Next Generation Communications Blog

October 2008

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UK Broadband Feeling Recession Effects

It appears that the global economic malaise is not sparing the UK broadband market.   In April of this year, Point-Topic predicted an additional 800,000 broadband lines would be deployed in the latter half of 2008.   But now, according to Tim Johnson, chief analyst at Point Topic, those numbers are down.   "We're now forecasting that only 620,000 broadband lines will be added in the second half of 2008," Johnson said. "The forecast for 2009 as a whole is 1.1 million, 200,000 down on the earlier forecast."   "To keep on track Britain needed to add 390,000 broadband lines in the July to September quarter.

Laptop Guardian Security Solution Goes Global

In order for all the exciting next-generation communications services to be widely adopted by corporate users, certain conditions must be in place, among them ubiquity and security. Not only do business users need access to their applications everywhere and anywhere, the access they crave must be secure.   Earlier this week, Alcatel-Lucent announced global availability of a high-speed packet access (HSPA) version of its OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian (OA3500 NLG).   This solution is designed to protect and recover stolen laptops and data, and was previously available only on CDMA-based 3G networks. (TMC's Rich Tehrani wrote here about the earlier model, which is offered by Sprint on its CDMA network in the US.)   Furthermore, in a recent survey of 255 executive level IT, security and compliance decision makers in the U.S. and Germany, it turns out that 76 percent of respondents believe it is necessary to protect a lost or stolen laptop with more than encryption alone - such as having the ability to locate the device using GPS and remotely revoking access to data.   And in a finding that should serve as a warning to complacent mobile operators everywhere, 50 percent of companies said they would switch to an operator that offers a security solution that protects lost or stolen laptops used remotely, provides auto virtual private network capabilities, and allows IT to manage laptops even when they're turned off.   For more details on Alcatel-Lucent's OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian solution, check out the Web site.   SingTel of Singapore, Magyar Telekom of Hungary, and broadband carrier IIJ (Internet Initiative Japan Inc.) of Japan all unveiled plans to offer the device on their networks.  

In-Stat: Global Broadband Enjoys Growth

A research study conducted by In-Stat found that broadband services are maintaining high levels of demand globally.   The report posits that over the past 12 months, approximately 80 million new broadband subscribers signed up for high-speed access to the Internet, with DSL technologies accounting for 55% of total broadband connections.   According to In-Stat analyst Mike Paxton:   "The increasing popularity of online applications such as downloading music files, watching TV programming, and playing online video games, are driving demand for 'fatter pipes' that provide ever-increasing amounts of bandwidth. Being able to use these applications, combined with the basic consumer desire to surf the net, is fueling global demand for broadband services."   Other findings from the In-Stat report include:   ·         As of September 2008, there are 452 million broadband subscribers worldwide. ·         By 2012, In-Stat forecasts that worldwide broadband subscribers will reach 876 million, almost twice the size of the current subscriber base. ·         At the beginning of 2008, DSL, mobile wireless, and cable modem service were the leading broadband access technologies, providing 93% of all worldwide broadband connections. ·         Also as of September 2008, there were 100 million broadband subscribers in the U.S. Based on the current subscriber growth rate, the U.S. is adding approximately 1 million broadband subscribers each month.  

Advancing Broadband Deployment

In cooperation with the East Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) consortium, Alcatel-Lucent plans to provide regional bandwidth capacity of 1.4 Terabit/s via a combined submarine and terrestrial optical solution.   The company says the bandwidth will be enough to "satisfy broadband needs for years to come."   According to the announcement:   The EASSy submarine cable network will provide connectivity across the continent to support the increase in local traffic from both traditional and new broadband services. Additionally, with interconnection to other submarine cable systems to the North and South, this project will provide an international gateway, crucial for the economic development of the region and for the reduction of the digital divide.   The submarine network will span nearly 10,000 km linking eight countries from Sudan to South Africa, via Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mozambique.   Alcatel-Lucent is a major proponent of ensuring that developing territories the world over have access to broadband.   In a recent paper titled Broadband Policy Guidelines in High-Growth Economies, the company explained the potential of broadband and how its availability can play a transformative role in the development of a region   Broadband's potential can be used as a key driver for economic growth, attracting foreign investment, developing territory attractiveness, and enabling a thriving community. Yet barriers to broadband mass adoption such as affordability, accessibility, awareness, and literacy still prevail.   Broadband is not just the Internet made faster. The definition of broadband is a matter of semantics; what should be emphasized is the deployment of a technology that supports sufficient bandwidth connections to the Internet for the service intended.

Wireless Growth News

A newly released report from Informa Telecoms & Media indicates that 2007-2008 witnessed significant growth in the prepaid mobile services market.   At the end of last year, there were nearly 2.33 billion prepaid subscriptions worldwide, of which two percent of subscriptions accounted for prepaid WCDMA accesses.   According to the research, by 2013 there will be approximately 3.93 billion prepaid subscriptions, generating concomitant revenues of over $382 billion.   The consultancy predicts that from 2007-2013, growth might slow down to a global compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of just over nine percent; Still, the prepaid market will account for over eighty percent of new mobile subscriptions.   It's expected that the key drivers of future growth of the prepaid mobile services market will be very-low-income customers in developing markets.     In other next-generation wireless news, Alcatel-Lucent today announced a €22 million deal with South African mobile operator Vodacom SA to upgrade its existing 3G network.   The goal is to boost the capacity and coverage of Vodacom's network so that the wireless carrier can offer its customers a wide range of advanced next-generation mobile broadband services.   The 3G wireless network will be based on Alcatel-Lucent UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and HSDPA/HSUPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access/High Speed Uplink Packet Access) technologies.    

Scots Want Next-Gen Communications Networks

A recent survey of the online population in Scotland found that 84% want high-speed downloads and 87% would like TV and films on demand. The survey was commissioned by Mott MacDonald, a management and engineering consultancy.   The challenge facing these would-be wired Scots is that fewer than 0.01% of households in the UK have a fiber network to the home which would allow access to the type of broadband necessary to deliver these services.   According to the report on Public, the survey:   "...highlighted that Scots want access to online services such as video calls (63%), remote healthcare (61%), and high speed broadband to access virtual learning tools (71%)."   Tom Allen, director of the Information, Communications & Media division at Mott MacDonald, said: "The Scottish online population has told us they want broadband that simply delivers."    

Is ALU Pursuing Openreach?

Newly minted Alcatel-Lucent CEO Ben Verwaayen is rumored to be negotiating with former employer BT (Verwaayen, who was appointed Al-Lu CEO last month, ran the carrier until April of this year) on taking over operational responsibility for BT's Openreach.   Openreach is a division of BT that was established as a result of an agreement BT and regulator Ofcom to give rival operators equal access to BT's local network.   As Openreach proudly proclaims on its Web site: "We are the proud guardians of the nation's local access network, sometimes referred to as the 'first mile.'"   The Register was first with this story and has it that BT is negotiating the outsourcing of its network access arm.   According to a report on TelecomTV, Alcatel Lucent already has an outsourcing contract with BT Global Services that is worth about ... [$350 million per year] ... "and a not-so-secret weapon in the form of Ben Verwaayen."   If Verwaayen could secure a multi-billion dollar deal so soon after taking the helm of Alcatel-Lucent it would certainly be a nice achievement this quickly into his tenure.  

Is Business Ready for the Millenials?

A brand-new survey from the respected Economist Intelligence Unit in combination with Genesys predicts finds that most companies are struggling to adapt their businesses to serve customers who are part of the Millennial Generation. The Millenials are generally thought to be those consumers born between 1982 and 2001 (7-26 years of age today).   Millenials actually outnumber baby-boomers today, and this generation will continue to grow in influence as younger members of the group reach adulthood over the next decade or so.   According to the report, three key findings emerged from the study: ·         Investment strategies are shifting to favor Millenials: Companies are debating heavily whether to invest more in catering to aging baby boomers versus next-generation consumers, with 42% saying they should tilt toward younger customers, while 39% would shift toward baby boomers and generation X. ·         The time to act is now: Most companies (54%) have not yet set their strategies or marketing for Millennials even though they overwhelmingly agree that such steps are needed, with 75% saying Millennials will impact their organization as consumers in the next three years.  ·         It's an Enterprise 2.0 world: Most companies have a sophisticated understanding of what it would take to adapt, but are not ready to change their customer engagement model by leveraging social networking, peer marketing, better online support, text messaging, and blogging.     The report underscores the need for businesses to invest in new methods of customer communication and to tailor their approaches to match specific customer preferences.   To download a copy of the report, click here.

Testing for Optimal DSL Performance

Earlier this week, at Broadband World Forum Europe in Brussels, Alcatel-Lucent announced that its 5530 Network Analyzer (NA) has evolved to become a single integrated testing solution for DSL-based broadband access networks.   The solution features a customer care interface designed to assist service provider staff to provide immediate support when facing end-user issues, and a Dynamic Line Management (DLM) feature automatically sets DSL lines to work at optimal levels, thus delivering increased stability and service quality.   Driven by increasing triple play demand from end users, DSL lines need to offer higher performance to meet the needs of customers.   The 5530 gives operators greater insight into the loop quality of their DSL lines, giving them greater visibility into potential problems which can be avoided, anticipated or resolved much more quickly.   For more, check out the official announcement from Alcatel-Lucent.
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