Facebook starts its own PAC. No one questions the right of a commercial enterprise to make the maximum legal donation. Soliciting and syndicating money from others is at best questionable. Add to that a new tracking ploy after all of the bad press prior user tracking ploys. Has Facebook crossed the line to evil? Does anyone who uses it care?
As Google+ goes public and signs users at a record rate, has the social media bubble burst?
The international Internet governance bickering is starting to look more like all out war. At point is the good old UN. And you thought it was an organization dedicated to promoting world peace?
The so called spectrum shortage is a hoax big enough to be worthy of Al Gore as its pitch man. While this is a shill piece for more government regulation and funding, it helps make my point: There is no shortage, just way too much spectrum in the wrong hands.
Is cable finally going to unbundle? While it may be the last best hope for growing video subs, I’m pretty sure it’s too little, too late.
A little over 2 years ago, I predicted the the world would soon establish 1GPBS as a standard for top tier broadband. In the US, a few tiny patches of 1GBPS capable services have already emerged, until now all fiber based. Now that relatively cheap gear to make it happen over coax has become available, Comcast is joining the 1GBPS club.
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts today hit the stage at the cable industry’s annual Cable Show to demonstrate a 1 Gbps broadband connection. During his presentation, Roberts demonstrated a live 11 mile 1 Gbps connection, downloading an entire season of 30 Rock in HD — in just 1 minute and 39 seconds. (DSL Reports)
It’s time for a few new predictions. Roll out of this service will be slow. Comcast might even have to light up an extra backhaul fiber or two to hand the extra demand (no big cost here, it’s already in the ground). Expect the service to be very expensive. Don’t expect Comcast to enter markets that have existing comparable service it would have to compete with. At 1GBPS, Comcast’s current usage caps make no sense at all, but it’s not going to be a $70 a month service. In contrast, in more competitive markets, providers expect to be offering 1 Gig for about the same price their upper tier customers pay now.
It’s good to see US broadband advancing. Unfortunately, it is advancing at a pace the is lagging farther behind the world’s leaders than a year ago. Cable is becoming a fixed line monopoly as the telcos focus on mobile service. As we enter the midpoint of the duopoly’s second decade, it’s time to consider a new restructuring often referred to as Divestiture II. The first Divestiture of AT&T might have worked had the FCC managed it responsibly, added cable to the fold and not backpedaled on rules. V2 needs to address shared right of ways and infrastructure that will insure a competitive market. Acting now could be the big boost our economy needs as competitors rush to market and other new services are enabled. Failure to act is pushing us closer to becoming a second tier technology nation every day.
The Evil Eye was an early proponent of metered broadband, but back pedaled when a public outcry had the pols in Washington threatening regulation. With AT&T and Comcast’s new capped plans in place with no resistance, Time Warner has announced plans to follow suit.
….there’s only so much room for Time Warner to grow by adding new broadband customers — especially since the company already offers the fastest service in many markets. After that, the company obviously hopes to recoup the money it stands to lose from cord-cutters is by charging more for broadband connections.
Of course, Time Warner has made no secret of its desire to impose pay-per-byte pricing. Two years ago, the company caused a stir when it announced a plan to expand tests of consumption-based billing to four new markets. The plan at the time was to offer tiered service ranging from $15 a month for 1 GB to $150 a month — the approximate cost of the company’s triple-play service — for unlimited bandwidth. (Examiner)
In principle, I think true metered billing at a competitive rate is a good idea. Since a gigabyte on the competitive backbone is a couple of pennies, a fair price seems to be a 10 to 20x multiple plus a basic connection charge – say $10. Equate it with an electric kilowatt hour, only that kilowatt hour generally sells for a 2 to 5x multiple of what it costs to produce and deliver it. Broadband gigs are far less expensive to produce and the infrastructure to deliver them is far less costly in comparison. There is no cost of production since broadband is purely a delivery service. Even at a far higher multiple, gigabytes sold on a retail price structure comparable to kilowatt hours would cut the average cable subscriber’s bill by more than half. Under a fairly priced per GB plan, even heavy users would pay less. If pricing were truly based on usage, Time Warner would realize incremental revenue gains by encouraging subscribers to use more rather than penalizing them for it. Unfortunately, this is not what Time Warner has in mind.
It’s no secret that cable cutters are responsible for lower gross revenues at Time Warner. At the same time, faster speeds that the telcos seem unwilling to invest to compete with have made Time Warner a monopoly in virtually all of the markets it serves. The monopoly provider of an essential commodity can and will charge whatever it wants. What it wants is the same revenue per broadband customer that it currently gets from triple play customers. That means broadband subscribers could be paying substantially more.
In the vast majority of markets, cable broadband is now a monopoly. Being a monopoly that is also completely free to set service levels and prices is damn good work if you can get it. Don’t blame the cable providers. They are obligated to act in the interest of their shareholders, not the public. To be very clear, this is not a natural monopoly, but one that has been created by lawmakers. The time has come for those lawmakers to correct the problem they created: Either open the market to competition, or regulate cable like a utility. Regulation is the worst option and should be only the path of last resort.
For the lucky few Verizon customers who have fiber connections, the pipes are getting a good bit bigger and will only be affordable to the affluent.
The carrier has begun to roll out the service to consumers in the 12 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, where FiOS is available. Small businesses will be able to get it by the end of the year, Verizon said on Monday. The fastest service offered so far on FiOS has been 50Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream.
The service will be available to a majority of households that are eligible for FiOS. It will be available as a stand-alone service at the $195-per-month price when purchased with a one-year service agreement and Verizon wireline voice service. (Mac World)
With the cable guy’s big bandwidth tiers selling briskly even at Skybox prices, I’m surprised it took big V this long to take notice and jump in. I’m doubtful that this will include a roll out of any new infrastructure, but more a way of bringing more revenue from the photonic plant that Verizon already has in place.
With fixed line voice and pay TV as walled garden services on the decline, I expect to see more ultra premium service tiers offered. In this arena, the clear winner could be cable. Even in my under served working class neighborhood, the cable guy is rolling out a 50/15 service tier. With no fiber in the ground, the telcos could see their most profitable customers flee en mass. While we could be getting better pipes, we’ll end up paying more than double what the French or Brits do for comparable service, and we will have even less competitive pressure on the horizon.
With cable and satellite subs flat and the telcos struggling to grow a pay TV business, online video is thriving – even the pay subscription kind. The cable guys and telcos can blame the recession, but there’s still business to be had if you give people what they want: a movie anywhere there is an internet connection for $9 a month. The combination of online viewing with a DVD in the mail, Netflix managed to grow its customer base by more than 1 million in the last quarter. If the movie studios would allow, the DVD could be done away with all together.
The results reflect the growing popularity of Netflix plans that bundle DVD rentals with unlimited video streaming over the Internet for as little as $9 per month. Netflix’s success contrasts sharply with more traditional home video options such as . and Movie Gallery, which are closing hundreds of their stores and struggling to attract traffic to the locations still open.
Netflix added more than 1.1 million customers during the quarter — the most in any three-month period in its history. It took Netflix four years to attract its first 1 million subscribers after launching its rental service in 1999. (Yahoo)