By Susan Campbell
Demands on broadband providers have been nothing short of intense the last few years. The predicted “data storm” has arrived and users now expect more flexibility, capability, quality performance, and access to rich applications and features. This can be a challenge for service providers trying to meet the need, but is also creating new opportunities and revenue streams when challenges are overcome to improve service delivery overall.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent blog, Connecting the World – from Innovation to Reality, highlights these opportunities. Author Dave Geary, President Alcatel-Lucent Wireline, points out the socio-economic benefits of broadband. And, while we’re aware of the increase in mobility and growing demand for access, there are also a few other stats that may be surprising for some vendors, including that wirelines still mater.
For instance, did you know that:
- In the U.S., two-thirds of people sleep with their mobile phones?
- In Germany, 84 percent of users would prefer the Internet over their car or even their partner.
- Again in the U.S., individuals 8-18 years of age can consume 11.5 hours of content in just seven hours. How you ask? They tend to have the TV, the desktop and the mobile device on all at the same time.
Even at a young age, we feel a constant need to stay connected. Yet at the same time, much of the world is still not connected to available to what Alcatel-Lucent calls High Leverage Networks.
For instance, while 80 percent of users in North America have access to high speed connections, there are still 75 million who are unserved. In APAC, more than a billion people are connected, but that’s only 25 percent of the population and three billion are still unserved. In fact, 4.5 billion people throughout the world do not have broadband service.
This represents considerable opportunity for broadband service providers able to reach this target audience – the underserved. Telkom South Africa is in the process of connecting 4 million subscribers through a combination of fiber and copper technologies. Telmex and Oi in LATAM have launched similar initiatives, and fiber networks are being rapidly rolled out in China by China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.
Even with this progress, however, it’s not enough to just stay connected. It’s also important to ensure new and existing subscribers have access to the bandwidth they need, while also supporting the applications and services they want access to. As a result, Geary says that service providers need to establish bandwidth targets based on the population they serve.
In doing so, they need to leverage new technologies that will deliver higher bitrates. For instance, Belgacom plans to offer 50Mbps to all subscribers using the VDSL Vectoring; KPN relies on P2P fiber to push out 500Mbps and Vectoring will soon be used to improve overall performance; and massive programs have been adopted by Verizon and AT&T as they focus on LTE and delivering speeds up to 1Gbps.
These examples demonstrate a clear effort on the part of service providers to try and meet a very real and growing need to reach those who are not connected and improve services for those who are. In the process, the deployment of robust infrastructures, the high leverage network and strategic plans with realistic and measurable outcomes will enable real and profitable progress that enable users to get to fast faster and service providers to monetize the need for speed faster as well.
Whether it be bringing wired broadband to customers by cost-effectively upgrading existing copper plant with VDSL2 in a timely manner or installing new fiber optics, wires still matter in enabling the under and un-served the vital links they need to be part of the connected world.