Light Reading

At Age 2, Verizon FiOS Evolves

Raymond McConville
TelcoTV News Analysis
Raymond McConville
9/24/2007
50%
50%

Now two years old, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s FiOS TV still looks an awful lot like cable. Run up and down the FiOS TV channel guide, and the programming isn't stunningly different. But Terry Denson, Verizon's vice president of FiOS TV content strategy and acquisition, says the carrier's mission isn't to have exclusive content, but a better network.

Table 1: Verizon FiOS at a Glance

Product Verizon FiOS Internet Verizon FiOS TV
Public Debut August 2004 September 2005
Subscribers 1,100,000 515,000
What's the Big Deal? Provides downstream speeds of up to 30 Mbit/s, with 50 Mbit/s available in some areas. Verizon is currently testing 100-Mbit/s speeds, too. As "the only carrier to offer uncompressed HD," Verizon says its FTTH network allows for a simply better picture. Interactive features will only enhance the quality, but the company doesn't plan to compete by securing exclusive content.
Source: Verizon, Light Reading




"From a marketing perspective, the company will continue to place the emphasis on the network," says Denson, formerly a VP of programming for Insight Communications Co. Inc. , the nation's ninth-largest cable company. That approach will be interesting to watch as Verizon moves toward providing a more interactive TV experience.

The company has announced that it will move FiOS to an all-IPTV platform within three years. (See Verizon: HD VOD Is Coming.) That will open the door to a lot more possibilities, but they just won't be as obvious on the surface to the consumer.

The move to IPTV
"The difference between cable-like TV and IPTV is not a consumer difference," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Adi Kishore. While Kishore points out that IPTV has the potential to bring more interactive features and more on-demand content to customers, a carrier, he feels, is more likely to go with IPTV because of the "economies of bandwidth."

Cable companies and services like Verizon's FiOS send broadcast video to customers, but IPTV, in contrast, runs on a request-and-send architecture. The provider does not have to send 50 Mbit/s of bandwidth to a customer's home if his computer and TVs are off. The old cable architecture, however, is constantly feeding the home whether the consumer is there to use it or not.

So IPTV makes carriers more nimble to offer a greater variety of on-demand content and more high-definition (HD) content. In traditional cable, to add on-demand services, incremental bandwidth must be added to the network. That's not the case with IPTV.

Mad for ads
So what will really change when Verizon moves FiOS to IPTV?

One thing will be the way Verizon delivers advertising. [Ed. note: Oh. Well. Yay.] (See Targeted Ads, 2; Speeds & Feeds, 0.) IPTV allows Verizon to know what its customers are watching. That's scary, to be sure. But it does mean that there will be no excuse for not having the most compelling content on offer -- since, after all, they "know" you.

"IPTV identifies what is that one piece of content that would compel someone to switch or stay," says Denson, optimistically. "If both cable and us have the World Cup, well then that's not going to be it. It could be Indian cricket or education. The scarcity of some content is an opportunity for us. Take the Food Network for example. [Ed. note: Please!] Everyone knows it, but not many people watch it. But for some, it’s a key selling point.

"It's going to be about cobbling customers together, one at a time, and finding their key points of acquisition, whether it be content, HD, or VOD," he adds. "If they don't care about interactive applications, then you're not going to get them with interactive applications."

IPTV technology will allow Verizon to watch its customers' viewing habits and react. But it doesn't necessarily mean that Verizon will become a purveyor of exclusive content or a content owner itself. "We've found that having the exclusive right to specific content is very costly and very rarely worth it," Denson says.

So while others cite exclusive content as a key competitive advantage, Verizon says that, while FiOS TV is changing, the service won't be drastically different from cable. Verizon's stance is that the change will be gradual, with a greater emphasis on interactive features as time goes on.

Table 2: Why IPTV? Some Possible Features You Might Find on FiOS (Someday)
Feature Benefit
Targeted advertising with hyperlinks direct to the advertiser's Website Consumers can buy on impulse. Retailers can know what consumers their ads are reaching.
Hosted interactive games No need to buy a console. Also, integrated billing means you don't need to fish for your credit card when buying new games.
Since bandwidth is less of an issue, more streams could change how sporting events are broadcast Consumers can see multiple camera angles during a game and get instant statistics on players and teams.
Your content is accessible from any IP network Watch DVR programs from your home recorder while you're on a business trip.
Your set-top has its own IP address Program your DVR from any computer or Web-enabled cellphone.
Source: Speculation


So when it becomes a fully IP-based service, don't expect that FiOS TV will boast exclusive shows on its network, or a blockbuster movie before its theatrical release.

Verizon is betting, instead, on its ability to offer a better picture by not compressing its high-def video feeds. It will use interactive features to provide more relevant content choices and advertising to consumers. That, the carrier says, is enough to give it a fighting chance against cable.

The challenge for cable is to decide what weapon it will use (pricing? content? quality?) to fend off FiOS as it eats into its territories. "Cable can do all the things that IPTV can, it's just much harder and more complicated," says Heavy Reading's Kishore.

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading


Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to The Future of Broadband 2007, a conference devoted to broadband's evolution as an enabler of next-generation consumer services and applications. To be staged in Atlanta, October 23, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.


(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
bollocks187
50%
50%
bollocks187,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:02:07 PM
re: At Age 2, Verizon FiOS Evolves
The technocrats at Verizon have NO IDEA how to build future networks.

They pushed for a VoATM and analogue overlay Triple play solution and stung a number of vendors on cost with an overdesigned ONU and OLT model.

They now want to move to an IP Triple Play model after spending years in denial about this trend.

Please someone get in there and fix theese laggard morons. What a bunch of @#$%^&* losers.


Raymond McConville
50%
50%
Raymond McConville,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:02:02 PM
re: At Age 2, Verizon FiOS Evolves
at least they've acknowledge it and are doing it. Better late than never. Sometimes in telecom it's better to be late then early. AT&T was early with the IP model, and it hasn't gone smoothly
Mark Sebastyn
50%
50%
Mark Sebastyn,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:01:43 PM
re: At Age 2, Verizon FiOS Evolves
Raymond:

Such a move by Verizon would have a collateral impact on the hardware they buy and deploy. I've spoken with several folks who indicate that Fios is not moving to all IP- and that this is yet another example of the IPTV moniker being slapped onto something that is more broadcast in nature.

Will Verizon still broadcast channel content? What happens to the upstream encoders? What happens at the CPE?

A move to all IP makes a lot of sense now that FiOS is off the ground but information from other sources is conflicting.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Anshul Sadana answers questions from Steve Saunders, Light Reading's founder and CEO, about Arista's CloudVision, a global cloud network controller for workload orchestration and workflow automation delivering a turnkey solution for cloud networking.
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
Between the CEOs
Video Exclusive With Basil Alwan, Alcatel-Lucent

7|24|15   |   26:44   |   (2) comments


Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
VDF: Enable the Financial With Mobile Money

7|20|15   |   06:53   |   (0) comments


Ian Ravenscroft discusses how operators can expand to occupy the entire digital services value chain through service innovation.
LRTV Custom TV
Telefónica on OSS Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:01   |   (0) comments


Jose Gonzales discusses the details of Telefónica's operation transformation program.
LRTV Custom TV
Judi Achmadi on Huawei's Cloud Storage Solution

7|20|15   |   03:33   |   (0) comments


Judi discusses the key business goals of TelekomSigma's public cloud service and how Huawei's solution helps them address challenges.
LRTV Custom TV
KPN Enlightening Digital Business & IT Transformation

7|20|15   |   06:19   |   (0) comments


Rob de Beer discusses the changes that operators need to make with service innovation now coming from the Internet world.
LRTV Custom TV
Stratus Telco-Grade Cloud Solutions & NFV

7|20|15   |   07:34   |   (0) comments


Ali Kafel from Stratus Technologies addresses high-availability concerns within the telco industry with a solution that enables telcos to provide high-availability and stateful fault-tolerance using a software-based approach.
LRTV Documentaries
The Six Million Dollar Business Man

7|20|15   |   01:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Saunders, publisher. A man barely alive after an acquisition malfunction imploded the company he founded. Gentlemen, we can rebuild Light Reading. Better, faster, stronger.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Anukool Lakhina, Guavus

7|20|15   |   38:51   |   (1) comment


Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
LRTV Custom TV
IBM's Flash Storage With Intel QuickAssist

7|20|15   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Intel's Bev Crair and IBM's Eric Herzog discuss how IBM's V9000 Flash Storage System has helped customers around the world. Featuring real-time compression powered by Intel QuickAssist Technology, the V9000 is a next-gen flash storage solution.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Thailand's AIS: Transforming to an FMC Operator

7|17|15   |   4:53   |   (0) comments


Saran Phaloprakarn, Senior VP of Fixed Broadband Business Management of Thailand's AIS, was a keynote speaker at the first Asia-Pacific Ultra Broadband Summit in Bangkok. In this video, he talks to Heavy Reading about transforming into an FMC (FBB+MBB+Content) operator.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Cambodia's TRC Discusses Its Plans for National Broadband

7|17|15   |   10:33   |   (0) comments


In this video, Chakyra Moa, Chairman of Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC), talks in in-depth with Heavy Reading about the Cambodia's current telecom market and TRC's goals and expectations for the future.
LRTV Documentaries
5G Phone

7|16|15   |   2:09   |   (4) comments


A man has an opportunity to purchase the world's first working 5G phone. Imagine the possibilities...
Upcoming Live Events
September 16-17, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 16, 2015, The Westin Galleria Dallas, Dallas, TX
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network operators start seeing savings from NFV in the first year, according to a study by Affirmed Networks and ACG.
Hot Topics
T-Mobile Launches RCS Messaging
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 7/22/2015
Huawei Working Hard for Rural Success
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 7/22/2015
AT&T U-verse TV Hits the Skids
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 7/24/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone Test TWDM-PON
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 7/22/2015
Robbins Succeeds Chambers as Cisco Changes CEOs
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/27/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Basil Alwan, President of IP Routing & Transport at Alcatel-Lucent, discusses virtualization, cultural challenges, the capex crunch and more with Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders.
Guavus CEO Anukool Lakhina talks to Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the role of operational analytics in the communications services and networking sectors, particularly in relation to IoT.
Cats with Phones
Cat Sense Click Here
Can you hear me now?