Light Reading

Satellite Delivers Most Honest Broadband

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Welcome to today's broadband and cable news roundup.

  • Cable operators and some of the telcos spent part of Friday (Feb. 15) patting themselves on the back after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued its latest broadband quality report, which measured several key metrics, including how well service providers are doing when it comes to delivering advertised speeds -- a topic that Cablevision Systems Corp. and Verizon Communications Inc. squabbled over but recently settled. Overall, U.S. ISPs are performing better, so the FCC reports appear to be shaming them into making improvements. The ISPs measured in the latest report delivered 97 percent of advertised speeds during peak periods, up from just 80 percent in August 2011, when the FCC issued its first broadband measurement report. Among individual ISPs, satellite broadband provider ViaSat Inc. , which tops out at just 12Mbit/s downstream, beat the field in this category, with sustained downstreams near 140 percent and upstreams just north of 160 percent of what's advertised. ViaSat, by the way, also happens to be an ISP with some of the strictest usage policies/broadband caps. AT&T Inc., Windstream Communications Inc., Verizon (for DSL) and Qwest (now part of CenturyLink Inc.) were down in the rankings for advertised speeds. Time Warner Cable Inc. appeared to be the relative laggard among cable MSOs. In the broader category, satellite and fiber were above the 100 percent mark in both directions, cable didn't quite make it on downstream connections, while DSL trailed them all. Here's a glance at how the individual ISPs and access technology flavors stacked up:
    Source: FCC
    Source: FCC
  • The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) is saying no to NOLA as it swaps the dates and venue for this year's Cable-Tec Expo to avoid a conflict with the IBC conference in Amsterdam, set for Sept. 12-17. The revised plan will see Cable-Tec Expo run Oct. 21-24 in Atlanta, versus the original plan to have it run Sept. 18-20 in New Orleans. The new plan also puts the event in the corporate backyard of Cox Communications Inc. and its EVP and CTO, Kevin Hart, who is serving as program committee chairman for the 2013 Cable-Tec Expo.
  • Comcast Corp. says it's the first service provider to achieve Carrier Ethernet 2.0 certification for E-Line and E-LAN services, an announcement that comes soon after a bunch of vendors got the 2.0 stamp from the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). The distinction will put Comcast on a path to supporting some new management features and interconnect capabilities. Comcast is leaning on MetroE to move upmarket and serve larger businesses. MetroE-based services are responsible for 15 percent of the company's business services revenues, which reached US$2.4 billion during 2012. (See MEF Sticks a '2.0' on Carrier Ethernet and MEF Certifies CE 2.0 Vendors.)
  • Former CableLabs Chief Strategy Officer David Reed has resurfaced at the University of Colorado in Boulder as a scholar in residence in the school's interdisciplinary telecom program. Reed left CableLabs last fall after an 18-year career with the Louisville, Colo.-based, MSO-backed R&D group. His departure came soon after CableLabs underwent a leadership change and shifted more resources to Silicon Valley. Reed, who will head up a new research center focused on broadband, told Light Reading Cable via email that he started the new post at the start of 2013 and is teaching a class in the current semester. (See CableLabs Sets its Sights on Silicon Valley and Ex-HP CTO Named CableLabs CEO.) — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable
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    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/19/2013 | 9:20:59 AM
    re: Satellite Delivers Most Honest Broadband
    I've been using comcast for while. I like that it is cheaper than most companies, but I wish it was faster. Verizon alway sounds promising because it is known to be so fast. How reliable would you say it is? And is it for unlimited use? Also, in the case of 
    <a href="">emegencies, do they offer disaster recovery internet</a> services?
    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    2/19/2013 | 3:17:06 PM
    re: Satellite Delivers Most Honest Broadband

    More news on the speed front.. Verizon is letting existing FiOS Internet customers upgrade to the entry level Quantum tier (50-meg down by 25-meg up) for another $10 per monthGǪ and keep that for as long as they want. -áThe most Quantumy of the Quantum tiers offers 300/65. The middle quantum tier is 150/65.-á In an interesting twist, VZ is offering some ways for customers to get the upgrade without a truck rollGǪ among them, FiOS TV subs can go to channel 500 or to a Web page -áand double-opt-in for the upgrade.
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