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TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll

Can wireline telecom operators compensate for their continuing loss of telephone revenues by rolling out TV services over broadband infrastructure?

Not according to early results of Light Reading's February Research Poll.

The poll asks people to predict the likely results of two types of convergence by year 2010 -- the convergence of wireline and wireless services, and the convergence of Internet, telephone, and TV infrastructure.

The first type of convergence is likely to have a much bigger impact than the second, according to the survey results so far. As a result, wireless operators have the best prospects, according to 54 percent of respondents. Conversely, telecom operators have the worst prospects.

This is largely because of the shift of telephone traffic from fixed to mobile networks. Between 25 and 50 percent of people will use their cell phones for all voice calls from home by 2010 according to the biggest proportion of respondents, 43 percent.

Efforts by telecom operators to compensate for their loss of telephony reviews by launching TV services aren’t going to work. Less than 10 percent of people will watch TV over telecom networks (as opposed to broadcast, cable or direct-to-home satellite networks) by 2010 according to 69 percent of respondents.

The success of wireless operators in capturing telephone traffic also spells trouble for cable operators, according to the poll. Less than 25 percent of people will make most of their phone calls from home over cable networks by 2010, according to more than two thirds of respondents.

To see the full results and add your views to the poll, click on this link.

— Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading
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Abby 12/5/2012 | 2:26:16 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll I did not take your poll because I felt the absence of a marketing pitch on what might be some of the benefits of Internet Television Services.

For instance, many years ago, I was in Japan and the only television station I could get from my hotel was the BBC (quite boring). Therefore, if Internet Television Services had been available and I could have gained access to my favorite stations and shows in the U.S., you bet I would have watch T.V. over the Internet. As, I presume, would someone from Japan located in the U.S. have a desire to view television in his or her own country.

Moreover, I can think of many times when I have felt disenfranchised with the programming from my television service provider (will not say who) that it would be very nice to have the opportunity to access TV services elsewhere.

Then, there is the issue of time zones. If I can catch it on the air earlier, I can watch something else later.

Overall, I find the world of television without borders somehow appealing.
TJGodel 12/5/2012 | 2:26:15 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll Mobile will be the choice for making calls, but cable may still have a major roll in telephony calls. Wifi enabled cell phones may allow cable operators to capture some telephony traffic.
palaeozoic 12/5/2012 | 2:26:11 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll What is the margin of error? How many people were sampled? Was this a voluntary poll or a randoom sample? What is the percentage of certainty? Who are these people?

In other words, do any of these conclusions have even a remote possibility of being true or is this simply High School sample survey theory run amok?
gbennett 12/5/2012 | 2:26:09 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll Hi Abby,

What you describe is not the kind of TV that Service Providers (SPs) are planning to roll out (I'm open to correction here).

Telco-type SPs are gazing enviously at MSOs' ability to run Triple Play services. While Triple Play doesn't make any one service more profitable, it tends to keep customers loyal to that SP, which dramatically lowers the cost of sale.

Telco-style SPs would like to copy Triple Play on a DSL infrastructure.

The service you describe is just video over the Internet. It's perfectly possible today, but there are two snags.

First, the Internet does not offer QoS for a "premium rate video service". No signs of that changing. Nor is there a possibility of over-provisioning the Internet enough to run TV-quality video - especially over the restricted bandwidth of a trans-Pacific link.

Secondly, only a few TV channels even allow their content to be used at all. Why do you think it was the BBC World Service you were able to pick up in Japan (World Service is boring I agree - try the real BBC, it's much better)? It's because the BBC is funded from public license fees in the UK, not from commercial revenues (that's why we Brits still have attention spans longer than 5 minutes :-)

Can you imagine the complexity of advertising deals to allow a US TV channel to air content in some random country around the world? Because that's the way the content owners think about things. They don't "get" the Internet, I'm afraid. My guess is that an HBO, pay per view model is much more appropriate.

Let's not forget the protectionist stance the target countries would take on the matter. After all, there's business being done in their territory and they've not seeing the tax dollars from it.

There will also be cultural issues. An example would be France - the French government hate the fact that the Sky Digital direct satellite footprint covers its territory. They can't stop viewers from receiving broadcasts in English!!! Sacre bleu! Merde alors! What is the world coming to when respectible French citizens are subjected to US TV programs that are not even dubbed into the glorious French mother tongue! Sorry to get carried away, but you know that when politicians get involved, logic flies out the window :-)

Cheers,
Geoff
gbennett 12/5/2012 | 2:26:08 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll Hi Mr.Zippy,

This is an old argument, of course. QoS mechanisms vs over provisioning.

I'm in the QoS school. While I agree with you that throwing bandwidth is cheaper and easier in the core of the network, it's much too expensive at the edge. It's also much less practical on inter-continental links, such as US-Japan in the example chosen.

I totally agree with you on the simplicity vs complexity argument. For that reason I suspect that the Internet will always be essentially a best effort network. And for a lot of people that's fine. For example, you can run voice telephony over the Internet today, with no QoS in place. And when it works the quality can be great. It often doesn't work particularly well, of course. But since it's so much cheaper than international, circuit-switched voice calls, we continue to use it if we can.

In contrast I suspect businesses will always insist on a more deterministic means of communication. Ideally that would be a QoS-based VPN, and not the Internet itself.

Cheers,
Geoff
mr zippy 12/5/2012 | 2:26:08 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll First, the Internet does not offer QoS for a "premium rate video service". No signs of that changing. Nor is there a possibility of over-provisioning the Internet enough to run TV-quality video - especially over the restricted bandwidth of a trans-Pacific link.

I'm not sure I agree with this, for a few reasons :

(a) bits are always getting cheaper, and always getting cheaper at incredible rates, on a per bit basis.

(b) The only component that contributes to QoS, that cannot be changed or improved is propagation delay, due to it being tied to the fixed speed of light. All other delay components that effect QoS (Serialisation Delay, Queuing Delay, Bandwidth) can be reduced, and usually, the easiest way is to "throw bandwidth at it". See point (a).

Some people identify adding bandwidth as an additional cost. Specifically, it is an visible and identifiable additional cost. That is a reasonable observation, you will be sending out larger payments for bandwidth per month.

Implementing alternative QoS mechanisms, such as policing, shaping and specific queuing algorithms also has a cost. The difference however is that they are usually costs that become hidden within the general, and usually existing costs of running the network, and I'd suggest the primary place those costs are hidden are within the salaries of the people running the network. If those costs can be absorbed within the opex of the network, without any other increases in things such as people, it could be argued that the network wasn't being run as efficiently as possible in the first place. There was existing "fat" in the budget to absorb the additional QoS costs.

Another way of looking at this bandwidth vs QoS mechanisms argument is by looking at "simplicity" (ie. bandwidth) verses "complexity" (ie. QoS mechansims). I generally believe that things always tend towards simplicity over time. Humans are "lazy", if it becomes too "hard" ie. complex, humans will tend towards "easy" or simplicity.

I'm not sure if the Internet will ever need an implemented premium level of QoS. People may demand better performance, and, as the Internet is really a network of many networks, it may never be possible to come to a global agreement on QoS policies between all the involved parties. Bandwidth, being the simpler solution that only really requires "local" decisions, may be the way QoS in the Internet will be achived.
optoslob 12/5/2012 | 2:26:07 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll Geoff,
The only thing this poll indicates to me is that you polled technonerd at least a dozen times, the only thing that is missing is the wireless NIC spam (see previous FTTU discussions).

For a more balanced view I would suggest that you forget your Euro / US centric RBOC model and take a closer look at Japan, Korea and even China. In these markets the incumbent telco's have given up on Voice communications as a revenue stream and they also don't have large T1 leases that they fear will transfer to lower cost services, if they make these services available, therefore high bandwidth edge solutions are getting deployed at an affordable price.

IMHO QOS for internet video services is a crock, if the average bandwidth is sufficient to support the link than the FiFO buffering will be done using TiVo type PVR's. Worst case you'll get the service with a few minutes delay, which BTW you use to skip over TV commercials. PVR's will kill broadcast TV (include Cable and satellite) because the traditional advertising revenue base will disappear, as everyone skips commercials. As this happens pointless laws will no doubt be passed banning PVR's but more importantly the progressive content providers will look for other revenue streams. Video over Internet as a PPV service is a clear winner in this arena.

optoslob
lastmile 12/5/2012 | 2:26:02 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll From:optoslob

"Video over Internet as a PPV service is a clear winner in this arena."

This is starting to happen:

Todays leading Last Mile story:-

Akimbo Launches TiVo-like TV-over-Internet Service


BobbyMax. 12/5/2012 | 2:26:01 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll lastmilem, as usual you don't know what youre talking about. It just won't happen. these are money losing ventures to get VC's to chip in some money so that the founders can retire before they reach 40.
lastmile 12/5/2012 | 2:26:00 AM
re: TV Won't Save Telcos, Says Poll Imagine the Possibilities with the original BobbyMax (without a period) back on this board.
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