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Broadband Issues Review

What should cellular, pay TV and broadband services cost?

A familiar refrain among consumers is that cellular, pay TV, and broadband are overpriced. But if you take a look at the cost of providing some of these services, plot them against demand and usage patterns, and consider some of the unique aspects of the North America market and geography, a different picture emerges. So here’s my take, in terms of what looks reasonable from the perspective of the consumer, and service providers’ requirement to operate a viable business. Cellular The ‘base price’ is typically $15-20 per line, which includes unlimited domestic voice and text. The amount of 4G data is now the main variable, or ‘currency’. For standalone users, prevailing prices are in the $10 per GB range. The best deals are on volume or family/shared plans, where pricing is $4-5 per GB, and as low as $3 per GB. This is 40-60% less than it was three years ago.

So, what should it cost? Well, consider that usage has been rising on average 50% per year, that operators are consistently spending 15-20% of revenues on capex to keep up with this demand, and have to pay billions of dollars to the government to get more spectrum “supply”. One should also consider the challenges of relatively low population density in the U.S., compared to parts of Europe and Asia, which make it more expensive to provide network coverage and capacity.

The biggest trouble with broadband pricing in the U.S. is that most people don’t know what they’re actually paying for broadband, because it’s often part of a “triple play” type service that typically includes pay TV and landline phone. Try to ‘unbundle’, and broadband pricing that looked like $50-60 per month turns into $80 per month. That’s too high…and it is also starting to subsidize pay TV.


Broadband Privacy Proposal Too Broad, Former FTC Chair Says

A proposal to protect consumers’ privacy by limiting broadband providers’ ability to serve targeted ads “overshoots the mark,” says Jon Leibowitz, former chair of the Federal Trade Commission.

Leibowitz, who now works at a law firm that represents Internet service providers, says in a new Federal Communications Communication filing that the proposed rules “go well beyond those imposed upon the rest of the Internet economy.”

His comments come in response to an FCC proposal to prohibit broadband providers from using data about consumers’ Web activity for ad-targeting purposes without their opt-in consent. Those rules would only apply to Internet service providers, and not “edge providers” — meaning companies that offer Web content or services, like Google, Facebook, Netflix and ad networks.


With 5G, Verizon could be anyone’s crazy-fast home broadband provider – CNET

Verizon CEO says there’s no reason why FiOS, now only available in the Northeast, couldn’t go nationwide with a fixed wireless service.

A majority of the nation has probably never heard of FiOS, Verizon’s broadband and video service. With super-fast 5G wireless technology, that could change.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam entertained the idea that FiOS, which is only available in the Northeast, could go nationwide. But instead of a physical line going into your house, the connection would be via the next-generation 5G technology the company is developing.

The ultimate promise of 5G is to have that super-fast connection everywhere you go, known as true mobile broadband. But most in the industry believe that won’t occur until 2020, when the mobile industry settles on consistent standards. But Verizon and AT&T have both said they would move quicker, opting to deploy a fixed mobile broadband service, offering you high speeds in a single location like your home.


Under new Charter, more options for broadband Internet service – St. Louis Business Journal

bizjournals.comWith Charter Communications’ $78 billion mega-deal to acquire Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in the rear-view mirror, Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge said he’ll look to provide more options for broadband Internet service by focusing on telephone company providers as opposed to overbuilding its cable capabilities.

Rutledge made his remarks Thursday at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York, according to trade journal Multichannel News.

Overbuild is an industry term that essentially means different cable operators can compete in the same area. For example, if Time Warner Cable broke into the St. Louis market, where it is currently not offering service, TWC would be overbuilding on Charter, which does serve the area.

Cable consumers hoping the Charter deal, which closed Wednesday, would mean more options for cable services are likely unhappy with Rutledge’s remarks. Of course, it’s good news for other operators who had feared the competition.



New report shows most people still hate their broadband provider, opens door for new disruptors – TechRepublic

Slow speed, bad Wi-Fi signal, and high prices soured many customers’ views of their broadband provider, which could make it easier for providers like Google Fiber to win them over.

According to a report released Tuesday, nearly two-thirds of broadband subscribers wouldn’t recommend their provider. The 2016 Incognito Broadband Consumer Quality of Experience (QoE) Survey, put out by Incognito Software Systems, found that only 34% of subscribers liked their provider enough to recommend them.

If you’re like many other American consumers, this news doesn’t come as a distinct shock to you. In our hyper-connected age, almost everyone has had a bad Wi-Fi experience. But, it goes deeper than that.  h/t