Telecom Timeout

A blog

May 6, 2009  6:49 PM

Is IPv6 a sure thing? Not if the Pouzin Society has anything to say about it

Posted by: WPeterson
Futurenet, Internet, IPv4, IPv6, Pouzin Society

Can the Pouzin Society save the Internet in time?The Internet architecture is fundamentally broken, and IPv6 solves almost nothing. It only delays the inevitable.

This is the somewhat ominous warning sounded by John Day, author of in Patterns in Network Architecture: A Return to Fundamentals and co-designer of both ARPANET and the Internet. To address the problem, he’s founded the Pouzin Society. The name sounds like something out of a Dan Brown novel, and the society’s goal – to fundamentally re-architect the Internet – is probably a bit harder than blowing up the Vatican, but the group is serious about confronting head on what they see as a looming threat Continued »

May 6, 2009  4:12 PM

If RIM can’t do it, can anyone?

Posted by: WPeterson

RIM’s business philosophy has long placed a high premium on carrier relationships, and the launch of the BlackBerry mobile store wasn’t supposed to be a departure from that, as RIM took careful pains to let each carrier have their own, customized front, if they so choose. But I wonder if the launch will ultimately be a boon or bust for the carriers involved.

Today, getting access to BlackBerry services requires an extra subscription fee, part of which is kicked over to carriers, and it would appear that some popular features — such as WiFi or unfettered GPS access — have previously been quietly left out at carriers’ requests. But while RIM was careful to launch the store with a bevy of paid business tools, “free” may still be the only price most customers are really interested in, which means double trouble if those apps drive up bandwidth consumption without adding revenue, even if carriers do manage to get a cut of at least a portion of paid apps.

I’ve been informally tracking the most popular downloads at the BlackBerry App World, and have yet to see (I may have missed one or two) a paid app crack the top 25.

Even more worrying? A good number of the top downloads are major wireless bandwidth hogs: Streaming music like Slacker Radio or Pandora (a personal favorite), or even worse, a YouTube video player. While these applications boost customer satisfaction, they don’t add a dime of revenue even as they increase the bandwidth an individual user might take up. Remember, while the iPhone has been the darling of AT&T’s customer growth, it came at the price of the mixed blessing of much, much higher data usage.

Related Reading:

April 24, 2009  5:28 PM

Clearwire legal action: Mo’ WiMax, Mo’ Problems?

Posted by: WPeterson
4G, Clearwire, Sprint, WiMAX

Mo’ WiMax, Mo’ Problems. Maybe that should be Clearwire’s unofficial motto.

Even as the company’s mobile WiMax solution slowly starts to take off, the company’s fixed WiMax solution is the target of a proposed class-action suit, alleging that, according to law firm Tycko & Zavareei LLP’s press release (PDF here):

… Clearwire engages in false advertising of its internet and telephone services. Although Clearwire advertises its internet service offering as a reliable, comparable, and “always-on” alternative to cable Internet or DSL, the complaint alleges that Clearwire’s Internet service is actually far inferior to cable Internet and DSL, as consumers frequently experienced service disruptions, including dial-up speeds and lack of service entirely.

With respect to Clearwire’s telephone service, although Clearwire advertises its telephone service as a superior alternative to traditional land-line telephone service, the complaint alleges that Clearwire’s telephone service is far inferior to traditional land-line service, as subscribers experience frequent service disruptions.

The complaint also takes aim at the company’s early-termination fee, charging that Continued »

April 23, 2009  4:34 PM

Management World heads to Nice for the global view

Posted by: KateGerwig
content delivery, IP transformation, network management, OSS/BSS, revenue assurance

Everyone at the TM Forum, as well as service providers from around the world are heading to Nice….as in France….early in May for Management World 2009 to talk about IP transformation and where service providers are going with it, or not. So I checked in with TM Forum President and CTO Martin Creaner as he prepared for Strategies & Tactics for Tough Times.

As we’ve heard since the recession officially began, the telecom industry isn’t getting the worst of the recession’s fallout, but it’s still tough times, Creaner says. He’s right, and to deal with that, ManagementWorld 2009 has scheduled five separate summits talking about business and technology transformation challenges. I hope attendees will be at least be drinking good coffee or sipping wine while wearing berets as they debate the multitude of issues. The five summits pretty much sum up the industry’s pain points: the business transformation, the technology transformation, the digital media value chain, revenue management, managing the customer experience.

Continued »

April 21, 2009  2:26 PM

Some thoughts on revenue in a cap-less world

Posted by: WPeterson

In my article on the backlash to Time Warner Cable’s bandwidth caps, I got a chance to speak with cap opponent and Rochester-area CEO Lee Drake, who thoughtfully followed up with more of this thoughts on revenue driving that wouldn’t alienate customers. Drake isn’t a free-Internet-for-everyone zealot — he owns his own business and happily acknowledges that America has very good reasons for not having the super-high-speed access at rock-bottom prices that many Asian markets see.

But like many consumers, he wishes service providers would get with the program on how he wants to consume media:

I hope that our efforts are not in vain, as your final sentence implies. I think Verizon FiOS stands as testament that a forward-thinking telecom company CAN come up with a solution that delivers both a large amount of bandwidth and personal user choice. I firmly believe that unbundling cable would go a long way towards restoring cable’s overall income. Continued »

April 17, 2009  3:00 PM

Time Warner Cable turnaround: No caps for you

Posted by: WPeterson
monetization, net neutrality, time warner cable, Tom Nolle

Time Warner Cable is canceling its trial plans for what the company termed “consumption based billing,” citing consumer confusion, as notes. I think a likelier culprit is the threat of legislation from the likes of Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Eric Massa, as well as a heap of bad publicity Time Warner Cable got as a result.

Is it really Time Warner Cable’s fault?

“The issue here is that 90% of the people writing about this topic are writing stupid, self-serving, cowardly bull,” Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp. and SearchTelecom blogger, told me when I first began interviewing him on the subject. In Tom’s eyes, and the eyes of much of the industry, the current model is simply not going to work, and it’s not fair to either the majority of customers or the carriers that some “freeloaders” can drain as much bandwidth as they want, while paying the same amount as the proverbial grandmother who checks her e-mail twice a week for pics of her grandkids. Continued »

April 16, 2009  5:46 PM

The revolution can now be televised

Posted by: WPeterson
Cuba, markets

Even as The New York Times Magazine sees the end of the Cuban revolution at hand, Obama is strengthening long-severed ties with the lone Communist country in the Americas by loosening trade restrictions, particularly those related to communications.

As the Miami Herald reports, service providers are now free to build communication links to the island nation of over 11 million people, including fiber and satellite links, as well as develop cellular roaming agreements within the country.

The Herald notes that at least some service providers are weighing the opportunity:

”We will look at any change in U.S. policy very closely, and should a new market opportunity arise in Cuba, carefully consider our options,” said DirecTV senior vice president Jon Gieselman.

AT&T, Verizon and Sirius Radio had no immediate comments. Enrique Lopez, who runs AKL Group, an international telecommunications company in Coral Gables, doubted that the Cuban government would allow much in the way of more open communications.

”Anything that attempts to bypass government control will be politely rejected,” he said.

Eight U.S. companies are licensed by the Federal Communication Commission to provide long-distance service to Cuba through cable or satellite, including AT&T and Verizon. It’s not clear how many actually provide the service, however.

While the Cuban government can be difficult to work with, particularly if a company wants to offer unfettered communication , those 11 million potential customers (only an estimated 200,000 of which have cell phones) could make it hard for carriers to resist Havana Nights.

April 10, 2009  4:15 PM

Thinking of going to metered service? Got backup?

Posted by: WPeterson
cable, monetization, Time Warner

Time Warner Cable has been experimenting with metered service in select markets, and recently decided to expand into four more markets after tweaking some policies, BusinessWeek reported.

Unfortunately for Time Warner, policies aren’t the only thing being tweaked. summarizes much of the backlash from customers, press, and even legislators:

Earlier this week [Time Warner Cable CEO Landel Hobbs] insisted consumers wanted metered billing, despite obvious indicators to the contrary. In the [New York] Times he’s lost in sort of a public relations purgatory, trying to soothe investor worries by saying finances are fine, yet at the same time trying to tell consumers that they have to pay by the byte because the entire billing model the company is currently built on is utterly unsound. At no time is supporting data (network or fiscal) introduced.

That Time Warner Cable’s business model is unsound may be absolutely true, given the drastic drop in the price-per-bit, but Time Warner is drinking its own Kool-Ade if it thinks customers will happily move to a metered billing plan. Time Warner would better spend its time to think of another plan or watch its customers go elsewhere. Maybe Time Warner is on the bleeding edge of this trend, but in this case, it won’t be good for business.

April 3, 2009  9:35 PM

AT&T aggressively pursues app store agenda

Posted by: WPeterson

Just last week, I wrote that despite little direct revenue, app stores are critical for telecoms’ success in reducing churn and selling more data.

AT&T seems to agree. Already, the company is tied into the most prominent application store with Apple’s iTunes, but it’s a partnership that leaves AT&T with none of the application revenues and little control.

As MediaPost reports, however, AT&T is getting more proactive serving applications to their millions of non-iPhone using customers. Continued »

April 2, 2009  9:26 PM

Juniper Networks wants to sit back, watch your TV

Posted by: WPeterson
Juniper, Triveni, Video

OK, so maybe Juniper Networks has been busier than it lets on, but the company is hoping its latest product push will help make telecom providers’ lives a little easier, and its own business a little more profitable.

The company introduced StreamScope eRM, a version of Triveni Digital‘s popular video monitoring platform that sits directly on Juniper routers, rather than needing a new appliance or probe.

It’s the first time Juniper has done video analysis, but that didn’t worry Tom DiMicelli, Juniper’s product marketing manager in the Edge and Aggregation Business Unit, when I talked to him about the launch.

“We really feel [our solution] goes to market with the most comprehensive set of features and capabilities in video monitoring,” he said, basing that assertion on the company’s decision to pair with Triveni. Juniper even provided a handy graph showing where Juniper thought its product trumped the competition.

DiMicelli said embedding the capabilities was possible because of Juniper’s Partner Solution Development Platform, announced about three months ago, which allows select partners (Triveni is the first) to embed their applications directly on the company’s routers.

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