The Summer of Software Defined Access: Foreshadowing Fall Success?

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

• Calix, ADTRAN and Nokia, in that order, all hosted media/analyst events this summer which highlighted each vendor’s focus on software-defined access (SDA) solutions.

• Differentiation of SDA solutions between vendors will be more challenging than previous, hardware/performance-focused comparisons. As such, the clearest differentiation for and between vendor SDA solutions will be customer/operator wins, the bigger and more numerous, the better.

With the fall equinox upon us, it is timely to reflect on the summer of SDA. From June through August, SDA was a hot topic for three key fixed access systems vendors: Calix, ADTRAN and Nokia.

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Google Fiber: Will Gigabit Wireless, and Going Long, Keep It Relevant?

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Google Fiber, despite its still-small subscriber footprint, still generates plenty of hype, even after pulling back on its ambitious growth plans.
  • With a commitment to buildouts in major U.S. cities, gigabit wireless networking, and ongoing fiber technology development, Google Fiber appears to be in for the long haul, but must fill its leadership vacuum quickly.

Half a decade ago, Google Fiber announced its intentions to blow up the U.S. broadband market by building out its own gigabit fixed broadband service – a massive improvement over most cable and telco broadband services currently offered – for only $70 per month. Most of the Google Fiber footprint is served by GPON networking equipment, with the exception being the Ethernet FTTP assets in Utah, acquired from the failed Utopia project. Read more of this post

AT&T Aims to SHAPE the Future of Entertainment with Time Warner Acquisition

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • The AT&T SHAPE event, held in Burbank, California last week at the massive Warner Brothers studio lot, highlighted the impressive variety of media and entertainment assets that AT&T will gain with its pending $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.
  • The AT&T SHAPE event showcased the company’s clear intent to transform AT&T from ‘the Phone Company’ into a 21st century media and entertainment juggernaut, which also just happens to have a very strong legacy in networking.

The AT&T SHAPE Technology and Entertainment Expo was held at the Warner Brothers studios July 14-15 in Burbank, California. The SHAPE event was quite different from previous AT&T events, primarily because of the strong focus on Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Actually being ‘on location’ on the Warner Brothers lot drove this point home very effectively. However, the format for the event was familiar, in that it consisted of roughly one-hour sessions which were delivered in one of the Warner Brothers screening theaters. Approximately 10,000 people attended the event. The main theater where the sessions were hosted had more than 500 seats, with an overflow theater and live streaming of the main stage displayed on TV monitors in other locations throughout the Warner Brothers studio lot. Read more of this post

Huawei Analyst Summit 2017: Expanded Video Focus, and Velocity

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Huawei’s 2017 Analyst Summit showcased the company’s clear progress in the video market on multiple levels, from the integration of video into Huawei’s strategic vision to the hiring of an ex-AT&T video marketing director as CMO for Video Products.

• While Huawei has made clear, tangible progress in the video space, there is still room for improvement, evidenced by its more acute focus on telecom/IPTV operators, at the expense of substantial opportunities with cable operators.

Huawei’s Addressable Video Markets, and Monetization: On day one of the 2017 Analyst Summit, Huawei’s keynote speakers highlighted the company’s heightened commitment to video. This includes Huawei’s segmentation of the video market into three key market segments: the $650 billion entertainment video sector, the $350 billion industry video sector and the $18 billion communication video sector. Entertainment video encompasses live and linear TV, VoD, OTT video and even user-generated content (UGC), Industry video includes telemedicine, remote education and “safe city” applications (supporting a network of public safety cameras, including HD feeds) and Communications video is video conferencing and video calls.
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Cisco, THX Introduce New Video Quality Optimization Solutions to Ensure Enhanced End-User Experiences

Erik Keith - Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Cisco debuted its Infinite Video Platform (IVP) Labs at CES 2017, confirming the trend of top-tier systems vendors in developing comprehensive video quality measurement solutions.
  • THX has teamed with Conviva to deliver an audio and video streaming quality certification program, with the goal of establishing a “universal standard for quality in the streaming world that consumers can trust,” but the prospects for industry-wide acceptance remain uncertain.

With the USD 400 billion global pay-TV/video market as a revenue foundation, and an increasing percentage of pay-TV/video content being delivered in a non-linear fashion, video quality optimization is becoming an increasingly critical issue for both operators and their system vendor suppliers. Optimizing end-user satisfaction – or, more accurately, quality of experience (QoE) and therefore ongoing revenue potential – is the prime directive. Read more of this post

Nokia Enables NBN’s Nationwide Broadband Goals: A Snapshot from Down Under

Erik Keith - Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) is on the path to fulfilling its namesake, i.e., bringing broadband connectivity to all of Australia, over copper, fiber and cable wireline networks, as well as fixed wireless and satellite networks for remote locations (e.g., the Outback).

• Nokia is providing the majority of NBN’s fixed access networking systems. As such, NBN is a showcase customer for Nokia while also serving as an example of how nationwide broadband can be achieved leveraging multiple access technologies.

The first day of September, coincidentally the first day of spring in Australia, NBN hosted a field trip for analysts and journalists in the outskirts of Brisbane, Queensland. The field trip was preceded by Nokia’s Fixed Networks Global Analyst Conference, as well as a press and analyst briefing with NBN in Sydney. NBN’s goal is to connect every Australian premise by 2020, with a minimum broadband bandwidth of 25 Mbps downstream/5 Mbps upstream. Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world, with a land area of 7.6 million square kilometers (2.9 million square miles), roughly the same size as the contiguous U.S. However, Australia’s population of 24 million is concentrated primarily on the continent’s east and southern coasts, in the metro areas of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, correlating respectively to the ctates of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland. NBN is overbuilding and supplementing the existing Telstra network, and provides an open access model, allowing multiple, competing service providers to deliver value-added services such as pay-TV over the network. Read more of this post

Verizon’s NG-PON2 Trial: Reality and Historical Perspective Needed to Temper the Hype

Erik Keith - Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Erik Keith – Principal Analyst, Fixed Access Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Verizon’s NG-PON2 trial provides both ADTRAN and Calix/Ericsson with the opportunity to establish a foothold in one of the world’s highest-profile FTTH networks and pressure incumbent supplier Nokia in the process.
  • Optics pricing for NG-PON2 – as much as 10x higher than current GPON prices – means that any vendor meeting Verizon’s demand of deploying NG-PON2 at GPON prices will prove hard-pressed to realize product line profits.

Verizon has announced that it will be trialing NG-PON2 solutions from U.S.-based vendors ADTRAN and Calix, with resale partner Ericsson supporting Calix for good measure. While this trial will be in Verizon’s Waltham, Massachusetts-located FiOS laboratory – i.e., a lab trial, not a field trial, let alone commercial deployment – it has nevertheless generated substantial hype in the industry. To be clear, winning formal, publicly disclosed trial status with Verizon or other Tier 1 operators is no small feat. For both ADTRAN and Calix, winning a slice of Verizon’s NG-PON2 FiOS network upgrade and service deployment would be one of the biggest wins in company history. But, before we all get too excited about the prospects of Verizon going full steam ahead with NG-PON2, several factors must be considered. Read more of this post