craig Mundie to a D.C. event promoting spectrum sharing, just one of the tools. http://bit.ly/1q91fak The telcos, who once lived and died by regulation, still dominate the discussion. A telco wants more monopoly spectrum, a wildly inefficient use. Telcos lose heavily from public and free wireless, which they generally try to block. The result: the technology is in sight for real great wireless but the public may see limited benefit.    
   Much more to come, including what I learned from two days of video interviews with the inventor of MIMO.

*** ASSIA is Vectoring.
Get the Smart Vectoring white paper.
ASSIA engineers invented vectoring in 2004 and continue to lead the industry today. (ad) http://bit.ly/1oENrc4

Vectoring Goes Live After 10 Years http://bit.ly/OnK6NS
Belgacom world's first commercial deployment. Eircom next.
Thousands of homes are connected at a solid, reliable 70 megabits down in Belgium, Ten years ago John Cioffi and George Ginis wrote the paper that introduced vectoring and it's been a long wait. Customers previously getting 30 meg down are now receiving 70 meg.  The DSLAMs are Alcatel-Lucent with Broadcom chips inside. The DSLAM are true nodes, not simple Board Level Vectoring. The new home boxes (BBox 3)  are from Sagemcom and Technicolor, with Broadcom chips. It wasn't easy, but the previous home box (BBox 2) with Ikanos chips has been made "vector-friendly."
  "Many but not all the lines up to 200 meters are testing at 100 megabits. We chose to be conservative and cap speeds at 70 meg. So far, the vectored lines are proving highly stable, G.inp and Seamless Rate Adaptation are proving helpful." "The vectoring engine is working," Delcoigne confirms.
    Eircom is also beginning to serve customers with vectoring. DT is installing millions of lines of vector gear but hasn�t turned them on yet. much more http://bit.ly/OnK6NS

*** Fixed Access Summit Tuesday April 8-10
From Informa, the company behind the Broadband Wold Forum http://bit.ly/PM12i6 (ad)

$200 For Fiber To The Basement In East Europe http://bit.ly/1mQ7u2R
The going estimate for fiber to a typical neighborhood is $300-$500/unit, based on actual experience at DT, BT, AT&T and others. Analysys-Mason's Rupert Wood surprised me with the $200/unit estimate so I asked for details.
   This is an actual figure from several Eastern European carriers, Rupert writes me, not just one. He shared enough details to convince me $200 corresponds to what these operators are seeing. Unfortunately, client confidentiality prohibits my publishing the specifics.
   In one case, the local carrier saved money by using "non-carrier-grade" switches. In two others, the fiber went aboveground, less expensive than digging. But in all cases, customers are being served, often with 100 megabit service. I believe some of these carriers are making money despite prices much lower than the West.
  Cost accounting is always guesswork based on highly subjective choices.   Make your estimates based on a close look at the data. More http://bit.ly/1mQ7u2R

~$1,000/Home Fiber At CenturyQwest http://bit.ly/1fSAkhC
45,000 homes passed in Nebraska.
Randall Stephenson of AT&T last year claimed "fiber costs have come all the way down" and Stu Ewing of Century just confirmed a figure of about $1,000 in modestly dense areas. "In Omaha, where we have done fiber-to-the-home to about 45,000 homes and it costs us about $600 per home passed to do that in Omaha. When you enable a house, a home and get the drop and the ONU and the set-top boxes, it�s $1,000 to $1,200 per home." http://bit.ly/1frXuH1 Obviously, fiber costs can be much higher. But Verizon, Bell Aliant and now Century are reaching the majority of homes at a relatively modest cost. more http://bit.ly/1fSAkhC

*** ASSIA Active Care dramatically reduces DSL call center costs.
Get the case study http://bit.ly/PC1jnU (ad) I've seen the data and it's working well. Fewer dispatches, happier customers. Do check it out. Big data put to work.

Perlman's PCell Loaded With Hype http://bit.ly/1fgTuNA
Steve Perlman's pCell claims require a reality distortion field.
His claims about �inventions� included some so bogus I think him closer to Bernie Madoff than Steve Jobs. If you read the New York Times article, you'd think Steve will revolutionize wireless in the next 18 months. At close look, the "breakthrough" is the ability to send 48 megabits over spectrum capable100 megabits. Duh. pCell may or may not have some interesting advances inside their black box. Nick Wingfield in the Times believed a demo that could be reproduced on a cheap home WiFi router demonstrates a wireless breakthrough nyti.ms/1cZx3rS.  The Times showed 8 iPhones simultaneously playing HD video. Reporter Nick Wingfield wrote, "that would ordinarily bring a cellular network to its knees." That�s an error. Netflix streams at 5.5 mbps or less, so 8 streams is less than the 50 megabits even a modest cell site delivers, with 100-150 megabits becoming the standard rapidly. Within the space of a loft, speeds would be much higher. A 300 megabit router at Fry's this week costs $44.95 http://http://bit.ly/1ghadhU; Fry's is selling a gigabit router for $129.95 http://bit.ly/O9rWQM. Ericsson has demo'd 800 megabit LTE in a van driving around Stockholm. 48 megabits or even 400 megabits in a small space is not an advance.

   What Steve really showed is a lot of hot air and what appears to be a prototype MU-MIMO system. If he has that production ready, that would be an important advance similar to work going on at all the major wireless vendors. Stanford researchers and many others have been working on for years. Literally in the last century, Stanford Professor AJ Paulraj described such systems.  more http://bit.ly/1fgTuNA

No One Buys Cable Caps At Time Warner http://bit.ly/1mT8aay
Fewer than 1 in 100 take 30 gig cap for $5 discount.
CEO Rob Marcus reports only "thousands" of Time Warner's 11M customers are taking the discount after 6 months. He still supports the idea because he wants to charge heavier users more. "Notwithstanding the low uptake of usage-based tiers, I think it's a very important component of our overall pricing philosophy." Thanks to Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica for catching the comment. Another interesting datapoint from Marcus was that only about 8% of data customers buy their own modem.
   Marcus explained that Comcast deal was much more attractive than Charter because he had "significant concerns about the value of Charter stock" inspired me to look at the price of Charter stock. A market cap of $13B and debt of about $14B values the company at ~$6,000/subscriber. That's very hard to justify on any plausible earnings, even if John Malone is a financial magician and Tom Rutledge a strong operations manager.
  My latest bill from Time Warner for regular cable modem service was $63/month, up about 40% in just a few years.  

OFCOM: Vectoring And Unbundling Can Work Together http://bit.ly/1e3MtSn
Practicalities not determined.
The British regulator in an updated paper declares "there are two ways in which vectoring and SLU may work together." http://bit.ly/MfNLwI They add that BT has already begun a trial and may very soon roll out vectoring, as I previously reported http://bit.ly/ZAGM3w. BT now seems to be wavering on vectoring. In technical committees, they are fighting competitors because they don't want to cede control.
   Incumbents love the idea that vectoring imust be a monopoly and have been pushing that hard. Competitors strongly disagree. Alcatel's Mamoun Guenach and Jochen Maes in a very interesting paper confirm that it is possible to unbundle with vectoring. http://resources.alcatel-lucent.com/?cid=167838. They are skeptical it will prove practical, which is the heart of the current debate. Until vectoring gets to wide field deployments and tested, the argument is all theoretical.
 As the young man told the judge after killing his mother and father, "Please have pity on me because I am an orphan." more http://bit.ly/1e3MtSn


France Telecom Wants Fiber To The Basement, Not All The Way Home  http://bit.ly/1qdaSqg
Should France go gigabit or is 50-100 meg just fine.
As part of the "incumbent takeover" spreading across Europe, France Telecom is fighting against government policy for full fiber home. Amidst pushback, ARCEP has called for a public consultation. (see below). Fiber home can deliver a reliable gigabit today, but Germany, Australia and England have decided the cheaper 50-100 megabits of DSL is all they will need for a decade and probably more. FT hopes to save a few hundred dollars per install, especially because they will draw power from the customers rather than the electric company.
   Prettified with the name "fiber to the distribution point" (FTTdp), FT's plan puts a box in the basement and uses the copper to the apartment. They are already testing this in Poland with a box from Aethra, an Italian company using Lantiq VDSL chips. The Aethra box is single user, making vectored performance unlikely. There's no obvious way to connect the boxes for exchanging the information required for vectoring.They claim 200 megabits down although it looks like they are using VDSL2 chips normally considered 100 megabits.  more  http://bit.ly/1qdaSqg

*** Building the Optimal NGA Service Portfolio; A crucial new report from Beno�t Felten on surviving and thriving with next-generation networks. How to build a portfolio that balances attractiveness (to maximise take-up) and profitability (to optimise payback). http://bit.ly/YT74ui

G.Fast DSL Has Momentum But G.Hn Networking Wants Some Action http://bit.ly/1hvxX0c
Production-ready G.hn/G.now silicon for fiber to the basement.
The G.hn "home networking" folks are promising 200-400 megabit service 50 & 100 meters. They hope to steal some of the quickly mounting clamour for G.fast. (see pr at end) They are ready with high speed chips while real performance of G.fast chips remains speculative. This initiative, called G.now, shouldn't be surprising. The G.hn and powerline folk pioneered using frequencies to 100 MHz and 200 MHz, which is the heart of G.fast. Key G.fast engineers like Dudi Baum at Sckipio previously worked on powerline,

 Telco CTOs must have a plan for higher speeds. although I don't know any where the CFO has signed off on actual deployments. Cable is going to 400 megabits (shared) in New York and Los Angeles this year. Berlin, Brussels, Zurich and Amsterdam are likely to soon follow. There's very little difference in cost today between "up to 400 megabit" cable service and the older 10 meg. 1,000 megabit cable is almost production-ready. Deutsche Telekom, Telia-Sonera, Belgacom and France Telecom are jumping on the bandwagon. Another giant telco, facing unexpected fiber competition, is preparing a G.fast trial. They want to see whether they can get the competitive performance they need with copper in the last 100 meters.more http://bit.ly/1hvxX0c

G.Fast & FTTdp Get New Model From Lantiq http://bit.ly/1hvxb3w
300 MHz signals behave differently from 30 MHz signals.
Old models, such as the ETSI model for VDSL, do not accurately measure performance at higher frequencies. In the chart, there's a major difference from the theoretical curves predicted by older models and the actual performance measured by Deutsche Telekom. (The ragged plot of the actual measurements falls far below the smooth curves of the older models.)   

  Rainer Strobel of Lantiq,  Reinhard Stolle of Hochschule Augsburg and Wolfgang Utschick of Technische Universit�t M�nchen have built a new model that better fits the data. They write me "The industry is using a a cable model back from 1998, originally designed to describe cable properties for single line ADSL transmission. These models, adopted by ETSI and NIPP-NAI, served their purpose reasonably well for VDSL2  frequencies (<30MHz).  More  http://bit.ly/1hvxb3w 

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Volume 13, #1 April 3, 2014 

Jan 1


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“The cost dynamics of deploying fiber have radically changed. The interfaces. the home wiring requirements, how you get a drop to a pole and splice it, it’s just totally changed.” ATT CEO Randall Stephenson at Goldman Sachs. 

René Obermann on New Year's Day abandoned the CEO job at Deutsche Telekom, previously a job no one would quit. Carriers around the world face revenue that is likely to decline as network costs come down faster than demand grows. Even on wireless data, signs of overcapacity are everywhere. Cell phone inventor Marty Cooper tells me there's no spectrum shortage in site; don't miss his January 15th Marconi webinar. (Below)
   Technology marches on. EE turned on 300 megabit wireless in parts of East London. Three carriers in Korea are selling 150 meg LTE-A (shared). 400 meg plus (shared) cable boxes are shipping at Rogers in Canada and Liberty in Germany and Holland. The German boxes are capable of a gigabit over standard Euro DOCSIS.  http://bit.ly/166xQJF Gigabit fiber is expanding from Australia to the island of Jersey off Normandy. At Vermont Tel, the price is less than $60. Nearly 100M Chinese homes are passed by fiber and over 40M have subscribed.  
   At BBWF Amsterdam, the dog didn’t bark about vectored DSL. 20 telcos discussed plans but none have launched two years after a key vendor claimed gear was ready. Nicolas Parmentier of Belgacom will turn on service in a few months; the peak speed initially will be 50-70 megabits, not the 100 megabits in earlier headlines. Engineers I respect are confident the higher speeds are coming and problems will soon solved, but the path is rough. Germany, Australia, Belgium, Switzerland and much of China have dropped planned fiber builds in favor of 100 megabit vectored DSL. Over 2M lines of "vector-capable" DSL have shipped but software and network bugs have prevented turning them on. 
   Meanwhile, wireless and wired traffic growth has come down by 30-50% in three years. Capital spending is flat to down but capacity is still outstripping demand at current prices. Even in busy cities, networks are almost always could handle more customers if they could be found. T-Mobile in the U.S. and Free.fr accepted that and reduced prices; Deutsche Telekom can't do the same without cutting dividends.
   2014 will see prices coming down in every almost country where competition is working. The big carriers are fighting as if their life depended on reducing competition and building cartels. Randall Stephenson of AT&T offered $39B to get rid of T-Mobile, at least $10B more than the company was worth alive. Euro giants may have convinced Neelie Kroes at the EU to let them swallow  fourth operators like E-Plus in Germany while increasing the price of the monopoly unbundled line.  
     The income shortfall has been obvious for more than a year with Telefonica skipping dividends and AT&T only maintaining their payout by borrowing more. 
-------------------

  Marty Cooper, who invented the cellphone, is doing a webinar “Solving Spectrum Shortages” for the Marconi Society Jan 15 at 1 p.m. EST. Marty says we’ve never had a spectrum crisis and shouldn’t have one in the future either. But JC at AT&T has a $100M influence budget and it’s only now people are realizing it was total spin. I’m moderating, and also will do a Marconi webinar with Arogyaswami Paulraj, the inventor of MIMO, in March. The fellows of the Marconi Society are the finest communication engineers in the world and I’m working with them to promote their ideas.
--------------
  This issue is for Yang Zhong, the 16 year old boy arrested in China’s massive crackdown on “internet rumors” and for Peter Ldhituachi Simani, a Director of Kenya’s Communication Commission, who died in the Westgate Mall. The vitality of Africa’s Internet community, particularly in Kenya, is a great story little known in the developed world.

First Look: Germany Puts Off Vectoring Another Six Months http://bit.ly/1hZ5TsB 

DT is having more problems than I knew. 
Deutsche Telekom is starting to build 12-24M lines of Vectored DSL, turning on 10 cities at half speed. ut they aren't turning on full vectoring until the second half of 2014. Belgacom is turning on vectoring in ?February, but throttling down the top speed to 70 megabits. Alcatel is still putting out press releases with how many "vector-ready" lines they have, but they clearly aren't ready.
   Deutsche Telekom had promised regulator Jochen Homann they would roll 100 meg in 2013. In return, he gave them huge concessions likely to substantially cut competition and raise prices on high speeds. They'd be stupid to embarass Homan unless they had no choice because the system wasn't working. DT isn't stupid. 
   The software and probably the firmware on Alcatel's gear (and probably Adtran's) is not working effectively yet in the real world. No one is giving me straight answers about what exactly are the problems; I know part of the trouble is interference from older DSL and data lines. DT is not replacing all the old ADSL and earlier VDSL modems in the field, meaning they have to make vectoring work with non-vectored lines in the same bundle.
  DT tried to mislead the press about what's going on, writing a press release and telling reporters they are now delivering vectored DSL. There are 77K lines ready to go, 1M planned for the first quarter and three million for the end of the year.  A little more and DT's release http://bit.ly/1hZ5TsB 

 

*** Solving Spectrum Shortages January 15 http://bit.ly/1k83InV 
Cell phone inventor Marty Cooper, the 2013 Marconi Prize winner. believes, "Technology will continue multiplying the available throughput of spectrum.We've never had a scarcity of spectrum." Cooper adds. He is joined by Professor Theodore Rappaport, policy expert Michael Calabrese,  and Felix Gutierrez, (psa) An event not to be missed. 

AT&T CEO: Fiber Costs Have Plummetedhttp://bit.ly/1bb5DTS 
“The cost dynamics of deploying fiber have radically changed. 
The interfaces. the home wiring requirements, how you get a drop to a pole and splice it, it’s just totally changed.” 
That's straight from CEO Randall Stephenson speaking to investors at Goldman Sachs. Randall personally killed 30 million lines of fiber home in 2004, so his change of opinion is significant.  Randall is implying that many homes could be reached at $600-1,000 per, a realistic figure where distances are short and conditions favorable. At least 30% of homes in most countries will cost more than that, so that is not a figure to use, for example, to analyze Australia's planned 90% deployment. I know the actual costs in one rural build are over $3,000/home passed.
    Few realize how close AT&T/SBC was to building the world's largest fiber network until Randall pulled the plug. Paul Lacouture, who led Verizon FiOS, credits much of the engineering to a joint effort with Ross Ireland, then SBC/AT&T CTO and BellSouth's CTO Bill Smith. "Ross was inspiring," Paul told me a few years ago. Randall decided he didn’t like the numbers and preferred to concede the broadband lead to cable.
  Back in 2004, then CFO Stephenson looked me in the eyes, asking “Why would anyone ever want more than 24 megabits?” Ten years later, he’s pushed U-Verse to 45 meg and “we have line of sight to 100 megabit.” In addition, “[After Austin] you will see us doing more and more cities across the country.” But “I don’t see our capital requirements in total changing.” AT&T is unlikely even to do even 5-10% of their homes in the next few years.  The gear is $100/home in China Telecom quantities (60M homes passed) and the Bells buy in the millions.  From Angola to Malaysia, telcos are going straight to gigabit fiber for new builds. The cost is little more than copper or coax. For existing networks, including almost all of Europe, DSL is still the telcos primary choice.
   DSL/FTTN remains significantly cheaper. Deutsche Telekom estimates getting fiber to within 500-1,000 meters of most of Germany will cost about $400, including the fiber pull and terminals. AT&T U-Verse came in below that.  More on fiber costs http://bit.ly/1bb5DTS This storyhttp://bit.ly/1bb5DTS 

*** ASSIA INTRODUCES THE WORLD’S FIRST COMPREHENSIVE HOME WI-FI MANAGEMENT SERVICE Expresse Wi-Fi Designed to Improve Consumer Wi-Fi Performance by 100 Percent, Helps Users Enjoy the Wireless Experience They Desirehttp://bit.ly/T3sMxr (ad)

300 Page G.Fast Standardized, Supported By Deutsche Telekom http://bit.ly/18PsO64 
Dudi Baum of Sckipio expects chips in 2014, gear in 2015. 
ITU-T Study Group 15 on Dec 6 consented a standard for G.fast. SG Chair Tom Starr writes "The members of ITU-T Q4/15 worked 14 hours per day last week and the G.fast editor, Les Brown, worked 18 hours on most days to keep up with incorporating the material generated by the group. 
    It was a great cooperative effort by the DSL dream team consisting of four system vendors, five chip vendors, six service providers, and one DSL management system company.  The G.fast document is 300 pages long and will grow as enhancements are made in the future.  G.fast borrowed the best parts of VDSL2 and re-invented the parts needing improvement.  The benefits of G.fast are compelling: fiber-like speed with the operational simplicity of ADSL.  Aggregate bit-rates of up to 1 Gb/s can be achieved for very short lines using the full 2  106 MHz bandwidth, but real-world services will likely be slower."
    Besides speed, G.Fast is designed to work without mains power, drawing current from the modems in people's home. That's called "parasitical power." The backhaul will almost always be fiber, so it's also called FTTdp - fiber to the distribution point. 
On short copper loops - 50-200 meters - DSL using higher frequencies can deliver speeds above 250 megabits. In the extreme case, a gigabit is possible, but that's unlikely to be commonly available. See "G.fast will not bring you a gigabit" 
http://bit.ly/18fksz6
    Money is flowing in. Israeli chipmaker Sckipio raised $10M to support two dozen engineers working to get G.fast chips to market. He's confident the consented standard is close enough to final that they can finish their designs. All the other chipmakers are looking hard but I don't know how close they are to market. Broadcom is making promises to customers of some kind of 200 megabit chip coming but it doesn't look like it will achieve the standard.
   Deutsche Telekom CTO Bruno Jacobfeuerborn has G.Fast on his roadmap, promising 500 Mbit / s in an interview with Martin Neuhetski 
http://bit.ly/1gi4g80 . Swisscom also has plans and Telecom Austria has done trials with Alcatel prototypes. Everyone is anxious to test real equipment when it comes to market. Some think the speed is needed to compete with cable for customers. Some think the cost savings compared to fiber home are huge. Others are skeptical of both.
    The wildcard is how soon 5G wireless delivers gigabits and more. ?2020 ?later A little more http://bit.ly/18PsO64 

*** Building the Optimal NGA Service Portfolio; A crucial new report from Benoît Felten on surviving and thriving with next-generation networks. How to build a portfolio that balances attractiveness (to maximise take-up) and profitability (to optimise payback). http://bit.ly/YT74ui 

Broadcast Worried About G.Fast Interferencehttp://bit.ly/1dpmaCH 
Unproven problem but worrisome on real world copper.
 
G.Fast achieves more bandwidth by using higher frequencies, overlapping the frequencies used in broadcast. The shielding on the cable is supposed to avoid problems, as is the provision in the G.Fast standard for "notches" to avoid using frequencies that cause interference. The "radio" division of ITU, which oversees broadcasting frequencies, was worried about problems and issued a report in April 2013. More http://bit.ly/1dpmaCH 

*** ASSIA Smart Vectoring deals with the remaining network-trashing noises that vectoring exposes but cannot cancel or address. http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

Q3 China + 4.3M, U.S. +600K http://bit.ly/1aopXvK 
China Telecom added 2.2M wireline broadband subscribers and China Unicom 1.7M to 64.4M.
 
China Telecom at the end of October reached 98.75M subs and around Christmas will pass 100M. 20M of those are fiber, often to the basement rather than the apartment. Point-Topic believes there actually was a modest decline in DSL in favor of fiber, but the Chinese companies deliberately obscure those figures. LTE is coming on December 16, when China Mobile will turn on an LTE network approaching 200,000 cells, more than all the U.S. carriers combined. China Telecom has to match that quickly, so may be cutting wireline capex an amazing 50%. That would stop the fiber rollout.
http://bit.ly/18jAuLg It may also just be posturing to encourage a government broadband subsidy. In any case, LTE data without wireline will begin to serve 5-25% of the broadband market who don't need high capacity. This will inevitably slow DSL & fiber, perhaps to virtually no growth in the U.S. and Western Europe in a few years. 
    In the U.S., cablecos Time Warner (-9K) and Cablevision (-13K) actually had a drop, rare for cable. Both face Verizon FiOS in New York, where Verizon is being very aggressive with a ~$85 triple play for new customers only. (U.S. triple play at regular prices is $130-160, twice the charge in many other countries.) Comcast was +300K and Charter +100K, yielding an overall decent quarter for cable.  AT&T U-Verse was less aggressively marketed and couldn't make up for the loss of DSL lines outside the U-Verse footprint. Leichtman calculates "AT&T and Verizon added 828,000 fiber subscribers (via U-verse and FiOS) in 3Q 2013, while having a net loss of 798,000 DSL subscribers. U-verse and FiOS broadband subscribers now account for 45% of Telco broadband subscribers." Both companies are retreating to about 75% of their territory with the intent to drop landlines elsewhere as soon as the FCC allows it. 


Vectoring Costs From $300 (Dense) To $1500 (Fiber To The Farm) http://bit.ly/1cmBqvI 
Lobbyist BREKO provides estimates. 
WIK, a respected consulting group, estimates that in the densest 5% of Germany (2750 lines per km ²) vectoring 2M homes would cost 430M euros, about USD 300 per home passed. The least dense 5% would cost 2 billion euro, or about $1,400/home passed. Based on what I've learned working on a network in Vermont, the later figure is low even if some are served with LTE. The last 1% can be brutally expensive to reach. I distrust lobbyist funded studies, but Karl-Heinz Neumann and Scott Marcus of WIK have earned my respect from prior work. 
     This is in line with Deutsche Telekom's estimates of about $400/home passed. They are only doing 66% of the country, primarily the largest cities. In lower cost countries like the U.S., the per-home figure would be even lower. 
     Extending these figures to a company like AT&T yields a ~$6B cost for upgrading 25M U-Verse homes from the current 25-45 meg down to 50-100 meg down via vectoring. That's using a figure of $250/home passed, a reasonable estimate because AT&T already has neighborhood fiber to the nodes. AT&T nodes are often up to 2,000 meters, so more nodes would need to be added to bring the distances down to vectoring's 500-1000 meters. That's about 10% of AT&T's 3 year capital spending, so a figure they could absorb if they chose. More including a chart http://bit.ly/1cmBqvI 


Belgacom Chairman Michel Moll Out After $M Huawei Payment http ://bit.ly/1el6PTf
"I only gave them strategic advice, but certainly not about Belgium or Europe."
Alcatel and Siemens used to be the biggest bribe payers in this business, with Siemens pleading guilty to over $1B and Alcatel over $100M. Siemens is now completely out of telecom gear and a friend at the top of Alcatel tells me "We don't do that anymore." Huawei apparently is taking over as a leader in questionable payments, with problems in several countries around the world.
   Belgacom, generally considered one of Europe's best-run telcos, is 53% owned by the Belgium government and Moll's position required political approval. He's being succeeded by Stefaan De Clerck, who "has served as chairman of Christian Democratic and Flemish party and held a seat in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (Wikipedia)." Presumably, someone at Huawei has already selected the intermediary to make donations to the party.
  There's a bridge from Brooklyn to Manhattan I'd like to sell to anyone who believes the million was not related to Moll's job at Belgacom. A little morehttp://bit.ly/1el6PTf
   More recently, CEO Didier Bellens was fired. He cursed out government policy and said rude things about the politicians. He’ll have to sue to get any severance. 


Telecom Austria: So Many Scandals They Get Numbers, not Names
“The years of corruption in Telekom Austria  has led to [so] many criminal cases that they are numbered for clarity.” 
Daniel Sokolov in Heise. Much is just garden variety embezzlement and the like, but millions of Euros also were laundered and given to Jörg Haider’s far right BZO party. Several are going to jail but most received suspended sentences. Heise has the results of Telecom Austria III and IV and links to their reporting on previous cases. http://bit.ly/1h5yZ8p

$21 For 2 Meg From Time Warner Cablehttp://bit.ly/1hfPIpR
10M connected by Comcast's $10 for the poor. 
High prices mean almost a third of U.S. homes don't take broadband, but now TWC is offering nearly 25% of the U.S. a reasonable connection for $21/month. It's 2 down, 1 up and doesn't have a silly cap. If you buy your own modem, cheap on eBay, it goes down to $15/month. This is a regular price, available to all, not a 12 month cheap taste of broadband to get you addicted.  They intend to knock out 3 meg DSL, whose price has gone up.  
        Before Obama was elected, most of the U.S. could get a minimal broadband connection from the telcos for $15/month. Julius Genachowski talked about broadband but allowed low end prices to go over $30 most places. In Verizon FiOS territory, the cheapest connection is now an amazing $70/month. Next time Randall of AT&T visits the White House, maybe his new friend Barack can talk him into more reasonable prices.
        Comcast's program offering 3 meg for $10 for any poor family is doing more for adoption than anything else in the U.S., especially as they keep improving the program to make it easier to qualify. David Cohen of Comcast just announced 1M are now connected and the number will only go up. Anyone with a kid in school and a low income qualifies. Unlike the mostly pr "Connect to Compete" the other cablecos offer, Comcast doesn't kick out families after a brief introductory period.  
     The marginal cost for a large company to add broadband to existing wires is about $8/month, including less than $1 for bandwidth. Both figures are falling, as routers. modems and other gear  So $10-$25 offers aren't charity, especially because many will upgrade to the far more profitable other offerings.  
      Low prices are the only method proven to work to increase adoption.
http://bit.ly/1hfPIpR

Good News: Alcatel LTE In China Telecomhttp://bit.ly/1hC3bE9 
I was glad to break some good news for Alcatel just after 15,000 layoffs. 
China Telecom is upgrading 60,000 towers to LTE, a network larger than Verizon or any western European network. Alcatel-Shanghai Bell was one of the three big winners along with Huawei and ZTE. They are the purple segment on this chart from C114, a very useful Chinese site.http://bit.ly/15ZsJpp No prices were announced, but this may well be a multi-billion dollar deal. Datung, Nokia and Ericsson also won part of the contract. I believe I'm the first to report this in English.
   Alcatel-Shanghai Bell also won a substantial share of China Mobile's giant 207,000 site TD-LTE rollout. China Mobile's contract is for at least 3 times as many towers as any other network build in the world. PR below. Alcatel is also working closely with China Telecom on vectored VDSL. There's no public announcement yet but CT is likely to deploy tens of millions of vectored lines over the next few years. 
  Alcatel remains among the best in the world. 

Lantiq: Strong Progress On Vector Interoperabilityhttp://bit.ly/1awr5y4
China Telecom leads intensive testing. 
Deutsche Telekom has begun spending $3-10B on vectored DSL; the NBN in Australia is defining a 4-5M line deployment; Telecom Italia and Swisscom/Fastnet are hashing out the details on another 4M lines; British Telecom and China Telecom are both considering millions of lines. Everyone in broadband is looking intensely at the field trials and interoperability testing to resolve the remaining problems. Something like 3M “vector-ready” DSLAM ports have shipped. although fewer than 1 in 100 of them are working in vectored mode..
   Hans-Peter Trost of Lantiq tells me they are knocking themselves out to make the coming service launches smooth. “We test systems that are fully vectored but also bundles with legacy modems, where crosstalk can’t be eliminated. We recently successfully concluded vectoring IOP testing at China Telecom. Besides testing on operator specific cables this included interoperability testing of Lantiq based CPEs and CO equipment against other chip vendor based COs and CPEs.
   DT is confident enough the problems will be solved they have ordered several hundred million euros worth of equipment from Adtran and Alcatel. A little more, including a diagram of China Telecom testinghttp://bit.ly/1awr5y4

France's $13 Unlimited Voice, SMS Confirms Mobile Glut http://bit.ly/16Wt2HE
The carriers’ real problem is not spectrum but more capacity than they can sell. 
Under $20 with 1 Gig of Data. Coriolis, riding the excellent SFR network, has brought French mobile prices down even further. For $13, you get unlimited voice + SMS and 100 meg of data, enough to occasionally check in when you're out of WiFi range. That doesn't go very far, but it's enough to load in a few Google maps and check your email when traveling. No contract, a few rules that will not be onerous for most people.
    Pricing like that, half the cheapest prepaid plans from Sprint or AT&T, convinces me that the capacity glut I'm seeing extends far beyond the U.S. 
   Spectrum remains a factor in network costs but is very much secondary in most markets. For a company like AT&T, which I know well, not getting much new spectrum might add a cost of 2-3% of customer prices over the decade, a fraction of the marketing budget. More http://bit.ly/16Wt2HE The “Spectrum shortage is B______” manifesto http://bit.ly/1dD6qgW  Detailshttp://bit.ly/1aopE48 

Rogers Cable Big Fiber Home RFPhttp://bit.ly/13UW2f3 
Some think cablecos will move to fiber 
Does fiber replace DOCSIS? Alcatel thinks so, touting their new fiber customer, small Japanese cableco Tonami . Rogers might be the first big  one to switch. I've learned they now have an RFP out for large volumes. Rogers began a limited deployment in Toronto and Mocton last year.  The decision will probably wait on the new CEO, Guy Laurence, just hired from Vodafone. He's a "think different" kind of guy who got rid of all the desks at Vodafone UK. Execs get a file cabinet drawer, a laptop and a mobile. He wouldn't be afraid to be the first major cable exec in the world to move away from coax.
  Rogers remains family controlled. Edward Rogers III is only 44 and able to take a long term view. That doesn't mean the move to fiber is inevitable. Time Warner Cable technical people for years have contemplated the switch but never deployed seriously. Most in cable think coax still has a bright future; gigabit cable modems are starting to ship. http://bit.ly/16YUeBU . Rogers is buying some of the first and already offers 250 megabit service. Fiber remains expensive to run, although the cost keeps coming down. In quantity ten million, the cost per home of fiber gear is less than $100. 
     "This is not a beta. ... Rogers is implementing a first market rollout of fibre to the home in select regions in Toronto and the Atlantic," Jeff Baumgartner reported ubm.io/14QCQfC. Even if they go ahead, reaching Rogers 4M homes will likely take decades. 
     People are scared in Rogers Tower because Laurence fired a quarter of the staff when he took over Vodafone UK. http://bit.ly/13UW2f3 

ASSIA Wins DSL Patent Case Against British Telecomhttp://bit.ly/1aopE48 
Automatically setting each subscriber profile. 
John Cioffi founded ASSIA because he saw ways to make DSL networks more reliable by dynamically adjusting the network based on regular testing of every line. Carriers serving over 65M lines of DSL believe the techniques work well enough to purchase ASSIA's software and service. BT hasn't bought ASSIA software and Mr Justice Birss found that BT's NGA broadband network system infringes EP (UK) 1,869,790 and that the patent is valid. ASSIA tells me they believe the patent is not "standards-essential" and royalties are not limited by "FRAND." That suggests the potential royalties ASSIA may win are substantial; the TI vs Ikanos/Globespan patent case resulted in an 8 figure settlement. 
   Reporting beyond that becomes subjective so I'll stop here although this is an important story for the industry. I'm on ASSIA's Advisory Board and have a conflict of interest. A BT Spokesperson told ISPreview.co.uk: “The decision will have no material effect on the operation of BT’s networks.” Morehttp://bit.ly/1aopE48  


briefs
 

  • Eli Noam told us nearly a decade ago that the “long tail” wouldn’t dominate web choices. Instead, the ease of finding the most popular would drive much of the great middle towards extinction. That’s clearly happened in Hollywood, where both Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have bemoaned the business is abandoning ideas unlikely to become blockbusters. “Mid-market” book writers have been abandoned by publishers in droves. Nick Wingfield now reports, “Shrinking List of Video Games Is Dominated by Blockbusters. As video game players’ tastes shift toward smartphones and tablets, more of the money spent on console games goes to a small number of blockbusters.” NYT.

press

  • @fiberguy - Benoit Felten - tweeted “Surfing / emailing from a plane should be mandatory to all idiots who think satellite is a satisfactory broadband solution for rural.” LTE is going to 98-99% in most of the developed world, including England and the U.S. But the right solution for that last 1% is tough. Satellite is a lot faster these days but latency is still annoying.
  • Kevin Fitchard of GigaOm “At GigaOM it doesn’t cost any more to call my colleagues on the phone than it does to use a service like Skype or Google Hangouts. But the more we use those services the more the idea of making a phone call becomes an afterthought. If operators aren’t careful there will soon come a day when consumers bypass the phone dialer and SMS clients on their mobile phones completely, opting for whatever enhanced communications service Google or Facebook will offer.” http://bit.ly/18hHCsR
  • Jon Brodkin of ARS has an excellent article that cable is ready for a gig but deployments will likely be rare. http://bit.ly/1dMRXjV
  • Martin Geddes has a great introduction to IPX athttp://bit.ly/1cLoIfM.  What’s IPX? It is the IP exchange the carriers want to set up to control quality of service on the big networks of the world, including for exchanges of HD voice and HD videoconferencing. I’ve often reported that on decent landline networks that actually deliver the speeds promised, this is totally unnecessary for most purposes. The apparent exception - things like excessive buffering in YouTube - is most often caused by the carriers deliberately creating bottlenecks, typically by refusing interconnection at the edge. This clear violation of net neutrality is becoming common as telcos are trying to force the video guys to pay. As LTE and LTE Advanced increase capacity, this will also be true on most wireless networks nearly all of the time.
  • BBC reports from Intel financials: “PC sales have now fallen for six quarters in a row and hit a five-year low in the July-to-September period.” Mobile sales continue high, and this implies the (modest) trend to mobile-only data will continue.
  • Fred Vogelstein's  DOGFIGHT: How Apple and Google Went to War and Started a Revolution has solid information that anyone deeply involved in mobile will want to read. It’s just out and right up to the minute. Unfortunately, the writing is flatter than Fred’s work for Wired and his analysis doesn’t add much.


People

  • Jonathan Askin won the “Pulver Decision” that legalized VOIP in the U.S. Now a prof, his Brooklyn Law Incubator & Policy Clinic (BLIP)http://www.blipclinic.org is leading the school’s new CUBE program of expanded services to businesses. http://venturebeat.com/2013/11/13/a-remedy-to-clueless-tech-lawyers/    He acquired the startup bug working with Jeff Pulver and constantly creating companies. One evolved into Vonage, another pre-dated Skype and had the same features but didn’t win the market.
  • Ivan Seidenberg and Tom Tauke came out to promote George Gilder’s new book Knowledge & Power. Ivan as CEO of Verizon build FiOS and now Verizon LTE, two of the best networks in the world. I learned a lot from Seidenberg, including why most competition is likely to fail in telecom. He made a very persuasive case “It’s all about scale and they just can’t catch up to us,” in order to convince Wall Street that the telcos and cabecos would wipe out almost everyone else in the U.S.. He was right of course; competition generally disintegrates without strong government protection. Britain and now Germany are now seeing that problem.

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Volume 12, #16 Jan 1, 2014 

Sept 2

Reply "subscribe" to be added, "un" to be dropped

"[FTTN/DSL offers] a pretty high return on invested capital." Tim Horan, Oppenheimer

Lowell McAdam of Verizon just borrowed $60B to bethe can keep U.S. wireless prices high. As capacity is outstripping mobile demand, that's a tough bet to win. For the next decade, telco profits will plummet anywhere competition is strong. Before the deal went down, I wrote:

Steve Jobs taught us to "think different." I'll be hung as a heretic by some for saying the "spectrum crisis" was bogus, created for political purposes. Even without more spectrum, demand can easily be met in the U.S. and most markets with current capex rates.
  The telcos biggest problem is total inability to sell the capacity they have today and are bringing online.  Demand growth has fallen by half in the U.S. and similar in most other developed countries.
   WiFi offloads 70% of the traffic and could easily do 80-90% in the dense cities where capacity is challenged. LTE is a 3-5X capacity improvement and LTE Advanced is 3-5X on top of that. Top engineers tell me a 40-70X improvement in mobile capacity is practical without an increase in investment.
   Don't believe me? Here's some evidence

  • Jim Cicconi of AT&T and Jules Genachowski both predicted mobile speeds would be falling by 2012. That's politician truth. In fact, mobile been going up dramatically in every market every year.
  • French prices are down 20-30%. New Zealand prices are down 15%. Canadian prices are down 10-20%. In any market where competition isn't throttled, prices are going down.
  • U.S. prepaid prices are 50-75% cheaper than AT&T and Verizon's regular prices. Both companies are dumping otherwise unsalable capacity in the prepaid market. France Telecom sold $B of capacity at a huge discount to Free Mobile.  
  • In Australia, a big swath of prime 700 MHz spectrum went unsold in the recent auction.
  • Wall Street predicts that T & VZ will have to cut seriously prices or lose market to T-Mobile and Sprint. Both will have virtually empty LTE networks across the U.S. in the next 6-12 months.
  • Verizon and AT&T have told Wall Street they have all the spectrum they really need for years. Both have enough spectrum currently unused to roughly triple current capacity. AT&T has barely touched its 700 MHz and has plenty more almost ready at 2300 MHz. Verizon hasn't touched what they bought cheap from the cable guys. Better technology, refarming underused spectrum and of course WiFi if deployed take them much further.  
  • Sprint with Clearwire has massive totally unused spectrum. Dish and others have much more.
  • If there really were a shortage, prices would be going up dramatically for spectrum. At least in the U.S., the most careful study of pricing (Scott Wallsten) shows only modest change.
  • Rupert Wood of Analysys Mason calculates that total mobile revenues in Western Europe have gone down the last two years and that "declining costs and a competitive market will tend inexorably to declining revenue."

 

Glen Campbell of Merrill Lynch concluded in 2009 "the crucial telco issue would be data pricing." Demand could be limited if carriers price high, as they have. Unequivocal data from AT&T, CTIA and Cisco show a major drop in mobile data growth  over the last three years. The initial smartphone boom is playing out. The 100% per year mobile growth of 2011 is down to 50% in 2013 (AT&T's Ralph de la Vega http://bit.ly/1e27eaR). Cisco's respected  VNI forecast demand growth dropping 60%.
    The clamor of the lobbyists has been so loud only the insiders get this today. Politics and inadequate regulation will probably slow this down, especially if the Europeans keep cutting out competition. (Neelie Kroes, shame on you.)
     Many smart people still disagree with me and there's much more to the full analysis. More at the end of this email or http://bit.ly/1dD6qgW
----------
On July 12, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang chaired a State Council executive meeting on the �Broadband China� National Strategy. The plan is 270M fixed broadband subscribers by 2015, an achievable goal. China Mobile has a tender out for 207,000 LTE base stations, one of the largest orders in telecom history. 
--------------
One of the most important papers in the history of networking has just been published by 14 Google engineers, B4: Experience with a Globally-Deployed Software Defined WAN. http://bit.ly/1dhrS9x Google has deployed probably the world�s largest civilian network. The majority of Google�s network is now run using the previously experimental SDN and OpenFlow. This is a definitive existence proof of SDN/OpenFlow production. Their traffic engineering software seems extraordinary, achieving twice the utilization of most large networks.
----------
Rumor: Vectoring delayed in production in Germany. While Adtran and Alcatel are shipping �vector-capable� DSLAMs to DT, �system integration� problems remain and initially they will run in non-vectored mode. That�s ironic, because DT is touting the vectoring approval by the regulator.
----------
Quiz: The highest broadband population penetration is: China - U.S. - Norway - Liechtenstein - Estonia? (Answer at end.)

960-1200 Megabit Cable Modems Ready To Go http://bit.ly/16YUeBU
Could but won't be offered for $5/month more than today's cable.
Rogers Cable in Canada is deploying Hitron/Intel 24 channel modems that can reach a (shared) speed of around a gigabit, although they aren't offering that speed yet. By this time next year, some cable companies will be offering 600+ megabit down service. The customer will almost always test at 200 megabits or more. Realworld speeds up to 80% of the 960-1200 megabits will be common. Intel is shipping production Puma 6mg chips that bond 24 channels downstream and 8 channels upstream. SMC has a 16/4 unit that's passed at CableLabs and expects the 24/8 to soon be certified.  In time, the cost will come down to less than $30 more than current 10 meg modems. If competition existed, a 500 meg service would be only $5-10 more than a 10 meg service. Much more on cost and technology http://bit.ly/16YUeBU Gig cable explained http://bit.ly/166xQJF

*** ASSIA Smart Vectoring deals with the remaining network-trashing noises that vectoring exposes but cannot cancel or address. http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

China's Plan: 270M In 2015  http://bit.ly/15U2yyP
In broadband, China is definitely the Middle Kingdom
With a goal of 270M fixed broadband lines in 2015 and near-universal service by 2020, the new "Broadband China" strategy is extraordinary. OFweek, http://bit.ly/19AV786 a valuable site in Chinese, breaks the plan into three phases.

  The first is a full speed stage, ending in 2013, that deploys basic broadband and 3G widely.. The second stage, 2014-2015, is dedicated to a further takeup and wider deployment. That will include 400,000+ LTE cell sites. I believe the government sees this as promoting their national goal of raising closer to the developed standard rural areas, the West and minorities including Uyghur and Tibetans. They have set a goal of 270M fixed connections in 2015, about 80M more than today. At the current growth rate of 4-6M per quarter, that's achievable.
  The third stage, 2016-2020, is for "optimization and upgrading." They intend one of the most advanced networks in the world, including over 100M lines of fiber home. China Telecom is also increasing fiber to the basement and seriously testing vectored VDSL. Complete text in Google translation http://bit.ly/15U2yyP

*** �Point Topic is a leading independent resource for fixed global broadband statistics and analysis. We offer comprehensive reliable information at operator and country level covering all the major access technologies - copper, cable, fibre, wireless and satellite. Visit our website at www.point-topic.com to find out more.� (ad) They are everyone's favorite source for broadband data. db

AT&T's Plan: 25-75 Meg U-Verse To 85% Of Network (After Shutting 25%) http://bit.ly/15g75fW
Defending 35M homes while abandoning copper for 10-15 million.
The latter represent well over half of their territory, the largest cutback in telephony in 140 years. Randall Stephenson is fortifying a defensive perimeter with 45+ meg bonded DSL for 2/3rd or 3/4ths of their current homes. If T abandons wires to 25%, a good guess, U-Verse will cover 85-90% of their remaining wires. Most losing wires are in low density areas with spare capacity for many years to come. T could offer 15 meg LTE fixed with a 100 gigabyte cap without spending any additional capex.
    While they are hemorrhaging broadband subscribers in the areas not upgraded, AT&T believes they are actually gaining share in U-Verse territory.  In one quarter, 702K customers dropped older DSL lines, almost 10%. 3 meg DSL doesn't make it when U.S. cable is now typically 15 meg. But Bernie Arnason points out U-Verse proved attractive enough (despite high prices) to keep most of them AT&T customers. http://bit.ly/16LrrPs They added a remarkable 641,000 U-Verse customers in Q2 and will be well over 10M by the end of the year. AT&T is shifting customers quickly to U-Verse, the majority at 10 megs or more. My guess, based on AT&T market share claims, is they actually added 50K+ in U-Verse areas while losing well over 100K in the remaining 35%. http://bit.ly/15g75fW

*** 26 September Columbia University New York  CITI State of Telecom 2013 
Hamadoun Tour�, Eli Noam and many more. http://bit.ly/13YsiNu (psa) Do come or watch the live stream. db


Explained: AT&T Offers 45 Meg to 25M Homes http://bit.ly/15tr6yL
75 & 100 meg ready if competition warrants. Priced high.
Bonding two lines is a cheap way to double speeds without upgrading the whole network. AT&T is now rapidly rolling it out to most of their 30M U-Verse homes. U-Verse was originally designed to bring 25 megabits down, 3 up to 90% of the homes covered. The existing gear can do ~ 40 meg to perhaps half the U-Verse homes, a service that AT&T never offered because of fear of pushback from the many who couldn't get those speeds. In addition, 80-90% of U-Verse customers can get ~ 50 megabits by bonding two lines together. This works well, as Sonic.net has been demonstrating in California. AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson announced bonding and doubled speeds as far back as 2008, but they avoided bonding for operational reasons. Some percentage of customers can get speeds up to 50 meg per line; bonding two lines delivers the promised 75 and 100 megabits. That lets them tell regulators they offer "up to 100 megabits." Only AT&T and allies know whether it closer to 30% or 60% and so far they aren't talking.

    While Germany has begun upgrading 12-24M lines to 50-100 megabit vectoring, AT&T has held off on the capital spending.  Vectoring could double those speeds again, bringing 50-200 megabit service. AT&T has been a leader in research on vectoring but for now does not intend to deploy it widely. It would require many new boxes in the field, within 300-500 meters. In Q2 2013, T added 641,000 new U-Verse data lines. While most of those were customers pushed to upgrade from older DSL, T is holding its own against cable in U-Verse territory. While their losses in non-U-Verse areas are extreme, T claimed they actually gained share in U-Verse areas in Q1. If cable brings in 100 meg at a good price or finds a market for 400 meg, AT&T is making sure they are ready with vectoring and possibly G.fast to stay in the game.

   AT&T�s plan is to shut down landlines to perhaps 25% of their homes to reduce competition for their wireless. http://bit.ly/15g75fW This is the most dramatic cutback in 140 years of telephony, almost ignored by the press. http://bit.ly/15tr6yL

*** ASSIA INTRODUCES THE WORLD�S FIRST COMPREHENSIVE HOME WI-FI MANAGEMENT SERVICE Expresse Wi-Fi Designed to Improve Consumer Wi-Fi Performance by 100 Percent, Helps Users Enjoy the Wireless Experience They Desire http://bit.ly/T3sMxr (ad)

G.fast Will Not Bring You a Gigabit http://bit.ly/18fksz6
Real aim is 250 megabits for a long block.
Stories across the tech press picked up the ITU press release headline of 1Gbit/s, but those contemplating deployment will be happy to get a quarter of that speed in the real world.  Proponents think saving the $300-600 cost to run fiber the last few meters will persuade carriers to switch to G.fast from fiber for the last stretch into the home. Skeptics believe that if you're running fiber so close you might as well go all the way.
   Acceptance of the standard has slipped to 2014 and product until 2015, so it will be years before we discover whether the $100's of millions going into research will pay off. more http://bit.ly/18fksz6

*** ASSIA SMART VECTORING MAKES 100 MBPS DSL PROFITABLE
Smart Vectoring Software Shows that Effective Management in Multivendor Networks and Mixed/Non-Vectored Environments Helps Drive Successful Roll Outs. http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

Adtran Claims Win In $B Contract At Deutsche Telekom http://bit.ly/17wWBi6
Stunning Upset of Alcatel.
12M lines @ $50/line, five years maintenance and a few extras adds up to a billion. DT actually promised BNetzA 24M lines would be upgraded, but that�s not certain. In that case, the contract would be even larger. This is by far the largest landline contract in the West and an enormous coup for Adtran. CEO Tom Stanton �would say we're the majority� in the DT contract, with the remainder staying with Alcatel. That�s a salesman�s confidence. 
   They are popping champagne corks in Huntsville, Alabama. http://bit.ly/17wWBi6

*** Building the Optimal NGA Service Portfolio; A crucial new report from Beno�t Felten on surviving and thriving with next-generation networks. How to build a portfolio that balances attractiveness (to maximise take-up) and profitability (to optimise payback). http://bit.ly/YT74ui

�Some Problems Are Better Identified From The Modem� http://bit.ly/1eaIP62
Ikanos Broadening On-Chip Diagnostics.
Noise in and near the home becomes critically important as vectoring reduces today's main noise problem, FEXT. Ikanos intends in 2014 to add test to their chips, allowing more insight on local problems. Software running on the DSP in the modem probes the line for loop characteristics. It looks for opens, shorts, bridge taps and mis-installed microfilters.
   The information can be sent upstream through the DSLAM to the carrier's control software via TR-069 or an API. More interesting, it can also be displayed on the customer's PC via an API. Ikanos envisions modem makers providing easy to use software tools to consumers who could then solve their own DSL problems. They intend to go from trade show demos to shipping product in 2014.
    More, including Ikanos' business strategy. http://bit.ly/1eaIP62

*** ASSIA's George Ginis blogs on "The Vectoring Tsunami: More and More Service Providers are riding the next wave of broadband. DSL remains strong. http://bit.ly/XkR2hM (ad)

Ladar Levinson's Tough Choice: Spy or Lose Your Business
Get ready to go to jail if you speak out
Lavabit, an email service with strong encryption, shut down August 8. If Ladar Levinson gave a full explanation, he would go to jail. The assumption is they were after Ed Snowden, thought to have used the service. Ladar's choice was apparently bleak: become "complicit" or go out of business. I hope I never have to make a choice like his. I (very modestly) donated to his defense fund. http://bit.ly/1cyMUBK He writes
   "This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States."  http://www.lavabit.com
    Fear of U.S. PRISM is likely causing $tens of billions in Internet services to leave the United States.

corrections

  • In January 2012, in an article about Free Mobile and 20 euro mobile voice, data and SMS, I referenced a "20 euro triple play" on Free DSL. It of course was 30 euros, and now may be 36.
  • Richard Bennett wrote that I should have linked to his item http://nyti.ms/1dhM2Af  when I wrote �Another Times oped was off by a factor of four on carrier profits and about a factor of about two on U.S. prices.� and provided some sources for his claims. I thought I was doing him a favor by not identifying him. I�m confident that European telcos have similar levels of profitability as American ones, not four times the profitability. I also checked the low-speed broadband prices in the U.S., which typically run from $30 to an amazing $72, the cheapest service you can get from Verizon FiOS. That�s about twice as high as the lowest prices in other countries, which often are less than $20. I promised Richard I�d look systematically at the numbers and write them up when I get to it.


briefs

  • http://www.youtube.com/v/AHrZgS-Gvi4 A remarkable video of a UAV at 17,500 feet with 360 5 megapixel cell phones cameras. Incredibly powerful. It can constantly watch a medium sized city at 6 inch resolution, identifying people by their clothes.
  • Infonetics Research announced they had grown billings 12% in the last year, good news in a struggling industry. They just released a detailed scorecard of the top industry vendors and it�s free to carriers. http://bit.ly/13HSFol
  • �Broadband adoption intentions and home use of Internet connections were unaffected by the PCC intervention.� From a Michigan analysis of NTIA�s BTOP program. From the point of view of increasing broadband adoption, the U.S. broadband stimulus wasted the better part of a $billion on programs that failed. http://bit.ly/11wImHT


press

  • Gary Becker blogged that software patents should be eliminated and the term of other patents be cut in half. A conservative economist with a Nobel Prize, his opinion carries weight. http://bit.ly/11e2zzW It�s obvious that the U.S. patent system has gone so far that it reduces innovation rather than encouraging invention.
  • Nick Wood and Mary Lennighan of Totaltele point to the dearth of revenue from all the telco tracking efforts. �While big data must be, by its very nature, big; the results it has produced for telecoms operators so far have been, well, piddly.�
  • �I can't get no smartphone satisfaction� is Wood�s title for an an article citing WDS data that people less happy with their smartphones six months and a yera later.. http://www.totaltele.com/view.aspx?ID=482182
  • Pete Svensson totally outclassed the other reporters on the Verizon abandoning landline story, with dramatic personal anecdotes illustrating how some people are screwed. Too many others picked up misleading comments from Verizon pr. http://bit.ly/14H5WQo
  • Josh Brustein in Business Week reports CEO of AT&T Randall Stephenson said that he doesn�t think there�s much to be gained from data caps on the wired Internet. http://buswk.co/1bx45i9 Josh and Ashlee Vance recently moved to Bloomberg Business Week from the Times. BBW is adding so many strong reporters that competitors like Politico are getting worried.
  • SCMP reports �Snowden believed there had been more than 61,000 NSA hacking operations globally, with hundreds of targets in Hong Kong and on the mainland. �We hack network backbones � like huge internet routers, basically � that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one,� he said.


People

  • Congrats to Grahame Lynch, whose CommsDay is the prime connector of Australian telecoms. His band, Wasabi Bytes, is number 4 on the ReverbNation Electronica charts for Thailand.http://bit.ly/174BPnd  His Thai music endeavors are also expanding with the Overground Bar and Cafe newly opened. It�s an obligatory stop for telecom folks visiting Bangkok.
  • Andy Vought, once the CFO at DSL chipmaker Virata, has moved on. �In 2011 I switched careers , returning to my roots as an Entrepreneurial Environmental Professional. I initiated the campaign to save Portola Redwoods and Castle Rock State Parks from closure then was elected President of Portola and Castle Rock Foundation in 2012. I joined Save the Redwoods League as Councillor in 2012 and was elected to the Board of Directors in 2013. �


First Look: How The Spectrum Shortage Is Solved http://bit.ly/1dD6qgW
The serious over-supply of wireless capacity is a big story I'm confident enough to print although I may never find the time to write it. This is important, whether you're trying to understand the Verizon-Vodafone deal or why the biggest battle in European policy is over whether a few giants will swallow up everyone else. (That's a very bad idea, incidentally.) A full analysis could fill a book, however; here's a first look that's just an outline.

Spectrum Shortage Solved, Part 1: WiFi is Incredible
Just turn on the cloud in almost every city in the developed world
Sascha Meinrath puts it dramatically. �If you were to suddenly flip a switch and open up every Wi-Fi access point in the ten to 15 largest cities in the U.S., everyone in those cities would suddenly have free ubiquitous communications everywhere.� http://bit.ly/15ozXTa Bringing the price down to �free� will require major government involvement, but no one seriously doubts expanded WiFi can dramatically reduce the network costs.
  �The Paris Cloud� is proven cost-effective. 20 euros ($26) buys unlimited voice, sms and generous data from Free and other carriers in France. Free is profitable at a price half that of U.S. carriers - perhaps less. Free, SFR and Orange blanket Paris and all other major cities. Their customers almost all opt-in to a program to share a small portion of their bandwidth with a second SSID. http://fastnetnews.com/a-wireless-cloud/61-w/4733-free-mobile-paris-cloud-bottoms-up-design-lchv-profit
   Kevin Fitchard in an important article http://bit.ly/15ozXTa affirms �Sharing isn�t just nice, it�s necessary. ... a key the designing these future networks is to get them to coordinate their resources � in short, we need to start sharing our bandwidth.�
  Deutsche Telekom, British Telecom and Softbank in Japan are working with FON to bring online over 5M WiFi hotspots.

Spectrum Shortage Solved, Part 2: LTE Advanced is 10-30X Better
LTE is headed over a gigabit (shared) in most cities, a helluva lot faster than the 5-12 megabits Verizon is selling today. LTE Advanced, starting to deploy, increases that by 10-30 times, through MIMO (typical 2X), SON, non-contiguous carrier aggregation and putting wider stretches of bandwidth to use. That 10-30X is on top of the 3-5X gain upgrading 3G and is without adding more WiFi offload.
    Deployment is starting this year, with the full speeds likely 2-4 more years away. Where spectrum is easily available, including Germany, the full speeds will come sooner. Ironically, Africa may soon have the best networks in the world. Kenya in particular is planning to use their digital dividend for a 100 MHz network that will be among the fastest in the world.
  Anyone who doubts the coming speeds needs to visit Ericsson�s video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGZw5-luBn0. In the video, their van is driving around Stockholm connected at 800 megabits/second.
   A 100X gain between 2012 and 2020 is highly likely in the few places with enough demand.

Spectrum Shortage Solved, Part 3: There�s Massive Unused Spectrum
Even Doug Chartier of T-Mobile, the U.S. carrier with the least spectrum, has plenty of capacity coming. �We are not worried about network congestion." Nearly every carrier in the developed world is telling investors they don�t really have a spectrum problem for years, if then. Ivan Seidenberg of Verizon let the cat out of the bag a while back that the lobbyists were wildly exaggerating spectrum problems and John Donovan of AT&T also said not to worry.
   Of course you can always use more spectrum; any deployment is cheaper if it has extra spectrum. But there�s a massive amount of spectrum coming available even without the government offering more. Verizon has totally unused prime 1800 MHz spectrum from the cablecos that could almost double the network capacity. AT&T has 2300 and 700 soon ready. Beyond that, both VZ and T have 40-50 MHz of spectrum that currently is delivering perhaps 10% of what LTE MIMO can offer. As this spectrum is refarmed - already in the works - that about doubles their capacity.
    Until now, much of the spectrum couldn�t effectively be used; only contiguous blocks and specific targeted pairs were supported. But �non-contiguous aggregation� is coming out of the labs and companies like AT&T are ready to put it to work. AT&T until recently was trying to sell the 2300 MHz because it couldn�t be used with the other bands they own. With aggregation, AT&T can now put it to work. TD-LTE, now in a dozen large field deployments, means you don�t need paired spectrum. Chips are now sampling that can do both TD & FD LTE in the same phone, making this easy to deploy.
   The T-Mobile quote is from a strong article by Sue Marek about why the telcos are selling so much through MVNOs. http://bit.ly/17ByN8Y They wouldn't be doing that if they had a shortage.

Spectrum Shortage Solved, Part 4: Wireless Growth is Plummeting
Some very smart people decided in 2009 that the 100% wireless growth rate was a bubble that would fall in half after the smartphone boom. Glen Campbell at Merrill and the folks at the broadband plan saw it that way; three people at the FCC with �chief� in their title told me the FCC forecast was b_____. Genakowski ordered them to shut up, which would have been a scandal if the DC reporters followed up on the story. In 2011, Cisco brought that into their forecasts but left it out of the press release so almost no reporter picked it up.
   In 2012, hard data from AT&T and CTIA confirmed the dropoff. Both Randall Stephenson and John Stankey of AT&T reported existing smartphone users increased their usage only 30-40%. I�ve been following this story.

Cisco Data: No Spectrum Crunch In 2016 And Unlikely In Following Years http://bit.ly/ArHpNa
Cisco: Mobile Growth Going Down, Down, Down
http://bit.ly/TNr2tE
Confirmed: Wireless Data Growth Rapidly Slowing
http://bit.ly/17BE4xr

Highest broadband penetration? Liechtenstein is 60%  - Norway is 43% - Estonia a surprising 42% - U.S. 29% - China 13%. Adjusted for family size, the U.S. doesn�t look so far behind. China has another decade of growth ahead.

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Volume 12, #15 Sept 3, 2013

 

June 26

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"Internet peering was created by a conversation between Bob Kahn and myself. We had two networks we wanted to connect and no way to pay to do it. We established this connection with no equal traffic in both directions." Dave Farber, just elected to the Internet Hall of Fame

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam still hasn't corrected his whopping error in an NY Times oped, claiming high speed in Europe 97% lower than the actual figure.  There's a war on to about whether the government should take action to improve broadband. Like all wars the first victim is truth.  Another Times oped was off by a factor of four on carrier profits and about a factor of about two on U.S. prices. The pro-action side needs to correct some errors as well; upgraded telcos (U-Verse, FiOS, etc.) are actually beating cable in about 60% of the U.S., not dying in the face of a cable monopoly.

   Debates in Europe and China are no more accurate. A Financial Times report of a carrier claim rules changes would result in "�115bn in annual investments by 2020" was fortunately a misunderstanding; it was an 8 year figure, although still wildly unlikely. Regulation changes rarely have a major impact on investment; technology and consumer demand is far more important. Nothing drives investment more than fear of a strong competitor; ETNO's suggestion of dramatically cutting competition is likely to reduce investment, not increase it. Advocates can easily find economists who for the right price will make almost any claim, experts at burying the truth with unsupportable assumptions and lots of jargon. Reporters and politicians too lazy to actually find the facts are also part of the problem.

   I shouldn't complain; my job is taking me to Paris for an ASSIA event Friday and then to Geneva to meet with the ITU.

   Say hello to the round fellow with a beard and the irrepressible Jennie Bourne in Paris (Saturday/Sunday) or Geneva (Monday-Wednesday.)

*** Point Topic is a leading independent resource for fixed global broadband statistics and analysis. We offer comprehensive reliable information at operator and country level covering all the major access technologies - copper, cable, fibre, wireless and satellite. Visit our website at www.point-topic.com to find out more. (ad)

Russia Passing U.S. In Fiber. What? http://bit.ly/1249lFy
Both around 20M homes passed but Russia surging ahead.
Rostelcom, Beeline, MTS and others are running fiber to the basement and 100 meg Ethernet to apartment at a ferocious rate, adding 59% in 2012.  Most of Russia lives in multifamily dwellings, so will be very easy and relatively inexpensive to bring high speeds to most of the population. Even if some of the companies are fudging the numbers, Russia - with half the population - has or will soon pass the U.S. in reliable, 100 megabit fiber connections.  The Ukraine - a third the population of Russia - is approaching 10M. As a percentage of population, both are far ahead of the U.S.
    Roland Montagne's IDATE report for the Fiber to the Home Council Europe bit.ly/11MoICy is loaded with little known facts. Lithuania is nearly completely high speed and Latvia is not far behind. Portugal at 53% and Sweden at 47% have far more fiber than any other countries in Western Europe. Turkey and Kazakhstan are coming on. Point to point fiber, preferred in Scandinavia, is more common than GPON.
    China in 2012 was close to 30M new fiber homes connected, not just passed, leaving everyone else in the dust.
Sources: IDATE report bit.ly/11MoICy  China 30M: Jeff Heynen of Infonetics calculates "approximately 29M FTTH ONTs shipped in China in CY12", confirming Chinese press reports.

*** ASSIA Smart Vectoring deals with the remaining network-trashing noises that vectoring exposes but cannot cancel or address. http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

400 Megabit Cable Boxes Shipping http://bit.ly/192zLO3
Liberty Global delivering 10's of thousands of Horizon boxes.
Intel's latest cable modem chip bonds eight channels for 400 megabits shared downstream.
Liberty Global has designed the Intel chip into their new Horizon "superbox" which they are now shipping in large quantities. I believe the Arris CMTS at Liberty mostly can be upgraded with software alone for 400 megabits. If so, it's now just a marketing decision when to offer the "up to 400 megabit" service.  The 500 meg boxes Liberty is using in Holland are a custom design with an extra chip, not intended for the mass market.
   CTO Balan Nair writes me, "Our upstreams will be 10 Mbps. We have higher upstream products, but the main offering that we sell will have 10 Mbps." Upstream will soon be a big issue for cablecos. Verizon is featuring their 25 meg upstream in FiOS promotion. Vectored VDSL is reaching 10-30 meg upstream. Liberty will be facing vectoring soon in Germany, Belgium Switzerland and possibly Britain.
   Few outside the cable industry believe how well shared bandwidth works. It seems not to make sense that 400 megabits shared among 300 homes will allow any home seeking 100 megabits to receive it 98+% of the time. Real world usage in most homes is so low I'd expect you'd get 250 megabits 95+% of the time as well.
  Gigabit cable is close. Details
http://bit.ly/166xQJF More from Jim Barthold of Fierce http://bit.ly/10jNAUX

*** ASSIA enables retention and increase of service provider�s current investment through the performance improvement of all DSLs (newly vectored, as well as existing DSLs) as vectoring is introduced incrementally or en masse, http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

Huawei In 15 Vectoring Trials http://bit.ly/12kSxND
Alcatel claimed 1M lines shipped so Huawei claims 1.2M. Nearly none turned on.
The carriers are training their people, building systems and swatting bugs, so actually very few vectored customers are connected. There are perhaps a few tens of thousands of actual vectored lines in the world.
   That doesn't stop the pr.  Huawei, like Alcatel, is now shipping VDSL boards in some sense "vector-ready" although it's not clear exactly what that means. Huawei's customers haven't been talking much publicly while Belgacom, Swisscom and DT have talked up their results from Alcatel. Huawei remains a strong #2 in DSL and I know is the inside choice for millions of lines in Italy. 
     Australia with a likely new government in September will probably reverse the security ban on Huawei. Likely incoming Comms Minister Turnbull is being coy, telling the CommsDay crowd only "After I'm in government and confidentially briefed on the security issues, I'll consider it." Huawei wisely added Alexander Downer to their Aussie board. Like Turnbull, he's a former leader of the Liberal party. (That's how the game is played here, too. Former FCC Chair Mike Powell is a cable lobbyist and JG applauded him for taking the job.) Beyond politics, Huawei will offer low prices and a deep commitment to rapid deployment, both promises of his. There's a 3-5M line vectored VDSL contract in Australia soon up for grabs, with Adtran also making an appearance at CommsDay hoping for a chance at it. I wouldn't be surprised to see Calix, ZTE and Zyxel at CommsDay Melbourne in the fall. I wouldn't be surprised to also see in Melbourne ARRIS, Cisco and other cable guys for several million lines where cable will be the technology. 
     Vectoring: too much hype, but very close.
http://bit.ly/12kSxND


90 Mbp/S En R�ception Et Jusqu�� 25 Mbp/S En �mission http://bit.ly/14aDaax
Free.fr turning on VDSL across France. A lucky few French homes will receive "90 down and 25 up" VDSL2 service starting immediately. One customer in Bordeaux tested at 82 megabits.
http://bit.ly/13Ko8Hh Xavier Niel decided years ago to spend a little more on the Freebox Revolution and put a VDSL/ADSL chip in. VDSL wasn't allowed in France at the time. The regs have now changed, and Free.fr now is doubling and more the speeds of customers close to the exchange. They've just turned on the Dordogne and Gironde and the rest of the country will quickly follow. Most but not all DSLAMs have also been upgraded.
     Only about 16% will see a significant speed boost according to the experts at ARCEP.
http://bit.ly/19YOYgw Even fewer will get the top speeds. Vectoring is not implemented, which would require an expensive build of remote terminals but give high speeds to many more. http://bit.ly/14aDaax

Worth a look

  • Rob Kenny of Communications Chambers has produced a remarkable dataset of 3,000 international prices open sourced at http://bit.ly/10TP9Ly. Comparing prices in this stuff is complicated, with different minimums, install charges, contract lengths, required other purchases such as voice ... Rob�s spreadsheets provide all of that as raw, sortable and selectable data, including pricing in US$ converted both at exchange rates and purchasing power parity. Bravo to Google for funding this treasure-trove of data, of course not perfect or 100% complete but closer than anything else I�ve seen. I didn�t name the other NYT oped writer who made the pricing mistake in the hope he�ll correct himself; I just sent him this dataset.
  • Liberty-UPC is now offering 500 meg (shared) cable modems to customers in Holland. That is not a typo. As Reggefiber was making inroads with gigabit fiber, Mike Fries decided to respond with a custom built modem with a extra chip to bond more than 8 channels. Because Intel is now shipping the 8 channel chip,  cable operators with the channel capacity will soon offer shared speeds of 320 down (DOCSIS) and 400 down (EuroDOCSIS). Mike Robuck of CED has the story and more http://bit.ly/14wvxKv worth a click.
  • The PRISM revelations are leading everyone around the world to examine security and will have an effect on Internet Governance. At ITU/WCIT, keeping governments we don�t like away from the Internet was the U.S. led position. This was generally discussed as a �freedom� issue, which it certainly is. But it also provided cover to the folks from three letter agencies. There were 12 people from the three letter world (NSA, DOD, etc.) on the U.S. delegation in Dubai. They played a crucial role in the U.S. delegation. They weren�t there in the name of free speech. Everyone knew NSA style security was crucial to the U.S. but no one talked about it publicly.


Corrections

It's Alcatel, not Calix, providing the box for the remarkable gigabit network at Vermont Tel. Calix just provided the home NID. The Alcatel 7700 routers are doing exceptionally well and emerged as the premier Alcatel product after the reorg. Their creator, Basil Alwan, is probably the #2 guy in the entire company today.

briefs

  • While most broadband companies are making only token gestures, Comcast is actively promoting their $10 for poor families offer. MLive reports 619 have signed up in Grand Rapids Michigan alone and the company is reaching out for more. http://bit.ly/18uOZgJ
  • The way we make our money in terms of breakage revenues [that is, fees for exceeding data caps � The Register] and incremental fees has to change because it is not sustainable. �You can't rely on fifteen-year-old children going over their caps and having two or three thousand dollar data bills. That's just wrong � it's wrong morally, it's not sustainable.� Richard Chirgwin via Telco 2.0
  • HPNA is merging with the Homegrid Forum, the folks behind G.hn. http://www.homegridforum.org/ John Egan of Homegrid exudes optimism, buoyed by company announcements and interoperability testing. I�m waiting for results from the field before I join in.


press

  • Ben Grubb at The Age reports that an incompetent Australian anti-fraud agency �inadvertently blocked access to about 250,000 innocuous websites.� ASIC forced Australian ISPs to shut down the web site of the Melbourne Free University and many others. It targeted a site the agency thought fraudulent and knocked out all the other sites at the shared host. http://bit.ly/Zxvjmq (Via Techdirt)
  • From Slashdot: "A spy cabinet has been exposed on a public road in The Hague, the Netherlands (Google translate here). The cabinet was disguised as telecom-cabinet and was detected by the maintenance crew of Ziggo (a triple-play provider) because it was not listed as a property of the company. Upon opening, it was revealed the cabinet contained a camera and UMTS equipment. Later that day, the cabinet disappeared. 1984 much?"
  • Mathew Ingram at Paid Content pulls no punches in this headline �Why the Apple e-book trial should be over already: The DoJ has an open-and-shut case http://bit.ly/18ZCWHR

people

  • Bill Daley, once SBC/AT&T President, is running for governor of Illinois. He retains many friends in our industry; those who want to help him should visit http://billdaleyillinois.com/. Bill was never happy in the top-down culture under Ed Whitacre, after being treated with more respect in Bill Clinton�s cabinet. He left a job paying $millions under Ed to work for a bank in Chicago. A decade ago, I got a note from Bill complaining about my news story that he had implied Universal Service obligations would bankrupt the company. �I never said that,� he complained. I agreed those weren�t his words, but when he said the company absolutely could not afford Universal Service. No state would consider giving up universal phone service unless the the telco was going broke, so I concluded financial ruin was implied. In 2002, I was right. Bill had wildly exaggerated the financial difficulties his company would face. Cash flow a decade later approaches $20B a year despite continuing to offer a landline to everyone in their territory. They�ve raised dividends every year despite continuing to provide landlines to everyone. By 2013, the debate is muddied. JG has allowed Verizon to eliminate landline service to small parts of New York and New Jersey and his successor isn�t likely to do anything about it.
  •   Congrats to Danny Sepulveda, the new U.S. lead on telecommunications at State. He married his long time partner, Heather Higginbottom, also senior in John Kerry�s State Department. Both are children of professors http://nyti.ms/11UMuLw. Danny�s entitled to a honeymoon from criticism for a couple of weeks. His senior staffer, Julie Zoller, brings to her post credentials far too rare in U.S. policy circles: an engineering degree and practical experience in satellite communications.
  • Congrats also to Robb Topolski, a technologist who demonstrated the problems in Comcast's (older) throttling schemes, announced he and Dennis got engaged on the Cape Cod Canal under the Sagamore Bridge. I also am happy to report that Comcast has improved their upstream cable network so that throttling inside the network has been reduced to virtually unnoticeable.
  • Rupert Baines, one of the most respected British execs in our field, is joining Simon Saunders at Real Wireless, a small, excellent consulting shop. Since Mindspeed bought his old company, Picochip, we�ve all been wondering where Rupert will land; I suspect a major company will tempt him out of consulting soo

wall street

  • UBS is featured in the Le Monde article �The slow descent into hell of a venerable bank� (La lente descente aux enfers d'une banque v�n�rable). The bank has been deeply involved in tax evasion, money laundering, and questionable trades. But their telecom research remains among the best in the world. John Hodulik is always among the top analysts, and his colleague Batya Levi has come into her own the last few years. There�s no question of the ethics or the quality of UBS telecom research. Any investor who doesn�t get their reports should reach out.
  • Goldman writes wall street�s �current perception that [cable capex] intensity will continue to decline... capital intensity continually declined from 2008 to 2011, but flattened out in 2012, with 2013 likely to remain at similar levels.� Perhaps that�s why Mike Powell has been promoting figures about total spending going back over a decade. It�s been going down lately, although Goldman isn�t sure it can stay so low. However, DOCSIS 3.1 �does not appear to be a meaningful additional capital outlay. As such, while there is an added urgency to upgrade, we believe upgrades are largely something that can be accomplished without meaningful impacts to FCF and ultimately capital allocation strategies.� They also point to the possibility that the FCC will regulate broadband under Title II. �A docket opened by the FCC in 2010 to explore this option remains open and could be revisited in the event of an unfavorable court ruling. We continue to believe the event risk is higher than expected.�
  • Alcatel-Lucent can�t be complacent about its problems, but Ren�e Schultes in WSJ points out they have some breathing room. �A debt refinancing in December means the company won't face liquidity pressures for at least two years.� By then, vectored DSL will almost surely be a major profit center, although far from enough to turn the company around by itself.
  • Wilton Fry at Merrill reports, �Telecom Italia is already making a very high margin in its fixed business, suggesting limited capacity to raise margins further without causing regulatory issues.� He also finds high margins on wireless. The numerous struggles of TI left me with an impression it was a sick company, but the operating results belie that.

Policy

Lowell McAdam's Error In The NY Times http://bit.ly/1aDfbV4 
Verizon CEO should have proofread article under his name.
Lowell's NYT oped contains a whopping mistake, claiming in "the European Union ... today only about 2 percent of households have access to broadband networks with 100-megabit-plus speeds."
http://nyti.ms/14NBNQhThe actual figure is more than twenty times higher than that, according to a report by Point-Topic for the EU http://bit.ly/16l6wDt. I can independently confirm the general accuracy of the EU data from the financial reports of the companies involved.  The NYT  factcheckers missed this one and also errorsin another oped that European broadband providers are four times more profitable than their American peers (they are similar) and that U.S. entry level prices are among the lowest in the world.  You can get a complete triple play with much faster broadband in several European countries for what some carriers like Verizon charge on their cheapest data plans.
    McAdam is a good engineer who knows the cable coverage in Europe and that most cable networks have been upgraded with DOCSIS 3.0 to 100 meg. If he read his own article carefully, this would have stuck out like a sore thumb. 100 meg DOCSIS is available to most of the homes in 65% of Germany, 50% of Britain and 8.2M homes and 577 cities in France. The figures are even higher in most of Benelux and Scandinavia. Because Italy and some parts of East Europe have no cable,the EU 27 cable availability figure is in the 42% range. ~90% of those homes have been upgraded to DOCSIS 3, which in the 8 MHz channels in EuroDOCSIS can reach up to 200 megabits. In addition, there are something like ten million homes offered more than 100 megabits through fiberhome and fiber to the basement in Italy (Fastweb) Lithuania (most of the country), Latvia and other Eastern countries.
     Lowell does make an important point "More than 80 percent of American households live in areas that offer access to broadband networks capable of delivering data with speeds in excess of 100 megabits per second." I reported this back in December, 2008, U.S. DOCSIS 3.0: 10% Today, 50+% 2010, 80% Soon After
http://bit.ly/10D0pvF . The cablecos told Wall Street their plans and I believe I was the first reporter on the story. If you think 50-100 megabits is fast enough for most practical purposes, then there is no need for any changes in public policy or subsidies to bring that speed to most of America. The price is twice as high as comparable services in England and France, so there's still a reason to call for government action. Upstream is still second rate. 
     Amusingly, David Cohen of Comcast made the same error recently in the Philadelphia Inquirer. "Eighty-two percent of U.S. homes have access to speeds in excess of 100 megabits per second (mbps), while in Europe, only 2 percent of the population has access to these speeds."
http://bit.ly/1c31c8S Verizon and the cablle guys are doing a great job of sharing lately. More http://bit.ly/1aDfbV4

For the record. In response to a Verizon blog posting attempting to justify shutting down landlines, I commented �Deutsche Telekom has committed that transition to new networks would not leave customers worse off. I urge Verizon to make a similar commitment. Until then, I'm personally opposed to allowing Verizon to shut down wireline service.

  In this case, that would mean offering data at less than prohibitive rates. Verizon Wireless charges so much more for data than Verizon DSL the difference is significant.� I was being polite. Verizon�s actual charges on wireless shut down almost everyone who wants to watch more than 20 minutes of video daily. Stop the Cap, DSL Reports, and Harold Feld have done honorable work on this; WaPo, NYT, and WSJ have been negligent.


For the record: Dave to Bnetza on the slow LTE rollout
Something is rotten at DT. When the German regulator, Johann Homann, announced a consultation on spectrum and mobile coverage, I sent this note. "Deutsche Telekom has announced a goal of 85% LTE coverage, a shameful figure. In the U.S., without any subsidy AT&T has announced they would go to 99% of the pops in their landline territory. Verizon has said they will go to 97-99% of the entire nation. LTE is much faster and more efficient than 3G. It's a simple upgrade of moderate cost and quickly pays for itself. Telcos around the world are upgrading rapidly.
  There is no acceptable reason for DT not to at least come close to international peers."
----------------
Nearly all successful mobile networks in the developed world plan more than 85% coverage. The only reason I can think of DT is holding back is they hope to get a subsidy if they do.

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Volume 12, #14 June 26, 2013 

 

May 29

 

  • “Look Out Google Fiber, $35-A-Month Gigabit Internet Comes To Vermont” http://bit.ly/10Jewct
  • 400 Megabit Cable Boxes Shipping http://bit.ly/192zLO3
  • Australia: Almost Certainly VDSL Instead Of Fiber Home http://bit.ly/Z9Hsjw
  • 60 Down, 18 Up As VDSL Comes To France http://bit.ly/19YOYgw
  • George Soros Bets $75M on U.K. Fiber Home http://bit.ly/15jtQRn
  • Moffett’s Back: The Most Original Analyst On Wall Street http://bit.ly/YXYX41
  • Sony's "2 Gig" Network Good Ole GPON + Better Home Connection http://bit.ly/13DGJD4
  • Dan Artusi: Vectored Chips Shipping This Summer In Volume From Lantiq http://bit.ly/10JhMEu
  • Lantiq Sampling 3x3 MIMO For Faster VDSL Gateways http://bit.ly/16HYf0c
  • Ikanos: Our 192 Port Vector VDSL Chips Are In Customer Tests http://bit.ly/12qPIZ8
  • TNO: Top DSL Conference Coming To Dutch Beach http://bit.ly/12Ioqiv
  • Briefs: Cisco’s VNI shows extreme drop traffic growth, Rijksmuseum reopening in time for Broadband World Forum , Tim Lee to WaPo, Jonathan Krim new Tech Editor at WSJ, Rob Pegoraro, Chetan Sharma, Michele Donegan leaves Light Reading along as do Phil Harvey, Carol Wilson and Jeff Baumgartner. Danny Yadron at WSJ and Todd Shields at Bloomberg  on Tom Wheeler, Cyrus Namazi to ICANN


"From an engineering point of view gigabit fiber is  a no brainer." Larry Page
"If money is no object, if time is no concern, you'd do fiber to the premise everywhere. But time and money are relevant." Malcolm Turnbull to Phil Dobbie http://bit.ly/11A114P 

Michel Guité of Vermontel asked me, “Is there any network anywhere in the world doing something better we should learn from? Maybe in Hong Kong or Singapore?” 1,000 homes now can connect at a true gigabit - up and down, with 15,000 more homes soon to follow. That’s as good as it gets, especially as broadband stimulus funding has brought the price down to $35/month. I should move to Vermont. 
  Australia on the other hand is likely joining Germany and backing away from fiber. I had 15 minutes of fame as the broadband expert. Malcolm Turnbull, likely incoming Australian Communication Minister, put his arm around me, told an aide to take a photo, and immediately tweeted our picture to his 159,000 followers. Turnbull’s argument for vectored VDSL was made particularly strong because Australian costs ballooned to several $thousands per home.  
   Compare Australia's costs with Bell Aliant, spending  about $500/home passed http://bit.ly/Zd8LY2 or the $550-$700 Carlos Kirchner estimates Google is spending in Kansas City. The quality of management may be more crucial than the technology choice; George Soros’ $75M Hyperoptic buy in went to an experienced team that proved they could deploy at reasonable cost. Mike Quigley has done a terrible job at Australia's NBN.

 

June 20th, please join me at Columbia’s CITI for a full day’s seminar on “The Future of the Internet.” http://bit.ly/13YsiNu Hamadoun Touré of the ITU will keynote and is always worth listening to. 

 

“Look Out Google Fiber, $35-A-Month Gigabit Internet Comes To Vermont” http://bit.ly/10Jewct
Wall Street Journal discovers Vermont is the fastest state. http://on.wsj.com/1848tWZ 
Michel Guite at Vermontel charges only $35 for a true gigabit, upstream and down. That’s not a typo: funding from the stimulus means VTel can sell a gig of active Ethernet for a DSL price. All customers get the full gigabit as their basic service. Almost 1,000 homes are connected, with another 15,000 in the coming months. I’m proud to play a modest consulting role.
  “Is there any network anywhere in the world doing something better we should learn from? Maybe in Hong Kong or Singapore?” Michel asked me two years ago. He didn’t quite believe me when I replied “no,” but judge for yourself:

 

  • Each home has dedicated fiber running active Ethernet at a gigabit both upstream and down. If requested, VTel has the capability of upgrading that to 10 gigabits or even 100 gigabits. No orders like that are likely for many years, however.
  • In the home, VTel uses a model of Actiontec router that actualy can deliver the gigabit. They discovered in testing that most home “gigabit” routers actually topped out at $300.
  • The Alcatel gear terminating the fiber in each exchange has a switching fabric designed to be non-blocking under essentially every likely traffic load.
  • VTel connects to major exchange points in both Boston and New York for redundancy. If the Boston bombings had shut down the net there, VTel could instantly switch to New York.

   The cost to build the network in a mostly rural territory is $3,000 to $5,000 per home. The promise by VTel to pass most of the subsidy to consumers in low prices was surely one reason they were awarded the funds.

     “I’m moving to Vermont,” was a comment on one of the news stories.

 

*** ASSIA SMART VECTORING MAKES 100 MBPS DSL PROFITABLE
Smart Vectoring Software Shows that Effective Management in Multivendor Networks and Mixed/Non-Vectored Environments Helps Drive Successful Roll Outs. http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

400 Megabit Cable Boxes Shipping http://bit.ly/192zLO3
Liberty Global delivering 10's of thousands of Horizon boxes. 
Intel's latest cable modem chip bonds eight channels for 400 megabits shared downstream. Liberty Global has designed the Intel chip into their new Horizon "superbox" which they are now shipping in large quantities. I believe the Arris CMTS at Liberty mostly can be upgraded with software alone for 400 megabits. If so, it's now just a marketing decision when to offer the "up to 400 megabit" service. 
  CTO Balan Nair writes me, "Our upstreams will be 10 Mbps. We have higher upstream products, but the main offering that we sell will have 10 Mbps." Upstream will soon be a big issue for cablecos. Verizon is featuring their 25 meg upstream in FiOS promotion. Vectored VDSL is reaching 10-30 meg upstream. Liberty will be facing vectoring soon in Germany, Belgium Switzerland and possibly Britain. 
   Few outside the cable industry believe how well shared bandwidth works. It seems not to make sense that 400 megabits shared among 300 homes will allow any home seeking 100 megabits to receive it 98+% of the time. Real world usage in most homes is so low I'd expect you'd get 250 megabits 95+% of the time as well. 
  Gigabit cable is close. Details on gigabit http://bit.ly/166xQJF More on this story http://bit.ly/192zLO3   and in a strong interview by Jim Bartholdhttp://bit.ly/10jNAUX

 

*** 20 June New York Columbia CITI THE FUTURE OF INTERNET GOVERNANCE AFTER DUBAI: 
Esther Dyson, Hamadoun Tourè, Eli Noam and many more. http://bit.ly/13YsiNu 

Australia: Almost Certainly VDSL Instead Of Fiber Home http://bit.ly/Z9Hsjw
Turnbull’s party ahead 58-42. 
Malcolm Turnbull wants to shift the NBN from fiber to the home to fiber/DSL and cable modems, as I reported a year ago. http://bit.ly/163TNcfHe’s the likely incoming Australian Communication Minister and will have the final say. Several million homes will still get fiber because it’s already underway or contracted. Cable will be used where it’s available (a minority) and fiber/vectored VDSL for most of the rest. 
   Malcolm is a smart guy and also a very good politician. When we met, he put his arm around me, told an aide to take a photo, and immediately tweeted our picture to his 159,000 followers. The National Broadband Plan is the biggest issue in Australian politics, on the front page with a picture in the three main newspapers April 10. I was having 15 minutes of fame as the broadband expert.
    We’d all like gigabit fiber but vectored DSL delivering 70-100 meg down saves enough money to also be a plausible choice. That’s especially true in Australia, where the NBN is painfully behind schedule and over budget. There are reasonable people on both sides, except in Australia, where the NBN is central to politics. I was vilified as a “radical rightwinger” for not assailing Turnbull for selling out his country’s future.  Actually, my politics are left. In three separate speeches I spoke of my disappointment the NBN is not as great as it might.
   Turnbull and I were at the extraordinary CommsDay conference, where I met everyone who anyone in Australian telecom.  They will be doing another major event 
October 8 and 9 in Melbourne after the election. The Melbourne conference is likely to be very popular as the new government should be hard at work on several $billion in RFPs. 

*** Point Topic is a leading independent resource for fixed global broadband statistics and analysis. We offer comprehensive reliable information at operator and country level covering all the major access technologies - copper, cable, fibre, wireless and satellite. Visit our website at www.point-topic.com to find out more. (ad)

 

60 Down, 18 Up As VDSL Comes To France http://bit.ly/19YOYgw
Many lines do not significantly improve. 
As predicted, ARCEP is allowing French networks to upgrade to VDSL2. Free.fr has been using VDSL chips in DSLAMs and the Freebox for a while, so instantly could go into testing. One lucky customer tested  “Gross rate: 68420 kbp/s - 17852 kbp/s.” (Freenews) A second customer at 1500 meters actually saw a (small) drop in speed. By ARCEP estimate, only a modest minority of customers will benefit, probably less than 20%.
   Minister Fleur Pellerin remains committed to a wide fiber rollout. Visiting Australia, she endorsed Stephen Conroy’s fiber network. ““I’m very impressed by your plan to develop very high speed broadband in Australia.High speed broadband is a very important factor in the attractiveness of a country and that’s why we chose also the best technology. In fibre to the home you don’t lose signal according to the distance so it’s the best technical solution.”  http://bit.ly/11kiLlK

 

*** ASSIA Smart Vectoring Software allows prequalification of the speed gain and profitability of any copper line’s conversion to vectoringhttp://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

George Soros Bets $75M on U.K. Fiber Home http://bit.ly/15jtQRn
Legendary investor sees a profitable business model 
Operating profits on a fiber network are typically very high - once it’s built and customers acquired. So the key is building at low cost and getting customers quickly. Hong Kong Broadband Network proved that fiber to basements can be highly profitable if well managed. http://bit.ly/10SIDhvBoris Ivanovic and Dana Tobak have been proving out the concept in London at Hyperoptic in selected buildings. The money is now flowing, as George Soros has provided enough to connect perhaps 100,000 more flats.
  Waldemar Szlezak and Joshua Ho-Walker of Soros presumably made the investment at least as much due to the quality of management as to the technology choices. Most important, they have built the system at reasonable cost and are offering service to 20,000 homes. Compare that to Australia’s NBN, which after a few quarters is way over budget and behind schedule.
  With phone service, Hyperoptic sells a symmetric gigabit for about $95. 100 megabits is $55 and 20 megabits is $38. More http://bit.ly/15jtQRn

 

*** ASSIA enables retention and increase of service provider’s current investment through the performance improvement of all DSLs (newly vectored, as well as existing DSLs) as vectoring is introduced incrementally or en masse,http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

Moffett’s Back: The Most Original Analyst On Wall Street http://bit.ly/YXYX41
Leaves Bernstein, creates own small firm. 
Craig is the top “big ideas guy” on the street, a risky position he carries well. He was consistently on top of the ratings polls for cable and jumped to the top of the poll for telecom after he added telcos to his coverage. Every sharp large investor will want to immediately join his research list.
    He creates mimes that affects the real world, not just investors. He looked at the spending of the bottom half of U.S. consumers a few years ago and saw high cable prices were squeezing them terribly. That would be the key limit to cable growth, he predicted. That’s now become mainstream thinking in the carriers’ marketing plans.
    Time Warner Cable has re-introduced a $19.95 1 meg offer, although it’s limited to the first 12 months.  Steve Donahue of Fierce writes about how the cablecos are picking apart their triple play offerings for apparently lower prices http://bit.ly/14uKNZh . The reality, of course, is that U.S. prices except for a few intro deals are much higher than Britain and France, the reason our carriers have such high stock prices.
   Craig is best known for his analysis of the difficult economics of Verizon FiOS, which he and I wound up debating in the NY Times. Years later, I can see he was more right than I was, at least by the numbers. Bernstein is filling in with reports from their European Analyst Robin Bienenstock. She’s excellent, but they presumably will need to hire someone in the U.S. Maybe they could persuade Dan Reingold to come back.
  Looking at how much more wall street pays than journalism, I offered to do part time/project work for a few friends. Writing this is too much fun to give up, however. More, including Moffett's new contact information, http://bit.ly/YXYX41

 

*** ASSIA software normalizes high vectoring performance gains regardless of which DSLAM/equipment is selected by a service provider http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

Sony's "2 Gig" Network Good Ole GPON + Better Home Connection http://bit.ly/13DGJD4 
2.4 gig split 32 ways = 2 gig to each?
There’s no new technology in Sony’s “2 gigabit download” Nuro service in Japan, I originally wrote. But a reader points out that I was wrong saying "It’s the same GPON used by Verizon and dozens of other telcos. They are simply marketing 2.4 gig (shared) GPON as providing 2 gigabits to any home if the network isn’t loaded." While the connection from the network to the home is presumably unchanged, the usual CPE for GPON can't forward more than 1 gigabit to the home network.
    In practice, very rarely will the 32 homes on a GPON node draw 400 megabits, so 2 gig would actually be available on demand. Ed Harstead of Alcatel examines the potential of GPON for peak performance and the likelihood of actually getting the speed athttp://bit.ly/11ZcFXN . Only a few uses take advantage of performance over 100 megabits today, with cloud storage being the most interesting. 

*** ASSIA customers have improved customer satisfaction that corresponds to fewer trouble calls, dispatches, and streamlined customer care operations. http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

Dan Artusi: Vectored Chips Shipping This Summer In Volume From Lantiq http://bit.ly/10JhMEu
After restructuring, progress. 
Lantiq wowed the industry several years with the first public demonstrations of vectoring, but Broadcom has beaten them to market with production chips.  Artusi tells me the chip is now ready to go.
  Artusi has been publicly silent since he took over from Christian Wolff last year, waiting to be ready with product. He came with a mandate from owners Golden Gate Capital to rein in costs and has eliminated both facilities and some staff positions. “Munich has cold winters compared to Arizona, but I’m liking the job” Artusi tells me. 
  Lantiq is also on track with a chip for the potentially popular “fiber to the distribution point,” a way to raise DSL speeds well over 200 megabits. Locally powered nodes with reach of perhaps 100 meters are tempting to carriers like Swisscom, although the market remains unproven.
  More, including some interesting financial data from Standard and Poor's 
http://bit.ly/10JhMEu

 

Lantiq Sampling 3x3 MIMO For Faster VDSL Gateways http://bit.ly/16HYf0c
Supporting existing VDSL chip, extending bonding. 
Imran Hajimusa of Lantiq had a great demo of 4 HD channels streaming over WiFi a while back. They are now sampling and about to ship this improved WiFi, 3x3 MIMO 802.11n, a technology they purchased from Metalink. They've also upgraded their bonding capacity, which now can use VDSL profiles 17 & 30 for two line download speeds of 150-200 megabits over short loops. Their previous VDSL bonding could only do up to profile 8, for speeds under 100 megabits.  
    Swisscom, using the related 4x4 MIMO, rarely has problems with wireless HD TV around the home. Hajimusa believed that in real environments the four antennas of 4x4 made little difference. The folks at Quantenna, shipping 4x4, disagree. I don't have results from the fields by carriers on the effectiveness of 3x3 MIMO and so can't judge.
   Hajimusa is now at NXP as new management has taken over at Lantiq.

 

Ikanos: Our 192 Port Vector VDSL Chips Are In Customer Tests http://bit.ly/12qPIZ8
Builds custom chassis to show off 100 meg on every port. 
“Customers probably will delay volume deployments until late in 2014. Our chip is production ready and will be available well before that,” Kourosh Amiri of Ikanos tells me. It’s an impressive chip, designed for node scale vectoring of 384 ports. It does full cancellation of noise in all tones, which Ikanos claims is substantially more effective than the competition’s “partial cancellation.” A ten gigabit serdes is built in to support the high speed interconnect needed for this kind of performance.  
   Contrary to Deutsche Telekom’s claims that it’s “impossible” to unbundle vectored VDSL, Ikanos is perfectly comfortable with two ISPs sharing the binder. “As long as the two DSLAMs are within about 50 meters, we can communicate between them and cancel noise on all lines,” adds Amiri. Telecom Italia and Fastweb have an official memorandum of understanding they will do just that. http://bit.ly/WR6tug Each is passing several million homes with fiber/DSL, often in the same node. Huawei, #2 DSLAM vendor to Alcatel, is understood to have the contract and presumably will choose Ikanos chips.
  Ikanos is serious about interoperability. “If you manufacture VDSL chips, bring a board to our labs and we’ll be glad to test with you.” They claim they are working closely with their lead competitor and expect few problems in interop.
  Promises, promises I’ve been hearing from everyone in VDSL for a decade, so I’ll remain skeptical of everyone’s claims until they are proven in the field. Click to see Ikanos' reference chassis supporting 384 ports at 100 megabits 
http://bit.ly/12qPIZ8

 

*** ASSIA Smart Vectoring deals with the remaining network-trashing noises that vectoring exposes but cannot cancel or address. http://bit.ly/13ZuRiv (ad)

TNO: Top DSL Conference Coming To Dutch Beach http://bit.ly/12Ioqiv
Scheveningen, 17-19 June
With the DSL Tsunami sweeping Europe, it's a great time for all the European leaders to come together. Europe is committed to 35M lines of vectored DSL in the next three years. Very few lines have been actually deployed. There are plenty of problems still to work out. Folks who can solve tough problems are coming to a Dutch resort hotel to exchange experiences.
   KPN, Deutsche Telekom, Swisscom, Belgacom, AT&T and Telecom Malaysia will be speaking. So will top industry folks from Adtran, Alcatel, ASSIA, Huawei and several more. Regulators are coming the first day. I hope they stay for the engineers on days two and three; they will discover just how many companies have been lying to them about the technology. I know the claims in the German petitions for VDSL were unsupportable.  
   A reality check on the vectoring enthusiasm is important. There are no large field deployments of vectoring and I've reported that the carriers don't expect any until 2014. http://bit.ly/16UficY Nearly all the gear in the field is from Alcatel, who tell me
   “Alcatel-Lucent’s vectoring solution has been commercially available since December 2011 and is fully functional. No components are missing. We have shipped over 1 million lines, and indeed most of those lines are running in VDSL2 mode as operators are waiting for sufficient coverage before marketing & activating vectoring services. However, we have more than 20,000 lines running in Vectoring mode."

 

briefs

 

  • Cisco’s VNI for landlines is out with an extreme drop projected for Internet growth. http://bit.ly/11bMBpK
  • The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is reopening. The ban on foreigners in cannabis cafes is repealed. All the more reason to plan to attend the Broadband World Forum in the fall. It’s the best show of the year.

press

  • Tim Lee has jumped from Ars Technica to the Washington Post, a brilliant hire. He writes he  “will be covering the same tech policy beat I covered at Ars.” His first article was an intelligent critique of net neutrality, noting the danger of getting government involved in the net. Dave Farber holds a similar position. His second mocked the folks claiming connected cars will not sell because people will resist tracking. He points out that hasn’t held back cell phones. Tim is a libertarian out of Cato and far from my left politics. We share an abhorrence of government interfering where it shouldn’t, believe reporters must get the tech right and respect the truth. He’s too young to have learned from I.F. Stone “Governments always lie,” but working in D.C. will prove to him that’s only a slight exaggeration.
  • Jonathan Krim has become Tech Editor at WSJ. He played a major role at the San Jose Mercury when that paper was doing the best tech reporting in the world. (Remember Dan Gillmor’s work?) WSJ has regained some of their luster of late. Julia Angwin has been doing Pulitzer quality work on privacy. The paper also is developing several young tech reporters with the potential to become stars, including Anton Troianovski. Anton just reported “Big phone companies have begun to sell the vast troves of data they gather about their subscribers' locations, travels and Web-browsing habits.” That has the chilling suggestion that companies are now actively tracking and storing everywhere you’ve been and every web page you visit.
  • Rob Pegoraro wondered why landline broadband in the U.S. didn’t have the equivalent of MVNOs, which are bringing down wireless prices. http://bit.ly/Z63zFl   A thoughtful article included my comment  “In landline, with only two players, the odds were pretty good that the ‘MVNO’ customer would otherwise have been a full fee paying customer of the same carrier. In wireless, with 4 and previously 6 carriers, it’s less likely you are cannibalizing your own.” He also spoke with Harold Feld and Dane Jasper along with doing research at CTIA. The article is part of DisCo (Disruptive Competition), a project funded by CCIA’s mostly Internet members. CCIA explains “Plenty of other groups in DC defend incumbent industries and protect the status quo; DisCo brings together experts to explain how disruptive change in the modern economy promotes growth and advances our society.” They’ve hired good reporters to make the project credible. Rob was once the best tech reporter at WaPo.
  • Chetan Sharma tweeted “Only $9.5B in profit. something must be wrong at Apple.”
  • Michele Donegan, a good reporter, left Light Reading, which also recently lost Phil Harvey, Carol Wilson and Jeff Baumgartner. Phil is now doing pr for Metaswitch, which is leading a remarkable effort called Clearwater which is creating an open source IMS.  
  • Danny Yadron at WSJ took the time to read FCC chair candidate Tom Wheeler’s blog and discovered Wheeler “appeared open in 2011 to letting telecom giant AT&T Inc. acquire T-Mobile USA.” If that were a considered opinion rather than a quick blog entry, I’d consider it such bad judgment as to disqualify him from office. He’s expressed many other industry favorable opinions. The strongest argument for Wheeler is the endorsement by 11 colleagues from the Obama transition team, including Susan Crawford, my personal choice.
  • Todd Shields at Bloomberg stuck to the facts but caught the essence of the issue. “Tom Wheeler agreed to sell holdings of $500,001 to $1 million in both AT&T Inc. (T) and Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) to resolve possible conflicts of interest before taking office.” A million dollar investment is quite a lot.

people

  • Cyrus Namazi until recently led marketing at Conexant, then a leading DSL chip producer. In a drastic change, he’s become a VP at ICANN, the folks who run the Internet name system. He has the thankless job of explaining to folks like Canadian official Heather Dryden the rationale for ICANN policy. Like everything at ICANN, the politics he will face are predictably byzantine. ICANN claims it moves forward in a style described as the "bottom-up, consensus-driven, multi-stakeholder model".