& cplSiteName &

The Power of the Gig

Jason Meyers
7/30/2014
50%
50%

When I answered an incoming customer service call from Comcast yesterday, all I really hoped was that my experience would be better than this guy's. (See What Can We Learn From Comcast's Customer Service Nightmare?)

Turns out it was. For one, my call was from an automated and far less argumentative voice. Also, I wasn't planning to cancel my service (not yet, anyway). And finally, the automaton told me that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) was doubling my internet speed for no additional charge, effective immediately.

I haven't binge-watched House of Cards since I got that call, so I have yet to know if Comcast's action will improve my often frustrating Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) experience. But I know this: I feel a little better about Comcast.

Is it a sign of the times, this unsolicited gesture to satisfy customers and stave off churn? It would seem so -- and it's likely a development driven by ever-increasing competitive pressure, especially from the myriad providers now beginning to offer gigabit services.


Get the latest updates on what will be the next Gigabit Cities by visiting Light Reading's Broadband/FTTx content channel.


These providers run the gamut: There's AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which has recently added San Antonio, Nashville, Dallas/Fort Worth, and three North Carolina communities (Charlotte, Winston-Salem, and Raleigh-Durham) to the list of cities that will join Austin in getting its GigaPower service. There's Google Fiber Inc. , which is signing up customers in Kansas City and Provo, Utah, and has Austin and nine more cities on deck, many of which overlap AT&T's GigaPower map.

But then there are the smaller providers -- according to the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council , 55 in all in the US, including telcos, municipalities, utilities, and even real estate interests. These are the entities bringing gigabit services to smaller cities and towns, stepping up the competitive pressure on the Comcasts, AT&Ts and Google Fibers of the world, whether those larger players are willing to admit it or not -- and adding to the regulatory ruckus while they're at it. (See If Not Muni Networks, Then What?, Muni Utilities Take Gigabit Fight to FCC, and The Municipal Menace?).

Competitive pressure can do wonders for service innovation. (There's even a startup in my tiny hamlet that's plotting a gigabit network build, which might account for the Comcast call.) Competitive pressure also ups the level of debate, raising important issues like states' rights, the role of the FCC and federal government, proper municipal use of taxpayer funds, even the question of how necessary gigabit speeds are -- especially for residential customers -- at this point in time. And in regions that might never get the attention of Google Fiber or GigaPower from AT&T, gigabit initiatives are aiding economic development efforts and potentially contributing to community transformation. (See Comporium Aims Gig at Businesses, Residents.)

All of it is certain to continue apace, keeping things very interesting -- and, if nothing else, improving the binge-watching experience for us all.

— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading

(8)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
atiller
100%
0%
atiller,
User Rank: Blogger
8/1/2014 | 7:47:04 AM
not just about csp churn..

Yes competition is sometimes the mother of innovation, and also of improved customer care.  But maybe it shouldn't just be about reducing churn - maybe there's some rev-gen that can come that way as well.  

Maybe next-time your operator detects you are trying to binge watch House of Cards, it could offer you a service speed upgrade for the next 3 (4, 5, 24?) hours to improve your viewing.  You might happily pay a couple of dollars for that uplift.  Or Netflix might want to pay some or all of that for you - in order to stop you switching to Amazon LoveFilm (and that would be improving customer service to stop churn by an OTT player).

But then we have strayed from improving customer service into the whole net-neutrality debate and kicked off another thread entirely.  Some of these innovations can get pretty interconnected.

pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/31/2014 | 9:42:00 AM
Re: The Need for Speed
@FakeMitchWagner,

Unfortunately in my location in NYC, we're locked into only 1 high speed provider. Somehow, our building management only allows TWC.
SachinEE
100%
0%
SachinEE,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/31/2014 | 6:20:00 AM
Competitive pressure
Clearly the increase in competitive pressure is the only reason why Comcast is doubling your internet speed. There are many rival carriers who are also offering some sort of discounts so that's the only way to stay afloat and avoid losing their clientele to other carriers. I wouldn't mind if they threw that offer my way but as it is, they have no choice. It's actually a step into the right direction because now they can keep up with the other carriers.
Michelle
50%
50%
Michelle,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2014 | 10:38:47 PM
Re: The Need for Speed
I would take the additional speed for almost the same price I'm paying now! I don't need a gig and would be very happy if we were getting 70 mbit/s. We're bandwidth poor. Enjoy your doubled bandwidth!
jabailo
50%
50%
jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2014 | 9:44:43 PM
Re: The Need for Speed
I believe each Netflix HD movie stream only requires about 2Mpbs for playback.

The problem with streaming has often been with the Netflix servers themselves or the ISP, though they've been addressing both those issues with more hardware and by paying for bandwidth.

With those being optimal, you should easily be able to fit 5 concurrent movie streams, however, you probably would need a very good Wifi hub to manage all the traffic.




 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/30/2014 | 6:34:37 PM
Re: The Need for Speed
I almost certainly don't need a gig. But I can always use a little more than I have now. And I expect that will be true if I get a little more -- I'll want a little more than that. Pretty soon I'd have a gig and still be hankering for more. 


I wonder whether carriers really face competition through much of the US. 55 communities sounds like a lot, but the US is an awfully big place, and it's my impression that the overwhelming majority of the population has a choice of at most two high-speed providers. 
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/30/2014 | 5:26:37 PM
Re: The Need for Speed
Jason,

Not sure I would take it as I would then have to up my home router.  I don't use any of the router capabilities of my Cable Modem as I want to control that exclusively.

Other than that - sure.....

 

seven
jasonmeyers
50%
50%
jasonmeyers,
User Rank: Blogger
7/30/2014 | 4:46:19 PM
The Need for Speed
Netflix streaming really is the most bandwidth-intensive application going in my household, with various devices like Kindles and iPhones in the hands of small people (streaming purely educational content, I'm told) running a close second. A quick Ookla speedtest tells me I'm currently getting about 70 Mbit/s download speeds if I sit near the Comcast box, and just a little shy of that if I sit one room away. 

The point of all this is to say that I probably don't really need a gig -- but if it were available to me for a price in the ballpark of what I'm paying now, I would take it. Would you?
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
More Blogs from The Gigabot
A private community in Florida takes broadband matters into its own hands and builds out a gigabit-speed network.
Light Reading will bring the Gigabit Cities community together in Atlanta May 13 and 14.
President Obama's stance on municipal broadband is politically polarizing – but could there be an upside for commercial service providers?
Communications service providers of all types need to figure out what role they will play in the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem.
Google Fiber delays the planned deployment of its gigabit network in its next nine metro targets, as other gigabit hopefuls step up.
From The Founder
The time has come for a telecom app store to save the industry.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
LRTV Interviews
BCE Service Provider Keynote: CenturyLink

5|16|17   |   22:32   |   (0) comments


Aamir Hussain leads the Product Development and Technology organization at CenturyLink, which includes the company's information technology function. He is an experienced senior technology executive with more than 25 years of proven success in the implementation of global technology operations, operationalization of complex technology, infrastructures and business ...
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink CTO on Transformation

5|16|17   |   7:43   |   (0) comments


The 50-year-old telco has already gone through several transformations, including every time it made an acquisition, but its purchase of Level 3 coupled with changes in technology and customer expectations necessitates its biggest transformation yet.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2017

5|15|17   |   5:05   |   (1) comment


Find out who made it into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Interviews
Site Visit: AT&T's Tel Aviv R&D Center

5|15|17   |   09:58   |   (1) comment


Nir Shalom, general manager and VP of application development at AT&T Israel, talks about the key service developments undertaken at the AT&T R&D facility in Tel Aviv and how the team there has adopted new ways of working.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Act on Your Intelligence With Amdocs aia!

5|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Amdocs CMO Gary Miles explains how communications service providers can seize the AI opportunity with Amdocs real-time digital intelligence platform.
LRTV Interviews
Logtel CEO: Making Sense of IoT

5|15|17   |   09:48   |   (0) comments


Jacques Bensimon, founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based training and consultancy Logtel, talks about the need to make IoT more than just a buzzword.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Challenges of Mobile Banking Implementation

5|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kamal Quadir of bKash Limited explains the challenges and needs of implementing mobile banking in the Bangladesh market.
LRTV Interviews
Tel Aviv: A Hub of Innovation

5|10|17   |   07:58   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Dan Allen discuss the technology innovation, food and amazing sights they witnessed during a recent trip to Israel.
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
BSS Is BS, Says KPN Tech Boss
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/16/2017
AT&T's Donovan: Women Adapt Faster Than Men
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 5/18/2017
Verizon on M&A: Who Needs a Cableco?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/17/2017
Standardization Needs Room for Innovation
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/17/2017
Fright Wigs & Cocktails: BCE 2017 in Pics
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.