Thursday, July 7, 2011

Three regulatory challenges must be addressed when discussing OTT broadcasting

Recently the CRTC requested comments from industry on Over-The-Top broadcasting in Canada.  Over-The-Top, or OTT broadcasting refers to content providers that do not directly control the transmission of their material.  Services such as NetFlix that stream movies over the Internet are an example of OTT providers.

We believe that technology has revolutionized the media world and NGNs provide the fibre backbone that enable Smartphones, tablets, video streaming, etc.  It is important to remember that the same fibre infrastructure that is used to support entertainment is also used for important economic drivers like ecommerce as well as delivering education and health services to Canadians.

It is our belief that the current debate around OTT really comes down to regulated content (broadcast) vs. unregulated content (Internet).  Witness the fact that all the traditional broadcasters also provide OTT content on their respective websites.

The current challenges have arisen because the concept of OTT is a reflection of the traditional telecommunications/broadcasting model supported by an outdated regulatory framework.  

We believe that there are three regulatory challenges that need to be pulled apart and addressed separately.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Covage networks earn government high-speed designation

- written by Jean-Michel Soulier, President, Axia Networks France -
Three industrial areas served by Covage’s Next Generation Network have been given a digital “seal of approval” by the French government.

The ZA THD designation (Very High Speed Activity Zone) was established by the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry to show businesses where they can access reliable, high-speed, high-capacity broadband. The government actively promotes broadband access as a key economic development tool and Covage has responded with its own parallel marketing plan called THD-Zone.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Achieving the best outcome for Rural Canadians in the next spectrum auction

The Government of Canada, through Industry Canada, is currently engaged in a consultation process to determine how to release spectrum licences for up to 84 MHz of wireless spectrum in the 700 MHz frequency band. The spectrum has been made available by the decommissioning of analog UHF TV with the move across North America to digital TV.

The federal government has already decided that this spectrum should be made available for various mobile broadband applications. What it wants now is input on how the spectrum should be auctioned and regulated for such services.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How can the quality of your connection service be based on vague "up to" promises?

These Next Generation Networks (NGNs) have compelling performance characteristics in terms of flexible functionality, quality and quantity of service. The underlying costs are attractive when compared to the aggregate benefits that they can deliver. It is clear that the wireless sector, smart sensor-based technologies, Software as a Service and Cloud Computing all depend on ubiquitous fibre grids. The Internet has been a major commercial force for more than five years and is clearly the communications foundation for the future. The core services provided by these NGNs are various types of bandwidth services or as we call them – transport and connectivity services. In the provision of these critical services how can we still be having debates around “net neutrality”, “open access”, “do not compete with your customer”? How can the dominant description of the performance of your connection service be defined by vague theoretical maximums such as “up to 5Mbps” as opposed to the minimum service you will receive?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What is a justifiable cost to government and to the end user of a Next Generation fibre network?

As noted in my previous post, the underlying justification for a Next Generation Network is neither a phone call nor a TV service. While the value proposition for each of these functions is more compelling under a NGN, the old networks get the job done.

The true justification for Next Generation Networks is the unlimited evolution of new digital services. These services will deliver improved outcomes in critical social areas such as health care, education, “smart” energy management, and environmental performance. These services will also deliver economic productivity improvements and a plethora of services targeted at individual personal performance and entertainment.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Why go to all the trouble to transform from the legacy copper telecom world to the Next Generation fibre and wireless communications world?

The adjective “ultra-fast” oversimplifies and understates the underlying purpose and reasoning for making the transformation from copper to fibre.

While fibre-based services certainly are many times faster than copper-based services, they also are much more versatile, can be fit for purpose, can make distance within any country disappear and the key underlying fundamentals are “future proof.”

The concept of “versatility and fit for purpose” means that anything that can be digitized can be transported to anywhere on the fibre grid with the speed, priority and quality fit for its particular purpose.  Anything that you can see, hear, measure or calculate can already be digitized, yet we are still in the early phase of harnessing the power of digital technologies.  This versatile capacity to carry any digital traffic in any direction for any purpose is why legacy copper networks are out of date.  Telephone networks were designed for voice only, cable networks were for broadcast TV; and they did this job well but these services are no longer the driver for demand.  Like any other out-of-date plant, it is time to be replaced.