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The Big Questions Facing the Telecom Industry

I took a pause the other day to think about the big issues facing the telecom industry. When I've done that in past years, I always came up with a few major issues and more smaller ones. But we are in such turmoil right now that I rattled off the following list quickly. I can't remember a time when our industry was wrangling with so many major issues at the same time. The industry's performance over the next decade is going to depend upon how we handle these issues. more

Internet Capacity Is Keeping Pace With Traffic Growth, Says Research Firm

According to new data from TeleGeography research group, international Internet traffic grew 53% between mid-2007 and mid-2008, down from 61% the preceding year. Traffic growth between the US and Latin America was especially fast, surging 112%. In contrast, traffic on internet backbones between major cities in the relatively more mature US market rose a modest 47%. For the second consecutive year, according to the study, total international Internet capacity grew faster than total Internet traffic, leading to lower utilization levels on many internet backbones. Between 2007 and 2008, average traffic utilization levels decreased from 31% to 29%... more

The Fiber Land Grab

It's becoming clear that we are now deep into a fiber land grab. By that, I mean that companies that overbuild fiber in the United States are moving into markets to build fiber as quickly as possible. The biggest ISPs have publicly discussed their plans for building a lot of fiber in 2023. Following are some of the latest projections for 2023: more

Building Resilient Broadband Networks: Lessons from the Power Industry’s Transformation

It's almost impossible to talk about broadband at the community level without talking about resiliency and redundancy. It's hard to find rural communities that haven't experienced a broadband outage due to a fiber being cut somewhere. The issue hits the news when there are reports of regional or national broadband outages. more

Making Sure March Madness Doesn’t Live Up to Its Name

Last month, I talked about keeping the Winter Olympics from clogging up your networks as employees raced to stream live events during the workday. Well, in the U.S., we are in the middle of NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, the annual "madness" repeats itself all over again. And let's be honest, most of us want to sneak a peek at the scores and witness some of the thrilling upsets that happen every year. more

Experience is Paramount at the 2017 ANGA COM

Right as May turned into June, we joined thousands of attendees at the latest edition of ANGA COM in Cologne, Germany. Over the course of three days, I had the opportunity to listen and gain insights on the challenges faced today in the industry. As we're already aware, data consumption and demand continue to march upwards. This is further evident by the sheer amount of FTTx-related vendors and solutions present at the show. Cable service providers can look at DOCSIS 3.1 or tilt their HFC towards FTTx. more

ISPs and AI: Enhancing Customer Experience and Network Efficiency

One of the most common questions I've been asked lately is what I think the impact AI will have on the broadband industry. All of the big ISPs in the industry have actively been pursuing the use of AI. For example, AT&T Labs says it is investigating the use of AI to optimize the customer experience and auto-heal the network. Comcast says that it is using AI to help process petabytes of data every day. more

Quantifying the Benefits of Telemedicine

There was a recent article in JAMA Network Open, part of the monthly journals of the American Medical Association, that reported on a large study to quantify the benefits of using telemedicine with cancer patients. The study was conducted at National Cancer Institute - Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Florida from April 2020 through June 2021. The study wanted to quantify the cost savings for patients that were able to conduct visits via telehealth rather than drive to the cancer center. more

SEACOM Lights Up Eastern Africa

The SEACOM submarine cable, completed in the past 24 hours, is the first modern submarine cable connecting to eastern Africa, and the first of an unprecedented wave of new cable projects on both the eastern and western coasts of Africa. Approximately USD2.4 billion in new submarine cable projects are scheduled for completion by the end of 2011. The plans for so many new cables reflect both Africa's lack of international communications infrastructure, and soaring capacity requirements. more

Starlink Service Is Great on (Some) Cruise Ships

I recently used Starlink on a cruise along the coast of Northwest Africa, and I'll summarize my experience below, but first let me explain why I put some in the title of this post. I posted the following request on the Reddit Cruise group: "What has been your experience of Starlink Internet service on Seabourn or other cruise lines? How was latency? Do video chats work smoothly? Games? etc." more

Cuba to Launch Residential Broadband

Cuba has announced it is launching country's first broadband home Internet servicea, a potentially major step forward in bringing the island online. more

Satellite Broadband Rivals: Beyond Starlink’s Dominance

Starlink gets almost all of the satellite press in the U.S., which is fair since the company now serves many homes and RVs with broadband. The company currently has over 4,600 active satellites in orbit, and if it sticks with its original business plan, it will eventually have 30,000. But there are a few other satellite companies working in the broadband space that don't get the press. more

The Trade War for Undersea Fiber

A recent article by Joe Brock for Reuters describes a new geopolitical battle over undersea fibers. There are about 400 undersea fiber routes that cross oceans and that connect the world with fiber. This is a huge business, and about 95% of all international broadband traffic passes through the undersea fibers. more

Consumers Worldwide Getting Better Deals on Broadband Access, Says New Study

According to a report released today by market research company Point Topic, consumers worldwide are getting better deals on broadband. Out of the three main broadband technologies, DSL, Cable, and Fiber, DSL has seen the largest worldwide fall in average price for a subscription which dropped from $66.75 in first quarter of this year to $53.32 in third quarter. That is a 20% drop in the first 3 quarters of the year. In comparison average subscription prices for cable are down just over 12% and for different versions of fiber (often called FTTx) down by 6.5%. more

Study Projects Broadband Sign-Ups to Fall by 12 Percent in 2009, Economic Downturn Blamed

The result of the economic downturn will force cable industry and telephone companies to face some unsettling prospects in terms of customer growth and revenue increases, according to a forecast by research firm, Pike & Fischer. According to the report released today, Pike & Fischer anticipates approximately 5.7 million U.S. households to become new high-speed Internet customers this year, marking a 12% decline in subscriber growth compared to 2008. The report also suggests that the cable industry will capture about 75% of new broadband subscribers. more