on July 28, 2010   |   1 comment

The FCC recently concluded in its Sixth Broadband Deployment Report that between 14 and 24 million Americans still lack access to broadband or “advanced telecommunications capability” that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology. The FCC, in its July 20th Report, estimates that 1,024 out of 3,230 counties in the United States and its territories are unserved by broadband and, on average, these unserved areas are home to 24 million Americans living in 8.9 million households with a population density of 138.3 people per square mile and a per capita income of $14,565 measured in 1999 dollars. The FCC’s estimates of broadband availability are based primarily on the Model that FCC staff created in conjunction with the development of the National Broadband Plan, and the broadband subscribership data the FCC collects on FCC Form 477.

The FCC applied a “de minimis threshold,” under which it found broadband to be available in a county only if at least 1 percent of the households in that county subscribe to broadband. Stated differently, broadband is deemed available in a county if it is unavailable to up to 99% of the households in that county! Given this relatively low threshold, the FCC data may tend to actually overstate broadband availability in the United States. These and other details are critical to understanding the full impact of the FCC’s data.

So how and when will broadband deployment improve in the United States? The Report proposes to meet the FCC’s goal of deployment to all Americans by implementing key recommendations from the FCC’s National Broadband Plan, including reforming the FCC’s universal service programs, unleashing spectrum for mobile broadband, reducing barriers to investment, collecting better broadband data, and upgrading the standard from 200 kilobits per second downstream, to 4 megabits per second (Mbps) downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

As we noted last week in our Back to the Future article, other possible solutions involve changing the regulatory classification of broadband, and moving it from an information service to a more heavily regulated telecommunications service. Critics of this approach typically raise concerns of increased costs and regulatory delays, ultimately leading to reduced or stifled broadband availability. This debate is currently playing out in comments and reply comments filed with the FCC in response to the National Broadband Plan. Given enough spectrum, engineering solutions such as higher transmitter … Read the rest

on July 28, 2010   |   6 comments

2010 marks a pivotal year for the telecommunications industry. Not only is it the beginning of a new decade, but it’s also the beginning of a new era in terms of connecting to others. It’s a critical juncture of technology, it’s an evolution: the 4th generation. Competing companies such as Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T all have a role in producing this 4th generation. They have sunk massive amounts of commerce in the development of their own version of the technology but as of now, none of these companies are capable of producing the finalized product. Though each company has set their approximate nation-wide release year, which is 2013, as well as their estimation as to how many consumers will be connected to their 4G networks, roughly 100 million, none of the companies have commercially marketed their product to the public. There hasn’t been any newspaper articles or television commercials about the product, and trying to find information on their websites is pretty much a fool’s errand. It seems that the 4th generation of connectivity isn’t as ready as these companies portrait it to be.

Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint are the companies leading the way for this new product. They exude confidence during technology fairs concluding that the 4G revolution is upon us. They’ve developed products to help connect to the network such as portable modems, usb drives, and sim cards. They’ve even entitled their networks; Sprint’s being WIMAX (World-wide Interoperability for Microwave Access) while Verizon and AT&T’s shall be called LTE (Long Term Evolution). However, perhaps their confidence is missed guided and their promise of debuting in 2013 is unrealistic.

WIMAX developed by the Sprint and Clear companies respectively, seems to be losing ground in the United States amidst their attempt to bring WIMAX success domestically. Though they’ve raised 3.2 billion dollars in investments to produce the network, Sprint and Clear may have underestimated how expensive it is to blanket the country in connectivity. Sprint, the lesser of the three major telecommunications distributors in the country, may not have enough currency to continue production if the 3.2 billion isn’t enough, and investors Google, Time Warner, and Intel may grow weary of waiting and pull their investments early. Also those dependent on their WIMAX’s success is far less than those who are dependent on LTE”s success due to the fact that Verizon and AT&T are far larger companies. If … Read the rest


on July 27, 2010  

Throughout this decade India has made a push towards becoming a market and industry super-power. With the second highest population in the world, India is swiftly becoming one of the world’s most dominant producers in terms of manufacturing. A need that is separating India from achieving it’s full business-ready potential is perhaps the infrastructure of their communications network. In a developing country close to realizing their full-industrialized potential, there is a market for Internet providing companies to exploit, Reliance Industries being one of the many.

Reliance Industry is a private sector conglomerate company choosing to upgrade their communications network. The company specializes in sales of petroleum products and other medically related supplies and has profited 3.6 billion dollars in the last fiscal year, ranking 264th in the Fortune 500. The company is searching for a reliable network and was speculated to choose Nokia’s TD-LTE system, however, further testing has proven that TD-LTE may not be ready to launch in a country where cheap supplies and products are a necessity. Reliance Industries criticized TD-LTE, eluding to its immaturity as a network. Meanwhile the company began successfully testing Sprint’s WIMAX.

WIMAX the commercially-tested and proven 4G network, seems to have it’s grips on the Indian Market and as of now, is the odds on favorites to be the network provider for Reliance Industries. The deal between the two companies will cause groundbreaking repercussions for the WIMAX network. Becoming a provider for Reliance may spark world-wide press and acknowledgement for the 4-G network. Using Reliance as a foothold or will undeniably launch WIMAX’s network above all in India.

 Read the rest

FCC Seal

on July 26, 2010   |   5 comments

Last week we wrote the first of a series of articles about broadband deployment, and offered suggestions to help foster and develop rural broadband through stimulus and Universal Service funds, municipal broadband projects and competitive bidding. In this article, we review the current status of broadband deployment in light of the recent Comcast Decision and the FCC’s proposed National Broadband Plan.
In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress codified the FCC’s distinction between “telecommunications services” used to transmit information and “information services” that run over the network.  The FCC later eliminated the regulatory asymmetry between cable companies and other broadband Internet service providers by extending the information service classification to broadband Internet services offered over DSL and other wireline facilities, power lines, and wireless.  Today broadband Internet service may be offered as an information service  subject to consumer protection, network reliability, and national security laws, rules and regulations, but largely exempt from Title II telecommunications service regulation.
Expressing its resolve to further broadband deployment, Congress recently passed
1) the 2008 Farm Bill directing the FCC to submit to Congress “a comprehensive rural broadband strategy,
2) the Broadband Data Improvement Act to improve data collection and “promote the deployment of affordable broadband services to all parts of the Nation”, and
3) the Recovery Act, which appropriated up to $7.2 billion for broadband services deployment, and required the FCC to develop the National Broadband Plan.

Earlier this year the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated the FCC’s 2008 Order barring Comcast from interfering with its customers’ use of peer-to-peer networking applications. Comcast Corporation v. Federal Communications Commission, et. al., No. 08-1291 (D.C. Cir. April 6, 2010). The Court vacated the FCC’s Order because the FCC failed to tie its assertion of ancillary authority over Comcast’s Internet service to any “statutorily mandated responsibility . . .” Id. at 36. With this blow to the FCC’s authority to force Internet service providers to keep their networks open to all forms of content, the Comcast Decision raises serious questions about the FCC’s ability to regulate broadband.

Faced with the reality that approximately 100 million Americans do not have broadband at home, the FCC’s July 20th announcement that between 14 and 24 million Americans still lack access to broadband overall, and Congress’s mandate that the FCC ensure that every American has “access to broadband capability,” the FCC rolled out its proposed National Read the rest


on July 22, 2010   |   2 comments

In the last decade, technological advances have become a necessity rather than a luxury for today’s American consumers and businesses. As a society we are always in demand of something new, something faster, something that will change our lives even if it means paying a little extra for the service. When turning on the television, commercials rule the airwaves using various techniques to coerce us into buying their product or at least implant a little annoying seed that unconsciously has us repeating the commercial slogan. An example of this would be the Optimum Triple Play Package advertisement, which uses corny rap and rock songs that are catchy, and I confess, are imbedded in my memory due to it’s continuous broadcasting during football games and practically all of television. Verizon and Apple use a compare and contrast technique, which subtly imply that they have a better product than their competing companies as seen from the “Can you Hear Me Now”, and the “Mac vs. P.C” commercials. These companies have been the pioneers of 21st century advertisement, and I’d bet money that most people have seen their commercials and/or own their product or service. With such marketing maneuvers it is no surprise that these companies are leading the industry with their respective product.

So with that said, has anyone ever heard of WiMAX or Clearwire? At first glance, it sounds like a bootleg version of Wi-Fi and water bottle brand, but it’s not, it’s an up and coming technology and company that will change the way the public connects to the internet. Want proof? Well how about 3.2 billion dollars of proof? Google, Time Warner Cable, and Intel have agreed to produce that amount in support of the Sprint’s Clearwire Company and the WiMAX product with hopes that it will unlock its 4G potential and make its mark on today’s market. WiMAX has the potential to cover entire cities with connections and works just like a portable modem, meaning you can be anywhere in the city and have access to the internet. WiMAX mean’s no restrictions; you can reconnect with society anywhere you go, it means you can say goodbye to hunting for coffee shops that have free internet access, or even paying 2.99 for three hours use of internet at Barnes and Nobles. WiMAX offers an option of a faster Internet with a stronger connection, so why in the world isn’t … Read the rest


on July 22, 2010  

PITT MEADOWS, BRITISH COLUMBIA – June 9, 2010 – Aperto Networks, a wholly owned subsidiary of BC-based Tranzeo Wireless Technologies Inc. (TSX:TZT), announced today that China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (“Sinopec Corp.”) the largest integrated energy and chemical company in China has successfully deployed Aperto’s PacketMAX WiMAX products to build a region-wide wireless broadband network in the Sichuan province of China.

SINOPEC develops and manages gasfields in the mountain area of Sichuan where safety  is one of the most important considerations to the success of the operation. Aperto’s PacketMAX WiMAX solution was selected to provide the mission critical communication infrastructure. SINOPEC is leveraging Aperto’s carrier-class QoS and comprehensive network management system to support multiple services including integrated voice, data, and video applications. The rugged mountain areas of the Sichuan province are extremely challenging  for any communications technology. Aperto’s PacketMAX product family spans multiple frequencies and enables efficient frequency re-use and co-location through advanced synchronization technology.

“We are pleased with the reliability and performance of the Aperto solution” said Mr. Wu Weide, managing director of production management center at SINOPEC. “Our application demands high availability and predictable performance by the communication system. Aperto has worked closely with us to design and deployment of this critical infrastructure.”
“We are excited to be working with a quality partner like SINOPEC” said Bill Waters, Sr. VP of World-wide sales for Aperto “This successful deployment once again validates the powerful capability and high reliability of our PacketMAX product family.”
Aperto’s PacketMAX product family is available at 2GHz, 3GHz, and 5GHz offering flexible solutions for broadband wireless access and critical vertical applications. PacketMAX also offers a powerful network management platform with advanced features for real-time monitoring and control of all network elements. The PacketMAX family consists of high performance, carrier-class base stations and a broad family of cost-effective subscriber units.

About SINOPEC Corp.
China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (“Sinopec Corp.”) (CH: 600028; HKEX: 386; NYSE: SNP; LSE: SNP) is an integrated energy and chemical company with upstream, midstream and downstream operations. The principal operations of Sinopec Corp. and its subsidiaries include: exploring, developing, producing and trading crude oil and natural gas; processing crude oil into refined oil products; producing, trading, transporting, distributing and marketing refined oil products; and producing and distributing chemical products. Based on 2009 turnover, Sinopec Corp. is the largest listed company in China. The Company is one of the largest crude oil and … Read the rest


on July 21, 2010   |   2 comments

Silicon Valley, CA, July 20, 2010 –  Proxim Wireless Corporation (OTCQX: PRXM), a leading provider of complete indoor and outdoor wireless broadband ecosystems, today announced its new  Tsunami™ 8150-CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) series of products, designed to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of deploying wireless broadband service for carriers and service providers of all sizes.  The 8150-CPE products leverage the same high-performance 4G technology utilized in Proxim’s   Tsunami MP-8150 and  QB-8150 line of products, and are designed to provide over 100 Mbps of performance. The new CPEs support 2×2 Multiple-Input and Multiple-Output (MIMO) and can be deployed in Non-Line-of-Sight (NLOS) situations, in both indoor and outdoor form factors, to enable quick installation even in hard to reach areas. The CPEs also support 256 bit AES encryption for high security applications. And at a list price of just $399, the 8150-CPE will enable service providers to deploy wireless networks that exceed the performance of Cable/DSL alternatives at a fraction of the cost previously possible, providing a quick Return on Investment (RoI).
“Just a few years ago, service providers would have paid many times the cost of the new 8150-CPE just to provide voice service. Today they can deploy broadband anywhere, and at an impulse-buy price,” said Craig Mathias, a Principal at the wireless and mobile advisory firm Farpoint Group. “The 8150-CPE extends an already industry-leading wireless broadband product line, addressing the global requirement to provide universal broadband connectivity cost-effectively. Proxim is building upon their years of experience in the carrier and service provider market and has introduced a product line that delivers what service providers everywhere are clamoring for.”


Better Performance, Reduced Cost and Time-to-Market for Service Providers
Consisting of both an outdoor and indoor form factor, the Tsunami 8150-CPE line of subscriber units is ideal for the carrier,  service provider and WISP markets as it accelerates the service provider’s break-even point by reducing the cost of delivering service to users. Whether deploying large-scale wireless networks or rural broadband connectivity, Proxim’s 8150-CPE solutions deliver the following benefits:



Non-Line-of-Sight Operation


MIMO and advanced Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) greatly enhance NLOS performance, improving deployment in challenging areas.
Designed for quick, easy installation and compatible with all Tsunami MP-8100 products.



Reduced Cost of Deployment


Supports both licensed frequency and license-free frequency bands. Supports 2.3 – 2.5 GHz and 4.9 – 6.1 GHz to Read the rest

on July 16, 2010   |   4 comments

As the United States recovers from the great recession, it is even more critical to focus on broadband deployment to ensure that Americans have the necessary tools to compete worldwide.   This is the first of a series of articles that addresses broadband deployment, with recommendations for its improvement. This article focuses on rural broadband deployment.

Broadband allows users to reach the Internet at higher speeds than they could with traditional modems. Broadband uses data processing capabilities that compress voice, video, and data information into bits that become words, pictures, charts, graphs, or other images on computer, wireless phones, or screens. High-speed Internet access allows information downloads at significantly higher speeds than traditional modems. It also allows online access without tying up telephone lines, videoconferencing, and access to entertainment resources. Broadband access comes in several flavors, including Digital Subscriber Line (“DSL”), cable modem access, fixed and mobile wireless, satellite Internet, and Fiber to the Home (“FTTH”).

Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity, allows Internet access by short-range signals, and it is available at thousands of hotspots around the country. WiMAX, or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, is a standards-based wireless technology that provides high-throughput broadband connections over long distances. WiMAX is similar to Wi-Fi, but it permits usage over much greater distances.

Federal legislation clearly favors rural broadband deployment.  Section  706  of  the  1996 Telecommunications  Act  requires  the  FCC  to  “encourage  the  deployment  on  a  reasonable and  timely  basis  of  advanced  telecommunications  capability  to  all  Americans.”   The  Act also  mandates that consumers  in  “rural,  insular,  and  high‐cost  areas”  should  have  access to services  and  rates  that  are  “reasonably  comparable”  to  those  in  urban  areas.    On February 17, 2009, Congress passed the Recovery Act, which charged the FCC with developing a national broadband plan that seeks to ensure that all Americans have broadband access.  In response to this Congressional mandate, the FCC recently delivered to Congress a national broadband plan for robust broadband capability for Americans with benchmarks for meeting that goal.

Broadband deployment in rural areas is critical for economic development, growth, jobs, education, tele-medicine and other data-centric services, and for the United States to remain competitive with other countries. But rural broadband deployment in the United States considerably lags broadband use in urban areas. In light of this need, Congress passed the 2008 Farm Bill, which recognized the critical need for broadband in rural areas.  That law requires the FCC … Read the rest

on July 16, 2010  

“Open Buffet” and “All you can eat” plans can bring in the customers. It works for restaurants, casinos and other establishments where competition is high, and where the economics make sense as a loss-leader and/or where there is adequate margin on volume or turnover.  But, with the recent announcement by AT&T that they are ending their unlimited data plans in favor of tiered pricing (i.e., pay for what you eat), it looks like they have come to learn what MNOs in the more mature mobile markets of Europe learned.  Namely, that once you have captured a customer, you need to find other ways to keep them.  Using unlimited data plans as the “sticky” service to keep a customer, can cause an operator to lose their shirt through service degradation, and sully their reputation with the overwhelming majority of their other customers.

Customers who use the iPhone, which is sold through AT&T in the U.S., consume seven times the bandwidth of typical mobile phones, according to Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York, as reported by Bloomberg, But, that is not all.  They also quote company sources at AT&T who say that 98 percent of their smart phone customers use less than 2 gigabytes of data a month.  The Handset-Base Station Radio Network is still a limited resource, and having a lot of smart phone users can “hog up” this most precious resource for an MNO.

European MNOs learned this lesson a while ago.  They offer data plans either prepaid or postpaid with varying pricing based on tiered usage and contract type.  I tried a prepaid 3G data stick on one of my visits to London last year.  It cost 39 GBP and included 1 GB of data with 1 GB top ups for 15 GBP.  I was very happy.  It was a cheaper solution than paying for daily Wi-Fi access in Starbucks or at the hotel, and I was connected everywhere.  I have seen the light and I have become a believer.

European MNOs also learned another lesson early on in the mobile life cycle.  That they have another resource that is generally underutilized, and that they can use to increase revenue with very little risk- their Billing System.

MNOs, and most Telcos for that matter, are exceptionally adept at tracking and charging for lots of very small events.  Billing calls in One Second Increments, user authentication, fraud detection, … Read the rest

on July 15, 2010   |   2 comments

Comcast Corporation recently began offering its High-Speed 2go service in 10 additional markets. Baltimore, Richmond and Washington D.C. all now can experience 4G speeds from Comcast. It will also offer the services in the Pennsylvania markets of Harrisburg, York, Scranton, Reading, Lancaster, State College and Lebanon.

The High-Speed to go offers both 3G and 4G coverage in the available markets. The service will be bundled with their Internet, phone and television services. It’s mobile broadband internet wherever customers need it.

“The world-class services Comcast is known for in the home are beginning to be extended to anywhere consumers work, live and play with the launch of Comcast’s High-Speed 2go mobile solution,”  Rick Lang, senior vice president of marketing and sales for Comcast’s Eastern Division, said, “Comcast continues to drive innovation in the industry and this launch gives customers the best of both worlds — the fastest fast at home and on the go as a natural extension of our super fast wired high-speed Internet.”

The High-Speed 2go Nationwide Preferred wireless data card operates on both the 3G/4G networks and splits between the two networks. Comcast is now offering a 4G only data cards in Philadelphia as High-Speed 2go Metro service. It’s the fastest mobile Internet connection available when in market.

Comcast uses Sprint’s 3G network when not covered by the 4G connection. Comcast was also an investor in Clearwire.  Google, Brighthouse Networks and Sprint also invested money into the 4G network builder. Clearwire is the company that sets up the 4G networks using WiMAX technology. If CLEAR isn’t in the market, then Comcast can’t offer the 4G connection. The company offers different devices, including CLEAR spots, mobile routers. They’re the only 4G operator that offers home modems along with a series of USB modems. Sprint owns a majority share in Clearwire, but… Read the rest