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Cisco VNI: Broadband Traffic Growth Down by Half
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 20:14

U.S. wired growth down from 40% to 20-25%; wireless, from 100% to 40-60%. We've actually entered an era of bandwidth abundance. The biggest problem at major telcos is selling the capacity coming on line, not shortages or congestion. (That was mostly a lobbyist myth.) Across the world, growth is slowing. Cisco's projections for Western Europe and Eastern Asia are similar. Eastern Europe and Africa/Middle East will grow faster, with more people currently unconnected. China's wired future is like richer countries, but there's growth coming in wireless as more people acquire smartphones.  Africa will be the outstanding growth story, with inexpensive smartphones The figures are from Cisco’s VNI data, the most accurate picture of Internet use publicly available

The cost per customer per month for broadband data is now falling. For a decade, wired bandwidth demand had been growing consistently at ~40% per year. The cost of delivering that bandwidth has been going down as a similar 40%/year as Moore's Law brought declines in the cost of routers and other gear. I've checked repeatedly with the major equipment makers (Cisco, Alcatel, Juniper) and they are confident the cost per bit will continue plummeting. Equipment like home gateways is also coming down in price. Customer support costs are down, as fewer newbie users tie up support lines. 

    On wireless, I've been reporting since 2009 that the FCC and lobbyist projections were much too high. The "100%" growth was an artifact of the introduction of smartphones.

Politics Limiting China to 5M Cable Modems
Saturday, 17 August 2013 14:04

Despite a Politburo decision two years ago to increase competition, the Chinese telcos are succeeding in keeping the cablecos out of major markets. As broadband lines approach 200M, only 5M are cable. Jeff Heynen of Infonetics, an analyst I respect, writes, "After last year's turnover among Communist Party leadership, as well as in key positions within SARFT, the emphasis on China's NGB (next-generation broadband) network project has been called into question." 

   The new MIIT plan sets national goals of 270M connections in 2015 and all rural areas served by 2020, but little about encouraging cable to provide competition.

Voice Falloff Leads Revenue Down at Sweden's Com Hem
Friday, 29 November 2013 12:38

Wireless substitution cutting fixed voice subscribers. Cablecos, like telcos, inevitably will lose voice customers, probably soon at rate between 5% and 10% per year. Com Hem, which covers 39% of Sweden, had 359K voice lines a year ago. That fell to 347K the next quarter, 339K the following Q, 333K and now 330K, down 8%. Revenue also fell, from 1,133M krona to 1,104M krona. TV subscribers fell 1% while broadband grew 1%.

400 Megabit Cable Boxes Shipping
Tuesday, 21 May 2013 17:15

Liberty Global delivering 10's of thousands of Horizon boxes. Intel's latest cable modem chip bonds eight channels for 400 megabits shared downstream.

960-1200 Megabit Cable Modems Ready to Go
Friday, 30 August 2013 13:22

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 reach a (shared) speed of around a gigabit. By this time next year, some cable companies will be offering 600+ megabit down service. (Update 8/31 Com Hem in Sweden is already offering 500/50 using 16 channels bonded. Jeff Baumgartner reports the price is SEK 899 (US$138.03) http://bit.ly/15ggRid.)

How it Works: Gigabit Cable Coming in 2013-2014. Downstream only.
Thursday, 09 May 2013 00:04

Standard cable coax systems have a total capacity of 4.7 gigabits when used just for data. Most of the bandwidth today is used for TV. As the TV side goes all digital, data can claim more of the pipe.

First generation cable modems shared a single 6 MHz or 8 MHz channel for a maximum speed of 35-50 megabits, shared.

DOCSIS 3 initially bonded 4 channels for 150-200 megabits downstream. The systems now coming out of the labs bond 25 channels for a shared gigabit. The typical cable system has 132 6 MHz channels, but carrying 100 HD TV channels and the remaining analog TV takes up many of those. Upstream is typically limited and offered to customers as no more than 5-6 megabits. Higher upstream speeds are practical, but would require more changes to the system and are very rarely implemented.

  Intel began sampling gigabit chips in 2012 and Arris has shown working gear at trade shows.  Kabel Deutschland CTO Glanz  is optimistic he’ll begin serving customers by the end of 2013.

  DOCSIS 3.1 is expected to be 1 gigabit (shared) upstream and 10 gigabits downstream, according to John Chapman, Cisco’s chief cable architect and a member of the committee. Manufacturers are targeting 2015 but were two years late with DOCSIS 3.0. It uses more efficient OFDM coding and I believe will use higher frequencies as well. Most systems will require (modest) upgrades to CMTS, amplifiers and other gear. The cost should be moderate (? < $200 most places) but real.

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